Homeschooled Girl seeks to support bill easing efforts of mailing items to troops

An industrious and patriotic local teenager was among those gathered at the Giles County Courthouse Monday when U.S. Congressman Lincoln Davis visited Pulaski.

Fourteen-year-old Emily Clayton asked Davis to ensure the passage of H.R. 2705, a bill to amend the United States Code to provide free mailing privileges for personal correspondence and certain parcels sent from within the United States to members of the Armed Forces.

Davis told Clayton that he would review the proposed “Providing Our Support to Troops Act of 2003” and become a cosponsor. The bill would impact mail delivery charges for those serving on active duty abroad and are engaged in military operations involving armed conflict against a hostile foreign force or for other purposes. Read more…

The rise of home schooling

In Gwinnett County, home of the state’s largest and, as many see it, most prestigious school system, a band of parents have turned their backs on public education.

They have their reasons.

For starters: overcrowded schools, trailer classrooms, campus violence, burned-out teachers and too much class time spent teaching to standardized tests.

Not even last year’s average SAT score of 1033 — an all-time best for the system — was enough to sell them on Gwinnett schools.

The way Cheryl Schoenberg of Dacula sees it, the best instructor for her two daughters is Mom. Read more…

Grass Lake sisters are thriving in college after homeschool experience

Michelle and Stephanie Carter could be the poster children for homeschooling.

The Grass Lake residents are articulate, smart and driven, with GPAs of 3.97 and 3.99, respectively, at Baker College, says mom and former teacher Karen Carter.

Karen Carter homeschooled her daughters from the fourth grade through their senior year of high school.

The sisters insist they missed out on nothing — except for peer pressure, bullies who feast on the insecurities of others and noisy classrooms.

‘I’ve had a lot of my friends, as I’ve gone through homeschooling and graduated, that wished they could have done it with me,’ says Michelle, 21, who earned an associate’s degree in small-business management from Baker and is ready to continue for her bachelor’s. ‘They were really envious. They never got to experience the joy of learning.’ Read more…

County opens first home school out of home in Beaverton

BEAVERTON — In two weeks, the doors to Washington County’s first home school-away-from-home will open, with as many parents sitting in on classes as children.

Board members and teachers at Village Home Education Resource Center, which is publicly financed but privately run, hope to attract parents who have so far avoided traditional schools.

Lori Walker, one of the school’s founders, said the home education center is meant to provide classes, workshops and field trips that will supplement courses taught at home.

In fact, Walker said, the school’s staff expects parents to attend classes with their children. Read more…

More kids skip bus, fire up PC

Virtual schools, classrooms that are no more than a personal computer in a student’s home connected through the Internet to a teacher at a different site, have become one of the fastest-growing trends in U.S. education.

The proliferation of personal computers and the Internet is giving parents a whole different set of educational options never dreamed about a generation ago. But it isn’t coming without controversy.

Cyberschools such as Wisconsin Connections Academy, a K-8 virtual school based in Appleton, are popping up across the country and are organized as public charter schools, which means taxpayers pick up the bill for computers, software, printers, textbooks, Internet connections and teaching help, even though the kids may never set foot in a real school building. Read more…

Why We Homeschool

When my daughter Sarah was born, I was overwhelmed. Here was a little person who needed me 24 hours a day for everything. I had to teach her to hold things, to roll over, to eat. I even had to teach her how to sit down after she learned to stand up and got stuck. Through this process I discovered it was exciting to teach my baby!

As Sarah grew older my dear husband Tom said ‘We need to homeschool Sarah.’ I said ‘What!? I can’t do that! I can’t teach her how to read! Why are you asking me to do something so hard? I’m a product of the public school system, and I turned out fine. Why can’t she go to school just like I did?’ At this point Tom wisely left me to myself so that I could mull over why he wanted this for Sarah. I on the other hand needed to know what this would mean for me. Read more…

Always at school

It’s early Monday morning, a school day. Fifteen-year-old Amanda Bestwick wakes up … and hits the snooze button on her alarm clock.

She won’t have to skip breakfast to be on time, though. She doesn’t even have to get dressed. Bestwick can sit on the couch in her pajamas, sipping hot cocoa and studying her math book.

Because she’s home-schooled.

