Markers of Maturity

Posted onCategoriesTerri's Thoughts

As parents, we learn to recognize markers of maturity in our children. Eventually we can recognize them in all children.   It starts when a baby can sleep for five hours in one stretch, or when they can suddenly hold a bottle or cup, drink from a straw. Later it involves the ability to tie a shoe or learn the ABC’s. All of these things are impressive for a baby, toddler or kindergartner, not so much for a high school student.


Once we submit to Jesus as Lord, maturity markers should sprout in our spiritual walk. Spiritual maturity is not guaranteed any more than learning the ABC’s are learned because a child reaches his fifth birthday.


What is a marker of spiritual maturity? Spiritual markers of growth vary but might include having a problem with profanity, anger,   submitting to authority. The list is endless, which is why we need to tune our hearts to hear the Holy Spirit who will identify sin in our lives.


Spiritual growth is like peeling an onion. God doesn’t take off more than we can handle at one time, but He is faithful to continue to peel off the layers of sin, where we miss the mark of His holiness, over the decades of our life. He will continue the process as long as we are alive and breathing.


How are you doing with your spiritual maturity? Are you still drinking the milk that Paul wrote about in I Corinthians 3:2. I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready


Can you name any spiritual accomplishments you have achieved in the last year, in the last ten years to give evidence that you are ready for solid spiritual food? Or are you struggling with the same issues that plagued you as a new believer – anger, coveting another’s possessions or feelings of discontent, unwilling to submit to man’s authority or God’s authority, i.e. His Word?


Journaling on paper is no longer fashionable these days, but find a way to journal your struggles or requests. Why?

1) Writing down our struggles or requests frequently turns them into a prayer to the Lord. He is faithful to help when we ask.

2) Review past journal entries. It is encouraging to look back over the years to see how we have changed. Often we do not remember our previous struggles. Reading back is encouraging to push us forward as we see how God has helped us in the past, changed us in certain ways, honing off rough edges that needed to be pruned from our personalities, habits or temperaments.

In closing, we have evidence of people all around us who did not take their education seriously. They cannot reason from point A to point B. It is frustrating, often futile, to try to deal with this crowd who are only driven by emotions; emotions change in a heartbeat.

The same applies for immature believers who continue to struggle over the same issue again and again, much like the picture of a dog chasing its own tail.

Break out the cycle. Lean into the lessons, i.e. pain, He brings to you.

Suffering without learning is merely pain. He wants so much more for you. He wants to bring you to maturity as a child of His. Don’t waste any opportunity to grow. Seek His help to determine where you need to change to break the chains of suffering. Break the chains so that you can grow into the full stature of the believer He created you to be – full of wisdom, full of grace, full of patience, full of Jesus who is the author of all good things.

Julie Smith

Posted onCategoriesTeachers

Julie Smith


469 450-8452

It is my honor and privilege to serve the THEO family this coming year, and I cannot wait to dive into the Spanish language alongside a new group of learners (which will include my own daughter!). Pinch me!

I began my love of the Spanish language and people as a freshman in high school, when our family hosted a foreign exchange student for the summer. I could not believe how much I learned just from her, and I worked hard in my Spanish classes in order to continue to keep in touch with her. Alas, things did not move along for my language acquisition as quickly in class as it had over that summer, and we lost touch. I wondered even at 15 years old why I had learned more from another teenager than I had from my class, and when I began studying language theory in college the light bulb came on! What I had received from Paola was so natural that we didn’t even know it was happening. It was so similar to how babies learn their first language, and it all made so much sense. I knew this was how I would teach Spanish, and I’ve been blessed to use this method with hundreds of students over the last 25+ years. By Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS), language comes alive! Students find themselves immersed in language that they understand, can produce, and want to keep learning more.

My goal for every student in my class, at every level, is to leave with the ability to use what they have learned in the real world, and to continue to build on the language skills they acquired when they were with me. It’s my job to make learning fun, accessible, and unforgettable. Join me!

