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Wanting to Homeschool High School Son in Texas

 
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JanaC
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:06 am    Post subject: Wanting to Homeschool High School Son in Texas Reply with quote

I have decided that I will homeschool my son since I have retired from my job. What I am wondering about is it better to wait until next year starts or go ahead and start getting it set up for this year. They have just started their 5th six weeks.

I do have a few questions about making the change: Are homeschoolers held the same requirements for graduation that are set by TEA for public schools (credits)?

Also, when I do withdraw my son from public school, do I just need to ask for his transcript or it there something else I need to get?

I'm really excited about doing this but I am also scared to death.

If anyone has any suggestions on books that I need to read I would greatly appreciate it.

Any other help would also be appreicated in case there is something I'm not thinking of.

Thanks in advance for your help\

Jana
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following may be useful:
Texas Home School Coalition: Getting Started
Homeschool Texas: Texas Education Code
Family Educators Alliance of South Texas: Texas Law
North Texas Home Educators Network: Withdrawing from Public School
Homeschool World (us): Texas Homeschool Groups

Regarding high school graduation, you need to fulfill whatever the subject / credit requirements are for graduation in your state. Apparently Texas also requires some final assessment testing as well, albeit a rather pathetically easy assessment:
Texas Education Agency: High School Graduation Requirements
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elliemaejune
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Wanting to Homeschool High School Son in Texas Reply with quote

JanaC wrote:
I have decided that I will homeschool my son since I have retired from my job. What I am wondering about is it better to wait until next year starts or go ahead and start getting it set up for this year. They have just started their 5th six weeks.

I do have a few questions about making the change: Are homeschoolers held the same requirements for graduation that are set by TEA for public schools (credits)?

Also, when I do withdraw my son from public school, do I just need to ask for his transcript or it there something else I need to get?

I'm really excited about doing this but I am also scared to death.

If anyone has any suggestions on books that I need to read I would greatly appreciate it.

Any other help would also be appreicated in case there is something I'm not thinking of.

Thanks in advance for your help\Jana


In Texas, thanks to a court case, homeschoolers are considered private schools, and private schools are not controlled by the state in any way. IOW, you decide what you will require of your ds to graduate. No testing, no nothing.

Whether you take him out now or not is up to you. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) recommends that if possible you do it during a break, such as Christmas or Easter vacation. If you can hang in there until Easter (or whenever his school does "spring break") that would be best.

I recommend joining HSLDA. It's money well spent. Although Texas is generally a great place to hs, there are still enough problems with school officials that you would feel more confident with HSLDA at your back.

You don't need to do anything when you take him out. You should notify the school so that no one thinks he is truant, but there are no requirements for you to fill out any forms or anything. I would ask for his whole cum file, not just a transcript.

Barbara Shelton's book, Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+la, is my favorite high school resource.
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the state can't mandate what you need to do to graduate to your own satisfaction, colleges generally do require that you be officially graduated from high school as per your state requirements. So the requirements do need to be fulfilled if you intend to have your son apply to college.
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elliemaejune
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theodore wrote:
While the state can't mandate what you need to do to graduate to your own satisfaction, colleges generally do require that you be officially graduated from high school as per your state requirements. So the requirements do need to be fulfilled if you intend to have your son apply to college.


But Texas doesn't have any state requirements for *private school* students to graduate. Texas colleges are doing an excellent job of accepting homeschooled applicants the same way they do private school students, i.e., SAT/ACT scores and so on.

California doesn't have any requirements for private school students to graduate, either.

In fact, the only state that has requirements for homeschooled students is Pennsylvania, and even that is optional. I don't see how colleges could require homeschooled students to meet state requirements when there are none.
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. It has always been my impression that private schools run by homeschoolers have to meet the same minimum standards for graduation as public schools, but perhaps I'm wrong. I imagine that if you're applying to a college in-state, and there are no specific requirements for private school graduation in that state, the college would have to accept you, but for out of state it's going to be far easier to just fulfill the requirements so you can say you're an official Texas high school graduate and not have to trot out a bunch of paperwork explaining your particular criteria for graduation. You may not be legally required to do so, but it will save you a lot of trouble at the better colleges, military academies, etc.

