Most of us are familiar with the expectations surrounded by the term ‘school.’ We picture a brick and mortar building, children sorted by age, a fair amount of seat work, a thirty-minute recess, a thirty-minute lunch, and homework. However, the landscape of education is changing and all of the major research supports anything but “regular” school. If you are looking for something a little different here are some Houston schools that are “off the beaten path.”
Yep, I know – that’s not a school! But, in Texas, it is. Each and everyone is its own private school. The knee-jerk response to homeschooling is generally somewhere between, “I can’t teach my kids!” to “How will those poor children ever make friends?” Good news, Houston, you live not only in a homeschool-friendly state but in a homeschool-friendly city. The opportunities for homeschoolers in Houston are bountiful. In fact, the real problem may be opting out of activities.
Homeschooling is not one size fits all. You can buy a complete box and follow scripted curriculum; you can pick and choose your own math, science, and arts. Additionally, classes, co-ops, and enrichment services are becoming available all over the city.
To get started homeschooling in Texas you merely need to send a letter to your school stating that you are doing so. That’s it! Once you are a homeschooler join our closed facebook group to connect with other homeschoolers across the city or join our public group to dip your toes in the water.
2. Hybrid Schools:
So you like the idea of homeschooling but it seems daunting. This is where the hybrid program comes into play. Hybrid programs choose the curriculum and provide a combination of campus and home days. These are much cheaper than full private schools and a bit more expensive than buying a boxed curriculum. If you like to pick and choose but still want someone to set up and teach look at the a la carte section below. You can create a robust academic schedule in that manner as well.
- Bluebonnet Home Scholars Collaborative (Sugar Land), K-12
- Brazos Valley Honor Academy (Navasota), K-6th
- Christian Perspectives Classes (Sugar Land), K-12
- Deep Waters Academy – (Clear Lake) K-7
- Evergreen Classical School (The Woodlands) Pre-K – 5th
- Highlands Latin Cottage School (Nassau Bay), K-12
- Home Education Partnership (Pasadena), Classical Hybrid 1-5
- Houston Home School Education Program (West Houston) – Pre-K – 8th
- Forest Path Academy (Friendswood), 1st-12th
- Katy Classical Academy (Katy) – k-12th
- Legacy Preparatory Christian Academy (The Woodlands), Pre-K – 12th grade
- Liberty Classical (Katy) – Pre-K – 12th grade
- Logos Preparatory (Sugar Land), K – 12th grade
- Luff Learning (Spring), K-18
- Magnolia Classical Academy (Magnolia) – 1st-6th
- Magnolia Heritage Academy (Magnolia), Pre-K – 8th
- MindSprout Montessori– (Spring) PreK3-3rd
- Mirus Academy (Katy), 5th-12th
- Paideia Classical School (Spring, Conroe, Willis)
Paratus Classical Academy(now a Second Baptist School UM campus)
- Regina Caeli (Spring), Pre-K – 12th grade
- The Saint Constantine School (59 & Westpark) Pre-K – 12th grade
- Schola (Sugar Land) K-12
- Second Baptist School University Model (Memorial, Kingwood, Cypress, West Houston, Katy) – Pre-K – 12th grade
- Sonlight Academy (Conroe) – Kindergarten
- Spring Baptist Academy (Spring)
- Texas Christian School (NW Houston/ Copperfield), 1st-12th
- The Homeschool Bookstore (Stafford) – All-in-One Classes (not secular)
- Mondays, K-3rd 10am-1:15pm and 4th-8th grade 1:30pm-5pm
- Tuesdays, PreK-7th 8:30am – noon
- Wednesdays, PreK-7th 8:30am – noon
- Trinity Classical School (Memorial & Heights), Pre-K – 11th grade
- True North (The Woodlands), 1st-12th
- Wondering Oaks (Willis), elementary
3. Acton Academy:
Have you heard of Elon Musk starting a school for his kids and some SpaceX employees’ children? This is that kind of school. Student-led is more than a philosophy at an Acton Academy. The students are called Heroes and the idea is that they are on their own journey and should be the hero of their story. The teachers are Guides. The guides are not there to teach the children but to facilitate their journey. The day starts with Socratic discussion. Then they use technology to spend time individually working on “core skills time” and every six weeks they focus on a project, concluding in an exhibition.