Increasing numbers of teen-agers are being educated at home. Reasons are many, including concerns about the quality of public education and religious views.

But the common denominator is this: Parents of home-schooled students think they can do a better job teaching their teen-agers than their local schools can. Read more…

Close to 900 Students Home Schooled in Benton County Arkansas

BENTONVILLE, AR — Amanda Willoughby has home schooled for two years and enjoys the experience.

Willoughby, 25, said home schooling has allowed her to impart certain characteristics and beliefs on her children she didn’t think would happen in public schools.

She’s not against public schools but, instead, chose a different educational path for her children.

Benton County has a total of 897 students who will be home schooled this school year, according to information from six county school districts. Decatur school officials did not have numbers available for this year or 2002. Read more…

Home Schooling Increases In Washington County Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, AR — More than 760 Washington County youngsters have started the new school year by receiving their education at home, school districts reported Tuesday.

That number is about 120 more students than were signed up for home schooling a year ago at this time, and it is expected to continue to grow throughout the school year, officials said.

Although the deadline was Friday for parents to declare their intention to teach their children at home this year, provisions in the law allow parents to withdraw their children throughout the school year. There is a 14-day waiting period if the intent notice is filed after the August deadline or a similar one in December for the second semester.

“I continue to get forms up into May each year,” Dottie Hughes, home school coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Education, said Tuesday. Read more…

Conference highlights home-school benefits

Children home-schooled by devout parents academically outperform their public school peers and reveal better character development, according to home-education leaders who gathered during the weekend.

“The battle for our children’s souls is a war,” Shelly Hendry of His Image Ministries in Clarksville, Va., said at the Northern Virginia Home Education Conference near Tysons Corner. “We’re like those firefighters [on September 11] who walked into those flames to do a rescue.”

Home-schooled teenagers nationwide in the 1990s scored on average in the 84th percentile on national standardized academic achievement tests in eighth-grade reading, math, science, social studies, total language and study skills, while public school students on average scored 34 percentage points lower, said J. Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association in Purcellville, Va. Read more…

Home schooling grows in popularity

The popularity of home schooling has grown in Wausau and Stevens Point over the past five years as experts and parents continue to debate its merits.

In Wausau, the number increased from 149 home-schooled students in 1998-1999 to 203 in 2002-2003, while enrollment in the Wausau School District declined by more than 300.

In the Stevens Point Area School District, the number of home-schooled students increased from 122 in the 1998-1999 school year to 188 in 2002-2003, while district enrollment dropped by almost 600 students.

Home-schooling numbers in Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids have remained fairly constant, according to the state Department of Public Instruction’s Web site.

‘More and more people are looking into it and asking questions,’ said Lorna Holewinski of the Wood County town of Saratoga, who edits the River Cities Homeschoolers newsletter, distributed to 50 parents in the Wisconsin Rapids area. ‘It takes a lot of time and devotion, but home schooling provides so much more freedom and flexibility.’ Read more…

Home schooling an increasingly popular alternative for S. Florida families

These students know their teachers extremely well. They’re never late for school. Have no need for cell phones. And, as the very practical 11-year-old Danielle Howard of Delray Beach puts it, ‘You get out really early, there’s no head lice and no school bullies.’ Unless mischievous siblings count.

Palm Beach County’s public school students returned to school last week, and Broward and Miami-Dade students have one more week to ravage back-to-school racks and persuade parents to buy them Manolo Blahnik Timberland knockoffs, or other such fashions.

But the first day of school doesn’t faze parents and children in home school. They say the teaching and learning never stops.

‘I think we’re starting next week,’ said Danielle’s mom, Elise LaTorre.

‘We’re probably going to start Sept. 8,’ said Toni Gonzalez, of West Palm Beach.

‘We don’t have a first day of school. It’s continuous,’ said Elizabeth Fulop, of Sunrise, who home-schools four of her five children, all under 10. Read more…

Homeschooling: It’s not just for the evangelical Christians anymore

Tending to three Nigerian goats in his family’s back yard teaches Stuart Valentine how to be trustworthy – one of the virtues of his family’s Baha’i faith.

Stuart, a 9-year-old Choudrant boy, has been homeschooled since the first grade. With his mother’s guidance and coaching, Stuart studies such subjects as Spanish, life science and social studies throughout the year.

