Homeschooling has always existed in America, going back to the days of rural homesteads, farming communities and pioneering families. Over time it has evolved, from mailed-in correspondence learning of the 1970s and ‘80s when homeschool families less frequently left their homes. Today, homeschooling encompasses textbooks, online programs, downloadable PDFs and co-ops, as well as a wide range of educational styles, such as traditional, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Waldorf, unschooling and other terms rarely used outside of the homeschooling community.
To those accustomed to the traditional public and/or private school systems, the world of home educators may seem mysterious, unusual or downright confusing. That, however, is quickly changing.
Like many parents at the start of the pandemic, Jasmine Lee found herself working from home with a school-age son unexpectedly sent home from his private kindergarten. Her son finished the school year meeting with his class via Zoom, completing worksheets at the kitchen table and participating in a socially distanced graduation ceremony.
“Working from home gave me the opportunity to embrace spending more time with my son and be an active part of his daily learning experience,” explained Jasmine. “When it was time to register him with the local school district for first grade, things were still so uncertain due to the impacts of the pandemic. I decided that as long as I could work remotely, I would homeschool him instead.”
The World of Home Education
That decision opened the door to the world of home education for Lee, but there are a number of options available for the estimated 750,000 students homeschooling in Texas today. For parents wishing to transition their child to homeschooling, it can all be overwhelming to choose the right style of homeschooling to suit both parent and child, select which subjects to cover, whether to use technology or pencil and paper, and then find curricula that provide the desired content.
Luckily, Texas offers a great deal of freedom to homeschooling families—requiring only that the instruction be real, include visual curriculum (text and/or video) and cover reading, spelling, grammar, math and good citizenship. There is no other reporting, testing or official support once the school district is notified of a parent’s choice to homeschool. This is why finding a homeschool community is so important.
“I am fortunate to have found social groups and community organizations that provide friendships, support and a sounding board for both my son and I in the DFW homeschooling community,” shared Jasmine.
Texas Homeschool Expo
Social media and internet searches can bring a wealth of information for prospective and current homeschool families alike. But sometimes it’s nice to engage with people face-to-face, which is why Jasmine created the Texas Homeschool Expo.
She stated, “The Texas homeschooling community is active and vibrant, and I wanted to create a space that would help homeschooling families find the support and resources they need in order to provide a complete and fulfilling educational experience for their children.”
Taking place from 10am to 5pm, June 9–10, 2023, at the Grapevine Convention Center, the Texas Homeschool Expo features two days of educational sessions by professionals and homeschooling veterans on topics such as:
- worldschooling (educating children while traveling the world)
- homeschooling as a working parent (inside or outside of the home)
- addressing the needs of children with learning or behavioral differences
- and selecting curriculum and how high school students can earn college credit through dual enrollment programs.
In addition to the speakers, attendees can meet with:
- representatives from dozens of curriculum providers
- local businesses with services and programs for homeschoolers
- and community organizations and co-ops.
Not sure if you’re ready to transition to homeschooling? Families utilizing public and private schools can also find supplementary resources and ideas at the event.
Single day tickets to the Texas Homeschool Expo are only $5 online or $10 at the door for adults and free for children both days—thanks to support by sponsors Outschool, KERA and Hewitt Learning.
Parking is free, and the first 750 families will receive a complimentary cloth tote bag with helpful information, supplies and goodies. Visit texashomeschoolexpo.com to learn more about the Texas Homeschool Expo, view the list of participating exhibitors, see the schedule of speakers and purchase tickets online.