It’s bad enough that public school officials give out bad information on homeschooling requirements such as requesting to view potential homeschoolers’ curriculum. What’s worst is when a homeschool organization contributes to the misinformation. The following is the FEAST (Family Educators Alliance of South Texas) website information for new homeschoolers.
7. Withdrawal: If your child is enrolled in a public or private school now, you must withdraw your child from that school. In Texas, your child is considered truant after 3 days of non-attendance. That is why you should not withdraw your child until after you have purchased or ordered your curriculum. You need to know your state laws as to notification and withdrawal procedures from traditional schools.
So after reading the above statement I’m likely to believe that if I don’t a purchase curriculum before I start homeschooling, my child will be truant. What exactly will my child be truant from? I’ve withdrawn him from school so he can’t be truant from a school he is no longer attending. According the Texas Home School Coalition:
Home schools in Texas are private schools, and the state of Texas does not regulate the number of days per year that private schools must be in session or the number of days a student must attend.
Therefore, my private homeschool could simply be not in session until I purchase a curriculum. And then there’s the “purchased” curriculum part. As far as I know there is no requirement to “purchase” a curriculum. Again, from the Texas Home School Coalition:
3. What is the required curriculum? In order to be a legitimate home school, you must have a curriculum which teaches reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship, and you must pursue that curriculum in a bona fide (not a sham) manner. This curriculum may be obtained from any source and can consist of books, workbooks, other written materials, or materials on an electronic monitor including computer or video screens, or any combination thereof.
Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a curriculum, it seems to me that any homeschooler starting out could simply use the curriculum designed by the state and available online, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). As far as I can tell, these standards can be met in a variety of ways. A visit to such websites as the Institute of Texan Cultures or the San Antonio Water System will show numerous programs and activities designed to meet specific TEKS standards.
Unfortunately, since FEAST is often referred to as the regional homeschool organization, many people other than homeschoolers can get the wrong idea. Who are we to complain if school officials demand to see a parent’s curriculum if it appears as a “requirement” on a prominent homeschool website?