Teaching Experience:

Clark Middle School, Princeton, TX

ACT Academy (K-12), McKinney, TX

Collin College, McKinney, TX

Lucas Christian Academy, Lucas, TX

Private tutoring

Homeschool Classes

Spanish for Medical Professionals

Spanish for Ministry

Related Experience:

Medical Translation

Court Translation

Volunteer work and translation in Perú with Joni and Friends

Educational Background:

Curso de Humanidades, Universidad Autónoma de Campeche, Campeche, México, 1993

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Austin College 1994

Master of Arts in Teaching, Austin College 1995

18 hours post-graduate work in Spanish Literature, Austin College 1995

Continuing Education courses in Spanish Poetry, Conversation, and Literature, Southern Methodist University 1996-1998

Amanda Redding

Posted onCategoriesTeachers


I’ve had a diverse and exciting experience in education so far, and I am thrilled to continue the journey as a teacher at THEO.

As a student, I’ve attended private and public schools, as well as having been homeschooled from 3rd-8th grade. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in Library Science from UNT (which was largely obtained through online work, way back in 2012 before online classes were as prolific as they are now).

As a teacher, I’ve taught in public school and homeschool co-ops, worked as a private tutor, and homeschooled my own children from pre-k through eighth grade. We’ve even enjoyed roadschooling alongside remote work for a few years! I am blessed to have seen so much during my twenty years in education, and I’m ready to continue that work with THEO.

My husband, Kelly, and I have been married for 21 years, and have two children who are in high school (Rachel) and middle school (Travis). We are still homeschooling and plan to go all the way to graduation. We love playing games, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying stories together through books, tv, and movies.

My mission aligns perfectly with THEO – empowering parents to continue to choose home education, so that students succeed and families thrive.

Susan Pierce

Posted onCategoriesTeachers

Baylor University – 2 years
Bachelor of Science – Texas A&M University
5 years teaching High School Chemistry
3 years teaching General & Physical Science
17 years of homeschooling
God gave me a passion for teaching at an early age. I love the interaction of ideas and trying to expand and spark excitement for science.
My first experience was when I started working for a hospital as an Assistant Director of Health Sciences, where I was the liaison between the hospital and local corporations. I would give monthly seminars about health issues for employees and their families. However, after having my first child, I felt God calling me to homeschool, so I put my career on hold and poured my passion into my children.
What a gift and blessing it has been throughout the years and now reaping the benefits of having two children knowing the Lord and having two grandchildren to pass down that heritage.

Therese Ogle

Posted onCategoriesTeachers

Therese Ogle is our Psychology 2301 Collin College Professor who can be reached at

My husband and I have been married for 27 years. We have been blessed with 4 children  – the oldest married in April of 2017, our second is currently attending Collin with hopes of majoring in nursing or biology at a university yet to be decided, our third graduated with THEO in May of 2018, and our “baby” is a high school senior. I was one of those moms who didn’t think homeschooling was for me…God had other plans.  We began our homeschooling journey when our oldest was moving from elementary school to middle school and have now been homeschooling over 11 years.  In my “free” time, I enjoy knitting, reading, watching hockey, and COFFEE!


  • B.A. in Psychology with honors, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1987
  • B.A. in Sociology, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1987
  • M.A. in Psychology, McNeese State University, 1992
  • Certification in Special Education, McNeese State University, 1993
  • Licensed Psychological Associate, 1994
  • Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, 1995


  • August, 1988 – June, 1989: Lake Arthur High School, special education instructor
  • August, 1990 – May 1991: Brentwood Elementary School, music education instructor
  • August, 1991 – May, 1993: Welsh Elementary School, special education instructor
  • August, 1992 – May, 1993: McNeese State University, associate professor of psychology
  • July, 1993 – August, 1999: Garland Independent School District, school psychologist
  • June, 2006 – May 2020: Homeschooling
  • July, 2017 – present: Collin College, associate professor of psychology

Vicki Musall

Posted onCategoriesTeachers

Path to Teaching:

