The Complete Guide to Texas Homeschool Regulations

A comprehensive breakdown of all the legal responsibilities and benefits of homeschooling in Texas
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From the Alamo and the Rio Grande to the Fort Worth Stockyards and Dealey Plaza—Texas provides all the history, geography, culture, and unique educational experiences a homeschool family could ask for. Where else would you find rodeo as an elective and P.E.?

So, what else does the Lone Star State provide homeschoolers? The answer is a Texas-sized helping of educational freedom! This guide lays out the legalities, for both parents and school districts, in detail.

Table of Contents

Homeschooling in Texas is a One-Option Endeavor

Believe it or not, Texas has exactly zero laws or regulations that govern homeschooling. But that doesn’t mean that anything goes! In 1994, a landmark court case, Leeper v. Arlington ISD, settled the matter of a parent’s right to homeschool in the Lone Star State and established its parameters.

Specifically, the courts concluded that parents who meet certain basic requirements would be considered private schools and that their children would be considered, “in attendance upon a private or parochial school within the meaning of Section 21.033(a)(l) of the Texas Education Code and exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance at a public school.”

So what are these basic requirements? Let’s explore what the court deemed homeschool-worthy.

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A. Parents must teach in “good faith”

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More specifically, a “parent or parents or one standing in parental authority” must educate the child “in a bona fide (good faith, not a sham or subterfuge) manner.” (Leeper)

In other words, you have to actually try to educate your child. You can’t neglect it or fake it. Effort matters.

Notice requirements? No, thank you!

There is no legal requirement in Texas to notify any authority that you are homeschooling. The caveat to this is that—if your child is already enrolled in a public school—you do need to withdraw them according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This is a simple form letter, readily available online.

The TEA does require the withdrawal to include the date that you will begin homeschooling. It is advisable to begin homeschooling immediately after withdrawing to avoid any possible truancy issues.

It is worth noting, however, that no one needs to approve your withdrawal or grant permission, nor can the school district require additional information, such as approving your curriculum.

If you are contacted by the school or district asking for any further effort beyond a satisfactory withdrawal notice, you should send what is known as a letter of assurance (also available online). This letter “assures” the authorities that you are meeting the “good faith” efforts and other requirements for homeschooling and informs them of the laws (or lack thereof) requiring you to do anything further. 

B. Parents must teach certain required subjects

In addition to putting in the work, you need to make sure you’re at least covering the basics.

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Under Leeper, these are:

If you feel like “good citizenship” is a bit vague, it is usually equated with civics. For comparison, public high schools in Texas typically teach one semester of civics in the senior year of high school and call it good.

The details of what to teach, beyond these subjects, are up to you. However, even though science and history are not required, any college will want to see these, and probably other courses of study like a foreign language, present on their transcripts. So, building a comprehensive academic foundation for your child is highly recommended, regardless of the minimum legal requirements.

Graduation and Diplomas

Texas law prohibits colleges or other institutions of higher education from requiring a homeschool graduate to obtain a G.E.D. or other equivalency certificate or to take any exam not required of any other applicant for admission.

Completion of a “nontraditional secondary education” (homeschooling) is considered the same as obtaining a high school diploma. Parents get to make the decision when their child has satisfactorily “completed” high school.

(Texas Education Code §51.9241)

C. Parents must use a “written” curriculum

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In Leeper, the court stated that the required subjects must be delivered via, “a curriculum consisting of books, workbooks, other written materials, including that which appears on an electronic screen of either a computer or video tape monitor.”

So, textbooks? Sure thing. Library books? Why not. Printed worksheets? Yep. Online programs? Knock yourself out!

But you can’t just review math facts orally, tell them a story, let them run around the backyard, and call it good. After all, that wouldn’t satisfy the reading requirements or the good faith effort, now would it?

Texas’s Compulsory Age of School Attendance

Wait, didn’t Leeper say that homeschoolers are, “exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance at a public school”?”

Why, yes. It did. But you should know them anyway.

Children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school, “for the entire period the program of instruction is provided.” This means if your child is 18 but turns 19 during the school year, they must still complete the school year—unless they graduate or obtain an equivalency diploma. Many homeschool legal associations believe that a parent-issued high school diploma for their homeschooler is enough to exempt them from these requirements.

