Dina Fox and her husband, Jeffrey, decided to try homeschooling their oldest son when they saw that he was not socially ready for a full-day kindergarten classroom, but appeared ready to start learning. “We tried the local public school the next year,” Dina recalls, “but found that the schedule and institutional mindset was not a fit for our family’s values or schedule.” The Foxes continued to homeschool from that year on, and after 14 years of home education, that “little boy,” now 18, is graduating from his homeschool program.
Not being ready for kindergarten is not the only issue Dina has faced in homeschooling their three children. “Our oldest was also a delayed reader and followed a nontraditional path for his teen years,” says the Tampa resident. “We have found this road to be a bit unsettling for us and quite a faith walk. We see now that the fruit of this faith and labor is a well-rounded, solidly educated young person who lets his light shine in the community and contributes to every group he is a part of.”
Their son’s development reflects the Foxes’ approach to education, which Dina describes as being “a biblical, character-based agenda and eclectic in curriculum choices. We teach at the point of need and work on skills sequentially, with a college-prep agenda during the teen years. Each child has had a custom-built education and has used a variety of methods to meet their learning styles and interests, while mastering secondary-level skills that match their post-secondary goals.”
The Foxes have received support for their homeschool journey through participation in a preschool group when they lived in Alabama and more recently through involvement in various homeschool support groups and co-ops in the Tampa Bay area. “We have always been a part of the FPEA while home educating in Florida,” Dina adds. “The conventions have helped give us a boost each year, and the group discounts, calendar events and resources have been a great boon to us.”
Dina gives back to the homeschool community not only through her role as an FPEA Relationship Ambassador, but also through her position as director of Class Source, an FPEA-recognized group in the Tampa Bay area. “We encourage parents to trust their instincts and follow their hearts when planning out their path for education,” says Dina in encapsulating her advice to parents. “Find resources and people who have ‘been there and done that’ and who will give you some outside perspective in areas that you might be blind to in regard to your own children. Do not be afraid! You are not alone and will be equipped — no one loves your child more than you do and no one will be a better advocate for them than you.”