I began teaching in private preschools during my high school and college years as I pursued my degree and dream of becoming a professional educator. I taught grades 4, 5 and 6 for ten years in a public-school setting, and I hold teaching certificates in Texas and Virginia. I felt led to stay home once I became a mom to my two sensational sons.
My sons had learning styles and challenges that needed environments and methods beyond what their public and private schools were providing.  God called me to begin homeschooling them towards the end of their elementary years, and it has been a blessing to see God use THEO to impact our entire family. I began teaching at THEO once my youngest was a senior.
At THEO, I strive for each student to embrace how he/she learns best and take ownership of that path, with parent and teacher support. I am privileged to work with students at THEO from our Friday Adventures kindergarteners all the way up to our seniors in Money Management God’s Way and Successful Student Strategies. I am also the director of our Friday Adventures program at THEO for our K-5th graders.
My high school classes, Money Management God’s Way and Successful Student Strategies incorporate a variety of teaching methods selected to guide students to make mature choices in order to be intentional teens and later thriving adults. My junior high classes deep dive into World Literature, Study Skills, and Texas History at a level that moves students towards applying what they read, learn and discuss to their own lives. I also teach a US Geography class (for grades 3-6) one day and week, and I enjoy their enthusiasm and love for learning. I work with the parents and student to offer adjustments in the class, if needed, for success. Everyone is respected as an individual COG (Child of God), as they strive to learn to be THEO servant leaders for Christ.
THEO email: or 


Bachelor of Science in Education: Stephen F. Austin State University
Master of Education Administration: University of North Texas

Information about Mrs. Musall’s THEO classes:

♦️Junior High World Literature
♦️Texas History
♦️Money Management
♦️Successful Student Strategies

Alynda Long

Posted onCategoriesTeachers

Mrs. Long Tuesday, Thursday Academic Adventures Teacher

Personal:  I live in Collin County with my husband, Brian, and our two youngest daughters. I love reading, playing games with my family, travelling, volunteering in several capacities, and, of course, teaching!  Also, coffee…lots of coffee!


  • BA in Literary Studies (minor in Holocaust Studies and Creative Writing), University of Texas at Dallas
  • MLS in Creative Writing from Southern Methodist University

Teaching Experience:

  • Texans Can! Academy, 2004-05
    • Taught English I and II to an at-risk student population
    • Initiated and taught a Read180 program at the campus.
    • Instructed Students in Creative and Practical Writing courses
  • Irving Independent School District, 2005-09
    • Taught Pre-Advanced Placement English I and II during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years.
    • Instructed English II courses during school years 2005-06 and 2006-07.
    • Taught English II to group of students exiting the ESL program during the 2006-07 school year.
    • Advisory Coordinator, 2008-09, created curriculum for school wide study skills program
  • Homeschooling Parent, 2004 to current
    • Educating my children through a mixture of a collaborative model and traditional homeschool
  • Substitute teacher at Theo, 2023 to current

Luis Jimenez

Posted onCategoriesTeachers


Although I struggled with finding my calling in my early life, I knew for certain that I wanted to help others appreciate the world God has created and expand the opportunities available to them in the future.

From economics to pathobiology, my college studies gave me a deep appreciation for the sciences and a deep desire to study and understand the world. Working as a teaching assistant for my science professor, leading a team at a local Chick-fil-A, and instructing a Lego Robotics class at Tarrant County over the summers have given me valuable experience and a clear image of my calling.

As a teacher and as a Christian, I want to serve others and further His kingdom in any way I can, especially in supporting homeschooled families. By teaching at THEO, I put my skills, enthusiasm, and knowledge to use preparing students for whatever challenges await them in life.



Dixie Hacker

Posted onCategoriesTeachers

Teaching, teenagers, trigonometry…I have a love and passion for them all!
A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics, I am a Texas certified teacher in Mathematics and English. I enjoyed nine years as a Plano ISD high school mathematics teacher, teaching all levels of high school math courses. I obtained my Masters in Secondary Education from the University of North Texas. While teaching in Plano I was selected Jasper High School’s 2001 Teacher of the Year and a Plano ISD Excellence in Teaching Award Winner.

I left the public school classroom in 2002 with the seemingly exponential growth of my family – twins were born! Upon exiting the classroom I began tutoring privately where I enjoy working with students one on one as well as keeping up to date with current high school math curricula. In 2009 my husband and I surprised even ourselves with the decision to homeschool our four children. We continue to find homeschooling a wonderful journey and are so thankful for the opportunity to teach, enjoy, and grow with our elementary to high school aged children.