Home schooling is a trend that's growing in Texas. In fact, the Lone Star State leads the nation in home school families. So how do parents of these children make sure they can live and learn in the same place? We profiled one Lubbock family to find out more.
Outside, it looks like just another house. But inside, it's a whirlwind of activity. This isn't just home to Connie Burt, her husband Mitchell and their seven children. The garage here has been transformed into a classroom, and school has started.
"I think that it seems to be more accepted and people now ask do you home school, like when I first started home schooling, they said why aren't your children in school," says Connie.
Connie is a former public school teacher, but when oldest daughter Mary started kindergarten, Connie decided to take on the role of home school teacher in addition to mom. That was five years ago, since then Bradley and Rebecca have joined the class, and Joseph will start next year. David, Andrew and Abby will follow, and Connie plans on teaching them all.
"I think every home school mom maybe wonders, am I getting it all in, am I doing it all, but most of the ones I know, we pray about it a lot and we talk to each other."
Prayer is also an active part of each day's lesson. Bible study is part of the curriculum, and the family's strong religious faith is at the root of the childrens' education. "Really the only other option for us to get the deeply religious education we were wanting them to have would possibly have been a private school but for this many children, for us that was just not an option."
In Texas, there are no requirements to teach your children at home, so the 100,000 Texas families who home school can choose a curriculum that works best for them. The Burt's are one of 1,300 Lubbock families who do just that, tailoring the day around the kind of education they want their kids to have. And while Connie believes the way she's chosen to teach her kids has become less of a novelty, people still have questions.
"They ask what about their friends, are they socialized?"
Connie says her children's participation in church activities and seasonal sports helps them interact with other children and adults, she and her husband feel that's helped to keep them social and well rounded.
Connie says whatever her children decide to pursue in the future, she and her husband feel confident that the foundation they've been given by learning at home is exactly what they need to succeed.
"If they know how to learn and how to dig in and find the answers and they trust God to help them in that discovery than I think there's nothing in life they can't do."
For more information about home schooling, you can contact two area organizations.