Is an Accredited Homeschool Curriculum Necessary, in Texas
In short your homeschool or homeschool curriculum being accredited is not necessary. There is no rule or law specifying that homeschools or anything having to do with them need to be accredited.
If you ever run into someone saying the opposite it’s likely this person does not have all the information so let go over that.
What is accreditation
To be accredited is the process of officially recognizing someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity.
So in Texas the entity who dishes out the public school accreditation is the TEA or the Texas Education Agency. When schools are officially accredited the TEA basically says that the school is qualified to be a public school, to teach, and what they are teaching is up to par.
Accreditation is not easy to get. Yes it does include having a qualified curriculum but also your school has to have teachers that are educated to a certain degree. It can also include things like
- Minimum attendance
- Immunization requirements
- Testing requirements
- …and much more
The TEA is an agency set up by the state overseeing all public schools providing guidance and support for the school system, which in turn is set up by each district and so on and so forth.
Now, a school can be set up independently not in the public sector. This school too can get accredited but it will not be through the TEA. This school accreditation will be through a different company but will be equally valid. This would be considered a private school.
So there are multiple avenues to get and be accredited.
Not all schools are accredited
It’s important to know not all schools are accredited. Though all public schools are accredited because that’s one of the requirements to get their funding from the state. Think of it as a business, people open up a business or school in hopes to get “approved”, once approved you get paid per student that attends each day so of course you want to promote your school and get as many kids enrolled as you can. There is more depth to the types of schools in Texas, I will write an article about all the options soon.
Now there are also other types of schools like private schools. These schools can also get accredited and usually do, but since they are not funded by tax dollars, it’s not a requirement. A Lot of times private schools get the accreditation for the assurance to parents that their school meets a minimum but are often held to an even higher standard of education past the accreditation guidelines. Or sometimes they are unaccredited for just the 1st year or so they are open while they work on getting it. All this to say, it isn’t required.
Schools are accredited not curriculum
Now the question “is it accredited” often comes up when people are looking, talking about, or suggesting curriculum. Curriculum alone can not be accredited. Accreditation involves having teachers to teach it and much more.
So the answer to that regarding any stand alone curriculum is going to be no.
Curriculum can certainly have other recognitions, awards, testimonials and follow the guidelines of certain teaching methods. This is usually what parents base their curriculum choice on.
You are your own private school
In Texas the law for homeschoolers says we are considered our own private schools. So yes there are very easy ” requirements” that I list here. But there is no regulation. There is no agency saying what you can and can not do but yes you are recognized as a school.
Like I mentioned earlier, private schools are usually accredited, sometimes as a minimum but it is not required. So can you get accredited? This is likely not worth it for you. Even if you do have the required education to be a teacher. Most homeschool families do not need all the requirements to get accredited to have a successful homeschool.
Assuring a good education without accreditation
So what do you base your homeschool choices off of if not accreditation?
First you’re going to want to choose the methodology you want to base your homeschool off of. There are a ton of articles on that subject, just Google it. Some people pick one, mix two or three or even make their own.
Second is testimonials and/or the test of time. A lot of these curriculum companies have been around for a long time!! Read testimonials, ask questions in Facebook groups, even call the company and talk to them about any concerns. A reliable source that a lot of people rely on is Cathy Duffy’s reviews here. You will get a lot of opinions but you at least want to know if the curriculum is up to par and going to bring your child to the level you want them to be.
Trust me when I say if a curriculum is missing something, the homeschool community will let it be known. The homeschool momma community is strong and the majority just want what’s best for our kids. A lot of homeschool moms are highly educated themselves as well
Last tip is to make sure it’s a good fit. A child can be educated even without a curriculum. But if you have one that matches your methods, meets or exceeds expectations but just frustrates you and your student to use, it’s not going to work.
You can show up to work everyday but if you don’t do anything then it’s not helpful.
I don’t worry too much about curriculums being to a certain standard because everyone’s standards are different. Even in public school each school is going to teach something slightly different. If you jump school districts there are likely things that are completely different.
So I have my own standards of where my children need to or can be and I add or take away from the curriculum we are using as needed.
I hope this helps in your understanding of the role accreditation takes in education in Texas. I hope it was helpful in making your decision and easing your mind.