Driver’s Education for Texas Homeschoolers

If you are getting ready to teach your teen to drive, you’ve come to the right place. There are several steps you’ll need to complete to help your teen achieve their Texas driver’s license.

Apply to be the instructor ($20 fee)

As the parent, you must first apply to be the official driving instructor. During this step, you will receive a PDF program guide. I highly recommend printing this guide and keeping it handy. It has several things you’ll need, including the receipt number, document checklist, and lesson log.

Click here to begin

Select a course

Once you have paid the instructor fee and have received your program guide, you will need to select an online driving course. This is the “classroom instruction” portion of driver’s ed. Click here for a list of eligible courses. As you can see, there are many to choose from. You will need the receipt number from your program guide to purchase this course.

The first six instruction hours of this course are required for your student to earn their leaner’s permit (aka learner license).

Learner license

Students must have their learner license for at least six months before they can apply for a provisional driver license. The learner license expires on the student’s 18th birthday.

In Cooke County, you may make an appointment at the Gainesville DPS office. Information is unclear on whether they take walk-ins at this point. In the recent past, students could arrive before the office opened and wait in line to be called, but this may have changed. A scheduled appointment is the most reliable method.

You may also try surrounding towns, such as Bowie, Sherman, or Denton.

As appointment availability may be several weeks out, it is recommended that one makes the appointment to get the learner’s permit soon after the course is started to avoid delay in your student obtaining his/her permit as soon as the 6 hours of instruction has been completed. 

https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/driver-license/driver-license-services-appointments

Check the list of required documents carefully and be sure you have each one before the day of your appointment. You may need to get government documents in advance, such as birth certificate, SS card, etc. Let me stress again: do not wait until the morning of your appointment to gather the required documents!

The VOE must be signed by you, the homeschool parent. The program guide cover page will be required, as your receipt.

Oh, and keep these documents handy, because you’ll need most or all of them again for the final license test.

Behind the wheel and classroom instruction

Once the student has obtained the learner license, you’re ready to begin driving instruction!

All parent-taught courses require 14 hours of in-car instruction and 30 hours of behind-the-wheel practice for a total of 44 hours.

This is the longest part of the program. As your student takes the video lessons, they will also need to practice behind the wheel with you. Page 12 of the program guide provides a printable log for practice sessions. There is also a log online, available with an instruction guide.

If your student needs to practice parallel parking, there are usually guides set up on Hoover Street, behind the service station/Golden Chick on the I-35 service road. However, the city of Gainesville doesn’t seem to publish this info, and sometimes the guides are not there. Happy hunting!

Begin here.

The provisional license test

Upon completion of the driver’s ed program, print out the DE-964 Texas Driver Education Certificate of Completion.

Next, complete the 2-hour Teen Impact course.

Now, schedule your driving test at the local DPS office. Again, you’ll need to make an appointment at one of the local offices. The student will need to Be between 16 and 17 years old.

Double check your documents (again!), and make sure the vehicle used for the driving test has current insurance and registration readily available.

Get all the details here.

Should your student wish to take the driving portion of the test through a private driving school rather than at the DPS, you might want to consider the driving school in Whitesboro.  The proprietors are very kind and will also ensure you have all your documents in order for your teen to successfully obtain his/her license.

https://www.facebook.com/acdrivingschool233/

acdrivingschool233@gmail.com

(903) 815-4501

Types of Homeschooling

Types of Homeschooling

Freedom and flexibility are two of the best parts of homeschooling in Texas. According to Texas education law, homeschoolers are considered private schools. As such, parents fund and oversee each part of their child’s education. So whether you teach 100% of the subjects, join a hybrid school, choose a once-a-week class, or participate in a cooperative, the design of your homeschool is up to you!

Full-time homeschooling is where the majority of the education is under the supervision of parents in the home. This can be done with a variety of materials, including traditional textbooks, DVD courses, online courses, outside courses, or all of the above.

Hybrid schools are part-time private schools that meet 2 or 3 days per week and cover core subjects, while parents follow the assigned curriculum at home during the rest of the week.

Cooperatives come in many forms, but in a nutshell, families meet weekly to learn together in a variety of settings. Some co-ops require parents to volunteer as helpers or teachers, while others allow students to be dropped off for the classes. Co-ops may be academic, extracurricular, or a mix of both.

Online public school, while sometimes considered homeschooling, is technically still public school. The state provides the materials, and the student must still meet state public education requirements for attendance, grades, and testing.

