The heart of the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) is to minister to every home schooling family in Texas. Knowing that many parents of special needs children can’t attend home school conventions because of childcare issues, the Special Buddies™ program, in conjunction with its founder and past director Leslie Stevens, was developed to specifically meet this need.
This year Special Buddies will continue to meet the needs of these families at both of our Conventions under a new director, Misty Northcutt. Misty has been with the Special Buddies program almost since its conception, and is dedicated in continuing to provide the excellent level of care for the children to whom her team ministers. Along with her dedicated family–Justin Northcutt (a foster care specialist) and their two children–who all have hearts as big as Texas for the special needs community, Misty also directs a well trained staff that is able to provide care for children who have specialized needs. Misty’s background as a foster parent, caretaker, and private school teacher in a special needs classroom, as well as her yearly work with Special Buddies, has perfectly equipped her for her new role, and she is very excited to be able to serve the THSC community in this capacity.
Special Buddies ministers uniquely to special needs home schooling families like no other home school convention program because it provides trained staff to care for children who require unique and sometimes rather complicated care. Additionally, Special Buddies, paired with the THSC Conventions, works to refresh and equip an entire special needs family. While the children in the Special Buddies program are receiving quality instruction through bible lessons, praise and worship, arts and crafts, and fellowship time, their parents are being refreshed, encouraged, and equipped through Convention sessions and fellowship times specifically geared to special needs home schooling.#SpecialBuddies paired with #THSCConventions refreshes and equips an entire special needs family. Are you… Click To Tweet
Our journey with home schooling started with the love and compassion of the Special Buddies program. My huSpecial Buddiesand and I arrived at our first THSC Convention, even before we were in agreement about home schooling. But, a friend had told me, not only could we go to the Convention but there were people there who were willing, waiting, and wanting to love on our girls while we could go hear speakers about home schooling. I was blown away, especially when the director contacted me and assured me they could take care of my daughters and we could walk away! What about seizures, feeding protocols, and sensory needs? All these needs were met plus more! We walked in and the director knew how to do feeding protocols! That was God, that He prepared someone in Special Buddies just for my daughter. This touched my heart and my huSpecial Buddiesand’s and from that moment on Thursday night, before Convention even started, our unified home schooling road began. Special does not even begin to describe how we love all the staff and volunteers. This will be our third year at Special Buddies and our fourth home schooling. The journey of having a child with special needs and home schooling has its own unique set of circumstances but knowing there are people that are there to support you and walk with you makes the journey a path filled with encouragement. If you are wanting to go to THSC Convention and you have a child with special needs, I would encourage you to sign up for Special Buddies. It will bless you and your child. I know my daughters cannot wait to go again this year and be loved on by this special group of people.
-Special Buddies parent and THSC volunteer
Yes, Special Buddies is an amazing and one-of-a-kind program that goes way beyond just meeting the childcare needs of special needs families. The Special Buddies staff has witnessed families and marriages transform because of Special Buddies, and it is those stories that keep them coming back each year in eager anticipation of what God will do through their humble willingness to serve and minister to the special needs home schooling community that THSC reaches.
As we roll into another convention season here at THSC, we encourage parents to register early for Special Buddies as the THSC special needs outreach has increased greatly this past year, and we expect both Conventions to fill up earlier than usual. To register for the Special Buddies program, just go to the Convention registration page of the location you plan to attend and follow the instructions. Someone from the Special Buddies team will contact you so they will be prepared to handle the unique care your child requires.
Next month I will be sharing another exciting addition to the special needs offerings at the THSC Conventions, a new sister program to Special Buddies that will debut at both Arlington and The Woodlands Conventions. This program, along with many other exciting updates to the THSC Special Needs department, will be highlighted in the next blog post. Please sign up for “Special Needs Information” email notifications to receive updates highlighting all the ways my team is working to better serve you and your family as you seek to be equipped and encouraged in home schooling your child with unique learning needs.
One more thing, did you know if you are a member of THSC not only do you support the efforts of THSC, but you also receive two free admissions for the adults in the family to both Conventions? Join today for this great membership perk! Please join us in Keeping Texas Families Free!