East Texas parents respond to Texas Supreme Court Case on homeschooling

East Texas parents respond to Texas Supreme Court Case on homeschooling
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ZAVALLA, TX (KTRE) - A homeschooling family in El Paso is embroiled in a legal battle after being accused of not teaching its children anything because it was waiting "to be raptured." Currently, Texas does not require parents to give standardized testing to their home-schooled children. An East Texas home-school teacher of five said mandating standardized tests can add unnecessary stress.

Her classroom has the books, but not the bells.

"They like to start coloring or drawing or reading right away," said Brittany Ellerman, a home-school teacher.

That hasn't stopped Ellerman's students from excelling. She has a toddler who counts and a 3-year-old with a vast vocabulary.

"I know Arrow is counting and is barely one and a half!" Ellerman said.

Ellerman said each family chooses to home school for its own reasons.

"The main reason we home school is because some of our kids have special needs,"  Ellerman said.

She wanted to be able to offer them one-on-one learning opportunities.

The Texas Home School Coalition estimates 300,000 kids, like the Ellermans, are learning at home.

"Texas is fantastic with our regulations, rules, and the amount of freedom that we have,"  Ellerman said.

Those freedoms are being re-evaluated in the Texas Supreme Court, after a mother of nine in El Paso was accused of not teaching her kids at all.

Ellerman said it's definitely a decision that comes with much responsibility and is not for every family.

"If it's not something you can handle or not right the season in your life, don't set your kids back," Ellerman said.

As of now, home-schooled children in Texas are exempt from standardized tests.

"I think you don't have to look far even in public school whether is be teachers, parents, or students, to see many are frustrated with this mandatory testing,"  Ellerman said.

The ruling at the McIntyres v. El Paso School District case could change the way class is conducted for home schoolers all across Texas. Ellerman, like other home schoolers, said the pressure is just not necessary.

Ellerman pointed out that many students simply don't test well. She said each of her children have learned more rapidly than the child before because of constantly being in the same learning environment.

"Tighter regulations and higher standards for testing adds stress that might not be needed there to benefit the most learning for the kids,"  Ellerman said.

Texas home schoolers are only required to provide a curriculum that proves a "bona fide" education. That means students must meet basic educational goals in reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and citizenship.

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