Homeschooling in Texas

Homeschooling in Texas

Welcome to Homeschooling in Texas! If you’re already here, or plan to move here and homeschool, you couldn’t have chosen a better place to educate your children at home. The law is very friendly, and there are endless opportunities for support groups, field trips, and conventions in the Lone Star State.

Is it legal?

YES, it is!

To home school legally in Texas, you must follow three state law requirements:

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
  • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
  • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

There are no testing requirements, no “certification” or qualification requirements, and no reporting requirements. If your children are currently in public school, you should submit a letter to the district stating that you plan to withdraw your children for homeschooling. No matter what you are told by the district, you do not have to submit a list of curriculum or prove your qualifications to them or anyone else. In 1994, homeschools in Texas were officially designated as private schools in the Leeper vs. Arlington I.S.D. case. For a detailed explanation on the Leeper decision that resulted in this freedom, read this article at Texas Home Educators.

Since the Texas state laws are so easy, you have the freedom to choose your curriculum, set your schedule, and determine the educational path your children will take.

Do I Need an Accredited Curriculum?

No. TheHomeschoolMom.com states it perfectly:

“No state requires that a homeschool program, curriculum, or diploma be accredited (in fact, curriculum can’t be accredited!). Most institutions of higher learning do not require this either, although there may be exceptions by individual institutions or programs; and of course schools may change their requirements at any time.

Many families come to homeschooling from the public school system. As a result, they are asking questions based on a public school frame of reference, such as “How do I find an accredited homeschool program?” A better question to ask is, “Do I need to use an accredited homeschool program?” The answer is generally no.

Accreditation is offered to institutions by accrediting agencies (different agencies accredit public schools, private schools, and university model schools at the primary/secondary level, and a whole different set accredits institutions of higher education).  These schools and universities can be accredited because they are institutions.

Curricula aren’t accredited (not ever!)  because they aren’t schools or colleges. Curricula are learning resources or lesson plans; curricula are not institutions—so, they can’t be accredited!”

Read her full post on accredited homeschool curriculum.

How does graduation work?

As a truly private entity, homeschools in Texas are not under any legal obligation for graduation. It’s up to the parent to determine a high school course of study. This can be done with a minimum amount of research into typical graduation requirements in your state, but it’s also a good idea to consider your child’s future plans. College, trade school, entering the work force, marriage and family…each of these choices will help you determine the type of education your child should need.

Keep records of their school work, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. These records will help you to form the high school transcript. If they have attended public high school before withdrawing to homeschool, be sure to get their most up-to-date transcript from the school.

As far as a graduation ceremony goes, the possibilities are endless! Graduation is something you can really personalize as a homeschooler, whether you have a simple party at home or church, or join with a group of area homeschoolers to host a formal ceremony and reception. You can create a diploma yourself, or order from homeschooldiploma.com.

Red River Christian Homeschoolers hosts a graduation ceremony each year. Watch our Facebook group for announcements to join. These events are run by the current year’s graduate families, so the contact person will be different from year to year.

For specifics on high school and graduation, read these posts from Nicki Truesdell:

What about the “good citizenship” requirement?

Good citizenship, in my opinion, is a lifelong lesson in being a good citizen. It’s not just something you can learn in a semester. It’s called a requirement, but there’s never been a case of legal enforcement. So don’t panic over a “good citizenship curriculum.” My suggestion? Over the course of your children’s education, include some of these ideas:

  • learn how government works (local, state, and federal) and encourage informed voting
  • talk about community and community helpers with young children
  • consider volunteer opportunities as a family
  • visit the fire station, police station, post office, etc. in your town
  • be a good neighbor
  • get to know your elected officials, and consider visiting them or campaigning for them
  • In high school, take government and economics courses

How do I get started?

If your children are 5 or under, you simply choose your time to begin. There is no need to report to anyone or get permission from anyone. The school district has no involvement in your homeschool. Read this post for more tips on getting started.

If your children are currently enrolled in a public school, you need to submit a letter of withdrawal. According to the Texas Education Association, “The decision rendered in the Texas Supreme Court opinion Leeper, et al. vs. Arlington ISD, et al. clearly establishes that students who are home schooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement to the same extent as students enrolled in private schools. Students should be dis-enrolled by school officials when they receive written notice either by signing withdrawal forms or a letter of withdrawal. It is not necessary for the parents to make a personal appearance with school officials, present curriculum for review, or comply with any other requirements in order to successfully withdraw their student. For purposes of Leaver Reason Code 60, a signed and dated letter from the parent or guardian stating that the student is being homeschooled and the date homeschooling began is sufficient documentation.

You may email or print and mail your withdrawal letter. Feel free to use the sample below. If you have children in high school, request their current transcript.


