BigCountry

HomeEducators

Welcome to BCHE!

For more than 25 years, Big Country Home Educators has supported home school families of the Texas Big Country. Located in Abilene, Texas, we offer homeschool families in the area multiple enrichment opportunities. BCHE is a non-profit (501c-4), Christian organization, led by an elected board of volunteers. We welcome all home-educating families, regardless of faith. We provide resources in the areas of mentoring, events, and networking to help families have the richest home education experience possible. If you live in West Texas, and are a home educator, we would love to have you join us!

Whether you are brand new to homeschooling, or a veteran, we can help you find friends and resources to enhance your home school life. We encourage each family to engage in the lives of others, and to use the resources at our disposal to help each other.

BCHE offers some public events each year, but most of our activities and events are for current member families. Family membership is annual, and applies to the immediate family living in your household. For more membership details, contact mem@bched.com.

As we grow and times change, so does our group. Let BCHE be there for you. If you have any questions, please e-mail us at one of the addresses below. We would love to hear from you. Many questions are answered with the information here on the website, but feel free to contact us at info@bched.com. 

May God bless you, your families, and your home schools!


Are You New to Home Schooling?

Let us take a minute to let you know how thrilled we are about your journey into teaching your children at home. Home education provides a door to a world of opportunities for knowledge, character development, family time, and the building of your child’s self esteem. Your homeschool will be unlike any other in that you have the ability to tailor the design, schedule, curriculum, and organization of your school to fit the needs of your students.

The next question that arises is...how? There isn’t a simple answer, correct formula, or perfect way to home school. If your children are learning then you are doing it right!

Please take a minute to look through the information provided on these pages. One important element of every home school is enrichment activities. That’s where BCHE comes in! 

With BCHE, you can expect opportunities to fellowship, learn, and share with other families through field trips, classes, peer activities for all ages, and mentoring. We also offer the chance for students to participate in opportunities that are easier and more fun in a group setting, such as graduations, science & history fair, Scripps spelling bee, National Honor Society, student council, middle school banquet, high school formal, etc.


Why Choose BCHE?

There are many local resources available to non-members, such as Friday School, Tiny School, Thursday Co-op, Classical Conversations, StudioOne, and many Facebook social groups. So, what’s different about BCHE?

BCHE has been serving the homeschool community in the area for over 25 years, providing support, enrichment opportunities, and networking, and we have worked hard to foster an excellent reputation with other local businesses and organizations. BCHE actively advocates and builds relationships within Abilene and the greater Texas homeschool community to encourage a supportive and positive opinion toward homeschooling.

BCHE is great for socialization! We believe that families will meet and make friends at member events, so that they can then organize their own private play/social meet ups, but, our main focus is on providing access to enrichment that is harder for families or small groups to organize on their own, such as academic fairs and competitions, National Honor Society, Graduation Ceremony, Middle School Banquet, Prom, etc. 

BCHE membership perks like the Grace Art Classes are free to members but would cost more to pay for out-of-pocket than BCHE annual fees.

BCHE provides help. Regardless of the reason you chose to home school, the need for walking with others who have common ideas is important to reach any goal in life. That is why BCHE strives to offer many opportunities for our members to work with others and find resources that will help them on their journey.

BCHE provides privacy. As a 501(c)(4), we are never required to share our membership data. Our calendar and most events are kept private and information about member only events is never shared or posted on public social media. This provides both privacy and safety for our kiddos.

BCHE is conducted with conservative values and respect for our heritage as Americans. 

We are passionate about providing support. Feel free to contact any board member with questions or for info about our monthly mentoring meeting.

For for information, contact us at info@bched.com.


MEMBERSHIP

We are so glad that you are interested in learning more about becoming a member of Big Country Home Educators, which serves over 10 counties and 25 cities.  We look forward to working with you to enrich your homeschool experience.

Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned veteran, BCHE can afford you many benefits that will enrich your family’s home schooling experience. In addition to educational field trips and fun special events, members of BCHE enjoy the following benefits of membership:


  • Discount with the Home School Legal Defense Fund 
  • Discount for Texas Home School Coalition
  • Student Photo ID opportunity (useful for drivers ed, student discounts, SAT/ACT testing)
  • Teacher Discount at Wally’s Party Factory
  • Teacher Discount at Books-A-Million


Our activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Annual Homeschool Conference & Vendor Fair
  • Family Campout
  • West Texas Fair and Rodeo Parade & Student Tickets
  • The Science and History Project Fair
  • Weekly Skate and Bowl
  • Elementary Zoo Class
  • Middle School Zoo Class
  • Grace Museum Art Classes
  • Spelling Bee
  • Teen Nights
  • Middle School Banquet
  • High School Prom
  • Field Day
  • Sports Ed
  • Monthly Mentoring Meeting 
  • Un-first Day of School Party
  • Holiday Parties
  • National Honor Society
  • Weekly Co-op Classes
  • Archery
  • Robotics
  • Student Council
  • High School Graduation
  • Kindergarten Graduation
  • Girls Handwork Club
  • Meet ups & play days
  • Field Trips
  • Lego day
  • Art Contests
  • Service Opportunities 


Memberships are $60.00 per family and always expire on May 31, with the exception of first time members joining in April or May: their membership will be extended through the following May 31. Some of our events are open to the public, but most require membership and occasionally an extra fee. 

Families who also have public/private school kids are welcome to bring them along for non-age specific events (i.e. campout, skate & bowl, field day), however our age specific events/classes are for homeschooled kiddos only.


Terms of Agreement

I have read and understand the Big Country Home Educators' By-Laws, and also understand and agree that Big Country Home Educators (hereafter BCHE), it's agents, representatives and/or board members are not liable for any losses or injuries sustained to myself or my children while participating in activities sponsored by BCHE; and I agree to hold blameless BCHE, it's agents, representatives and/or board members against any such losses, damages or injuries. 

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our membership chairman, Duane and Tammy Anderson at mem@bched.com.

May God bless your homeschool!


BCHE Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join?

Big Country families who are currently home educating at least one student (between preschool and high school) in a bona fide manner according to Texas law are welcome to join. There is no specific faith requirement or curriculum/education method requirement. We also have some member families who are homeschooling one child while others attend public/private school. We have single parent families, families with two working parents, families with a stay-home parent, families with dad as the primary educator, and families with children who are being raised/educated by grandparents. Families who also have public/private school kids are welcome to bring them along for non-age specific events (i.e. campout, skate & bowl, field day), however our age specific events/classes are for homeschooled kiddos only. Businesses, advertisers, and groups are not allowed to join Big Country Home Educators. 


What does membership cost?

BCHE membership is an annual fee of $60.00 per family, and a membership year runs from June 1st through May 31st.


Does BCHE provide curriculum?

No, BCHE is not a school. We do not provide curriculum. BCHE is a great resource that provides enrichment opportunities to enhance your family's homeschooling experience. We can, however, answer your curriculum questions. We have many veteran homeschool families that would be happy to help answer any questions you may have.


Who can attend member events?

BCHE membership applies to your immediate family members living in your household. Membership benefits, including attendance at member activities/events, does not apply to neighbors, visiting relatives, or children for whom you may be providing childcare. Families who also have public/private school kids are welcome to bring them along for non-age specific events (i.e. campout, skate & bowl, field day), however our age specific events/classes are for homeschooled kiddos only.  There are times when grandparents are able to join in the fun, as long as there is not a maximum capacity and their attendance does not take spots away from member kiddos. Always email any board member to find out if an activity is able to support grandparent attendance. Children for whom you are providing childcare must have their own family membership in order to attend BCHE events. Email for more information.


Why can’t I see the calendar?

You must first become a member and be logged into your account to access the calendar. For the protection of our members’ privacy, many of our events are for members only and therefore, not accessible to the public at large. If you would like to become a member or log in, click here.


Why can’t I register for events?

You must first become a member to register for member specific events. Those events open to the homeschool public such as Safety City and the Annual Homeschool Conference and Vendor Fair will have separate registrations and instructions with which to follow.


How does BCHE protect member privacy?

BCHE will not share your personal names, addresses, phone numbers, email address, or other contact information.  Publicly posting fellow members’ personal information on social media sites is strictly prohibited, as is posting pictures of other people’s children without consent. All BCHE hosted events will only be posted on our private calendar and private social media site.


What does BCHE expect of me?

All members should read the by-laws. As a member you will be asked to be willing to volunteer, assist with, or coordinate one or more events per school year. Members must agree to keep names, addresses, phone numbers, personal email addresses, and other contact information of fellow members in strict confidence. Only publicly posted board members' contact information may be shared. Posting fellow members’ personal information on social media sites is strictly prohibited, as is posting pictures of other people’s children without consent. Publicly shared comments deemed slanderous, malicious, or prejudicial to BCHE interests will be deleted and considered grounds for termination of membership. Members are responsible for checking the calendar and website, adhering to dress code and behavioral policy, and reading member emails so they can stay informed about upcoming events, activities, and deadlines.