Additionally, if your child has been enrolled in pre-K, kindergarten, or 1st grade, they must continue going to school even if they are not yet 6 years old. In practice, this means that you cannot enroll your child in public kindergarten and then withdraw them and wait until they are 6 to begin homeschooling. Once they are enrolled, you must continue schooling them in some fashion.

(Texas Education Code Section 25.085)

Benefits for Texas Homeschoolers

Many homeschooling Texans will tell you that the main benefit to the state is the freedom from restrictions and oversight. But what about the more tangible perks?
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Special Education Services

Families with special needs children do not need to follow any additional requirements other than those that apply to all homeschoolers. However, because they are considered “private school” students, they may be entitled to services funded by both the federal government and the state.

Homeschooling parents may request something called proportional share services. This is a portion of funds set aside by a school district to provide special education services specifically for private school or homeschooled students. Individual districts then determine what services will be provided.

Additionally, children 5 and under with special needs are eligible for evaluation and services in their district. These services—such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and more—are called early childhood services and are available regardless of whether the family homeschools or intends to homeschool the child.

(Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 2, §89.1096 & Texas Education Code Section 29.004)

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Access to Public School Sports & Extracurricular Activities

Whether you have access to public school sports and extracurricular activities as a Texas homeschooler may largely depend on where you live or even when you are homeschooling as this is a currently evolving legal issue. Right now, Texas does not have a law permitting homeschooled students to participate in public school activities. That leaves the decisions up to the individual school districts.

Currently, homeschoolers may join the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in independent school districts (ISDs) that have agreed to allow access. A list of participating districts is available on their website.

Additionally, Texas 4-H and the Texas Musical Educators Association (TMEA) allow homeschoolers to participate with few or no requirements beyond those of traditionally schooled children.

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Dual Credit Enrollment

Texas law requires colleges to admit homeschooled students for dual credit under the same requirements as traditionally schooled students.

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Access to PSAT and SAT Testing

Okay, students may not consider standardized testing a “perk,” but, in Texas, homeschoolers are entitled to the same access to PSAT and SAT testing in their home district as public school children and must be charged the same fee.

(Texas Education Code Section 29.916)

Financial Resources for Texas Homeschoolers

Unlike some other states, there is no voucher program or other public funds available for homeschoolers in Texas. Stay tuned, however, because various bills for that purpose are frequently introduced in the Texas Legislature.

Nevertheless, there are other options by which Texas homeschoolers can save money. Because, in Texas, homeschoolers are considered private schools, they are eligible under federal law for Coverdell accounts to be used for some homeschool expenses.

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These may include items like:
It is also possible to use funds saved in federal Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for some homeschooling purposes in Texas.
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Other Important Info for Texas Homeschoolers


Does Texas require homeschooled students to be immunized?

The answer is, “Yes, but . . .”

Texas law mandates that every child be immunized, including private school students, which homeschoolers are considered to be. However, there are exemptions, and private schools, including homeschools, are not required to maintain immunization records.

(Texas Health and Safety Code Section 161.001)


Does Texas require homeschooled students to be immunized?

The answer is, “Yes, but . . .”

Texas law mandates that every child be immunized, including private school students, which homeschoolers are considered to be. However, there are exemptions, and private schools, including homeschools, are not required to maintain immunization records.

(Texas Health and Safety Code Section 161.001)


Does Texas require homeschooled students to be immunized?

Although homeschool record-keeping in Texas is not required, it is highly recommended. Whether for entering the military, getting a job, or in the unfortunate event that you are brought under scrutiny about your homeschool efforts—you never know when documentation will come in handy.

Here is a list of recommended items to include in your records:



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It is difficult to estimate the true number of homeschoolers in Texas because of the lack of notice requirements. However, the Census Bureau estimated that 4.5% of Texas families homeschooled in the spring of 2020.
The Texas Home School Coalition estimates that about 750,000 students are being homeschooled in Texas as of 2022.
During the 2021–2022 school year, 30,000 Texas students in grades 7 to 12 withdrew from traditional school to homeschool.

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