DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — When Jennifer Jones and her family decided to make the move to homeschooling 12 years ago, it wasn’t because they didn’t like public schools or their children were unhappy there. In fact, it was the opposite.
“My two oldest sons (now 18 and 16) were in public school until second and fourth grades,” she said. “We were happy with their school and very involved since both of them have special needs.”
But as the Jones saw the increasing demands the state placed on public schools in regard to testing, the family decided to go in a new direction: homeschooling. Since that time, none of the Jones’ eight children set foot in public school again. And, for them, it’s opened a world of possibilities and educational experiences.
Jones wants other parents to know homeschooling remains a viable option.
On Aug. 7, she and another parent Belynda Abbey will give a short presentation on homeschooling in Texas at 6:30 p.m. at the covered picnic area on the south side of Westside Park, 1610 Second St.
The program is open to people new to homeschooling, veterans of homeschooling or those just thinking about it.
Jones and Abbey will offer homeschooling tips and insights, including topics such as getting started, “unschooling,” Montesorri methods, family activities and local resources. People can even connect through the Texas Hill Country Homeschoolers Facebook group.
Along with the informational portion, organizers will set up a curriculum swap table so people can share, pass along or check out various books and curriculum materials.
Children are also welcome. There will be several teenagers on hand to supervise the kids on the playground while the parents learn about homeschooling.
While the change from public school to homeschooling might seem daunting, Jones said families can make the switch.
“For those with kids in full-time school, the transition to homeschooling is usually quite easy but does take some adjustment, mostly on the part of the parents,” she said. “It’s not just a change in schooling but an entire lifestyle change for the family.”
Even families with special-needs children can make the move to homeschooling. Jones said her oldest son’s medical condition required numerous doctor appointments and surgeries, but homeschooling allowed the family greater flexibility in its schedule to meet those needs without having to worry about pulling him from class. Her second-oldest son is autistic, and though he was high functioning, the school setting brought on quite a bit of stress, which caused him to “shut down” at times.
“Within weeks of pulling him out of school, his stress level was so decreased that he started to do things we had not seen him do before, like be social in a group setting,” Jones said. “His confidence increased so rapidly once he was not feeling anxious all the time and allowed him to try new things like never before.”
Homeschooling, Jones added, created a stronger bond among her children.
Families and parents interested in learning more about homeschooling and its benefits should plan to attend the meeting.