- Acton Academy Champions
- Acton Academy Cy-Fair
- Acton Academy Katy (second campus in Richmond)
- Acton Academy Kingwood
- Acton Leadership Academy (The Woodlands: Spring & Magnolia)
4. Waldorf Schools
Have you heard of Steve Jobs He and loads of Silicon Valley tech execs send their kids to low-tech/ no-tech schools like Waldorf. Waldorf schools are inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophies. They strive to bring students to education in a beautiful, gentle natural way that works in pace with child developmental stages. Their methods include activity in learning, spending time outdoors, art, music, language, and movement as integral parts of education. Houston is home to two full-time Waldorf schools and several Waldorf programs for younger children.
- Great Oak School (Tomball), Pre-K – 8th grade
- Bayou Village School (Near Northside), Pre-K – 8th grade
- Tinkergarten (Various), Pre-K
5. À La Carte Education
Imagine choosing the exact course load your kids are taking. That’s what these schools do. Some will utilize them for everything, but many might consider it as an accompaniment to homeschooling. So you cover the basics, they cover the electives or the courses you just don’t want to or feel qualified to teach. These arrangements are great for those needing a very flexible schedule.
- Bay Area Homeschool Academy (Friendswood) K-12
- Blaze University
- Bluebonnet Home Scholars Collaborative (Sugar Land), K-12
- Extraordinary Education (Magnolia), 1st-12th
- Fusion Academy (The Woodlands, Galleria, Sugar Land), Middle and High School
Horizons Education Center (Champions), K-6th grades
- Home Ed Plus (Fourth Ward), K-12
- Home Education Partnership (Pasadena), K-12
- Home Run Ministries (Kingwood), 3rd-12th grades
- HIS Classes (Tomball & The Woodlands), 4th – 12th grades
- Houston Home School Education Program (Spring Branch), Pre-K – 8th grade
- Houston Homeschool Writer’s Workshop
- General LSC Homeschool Information
- Matt Academy (Conroe)
- MindSprout Montessori (Spring), PreK3-age 14
- Oak Hill Farms Training | Satori School (Conroe)
- One Day Academy (Katy & Sugar Land) – Elementary through High School
- PREP Classes (Cypress & Katy), 3rd – 12th grades
- Saint Constantine Trinity Hall (Southwest Houston), K-12
- Schola Classical Homeschool Classes (Sugar Land), K-12
- The Scholars Connection (Humble), MS/ HS
- The Training Center (Conroe & Magnolia), Elementary – 12th grade
- Tomball Classes for Homeschoolers (Tomball), 1st – 12th grade
- Tutor Doctor (The Woodlands)
6. One on One Education
This differs from the pick and choose method above because the curriculum is set and students attend daily like a regular school. ?The school day is a bit shorter, but otherwise a traditional set up. However, there is only one student for every single teacher. Yep, 1:1.
- Champs Learning Center
- Fusion Academy* (The Woodlands, Galleria, Sugar Land), Middle and High School
- Tenney School (Westchase), 6th – 12th
*Fusion is included in this option as well because they offer a complete curriculum as well as individual classes
7. Montessori Schools:
Montessori schools have become increasingly popular, particularly as an option for Pre-K and early elementary (schools that only offer PreK-K programs are not listed here). From the American Montessori Society: “Components necessary for a program to be considered authentically Montessori include multiage groupings that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity. In addition, a full complement of specially designed Montessori learning materials are meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment.”
Houston is home to one Montessori school that follows children all the way through high-school. (HISD does have a Montessori magnet school that goes through 8th grade, but you will need to apply and live in HISD’s attendance area).
