HOUSTON – With recent violence at schools, more and more parents are thinking about pulling their children out of traditional classrooms and schooling them at home. But how do you go about home-schooling your child?
Victoria Weaver has lived in the Houston area most of her life. She went to The Woodlands High School.
"I was public all the way. My husband was private school all the way," Weaver said.
Weaver met her husband at Texas A&M University. They got married in 2002. She went on to teach in the Aldine Independent School District at Nimitz Ninth Grade School.
When the time came for her first son, Will, to spend all day in kindergarten, Weaver decided against the traditional schoolhouse and the family chose to home-school Will instead.
"I was, like, 'Oh, we can do that,' and we just sort of never stopped," Weaver said.
Now Will is 10 and Weaver runs a website to help other home schooling moms.
"As things moved on, we had our second son. When it came to his turn, we just kind of threw him into the mix," Weaver said.
There is no regulatory agency that oversees home schooling in Texas.
"Texas is one of the best states to home-school," said James Singleton, who volunteers for the advocacy group Texas Home School Coalition. "Texas is arguably the fastest-growing and most vibrant home school community in the nation."
Flexibility and the low number of regulations are some of the reasons, along with such concerns as school safety, religion and too much testing.
For anyone who is thinking about home schooling, here's what to know:
If your child is already enrolled in a school, write a letter to the district indicating you've decided to home-school.
If your child is not enrolled, under state law, there's nothing you need to do. You don't need to register your child for home schooling. You can just start.
2. Teacher and Parent
Be ready to be both the teacher and the parent.
"You have real children and you know your children," Weaver said. "So the problems they have aren't just going to go away because now you're their teacher."
3. Find Your Style
You can recreate a classroom in your home or focus on units, which is more common.
"A lot of people do units, so maybe they'll pick Benjamin Franklin," Weaver said. "Science, lots of reading. They'll write reports, go to museums and make it a full, immersive experience."
4. Put Together Your Curriculum
Under Texas law, your curriculum must include the five basic subjects: reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and good citizenship. It must also be in visual form, such as books, workbooks or video monitors.
Click here for more information.
If your child wants to go to college, put together a transcript. Your child will still have to take entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT.
"We've actually learned colleges fight for home-schoolers. They are very interested in home-schoolers because they tend to score higher on standardized tests," Singleton said.
"You need to know there is no one right way to do it," Weaver said. "It takes some time to find the right rhythm for your family, for your kids."