About

The story of Lualima...

Imagine a day where two homeschooling mothers, sharing similar challenging experiences across multiple states, meet in a coffee shop, discussing their hopes and dreams for their children's' educational  journeys-what a young boy's life might look like if there were a community in place that met more than once every Blue Moon, how it might feel to have an experience where their children were not only supported in their educational interests but were  also leaders shaping them. The two women talked through an environment that allowed for their children to show up just as they are, as unique human beings. They considered this new paradigm where their  creative children could set their own  goals and in which they, themselves, were able to ask for support for their continuing home education.  They imagined how an entire community of  such support would feel.

And, voila...Lualima Cooperative emerged into the Georgetown landscape, a new way to develop community for parents and caregivers, in alignment with home education best practices . We quickly evolved into Lualima Community Microschool. Fueled by dry-humored, coffee driven, and passionately supportive mothers who saw a need in their own lives and mapped it out, who decided to meet this need head-on. 

Monique and Darleen partnered in founding the Lualima Community Microschool nonprofit program back in 11/2022.  Today, Darleen continues to run the program as Progam Director and Monique is an Independent Educational Consultant for families who are looking to get some additional guidance in their homeschool routines. 

Darleen Rodriguez

Co-Founder & Program Director 

 Herbology Club Instructor

Darleen is a highly experienced professional with over 20 years of operational expertise. Throughout her career, she has coached numerous small business owners on profitability and best practices, helping them achieve their goals and reach new levels of success. In addition to her professional experience, Darleen is also a dedicated homeschooling mom of two boys, and has navigated various educational paths including microschools, enrichment schools, and charter schools for the past 7+ years. Her firsthand experience in homeschooling has given her a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that come with this educational path. Darleen is also passionate about building community and has run two large natural-minded groups, including a nature co-op and a Crunchy Momma group seeking out natural wellness for children. She is committed to connecting with like-minded families and building a supportive network that empowers and uplifts one another.


Kate Minkner

Community Outreach Director & Pre-K Co-op Leader


Introducing our Community Outreach Director, Kate! 

Kate is a digital strategist with over a decade of ad agency experience, and an extensive background in social media and community engagement. She is focused on cultivating meaningful relationships that foster a vibrant, more connected Lualima community. Kate is a single homeschooling mom of two, with a love of nature learning. Discovering new places and hidden gems is her jam. From the grandeur of national parks to secret spots in Austin, she's always up for an adventure (and on the lookout for tacos!) with her two little explorers in tow. With a deep-rooted passion for empowering children to be lifelong learners, Kate is a key part of our mission to create a unique educational experience. 



Ms. Shanan

Vibin' Virtuosos Club Instructor


Shanan Ashlee Colvin is a homeschooling mama, music educator and small business owner. She holds a degree in Choral Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin and has taught learners of all ages. Shanan strives to create learning experiences that are engaging, exciting and that encompass multiple disciplines. When she isn’t teaching, performing or

running her boys to and from the hockey rink, she enjoys reading, spending time on her business, being outdoors and making music with her siblings.


Find out more about Shanan's Music Subscription Box: www.MusicLibraryBox.com



Ms. Leslie

Mad Scientists & Lively Literaries Clubs Instructor


My name is Leslie Ulmer and I have two little blessings, a son and a daughter. When I'm not tending to my little ones and homeschooling them, I enjoy cooking and reading. We love to watch cooking and baking shows together as a family. We have been a homeschooling family since my first born was school age and we greatly enjoy the flexibility and the "living our learning" aspect of it. I graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelors degree in Media Studies and Art History. After that, I I went on to get a Master's degree from USC in Communication Management. I look forward to working with your family as a partner in your child's educational journey. 


Mr. Chris

Craftmanship Club & History Hunters Clubs Instructor


I am a lifelong learner who really enjoys sharing knowledge.  I have a passion for nature and the outdoors.  I love studying history and connecting the lessons of the past to our daily lives.  I'm excited to share what I know with the students of Lualima. 

Chris does everything from Farm Life Education to leather work and woodworking and studied Ancient History and Classical Civilization at the University Of Texas At Austin. 


Mr. Noel

Math Magicians Instructor


My name Is Ron Noel and I am from Galveston, TX where I was born and raised. Some of my hobbies include reading, being active, cooking, and playing with my Yorkie. I finished my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Social Studies. Over the past 7 years, I have had the pleasure of teaching History, Math, and English Language Arts in both programs for neuro-divergent and neuro-typical students. I look forward to working with you all as we develop these young geniuses together.


Ms. Shelly

General Studies and Nourishing Cooks Club Instructor


Shelly Heckman has been a substitute teacher for over 7 years, and has a

variety of skillsets. She loves to help children with learning, as she believes

that learning is the key to success.

Before earning her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and her Masters in

Education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction, she worked as a

social worker for children in foster care; this required that she work with

each child on an individual basis and write reports that ensured that each

child received the care that they deserved.

In addition, she served in the active army for 3 years and in then went on

to serve in the National Guard for 20 years and subsequently retired.

During her service, she was enlisted for 10 years as a tank turret repairer,

and then became a Warrant Officer serving as the Armament Supervisor.

As a Warrant Officer, she was not only a supervisor, but a teacher and

mentor, as well.

Finally, she is the mother of 5 children and grandmother of 6

grandchildren. She has 3 sons, 2 daughters, 5 grandsons, and one

granddaughter. She loves being with her family when she can, but 3 of her

children and all of her grandchildren live in California. She also loves

cooking, but baking is her passion; she has made several cakes for family

and friends special occasions. She also makes a great salsa, or so most

people tell her. 


Monique LaCour

Co-Founder & Independent Educational Consultant

Monique is a homeschooling mom of two boys ages 5 and 6. With 12 years of experience as an elementary teacher in both public and private schools, Monique has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field of education. Throughout her career, she has focused on coaching teachers, building community, and developing parent education programs with an emphasis on literacy best practices and social-emotional learning. Monique's passion for education and her commitment to helping others succeed make her an invaluable resource for families who are navigating the world of homeschooling. 

Whether you're just getting started with homeschooling or you're looking to improve your current approach, we are happy to refer families to someone so close to Lualima's heart. Monique can provide practical advice and support to help you achieve your goals. 

To learn more about Monique's consulting services, please don't hesitate to reach out to her directly at moniquelacour@gmail.com. She would be delighted to answer any questions you may have and provide you with more information on how she can help you create a successful and fulfilling homeschooling experience for your family.

Lualima Community Microschool

We would love to hear from you. Please reach out! We are open to partnerships that align with our mission to support families in the community.  lualimamicroschool@gmail.com