By Meaghan O’Neal
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
In 2007, Class Source started with just five families looking for a home-school option.
That number has grown by almost 20 times that amount in five years.
The Christian-based, nonprofit education group was started by Dina Fox as a way to improve the home-schooling experience for families. She has been home-schooling children for more than 15 years as a way to help those who wanted to better control the education of their kids.
“(I) noticed that upper elementary kids and beyond needed more assistance than what they could get at home because of the difficulty of the classes or finances,” Fox said. “I saw a lot of people putting their kids back into school not because they wanted to, but because they felt unequipped.”
Today, Class Source offers classes ranging from high school level chemistry to culinary arts.
Fox said the group is unique in the home-schooling community because it was created specifically to fill the needs of the family. Because of that, the desire is to make attending co-op, or group that provides classes taught by other parents or teachers, as convenient as possible.
One way they do this is by offering classes a la carte, instead of requiring students to enroll in a complete program or take multiple classes.
The founding group’s families saw that some parents struggle to teach the more difficult classes, such as sciences that require labs, at home. They wanted to make the courses available in such a way to give parents more freedom and flexibility.
Class Source’s goal is not only to fill those gaps, but to do so excellently.
“Class Source is unique in that all the teachers who are here are teaching from specialty fields that they were trained in, which leads to a higher quality of teaching,” said Shannon Barker, a science teacher at Class Source with a bachelor’s degree in food science and chemistry.
Fox said the teachers and tutors are all highly qualified for the classes they teach.
“While we believe there’s different ways to educate, we believe that if you’re going to call it biology, you need to have done all the labs, tests and homework,” Fox said. “You can be sure that if you come take a class at Class Source, everything that needs to be of integrity on your transcript is done.”
Sara Negron said these standards and smaller class size have led to a better learning experience.
“I went to high school, and I didn’t like the environment because the teachers didn’t give me as much attention as they do here,” Negron said. “At Class Source, I’ve learned that education is for me and to enjoy learning.”
Daniel Speed, another Class Source student, said his “teachers were very understanding” when his family had to go out of town suddenly for a week. Parents and students agreed that the atmosphere is incomparable to other schools or groups because of the attitudes of all the students and teachers.
As Fox put it, “Class Source believes the family is important in every aspect of society.”
The group has been developing a way to aid students getting involved in their communities through doing service projects. The program is available every other year, and has partnered with groups such as Metropolitan Ministries, Boy Scouts, Safe Haven for Newborns and the Ronald McDonald House.
Students can learn to give back to their community, while earning their required community service hours. The group also provides courses to educate the community as a whole on home schooling.
Class Source meets at 19501 Holly Lane in Lutz. For more information, visit www.class-source.com/Welcome.html.