Does BCHE have a dress code?

Yes. We seek to create an atmosphere in which all we do, including the way we dress, honors God and others. We ask that all members and event attendees (both parents and students) alike dress modestly and conservatively, out of consideration for others. Parents AND students, please be aware of how you look before attending any BCHE event. Certain events may have additional dress code requirements.

Examples of inappropriate clothing would be:

Women/Girls: Strapless/halter/spaghetti straps; tight form-fitting clothing; low cut clothing that exposes cleavage; shorts, skirts, and dresses that are well above the knee; low rise pants, unless a long shirt covers any exposed skin; any clothing that exposes the mid-riff; any clothing that features alcohol, drugs, or profanity; clothing that allows exposure of underclothing.

Men/Boys: Tight/form-fitting clothing; clothing that exposes the mid-riff; baggy pants that expose underclothing; shirts that expose the chest; any clothing that features alcohol, drugs, or profanity.


Why must I RSVP?

In order to properly plan events, it is often necessary to know who will be attending in order to have enough room, supplies, food, chaperones, etc. It is very difficult to prepare without numbers and can lead to wasted time and resources. Many of our field trip hosts require numbers in advance and we frequently have a maximum capacity.


Why do I need to notify you if we need to cancel?

Many events have limited space. We often have a waiting list and need to open your spots to others who would like to attend. It is also a courtesy that helps us use resources wisely and allows us to give accurate attendance numbers to field trip hosts.


What is required to participate in the BCHE Graduation Ceremony?

Participation in BCHE’s high school graduation ceremony is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind memorable experience for all involved. It is a day to truly celebrate the student, the family, and their individual homeschool experiences and accomplishments There is a deadline and a separate fee that covers the majority of the cost to participate. For more specific information about this year’s upcoming graduation, email sec@bched.com.


Who are the Board members?

BCHE board members are homeschool families who have been active members of BCHE for at least two years and have committed to volunteering for a term of two years to make things happen in our home school community. They do the business of running BCHE in addition to their regular family responsibilities, work, and homeschooling their kiddos.


I am a member, why is there an additional fee for some events?

Free events and activities are our favorite kind to offer! Unfortunately, there is no way that $60 per member family can cover the cost of everything we offer our members. There are events for specific age groups, classes for those interested, and large group events that cost thousands of dollars to produce--additional fees may be required for these so that we can keep membership costs low for those families who don't have children who fit the age requirements for such events.


Where does my money go?

The BCHE board follows an annual budget that seeks to use membership funds and donations wisely in providing key opportunities and events for members as well as covering the logistical expenses of running a non-profit organization such as website fees, insurance, venues, etc.


How do you do all of that for $60?

Board member families and other volunteers work very hard to make your membership money stretch as far as possible! As a registered 501(c)(4) organization, we are able to get non-profit and tax-free rates from other businesses and organizations, and are also able to negotiate group rates. We negotiate trades and do our best to build and maintain relationships within the community that encourage businesses to think of us when they are planning, advertising, and pricing their educational/sports/arts opportunities. BCHE also receives donations from both individuals and organizations.


I don't want to join BCHE--why can't I attend events as a non-member?

BCHE member families all throw their $60 into the pot, so to speak, to help provide resources for the events and activities organized for our member community. It's only fair that the majority of activities are reserved for those who are willing to support the group as a whole. In addition, BCHE members are covered by organization insurance while in attendance at events, and maintaining the member-only attendance policy helps ensure the privacy and safety aspects that are so very important to many of our members.


Who signs faith statements?

Only BCHE families who serve on the board will be asked to sign the Statement of Faith. 


What is a statement of faith?

The Statement of Faith is our core beliefs on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It is the foundation on which our decisions, actions, and by-laws are made.


Do I have to agree with the Statement of Faith?

No. But, by becoming a member, you agree to participate with the understanding that BCHE operates based on the beliefs and principles included in the Statement of Faith.


Do you Pray at events?

Yes. Many BCHE events include prayer.


How can I advertise my business with BCHE?

In general, we are happy to advertise free opportunities offered by local businesses. Soon there will be advertising opportunities available on the website, in our member newsletters, on our Facebook pages, at our annual conference, and through benefits (discounts, classes, etc) offered to our membership. Please email for more information.


Still have a question? We're happy to help! Email us at info@bched.com




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