AAH Newcomers Guide update
Umbrella Schools
Umbrella schools offer homeschoolers some of the benefits of a traditional private school. Even though the children study in their individual homes, they all fit under the organizational umbrella of the school. The school handles records, transcripts, diplomas, and transfers out of public schools. Some umbrella schools help families choose their curriculum. Local umbrella schools sometimes offer group activities for homeschoolers. You might hear a lot about umbrella schools in national homeschooling publications, because in some states outside of Texas, it is easier to satisfy legal requirements if you use an umbrella school. Because of the friendly legal climate in our state, most Texas homeschooling families do not use umbrella schools; however, some families enjoy the security and support they receive from these schools.

Here are just a few:

Clonlara (grades K-12) offers online correspondence classes by computer, and/or assists parents and students in developing their own curriculum. Particularly helpful for parents who prefer non-traditional methods of learning, but who want traditional-looking records. www.clonlara.org

Austin Home Base provides a middle ground between homeschooling and private school for kindergarten to 6th grade. In 3 or 4 days per week, AHB teaches the core academics with a hands-on, thematic philosophy. Each class is mixed-age and has a maximum of 18 kids with 2 to 3 teachers, and cost from $5000 and $6000 a year.  For more information, check out their website: www.austinhomebase.org

Moore Foundation, PO Box 1, Camas, WA 98607, (360) 835-2736. This organization is affiliated with Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, pioneers in the homeschooling movement and authors of several homeschooling books. www.moorefoundation.com

Correspondence Schools
These are just a few of the correspondence schools which provide courses that a student completes at home. Tests and other assignments go to the school for grading. Most of these schools will provide either individual courses or a full diploma program. Contact the schools for details about their courses and fees. Please note that the costs for these programs vary greatly, and it isn't necessary to do any of them to homeschool successfully. 

A Beka 
(conservative Christian education)
A Beka Book, Inc.
P.O. Box 19100
Pensacola, FL 
32523-9100, U.S.A.
877-A BEKA BOOK (877-223-5226)

Alger Learning Center Independence High School 
121 Alder Drive
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284

The American School 
2200 E. 170th St.
Lansing, IL 60438-9909

Bob Jones University
(conservative Christian education)
1700 Wade Hampton Blvd.
Greenville, SC 29614

Calvert School 
10713 Gilroy Road 
Suite B
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031

Citizens' High School 
188 College Drive
P.O. Box 66089
Orange Park, FL 32065-6089
800-736-GRAD (1-800-736-4723)

Clonlara (grades K-12)
(offers online classes by computer)
1289 Jewett
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Grigg's University & International Academy (Pre-K-12) 
(formerly Home Study International)
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904

ICS Newport/Pacific High School 
(grades 9-12)
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515
800- 238-9525, Ext. 7821 for a free information packet or to enroll.

Keystone National High School 
920 Central Road
Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Oak Meadow 
(Waldorf educational philosophy)
PO Box 1346 
Brattleboro, VT 05302

Seton School (Catholic education)
1350 Progress Drive 
Front Royal, VA 22630 

Sycamore Tree 
(Christian-based educational materials)
2179 Meyer Place
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Texas Tech University 
High School, Middle School, and Elementary School
This one has the advantage of it being part of the Texas ISD, so that if you are sure you want to transfer back to a public school all the courses completed here are fully transferable. 
Box 42191 
Lubbock, Texas 79409-2191 

University of Texas at Austin, Independent Learning 
P.O. Box 7700
Austin, TX 78713-7700
232-5000 (outside of Austin, call 888-232-4723)

Recommended Reading for Parents
Before you start educating your children, you'll need to spend some time educating yourself about homeschooling. No, you do not have to read all of these books before getting started, but try to read at least three or four of them. Different authors promote entirely different approaches, so it is very helpful to see the range of possibilities that exist before deciding which way is best for your family.
    These are a few of the books, magazines, and publications recommended by AAH members. Many books about homeschooling can be found in the Austin Public Library system. Some are listed under "domestic education" in the subject catalog rather than "homeschooling." If the Austin Public Library does not own a particular book, you can often borrow it usually through interlibrary loan.

Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn  (APL 371.042 LL)
And What About College? by Cafi Cohen  (APL 371.042 CO)
Better Than School by Nancy Wallace  (APL 649.68 WA)
Child's Work: Taking Children's Choices Seriously by Nancy Wallace 
For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay  (APL 370.1931 MA)
Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax  (APL 649.68 CO) These are the folks who have been on national television because their homeschooled sons were admitted to Harvard.
Homeschooling Book of Answers by Linda Dobson
I Learn Better by Teaching Myself  by Agnes Leistico  (649.68 LE)
Teach Your Own by John Holt (APL 649.68 HO) (or any of Holt's books on education)
The Well Trained Mind by Wise and Wise Bauer  (APL 371.0420973 WI  c. 1999 or 371.0420973 BA c. 2004)

Kids' Newspapers and Magazines

Weekly Reader
newspapers for kids of different grade levels 
Weekly Reader Corporation
3001 Cindel Drive
Delran, NJ 08075 

National Geographic Kids
Monthly science and geography magazine for kids. 
1-800- 647 5463

monthly magazine about animals
Wildlife Education, Ltd.
4110 Progress Blvd.
Suite 2A
Peru, IL 61354

Sources for Standardized Tests

You control your private school and are not required to administer tests. 
These tests are for your use, and you decide if you want to give them or how to use the results. 