Stuart’s mother, Margaret Valentine, said along with building an academic base, homeschooling affords her son the time to develop a strong spiritual foundation.

“Religious education goes throughout the whole thing,” Valentine said. Read more…

Parent teachers

When they were studying kings and queens, June Ambs, 8, found herself in the middle of a jousting tournament.

Riding her bicycle, she gripped a broken broomstick and knocked standing targets off boxes.

�They�re putting into action what they learned,� said MelRae Ambs, June�s mom and teacher.

Sully Swilley and MelRae are co-op home schooling partners. They support each other and meet once a week to check on their children�s progress by talking about their lessons. Read more…

Homeschool offers educational alternative

SEGUIN � Most children in Seguin are getting ready to start school next week.

For other children, school has already started or will be postponed for a few weeks. These students are homeschooled, and families set their schedule according to individual needs.

�We were planning to start on Aug. 25, but may wait until after Labor Day,� said Kristi Fiedler, a McQueeney resident who has been homeschooling for 12 years. �The summer has been devoted to getting organized and we�ve done things like cleaning the attic and kids� rooms. We also spend time doing projects that we don�t get around to during school like sewing and scrapbooks.� Read more…

Government sponsored homeschool draws interest

FARMINGTON — A plan to allow parents to teach their children at home under the Davis School District’s budget drew mixed reactions during a meeting this week.

About 50 parents gathered Thursday for the second round of meetings about the program.

This school year, the district will choose 20 to 30 students in kindergarten through sixth grade to pilot Virginia-based K12 Inc.’s program.

At home, students with passwords connect to the Internet, which helps outline their school year and direct them to study materials. Parents assist their children in using textbooks, art supplies, science equipment and other tools the company provides. Read more…

More parents turn to home schooling

The popularity of home schooling has grown in Stevens Point and Wausau over the past five years as experts and parents continue to debate its merits.

In the Stevens Point Area School District, the number of home-schooled students increased from 122 in the 1998-1999 school year to 188 in 2002-2003, while district enrollment dropped by almost 600 students.

In Wausau, the number increased from 149 home-schooled students in 1998-1999 to 203 in 2002-2003, while enrollment in the Wausau School District declined by more than 300. Home-schooling numbers in Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids have remained fairly constant, according to the state Department of Public Instruction’s Web site. Read more…

Homeschooling families must follow the rules

More and more American parents are choosing to homeschool their children. West Virginia is no exception to that trend. As reported Monday in The Herald-Dispatch, the number of homeschooled children in the state has exploded from 588 youngsters in 1991 to 4,212 in 2001. And that number continues to grow.

Parents decide to homeschool for a variety of reasons. Some see it as a way of keeping their children safe from things like gangs, drugs and guns. Others believe they can administer a better education to their youngsters than they would get in a public school classroom.

Whatever the reason, state law gives parents the option to homeschool their children if that�s what they wish to do.

But state law also requires that homeschooling parents report to their county school board each year about how their children are doing. Most homeschooling parents do so, but too many don�t. Read more…

Homeschooled Student Fights for Diploma

Paul Owens has some typical high school graduation memories, like wearing a cap and gown.

He did not study in a typical classroom.

Paul’ mother homeschooled Jim.

Now in his final semester at MCC, Paul’s feeling more pressure than any final exam.

“I got a letter saying because of the fact I was homeschooled and didn’t have a state recognized diploma, that I was not eligible to graduate,” Paul Owens said.

No one had a problem letting Paul into college. Read more…

NE – Abandoned schoolhouse becomes home, school

OAKLAND, Neb. (AP) – An old schoolhouse west of here was once abandoned, with no water, heat, sewer or children.

Now it’s being used for school again – a home school.

Steve and Sherrie Nickerson bought the building outside Oakland, which is north of Fremont, in 1998, and have renovated it into a home in which they home school their children.

They have eight children – Stephanie, 16; Steven, 14; Michelle, 12; Jonathan, 6; Lindy, 5; Josiah, 3; Sierra, 22 months and Gideon, 3 months – a perfect girl-boy sequence.

The Nickersons have home schooled ever since Stephanie was 5. They bought the abandoned Rock School in 1998 after leaving south Omaha in 1996. Read more…