- Alief Montessori Community School (Alief), PreK – 5th grade
- Armand Bayou Montessori School (Clear Lake), PreK – 6th grade
- Bay Area Montessori House (Clear Lake), PreK – 8th grade
- DAV Montessori (Westpark), PreK – 5th grade
- The Foundations Montessori (Richmond), PreK – 5th grade
- Horizon Montessori IV (Pearland), PreK – 8th grade (public charter)
- Kingwood Montessori (Kingwood), PreK – 6th
- MindSprout Montessori (Spring), PreK3 – 3rd grade
- MOLO Bilingual Montessori School (Westchase) PreK – 3rd grade
- Montessori House (Richmond), PreK – 6th grade
- Montessori Learning Institute (SW Houston), PreK – 8th grade
- Montessori Reggio Academy (Sugar Land), PreK – 5th grade
- Montessori School of Downtown (Medical Center, Clear Lake, Three Pearland campuses) – PreK – 5th grade
- New Millennium Montessori School (Missouri City), PreK – 5th grade
- Park Point Montessori (Sugar Land), PreK – 2nd grade
- Pines Montessori (Kingwood), PreK – 8th grade
- The Post Oak School (Museum District), Pre-K – 12th grade
- Riverbend Montessori (Sugar Land), PreK – 6th grade
- School of the Woods (Spring Branch), Pre-K – 12th grade
- The Seedlings Montessori (Cypress), PreK- 5th grade
- Sherwood Forest Montessori (Far West Houston), PreK – 6th grade
- Silverline Montessori (Cypress and Perland), PreK – 5th grade
- South Shore Montessori (League City), PreK – 6th grade
- Spell Well Montessori School (Spring), PreK – 8th grade
- St. Catherine’s Montessori (SW Houston) – PreK – 12th grade
- Sugar Creek Montessori (Fulshear & Sugar Land), PreK – 3rd
8. Sudbury-esque (Democratic/ Learner-Centered/ Non-Hierarchical)
Sudbury schools leave the complete responsibility of a child’s education up to that child. The schools themselves are run by direct democracy. There is no prescribed curriculum or instruction. “Teachers” are brought in to teach what children are interested in learning. The school relies on the inherent belief that people are naturally curious and the most profound learning comes from that which the learner seeks out.
- Holistic Global Education Center (Central Houston), 8-16 years
- Houston Sudbury School (Spring Branch), mixed K-12th
Ridgemont Academy (Spring) The Real School
9. Boarding Schools
Maybe they aren’t Hogwarts but Houston has two schools that are full boarding schools. Typically, they serve international communities. These are regular schools, not those that are meant to serve students with extreme disabilities or behavior problems.
Bonus: Online Schools
Online/ virtual schools are not exclusive to Houston, but they are also worth looking into. They vary wildly in price and offerings. Everything from live classes to pre-recorded. Some even offer official transcripts.
Bonus: Specialized Schools
Specialized schools will vary in their design. Please read individual descriptions to find your best fit.
- Briarwood School (West Houston), K- 12th grade – “empower students with diagnosed learning differences or developmental disorders to reach their maximum potential through diagnostic-prescription instruction in a structured academic environment.”
- The Bridge Preparatory Academy (Richmond), K – 12th grade – “a Christian private school for students who learn differently”
- Elim Christian School (Far West Houston), K-12th grade – “primary focus is to serve students who do not fit into a “one-size-fits-all” educational system, we seek to serve all types of learners – from challenged to typical to gifted…. a non-graded school, serving students ages 6 through High School…. diagnoses as ADHD, mild Autism, Expressive/Receptive Speech Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder, Processing Delay, Cerebellar Ataxia, Dyslexia, hearing impairment and more.”
- Excelsior Academy (Sugar Land & West Houston), K – 8th grade – ” provides individualized instruction, educational therapy, and small classroom sizes to students with learning disabilities. These disabilities include ADD/ADHD (trouble focusing, hyperactivity), Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and other difficulties with regards to reading, writing and arithmetic. ”
- Kinder High School for the Performing Arts (Downtown) – HISD magnet school
- Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School (SW Houston) – HISD magnet school
- Rainard School for Gifted Children (West Houston), PreK – 8th grade
- Rhodes School for the Performing Arts (Far NE Houston & Humble), PreK-8th – Public Charter school open to students residing in Aldine, Alief, Channelview, Crosby, Cy-Fair, Fort Bend, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Houston, Humble, Pasadena, Pearland, Sheldon, and Spring Independent School Districts.
- Spring Branch Academic Institute (Spring Branch), K-12 – “provides individualized instruction at the appropriate pace, depth and complexity needed by highly gifted students in a multi-aged setting. By creating a school-within-a-school for this specific population, SBISD is filling a great need for students in Spring Branch ISD.”
- The Williams School (Missouri City), K-12 – specialize in teaching students with learning differences such as Dyslexia, ADHD, and anxiety, grades K-12.
Bonus: Micro Schools
Micro Schools are a nice blend of private and homeschooling. Typically, they are no larger than 15 students. Often they are located in homes but do tend to offer the full curriculum of a traditional private school. Due to the small size individualized education is possible and many grade levels can be serviced at one school.
- Ecologist School Houston (Far SE Houston), K-5th
- KBS Micro School (The Woodlands)
- One Acre Farm | Farm School Learning Pod (Porter) Ages 4-10
- The Woodlands Micro School (Conroe), 4th-12th
People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have.