Dear [Administrator],

Please un-enroll my child [NAME] from [SCHOOL NAME] [GRADE] effective today [DATE]. My child/ren will be homeschooled going forward. We understand that, according to Texas Education Code (Sec. 25.086.) homeschools are considered private schools, exempt from all oversight by the State of Texas or [SCHOOL NAME ISD].

According to the Texas Education Association, “The decision rendered in the Texas Supreme Court opinion Leeper, et al. vs. Arlington ISD, et al. clearly establishes that students who are home schooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement to the same extent as students enrolled in private schools. Students should be dis-enrolled by school officials when they receive written notice either by signing withdrawal forms or a letter of withdrawal. It is not necessary for the parents to make a personal appearance with school officials, present curriculum for review, or comply with any other requirements in order to successfully withdraw their student. For purposes of Leaver Reason Code 60, a signed and dated letter from the parent or guardian stating that the student is being homeschooled and the date homeschooling began is sufficient documentation.

Thank you,

[sign]


Check out Texas Home Educators for state support. Join one of the classes or co-ops on this site for in-person support and socialization.




So you’ve decided to homeschool…now what?

So you’ve decided to homeschool…now what?

Every homeschool family has a moment where they’ve made the decision to take the plunge and leave the well-beaten path of public school in order to teach their kids at home. For some, they grew up homeschooled and it was the obvious choice. For others, they pulled their kids from public school somewhere along the way, seeking something better for their family. Maybe for you it’s somewhere in between!

I remember that day for our family. Our oldest child was preschool-aged and my husband (Josh) and I had been going back and forth about whether we should send him to school the following year, or homeschool our kids for the foreseeable future. His conviction to homeschool was steadily growing, while I remained obstinate, convinced that all homeschoolers would end up socially awkward with a substandard education. (Don’t be mad at younger me…I was young and knew nothing but stereotypes!)

The subject of homeschooling had come up, yet again, on our drive home from somewhere, and we seemed to be at a stand-still in the conversation, as we did not see eye to eye on how to move forward. Josh pulled into the driveway, turned off the car, and stared quietly for a moment. Then he looked at me and said, “I’ll just homeschool him when I get off from work. You won’t have to do anything.” It was then that I knew it was time to submit to my husband and jump on board!

Thankfully, my heart for homeschooling didn’t stay there! What started as submitting to my husband (though arguably not quickly enough) and, by extension, obeying God, turned into a journey with my kids that I wouldn’t trade for the world! My days aren’t always easy, and I can’t say I don’t ever melt down on the hard days, but the time I have with my kids is something I would never wish away! I won’t get to the end of my life and think, “Man, I wish I’d invested less time and energy into my kids when they were young!”

Regardless of how you came to the decision to homeschool, perhaps you find yourself staring into the unknowns wondering, “Now what?” I remember having that same feeling almost nine years ago! And while I don’t consider myself a “veteran,” there are a few things I usually pass on to other moms who come to me searching for next steps!

Read the full article at Expository Parenting Ministries

Heartland Band and Strings

Heartland Homeschool Bands and Strings is an instrumental and elementary music program designed to give Texas and Oklahoma homeschoolers the experience and joy of being in a band or orchestra.

With over 700 students in multiple locations, HHBS offers programs for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players in band and orchestra. In 2018, HHBS introduced a primary music program and now offers classes for preschoolers and students not yet for beginning band and strings classes.

Contact: Mrs. Laurie Blomgren

Gainesville meetings

Sherman meetings

AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS TX 1618

AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS TX 1618

A Christ-Centered character development, leadership program raising women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. We meet in Gainesville, Texas on most monday nights through the school year with additional activities throughout. More than just an extra-curricular program, AHG is a tool in the parent tool-box to raise up daughters in their faith in Christ as well as develop their life skills in a safe environment.

Contact Ellen Samek or Samantha Smith trooptx1618@gmail.com

Website

Pottery Classes

Melia Pottery is a local home pottery studio in Whitesboro, Texas. It’s run by homeschooling family, Christopher and Christy Melia and their 3 kids. Most of the classes take place in the summer, but there are select ongoing classes through the fall and spring semester. If you have a small group of students, parents, or friends who want to take a class together, contact us! We love scheduling in private events!!

Christopher has been in clay for close to 20 years. He received his BFA at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and his MFA in Ceramics at UNT. He currently teaches ceramics and sculpture full time at Little Elm High School.

Contact: Christy – christy.melia@gmail.com

www.meliapottery.com

FB/IG/TT @meliapottery