Some schooling starts, stays at home

Published 12:25 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

Members of the TEACH Drama Club presented “Romeo and Winifred” before their spring Drama and Dessert. Club members are (from left, back row) Sam Boland, Jordan Pooser , Trent Davis, Faith Wise, adviser Heather Winters, Louise Mitchell, adviser Brenda Davis (from left, middle row:) Rosie Lilley, Kelsee Hardison, Lydia Mitchell, Sydney Turner, Haleigh Barker, AnnaBeth Pooser, Raven Lilley, Karlee Hardison (from left, front row) Gabrielle Winters, Raphel Lilley, Nick Aumiller, Al Morris, Lauren Wise, (seated) Grace Wise, director Tania Corey and Mandy Davis. (Contributed Photo)

Education as a method and practice is changing in some areas.

Home schooling for children has become more common in the United States and in North Carolina over the past decade.

Parents for Educational Freedom, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is “dedicated to effectively improving North Carolina’s K-12 educational system.”

Director of Communication Stanley Chambers provided some statistics on home schooling in North Carolina.

“Currently there are 83,609 children in home schools statewide, according to the state Division of Non-Public Education,” he said. “In Beaufort County, there are 194 families that home-school 388 children. Statewide, the number of children home schooled in North Carolina has nearly tripled since 2000, from 27,978 to 83,609, according to DNPE. Beaufort County is no exception to this growth. In 2000, there were 62 families home-schooling 114 children.”

“The number of home-schooled children in Beaufort has increased by 340 percent (since 2000). Home-schooling families utilize any number of educational programs, including A Beka Books and Charlotte Mason.

Also, there are a number of companies that offer home-schooling curriculums, including McGraw Hill, Sylvan Learning Center and K12.”

Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, also believes strongly in the benefits of home schooling.

“When a parent takes on the responsibility of educating their child, they represent the epitome of true educational choice because they are placing their child’s education into their own hands,” Allison said. “At the end of the day, every North Carolina parent should have the ultimate decision-making power in determining the best educational path for their child, which includes having the option of home schooling.”

Beaufort County has an active home-schooling group with a variety of classes and activities for those interested.

Marsha Boyd of Blount’s Creek joined The Eastern Association of Christian Home Schools in 1995, when it had about 10 families. There are now 85 families in TEACH, with approximately 150 school-age children.

Boyd explained how she became involved with the group.

“When I began home schooling 18 years ago, there was no Christian-based home-schooling group. So, a couple of my other home-schooling friends and myself developed a group to provide social experiences for our children. That is how TEACH was formed. We now have 85 families in and around the Beaufort County area,” she said. “We do lots of things together. We have PE classes every week, as well as a drama club and a history club, which has placed first or second place in both group and individual categories in the N.C. Junior Tarheel Association competition for at least five years. We also do several field trips a year, as well as events such as an art and talents show, cultural dinners, an annual prom, as well as athletics. We have a volleyball team, boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, boys’ baseball and girls’ softball.”

Boyd sees many benefits in home schooling.

“It is good to have an open schedule which allows us to do a variety of extra curricular activities so we are not pinned down to a 45-minute class schedule. So, if we are in the middle of learning about, say, castles of the Middle Ages, we don’t have to stop because it’s ‘math time,’ and the children can also learn at their own pace,” she said. “If they have mastered a concept in math, they can go to the next concept instead of waiting for the others in their class to catch up. Also, I have found that when I am teaching the older children, the younger ones ‘pick up’ on a lot and are like little sponges. So, they are not waiting until the appropriate grade to learn certain concepts.”

Home schooling is not easy, Boyd said.

“If you are interested in home schooling, make sure you are up for a challenge because it is a commitment that is not easy and should not be taken lightly,” she said.