Bottom line, you may be right, but in this case the state requirements are pretty easy, and I think the benefits of fulfilling them outweigh the costs. It's the same principle behind taking standardized subject tests like AP, CLEP, etc., when a portfolio of work is equally acceptable from a legal standpoint. Given more college applicants than there are slots, college admissions will generally weight things in favor of the applicants who involve the least paperwork (and have the best test scores).

Is there anyone here from college admissions that would like to weigh in? What are your procedures for handling out-of-state homeschool / private school graduates who have not completed their state education requirements for high school graduation?
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elliemaejune
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theodore wrote:
Hmm. It has always been my impression that private schools run by homeschoolers have to meet the same minimum standards for graduation as public schools, but perhaps I'm wrong. I imagine that if you're applying to a college in-state, and there are no specific requirements for private school graduation in that state, the college would have to accept you, but for out of state it's going to be far easier to just fulfill the requirements so you can say you're an official Texas high school graduate and not have to trot out a bunch of paperwork explaining your particular criteria for graduation. You may not be legally required to do so, but it will save you a lot of trouble at the better colleges, military academies, etc.


When I operated an umbrella school in California (16 years) a number of my graduates were accepted in out-of-state colleges. All they took with them was the transcript from the school and ACT or SAT scores. No one ever had to supply course descriptions or a list of textbooks, or in any way indicate that he had followed the California requirements for graduation; IOW, a transcript in hand was sufficient.

I have also read a many comments from people on many discussion forums whose dc were accepted in colleges all across the country with nothing more than ACT/SAT scores (some with transcripts, some without).

Most students are going to follow a pretty similar course of study--4 years of English, 2-3 years of social sciences, 2-4 years of science, 2-4 years of math, electives such as foreign language, fine arts, computer, etc. I doubt that any college has a list of requirements for each state and verifies that each applicant had met those requirements. I doubt that any college even asks that.

JMHO, of course. Smile
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Dolly-VA
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

elliemaejune wrote:
When I operated an umbrella school in California (16 years) a number of my graduates were accepted in out-of-state colleges. All they took with them was the transcript from the school and ACT or SAT scores. No one ever had to supply course descriptions or a list of textbooks, or in any way indicate that he had followed the California requirements for graduation; IOW, a transcript in hand was sufficient.

This is new to me and I'm intrigued. What is an "umbrella school?"
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are often two different ways to homeschool, either as a homeschooler or as a member of a private school (sometimes church school, depending on the state). In the latter case, there's generally a lot less you have to do to prove you're fulfilling the minimum education requirements, so churches or groups of homeschoolers will often set up a private school and do the necessary paperwork and testing for you in return for a token fee (usually $100 or less per year). That way you can do your own thing and not have to worry about overmuch state oversight.

Short version: An umbrella school is a private school that provides a buffer between homeschoolers and the state, by allowing you to homeschool under the private school law rather than the homeschool law.

elliemaejune: Ok then, I stand corrected. In our case, we did have to show proof of graduation equivalence, but we were homeschooling under the homeschooling law rather than an umbrella school, so I guess the situation was different. My brother was also applying to the Coast Guard.
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Dolly-VA
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. Thanks for the information!
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elliemaejune
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theodore wrote:
There are often two different ways to homeschool, either as a homeschooler or as a member of a private school (sometimes church school, depending on the state). In the latter case, there's generally a lot less you have to do to prove you're fulfilling the minimum education requirements, so churches or groups of homeschoolers will often set up a private school and do the necessary paperwork and testing for you in return for a token fee (usually $100 or less per year). That way you can do your own thing and not have to worry about overmuch state oversight.


This, of course, varies from state to state. Most states don't have any such thing at all, although there are, of course, dozens of distance-learning programs, such as CLASS or Calvert, but in most cases, the homeschool law doesn't mention such schools as legal options; people use them because they like the support and record keeping. IOW, in most cases, it has nothing to do with homeschool law or private school law at all.

California law doesn't recognize homeschoolers; it allows for private schools to be established with almost no accountabilty (they are private schools). There are no graduation requirements for private schools, no testing requirements, no teacher qualifications, no minimum number of school days, no nothin,' other than filing an affidavit annually. (Private schools are supposed to "offer" the same subjects that public schools do, but as in Texas, they are so general that it doesn't even matter what they are because you can't help but teach them.)

