By Sandy Rice, Homeschool Mama
If you could design the perfect homeschool community for yourself and your kids, what would it look like?
When I came to Texas from Florida five years ago, I had to recreate what I believed
was a pretty great homeschool community for my kids, then aged 11 and 16. I admit, I had no idea how to do that.
I met a woman who was new to homeschooling at the time, and she said that she went to a New to Homeschooling Seminar at a little place in Watauga called The Center for Home Education. Not sure what to expect, we headed on down Mid-Cities Blvd. to The Center. There we saw an adorable little building with a wrap around porch, a little café, and bookstore and met the nicest group of people. There was even a kid or two with ukuleles or guitars strumming on the porch. Really. Very Texas-y, I thought.
My older daughter finished her high school years and graduated from The Center in one of the most exquisite commencement ceremonies I have ever attended. My younger one, now 16, is very active in the theatre program at The Center.
The theatre program is just extraordinary. The Theatre Director, Anicia Brown, has been running this little theatre for over 10 years. If your child has a grain of talent, Anicia will find it and grow it. Is your child introverted? She can fix that too! Believe me. Anicia is first-rate, as are the performances at The Cottage Theatre. I have heard many people comment, upon leaving the Center theatre, that what they have seen has rivaled performances at Bass Hall. Anicia also runs all the theatre classes in addition to the plays and musicals, which are performed year-round.
The Center for Home Education is now owned by an accomplished woman named Donna Jones. Donna has a Masters Degree in social work and has the unique ability to come along side parents in their homeschooling journey, giving them all the encouragement and expertise they need to say “I CAN do this!.” We call Donna our CEO, Chief Encouragement Officer.
The Center offers core and elective classes from K-12, so they cover all the bases in terms of support for your homeschool, but it is much more than that. The teachers understand that each child has a unique set of God-given gifts and they work hard to help bring that out in the child. In fact, the Center has helped me to accomplish one of my main goals in homeschooling. I wanted to homeschool so that my kids could be the person God intended them to be, and not what the world says they should be.
It is not just Donna and the teachers, however. I can tell you from experience that the parents that are part of the Center’s community are encouragers to all the kids as well. My daughter was a reluctant thespian initially. This changed after one of the parents at The Center encouraged her by saying, “I saw what you did on that stage, and I believe you have real talent!” What a profoundly gracious thing to say! And because of that, my daughter has now been in 21 performances and has played everything from ensemble to lead.
And you know what? I set out five years ago to recreate the exemplary homeschool community that I had in Florida, but I believe we are actually a part of something better. If I could design a community for my homeschooling kids to grow up in, this would be it. But I didn’t have to, because it is already here. Blessings!