Bob Jones University Press, 1700 Wade Hampton Blvd, 
Greenville, SC 29614

Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60004 

Clonlara School, 1289 Jewett, Ann Arbor, MI 48104,

Seton School, 1350 Progress Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630 

Family Learning Organization, PO Box 7247, Spokane, WA 99207-0247 (509) 467-2552, credit card orders: 1-800-405-TEST 

Obtain copies of back versions of the TAKS tests and answer keys, which are used in Texas public schools at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=3839&menu_id3=793

Online Resources
We could not possibly list all the homeschooling resources on the Internet. Here are some of the sites that link to many quality homeschool sites.

Austin Area Homeschoolers information is available on this site maintained by one of our members: http://www.main.org/aah/

Growing Without Schooling, John Holt's Book Store. Information about homeschooling and unschooling. http://www.holtgws.com/

Home Education Magazine. For their free Online Newsletter, visit their web site at: http://www.homeedmag.com/

Jon's Homeschool Resource Page links to many online homeschooling sites: http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/

A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling Web Site. Extensive information about different homeschooling styles, resources, record-keeping, and answers to frequent questions: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/

Richard Shalvoy's site. Information and links to curriculum vendors, schools, retailers, used curricula. http://members.cox.net/ct-homeschool/guide.htm 

T.A.F.F.I.E. (Texas Advocates for Freedom in Education) - The TAFFIE mailing list is for anyone interested in topics related to homeschooling in Texas and offers a wide range of perspectives and beliefs. While most topics are specific to Texas, there are also general homeschooling topics. Taffie has both an announcement list for events and a general discussion list. Website includes news, statewide events, legal information, listings of local support groups, co-ops, music and sports programs, recommended book lists by topic, and resource links. For further information including instructions for joining the lists, visit http://www.jsoft.com/archive/taffie/

Texas Home Educators: The Place to Start Your Search for Home Schooling! Starting with Legal information and articles for newbies, the site includes Support Group Listing, Calendar of Events, Home School Mall, Bookstore, along with over 1000 lesson plan links. With the inclusion of bulletin boards, chats and lists, you can have all your questions answered here. 

Miscellaneous Austin-Area Resources
Perry-Casteneda Library. The Perry-Castaneda Library at the University of Texas has textbooks and thousands of other books, including a Youth section. Nonstudents can obtain a courtesy card to check out books; anyone can use the books on the premises. Call 495-4305 to apply for a nonstudent courtesy card; the fee is $100 per year or contact the Austin Public Library for information on using UT's libraries through the TEXSHARE card program. http://lib.utexas.edu/pcl/

Telescope viewing is available at the University of Texas on Friday & Saturday nights except when UT has a home night football game. 

Austin Area Stores and Discounts
Several Austin stores offer discounts to educators, including homeschoolers. Some of these stores have more than one location, so check the phone book for the stores nearest you. If a store does not advertise an educator's discount, ask.
    If a bookstore offers an educato's discount, you may need to show some proof that you are a teacher. Some clerks may accept a hardcopy of "AAH News" as verification.  Sometimes they ask for a teacher's ID, while other times they do not. Find out how to make an ID (for you & your students) here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aah-announce/files/Sample Forms/.  You need to be a aah-announce subscriber to access this file. 
    Some of the stores will issue you an educator's ID. After one of the bookstore chains gives you such a card, the other chains will probably accept that as proof of your status as a homeschooler. Apparently some store managers think that people who are not actually homeschoolers are taking unfair advantage of this discount, so they want to make sure that it is used as intended. 
    Most discounts are only for classroom materials. Public school teachers get a discount for items they will use in their classroom, but not for every book they purchase, so that is the model used for homeschoolers also. At these stores, it works best if you answer all their questions before they even ask. Separate your purchases into 2 piles: classroom materials and other purchases. You can say, "These are curriculum (or classroom) materials for use in our homeschool. Here is my ID card."  The key words are "curriculum/classroom materials." Remember, though, that all of your children's reading material can be considered curriculum material. Their science fiction novels and computer magazines are just as much curriculum as their Shakespearean plays! Do be sure to separate out materials that are NOT for your child's education. The clerks always appreciate this honesty (and once in a while, they go ahead and give you the discount on all your books anyway). Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Half-Price books have educator discount programs.

Goodwill Bookstores. Used books, including some textbooks.

Check in the phone book under "School Supplies." Stores listed there cater to school teachers, and they have many materials you might want to use. 

Austin Area Homeschoolers' Web Site Index
Newcomers' Guide Index