Texas Home School Coalition Review
e began home schooling
son Matthew and twins Mark and Mitchell in 1990. The
boys had previously attended one year of public school,
but because of their severe asthma, absences became an issue. My
mother had read an article about a new organization called FEAST (Family
Educators Alliance of South Texas), which seemed like an answer to our
prayers. I visited with Ruth Perez, learned about legal issues concerning
home schooling, chose a curriculum, and never looked back. The living
room became our first classroom, and we embarked on what became a
fifteen-year journey full of challenges and triumphs. The boys were often
hospitalized, so I packed up the school books in a laundry basket and
held school in their hospital rooms. They watched educational videos,
played Hangman with spelling words on the small whiteboard, and at-
tended daily field trips to the giant aquarium down the hall when walk-
ing was permitted by the medical staff. My husband Trine worked extra
jobs on weekends to help make ends meet on one income while I edu-
cated the boys and supplemented our income by making cakes, selling
scrapbooking supplies, and more.
As time passed we started a support group called Home and Values
Educational Network, more commonly known as HAVEN Home Educators.
We began with four families and now average sixty to seventy families
each year, with a peak of 120 families prior to the economic downturn.
The 2012–2013 school year marks HAVEN’s seventeenth year of sup-
porting San Antonio-area home schooling families by offering monthly
meetings, field trips, holiday parties, science fairs, culture fairs, art and
photography contests, talent shows, field days, social clubs for various
age groups, and much more. In addition, Trine and I started a 4-H club
and a Boy Scout troop, offering even more curricular and extracurricular
enrichment for home schoolers. All three of our sons earned the rank
of Eagle Scout and received the highest honor in 4-H, the Gold Star, in
addition to being San Antonio Livestock Exposition and LULAC
El Rey Feo
Matthew was HAVEN’s first graduate in 2005 and was followed the
next year by brothers Mark and Mitch, along with six other graduates.
Matthew attended Texas A&M University where he earned a BS in agricultural
communication and journalism and an MEd in agricultural education. He
is currently employed as the 4-H agent for Texas AgriLife Extension in
Guadalupe County and hopes to begin a PhD program in the fall.
Mark graduated from St. Philip’s College with two associate’s de-
grees, one in biology and one in pre-med. He currently attends Texas
State University where he is a senior majoring in wildlife biology with
Master Naturalist Certification. He and fellow home schooler, Francesca
Lewis, his childhood sweetheart, were married in December of 2012 after
a six-year engagement. Fran recently graduated from Texas State with a
BA in fashion merchandising.
Mitch also graduated from St. Philip’s with an associate’s degree in
liberal arts. He then attended Baylor University, earning a BA in studio
art with a minor in Great Texts of the Western Tradition and a BS in cul-
tural anthropology with an emphasis in world religions. Mitch currently
attends the University College London (UCL) Institute of Archaeology,
majoring in Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean archaeology. He
is the first home schooler ever to attend UCL.
Following our sons’ graduations from high school, we continued to
serve the home school community through HAVEN and also as volunteers
for 4-H. The boys encouraged me to return to college, because I had always
wanted to finishmy college degree, so I began attending St. Philip’s College
too. I earned an associate of arts degree in English and then transferred
to Our Lady of the Lake University, where I earned a BA in English, graduating
magna cum laude, and an MA in English with a specialization in writing.
I currently work full time as an instructional skills specialist and as an
adjunct instructor teaching developmental English and labs at St. Philip’s
College. Trine has been my staunch supporter and rock over the course
of our thirty-three-year marriage. He continues to work as a production
supervisor at Watts Water Technology in San Antonio.
Throughout our tenure as the founders and leaders of HAVEN, we
have counseled hundreds of home schoolers. One thing we stress to
them is to create a love of learning by making learning fun. After home
schooling for fifteen years, it occurred to us that we might actually have
learned a thing or two not only about educating our sons but also about
life. We have offered many the following advice.
We discovered that spreading a blanket under a tree on a beautiful
fall day, counting migrating monarchs while rolling down a hill, and play-
ing “Mother, May I?” with spelling words can count as a school day. Sim-
ilarly, so can swimming a lap in a pool while reciting multiplication tables
or discussing the nutrients in our lunch. Yes, the school day can consist
Meet Trine and Jamie Miranda
From left to right: Matt, Mitch,
Mark, Fran, Trine, and Jamie Miranda