Homeschooling group holds back to school kickoff


Cove Leader-Press 


Local homeschoolers from Belton to Lampasas gathered in the fellowship hall at First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove on Friday evening, as members of the Christian Homeschool Educators’ Support System (CHESS) held their kickoff for the 2017-2018 school year. 

The evening was open to potential new members as well as those who are meeting up with other families after the summer break.

CHESS is made up of approximately 100 families, said Beth Edwards, president of the group. That number can fluctuate, especially with CHESS being close to Fort Hood and some families transitioning out of homeschooling. 

Edwards has been homeschooling her six children for 16 years and has been teaching since their oldest son was in kindergarten. Edwards said since his graduation, he has completed his certification as an emergency medical technician and is also in the process of completing fire academy training. 

CHESS membership costs families $20 annually, and students from prekindergarten through twelfth grade get to participate in many of the same activities that students do in public school, such as yearbook, field trips, sports, and even prom, for the high school students. 

Edwards admits times have changed since she began teaching her children, with many more abundant resources. 

On Friday night, some local organizations were on site to share with CHESS members—and potential members—what they have to offer homeschoolers. 

Swordplay Recreational Fencing of Harker Heights gave a demonstration and talked about the lessons they offer both in Harker Heights and Copperas Cove. 

Along with recreational fencing, other physical education opportunities were highlighted by the Armed Services YMCA of Copperas Cove. Doreen Vasseur, director of the Copperas Cove center, talked about what they offer for homeschool students, to also include a weight training program for teens. 

The Copperas Cove YMCA is entering its fourth year of having classes during the week. Vasseur also told homeschooling families that one “Y” membership is good at all of the local YMCA centers, with the Harker Heights center having a pool.

A high school age volunteer group, the HUTS Club, was also at the gathering. HUTS is part of the Noon Exchange Club in Copperas Cove and presents opportunities for service such as helping with Copperas Cove’s Feast of Sharing and bell ringing for the Salvation Army.

Also on hand was the Oakalla Un-Library, Trail Life USA, and a Bible Quizzing group based in Cove Church of the Nazarene. 

Both Patrick Wheeler and Desirae Clark provided information about Bible Quizzing, which is available for kids as young as first grade through sixth, and older students in grades seven and up have the opportunity to compete locally along and also compete in cities as far away as St. Louis. 

Wheeler said church membership at the Nazarene Church is not required for students to join in, and that it was a decision the church leadership made, to open quizzing to all students, regardless of denomination.

“The Copperas Cove homeschool co-op also meets at our church,” Wheeler added. 

Desirae Clark, vice president of the Copperas Cove Co-Op, said the group meets starting on September 8 every Friday morning from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. 

“What’s great about the co-op is if a parent isn’t as strong in one subject, their child can learn from another parent who is,” said co-op treasurer and parent Sheena Tanner. “For example, science is not my strong suit, so someone else teaches science. I teach reading.”  

Tanner said another plus of the co-op is that it gives their children some time with other students, and also the opportunity to learn from someone else besides one of their parents. 

Registration for the Copperas Cove Co-Op takes place on Thursday, August 24 from 10 a.m. until noon at Cove Church of the Nazarene, located at 964 W. Highway 190.  

More information about CHESS can be found at  

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207