There are dozens of private schools in California which only enroll homeschooled children. Since there is no homeschool law or statute, homeschoolers either file their own private school affidavits or enroll their dc in someone else's private school. Many of these charge far more than $100; most charge in excess of $300.


Quote:
elliemaejune: Ok then, I stand corrected. In our case, we did have to show proof of graduation equivalence, but we were homeschooling under the homeschooling law rather than an umbrella school, so I guess the situation was different. My brother was also applying to the Coast Guard.


My best guess is that it wouldn't have mattered if you had used an umbrella school or not. I don't believe your state has the umbrella school option (Missouri, yes?)
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This, of course, varies from state to state. Most states don't have any such thing at all, although there are, of course, dozens of distance-learning programs, such as CLASS or Calvert, but in most cases, the homeschool law doesn't mention such schools as legal options; people use them because they like the support and record keeping. IOW, in most cases, it has nothing to do with homeschool law or private school law at all.


The reason umbrella schools are called umbrella schools is because they shield you from the state. School that are there for a different purpose are not umbrella schools, they're just schools offering useful services to homeschoolers.

Quote:
My best guess is that it wouldn't have mattered if you had used an umbrella school or not. I don't believe your state has the umbrella school option (Missouri, yes?)


You are correct, there is no private school option in Missouri. My point was that without being under an umbrella school, homeschoolers do need to show high school graduation equivalence for entrance into college, or at least we did. Colleges probably won't bother to check up on you if you fudge a bit, now that homeschoolers are popular with colleges, but there's always the possibility that halfway into your degree someone will determine you never graduated and mess things up for you. Not worth the risk imho, especially since you're probably covering the material required for official graduation already and it's little or no extra trouble.

Businesses, of course, don't care if your diploma is self-awarded or not, so long as you're intelligent and have the necessary job skills. A diploma to them is just a piece of paper that says you can stick with something for several years without quitting, and they're happy to accept anyone who doesn't require remedial training. They'll generally accept your say-so.

Bottom line, while it may or may not be strictly necessary to fulfill the state educational requirements for high school graduation from either a legal or practical standpoint, I don't really see the advantages of not doing so. Do you honestly think any homeschooler won't already be covering the minimum state requirements in all core subjects? The max additional you might have to do is a credit's worth of state history and maybe a standardized test, and then you don't have to worry about anyone ever disputing your high school graduation. I fail to see the downside.
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elliemaejune
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You are correct, there is no private school option in Missouri. My point was that without being under an umbrella school, homeschoolers do need to show high school graduation equivalence for entrance into college, or at least we did [emphasis mine]. Colleges probably won't bother to check up on you if you fudge a bit, now that homeschoolers are popular with colleges, but there's always the possibility that halfway into your degree someone will determine you never graduated and mess things up for you. Not worth the risk imho, especially since you're probably covering the material required for official graduation already and it's little or no extra trouble
.

I understand that it was your experience; however, it is not the experience of most of the hsers who have posted over the years on the several discussion forums I visit in addition to this one.

It is very easy to assume that others have had the same experience we have had. I used to think that community college was as good an option in other states as it is in California, but I have learned that it is not. (Community colleges in California don't require SAT scores, or high school diplomas *or* transcripts to attend. Many of them will take students as young as 16; some will take them as young as 14. Both of my dds began at 14.)

Of course, wisdom dictates that people will ask questions like this before they apply to colleges; but in most cases, colleges will accept a parent-prepared transcript, SAT/ACT scores, portfolios, etc., in lieu of any sort of proof of "high school equivalence."
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most states only have a list of required subjects anyway, not a standardized test for completion. For instance, Missouri requires the following as a minimum for high school graduation:

Communication Arts 4 units
Social Studies 3 units
Mathematics 3 units
Science 3 units
Fine Arts 1 unit
Practical Arts 1 unit
Physical Education 1 unit
Health Education 1/2 unit
Personal Finance 1/2 unit
Electives 7 units

Now, you can be somewhat creative as to how you work out those credits, and as you say, a transcript / portfolio of work willl be accepted everywhere, but the question is, can you graduate yourself as a homeschooler without fulfilling some of these requirements? If you can, do you want to? It's always been our style to err on the side of caution, but perhaps we've been biased somewhat by past experiences, since Missouri was not a very friendly place for homeschooling back 10 years ago.

I'm sorry if I've been spreading misinformation Smile
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