July 8, 2020—Landmark Texas Supreme Court Ruling for Families
July 22, 2020
Homeschooling for Now
As I look back on the almost 20 years that my wife and I homeschooled our children, I remember the fears we had as we began.
We were concerned that homeschooling wouldn’t be good for our children in the long term, so we decided that we would homeschool the coming year and decide later if we’d continue the next year.
Over 15 years later, it was a normal thing for us and a terrific blessing to our family.
Similar to the beginning of our family’s homeschool journey, many families are considering homeschooling as the uncertainty of COVID-19’s impact on schools dictate reopening guidelines in Texas.
The Houston Chronicle recently reported that as many as 50 percent of families in some school districts are planning not to send their children back to school in the fall.
We believe that many of those families will have a great experience and will continue to teach their children at home.
Recently, Dr. James Dobson asked to interview me on his daily national broadcast, Family Talk, about homeschooling and the issues that homeschool students face. You can listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview.
In the interview, we also discussed the Harvard Law School professor who has urged that homeschooling be banned unless each homeschool family receives approval from the state.
I reminded Dr. Dobson that my family started homeschooling due to a broadcast he did on that subject decades ago. He said that was one of their most popular broadcasts ever.
Just as my family started to take homeschooling one year at a time and now look back upon it as one of the best things we ever did for our children, many families choosing to do so now may also have the same view one day.
If you want to start homeschooling, go to CoronavirusHomeschooling.com or THSC.org. Please share this with friends you know who are starting this journey. We’re here to support each other in Keeping Texas Families Free!
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX) unanimously ruled in favor of a biological father in his legal battle for custody of his five-year-old daughter.
The father, Chris, retained custody of his daughter against a man who was unrelated to the daughter by either marriage or blood but who nonetheless had been granted partial custody by a Denton County judge. THSC filed a brief in the case last fall defending the father and his daughter. We then launched a media campaign to bring the public’s attention to this case.
This is very likely the most significant and important case in Texas history regarding the God-given right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. The issue before the court was how “the best interest of the child” should be determined when there is a case between a fit parent and a non-parent.
The Denton judge in this case forced the father to share joint custody of Ann, who at the time was four years old, with an entirely unrelated man. This man had been briefly engaged to Ann’s mother before her tragic death in a car accident. He subsequently filed for custody of Ann, kicking off a multi-year court battle.
All parties in the case agreed openly that Chris, Ann’s father, was an entirely fit parent. However, rather than concluding that Chris as a fit parent had the right to make decisions for his own daughter, the Denton judge said, “The Court has determined what is in [the child’s] best interest and you are to make this as agreeable as you can force yourself to do.”
Justice Bland writing for the Texas Supreme Court said: “The United States Supreme Court has long held that the Constitution ‘protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” She continued: “Texas Jurisprudence underscores this fundamental right, and we too recognize that it gives rise to a ‘legal presumption’ that it is in a child’s best interest to be raised by his or her parents.”
The unanimous opinion summarized the issue by stating, “we conclude that a court must apply the presumption that a fit parent — not the court — determines the best interest of the child in any proceeding in which a non-parent seeks conservatorship or access over the objection of a child’s fit parent.”
We at THSC believe that families have a God-given right to raise and educate the next generation of leaders. Today, we celebrate the reestablishment of this God-given right! We could not have done this without your help. Please consider making a generous donation in order to support our future efforts. Together, we are Keeping Texas Families Free!
I am NOT a water person. Let me rephrase that, I am not a lake water person. I’ve tried for years to be comfortable in water that is murky and smells of dead fish and dirt. Boat rides, sunburn, wind and waves are not something I long for when I think of time spent outdoors. I do love the water, but I love water that is familiar, clear and predictable.
Isn’t it fun to see God’s hand in the colors of fall? We have such a unique opportunity as home educating families to embrace this season with the purpose of learning. Whether your children are just beginning their educational journey or they are making plans for post-graduation, make this fall a season they will remember for years to come!
Tim Lambert, president of Texas Home School Coalition (the state home school support organization since 1986), has been involved in home school leadership in Texas since 1984. He and his wife Lyndsay taught their four now-grown children at home for 16 years, graduating the last two in 2000. As the head of the organization for the leading home school state in the country, Tim is recognized as an authority on home education issues in Texas. In this capacity, he has testified before numerous Texas legislative committees on issues related to home schooling. He often deals with state government agencies, including the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, on home education issues and has served as an expert witness on home education in a number of court cases. He has also addressed such conferences as the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers on the topic.
Tim holds a B.A. in political science from Texas Tech University and is active in the political arena, having served eight years as Republican National Committeeman for Texas. He is committed to serving the home schooling community and to protecting parents’ right to choose the method of education of their children.