Big Families Attend Home School Conference - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Big Families Attend Home School Conference

        It's the second day of a huge conference in East Texas, with thousands of home-schoolers in Big Sandy. At the home-school conference on the Alert Academy campus, you'll see families with lots of kids. Some with 10 to 16 children. All of them home-schooled.

      "I think one of the things for us has been having an attitude of one for all and all for one, and as more children came along we didn't want them separated into all their different activities and all different directions" said Pennsylvania native Kristi Mawhinney, who home-schools 12 children.

     Remember the Jim and Michelle Duggar, they've been the subject of a discovery channel documentary and we did a story on them two years ago when there were 15 children. And today.

   "We have 16 children and number 17 on the way and we are just so blessed" said Jim Duggar.

     The Mawhinney family of Pennsylvania say home-schooling is perfect for large families.

     "We're trying to teach our children to stand on their own twe feet and be able to work independently as young as possible" says father of 12, Eric Mawhinney.

    They say they don't home school because of their large families, they do it for quality of education.

   "As you're trying to have a lifelong impact on them you've got to shape who they are because once they get to about 7 or 8 they're into pretty much who their going to be" says Eric.

    There are reasons for home-schooling are not only academic, it's faith.

   "We asked the lord to give us a love for children that way he loves children, and from there, one after another, we have received them as gifts from him and they're such a joy" says Jims wife Michelle Duggar.

   Finally they tell us, there is another, social advantage to large families.

   "Our children are best friends they get along so well. When they choose to spend time its with their siblings" Kristi says.

    For them it really is, the more the merrier.    

   The home-schooling conference concludes at the Alert Academy in Big Sandy tomorrow.

   Bob Hallmark, Reporting

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