Texas Education Agency states that in order to homeschool here, three things must be in order.
-The instruction must be bona fide(e.g., not a shame)
-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.
However, the Cedar Creek Lake area, offers so much, to add to any families homeschooling journey.
Homeschooling here presents a unique opportunity for our kiddos. We have everything from the Texas Freshwater Fishery center in Athens, to Purtis Creek State Park In Eustace. Fun parks in each community. Historical markers can be found every few miles, several Farmers Markets(One in Payne Springs, that the man who owns, takes the time to talk and educate anyone who asks about farming) and a plethora of information at any one of our local libraries including Tri County Library in Mabank, to The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, in Seven Points, to learn from, no matter which side of the lake you find yourself on. That’s not including the fact that we have the best lake around!
For anyone interested in the homeschool life here around the lake, the best way is to meet up with other homeschool parents. I say parents because we have a lot of very active fathers, as well.
Andrew Tibbitts, father of 6 kiddos, ages 10, 7, 5, 3, 2 and 1, that he helps homeschool with his wife, Nicole, says one of the most basic and appreciated of all for us homeschool parents, “The biggest thing for me with homeschooling the children, is you get to see them grow. You also show them responsibility and help them grow up with a sense of accountability.” The foundation that every parents wants for their.
A lot of homeschoolers find themselves curious when they move to a new community or those who are interested in homeschooling, in general, as to where to start.
I suggest a co-op. A co-op is a “community opperative,” where likeminded families(either Religious, Secular, Homeschoolers to Unschoolers and everything in between)meet, usually once a week.
Our family is apart of three co-op’s. The one we frequent the most currently, based in Tool, is called Cedar Creek Lake Area Homeschoolers(can also be found on Facebook for those with an interest)
One week, at co-op, the kids could be learning a lesson, doing a craft, watching a movie, a party for a holiday, or just hanging out playing sports. Either way the kids AND parents love the time spent away from regular studies.
Parents who choose to homeschool their kiddos, usually for a wide varieties of reasons, find themselves doing hands on things themselves. Such as, but not limited too, Science classes in Gun Barrel, to Crochet classes(by Nicole Tibbitts)in Styx.
To give some background as to why us homeschool families choose this way of life, one mom, Katie Hughes, mom to 11 and 14 year old daughter’s, said “we are actively engaged all day. In a way that is not possible in a public school situation… we have the freedom to learn whatever, for however long it takes until you get that lovely, saturated brain feeling, that says ok, I know all I need to know about that, on to the next.”
Another local mom, Nicole Tibbits, said, ” Homeschooling changes your view of life, kids, marriage, all of it…Everything is about learning from every moment of everyday…there is no peer pressure to be, think, or act a certain way. We are purely us to the core.”
Shannon Songer stated something most of us parents who choose this way of life ask ourselves on a daily basis, “what was I thinking?” But quickly added, what most of us already know. “I wouldn’t change my decision…I made these critters…I enjoy them! We create together, love together and of course, we learn together.”
There are sceptics out there as well, including my own husband Garrett Sprabary. Up until about six months ago he was completely against us unschooling our daughters. (I’ll explain the difference in homeschool and Unschool in a later article). He stated, “At first I was against unschooling, until I realized how much more the kids have improved from being in public school, in more ways than one. They actually enjoy learning and with topics they choose to pursue . It gives them the opportunity to let their creative side show and allows them to further self educate in topics that are not taught in public school. The best part is we get to see every minute of it first hand. All in all, I wouldn’t change it for the world”
Children of any age, not in traditional school, have tons of opportunities outside the Cedar Creek Lake area, like State spelling bees, History bees, mathematic competitions and on and on, but it is a great stepping stone to build a solid, educational foundation for these kids to pursue whatever goals in life they have of becoming successful adults later.
The small towns we live in around the lake, really do band together to lift these kids up. Kuddos to you mom’s and dad’s who make the difficult and daring decision to go against the grain of society, to change our next generation’s way of learning and living. Keep up the good work!