Richardson co-op provides support for families who home school their children

Richardson Home School Association began more than 30 years ago with a goal of providing educational support for families who homeschool their children, according to Director Stephanie MacMiller.

In the early years, parents who were strong in academic areas, such as science and math, would teach a group of students. Since then, the co-op has replaced parents with credentialed teachers who choose the curriculum, assign homework and provide additional help if needed.

“We have committed teachers who love being there for two kids or 20 kids. That gives us a really great environment where people want to come,” she said.

Students meet once a week for most classes and twice a week for more advanced courses, MacMiller said. Families can choose how many courses their student takes with the co-op.

The association has the added benefit of fostering a support system for families who homeschool, MacMiller said. According to the National Home Education Institute, there were an estimated 2.5 million American students who were homeschooled in spring 2019, which represents 3%-4% of school-age children nationwide.


“A co-op gives you a community, and it keeps you from feeling isolated,” she said.

The association is also able to help parents and students with transcripts and college applications, MacMiller said. This is part of the group’s mission to prepare students for the future, she said.

“I feel strongly that we intentionally home school so that our kids can be successful and adapt to college,” MacMiller said.

Families pay an annual registration fee of $200-$250 per student in addition to paying the teachers a monthly fee per class that ranges from $40-$65, MacMiller said.

Seventy-two families were enrolled for school year 2019-20, yet only 39 families have signed up so far for next year, MacMiller said. She credits the nearly 46% decrease to fiscal and health concerns related to the coronavirus.

“That’s the real challenge of COVID-19 right now,” she said. “Families still want to meet, but funds are limited.”

The loss in students could affect the business, which uses tuition to pay rent on its building, MacMiller said. The association is hoping to enroll more students but may have to ask for donations, MacMiller said.

“If 40 families want to meet, we should meet and not allow money to stop us,” she said. “I believe strongly that there are so many givers in our community who are looking for a place to give, and our [co-op] is a place to give to support our families, to support our community and to offer this service to homeschool families.”

The co-op transitioned to a virtual platform in March, MacMiller said. As it is not a private school, the association is not required to comply with the July 16 order from Dallas County prohibiting school reopenings until September 8. However, association leaders continue to look to the state for guidance as they prepare for the upcoming school year, MacMiller said.

For starters, students may not arrive early for classes or stay late, and temperature checks are required before students can enter the building.

“We are following all government requirements, whether it's cleaning or masks or that we can’t meet,” MacMiller said.
By Makenzie Plusnick
Makenzie graduated from Tarleton State University in 2019 with a degree in communications. While in school, she interned at the Weatherford Democrat and was editor of Texan News Service, a news outlet at Tarleton. She enjoys true crime podcasts, riding horses, and spending time with her dog.


MOST RECENT

Cottonwood Market houses over 300 vendors. (Courtesy Cottonwood Market)
Richardson Mercantile changes name, under new ownership

The store changed its name to Cottonwood Market in late August.

Amaretto Cake is among the cakes, cupcakes and cookies that Rum Cakes Factory sells. (Courtesy Rum Cakes Factory)
Rum Cakes Factory opens in Plano and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the DFW area.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

Pet adoptions in August were up by 10% year-over-year. (Courtesy city of Richardson)
Richardson Animal Shelter sees a 94% adoption rate in August

The increase in August was in part due to the Clear the Shelter event, a weeklong adoption drive.

The upcoming Starbucks location will open along US 380 in Frisco. (Courtesy Starbucks)
New coffee shops in Frisco, Plano plus more popular DFW news

Read popular news from this week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hot Crab is now serving seafood dishes in Richardson. (Courtesy Hot Crab)
Seafood eatery Hot Crab opens in Richardson and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

Almost Home Animal Rescue's Heather Weeks, left, and Amy Desler pick up North Texas Giving Day yard signs. (Courtesy Kim Leeson/Communities Foundation of Texas)
North Texas Giving Day to aid more than 3,300 nonprofits

The 18-hour online event organized by Communities Foundation of Texas allows people to support local nonprofits and causes.

One in five children and adults have a learning disability, according to statistics from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: National Center for Learning Disabilities expert discusses challenges of special education, remote learning during pandemic

The NCLD's director of policy and advocacy spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education students and their development in and out of the classroom.

Hot Crab is now serving seafood dishes in Richardson. (Courtesy Hot Crab)
Hot Crab seafood restaurant now open in Richardson

The restaurant serves Cajun dishes, Northeast-style seafood and New American food.

Alexandria Marquez teaches first grade students from an empty classroom at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)
Richardson ISD students, staff work through the kinks of remote, in-person learning

Adjustments made to several key areas of district operations are outlined in this story from Community Impact Newspaper's September edition.