Homeschooling as an educational choice

By D’Ann Rohrer. MCP Correspondent.

(Editor’s note: This is the first article in a three-part series about choices parents have in their children’s education. D’Ann Rohrer is a certified teacher and holds a master’s degree in education. She worked several years as a public school teacher and currently has two teenage children enrolled in public high school. Her two elementary-aged children are homeschooled.)

Life is all about choices. As parents, one of the most important choices we make for our children is where they will receive their education. With public education’s schools of choice, private schools and homeschool options, there is a lot to consider. As residents of Michigan it is legal to teach your children in their home environment. According to Michigan Department of Education (MDE) website, “Michigan parents have the right to homeschool their children.”

Many families in our area have chosen this means of education for various reasons. Some local families just enjoy spending time with their children or feel they can educate more to their child’s strengths. There can be more practical reasons to homeschooling. For instance, a child could have a health condition which would require her to miss too much school or a parent’s employer may require extensive travel so taking school with you may be the best educational experience.

According to Information Network for Christian Homes, homeschooling is a great place to teach your children about discipleship. In this way parents can educate their children according to biblical principles. Whatever reason you may consider home education here are some points to consider. Talk with families who are homeschooling, consider the expense of materials, plan and organize what this will look like for your family, and find a support group in your area. In Mason County, there is a group which meets once a month at the Ludington branch of the Mason County District Library called, Mason County Christian Home Educators. This group has a wealth of information to share.

What is available to bridge the means of educational services in our community? “Every public school wants students to be successful,” said Ludington Area Schools Superintendent Andrea Large. In the past, Large has assisted home school families by guiding them in the direction of curriculum resources or with assessing their students to reassure the parents their kiddos are on the right track.

There are other options for the two educational groups working together to educate our community of children. According to the MDE website, one option is homeschool student may enroll in nonessential elective classes at the resident public school. This would allow students to take art, music, physical education, and band at the local public school and core classes would be taught at home. Home school students also may participate in Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Examination at no cost to families.

If you homeschool a special needs child and would like additional support from your local school district or West Shore Educational Service District you are required to register with MDE.

Be aware that if you homeschool and your child returns to public or private educational systems the curriculum used at home may be different than the public or private institution. This can cause your child to have missed some educational standards. So when considering all the possibilities available to educate your child, do your research, and choose what is best for your family.

As a parent of two home schooled children and two public school children I have found the benefits of both means of education. My younger children, fourth and fifth graders, are homeschooled. They haven’t always been homeschooled. They started in public education just like our older children but with my teaching certification my husband and I decided to educate them at home for some of the reasons listed above.

I am able to teach to their strengths, at their learning level, through their learning style using multiple intelligence methods and give them real life experiences we just didn’t have time to do working all day and with evening obligations. My daughter has been able to learn how to sew, a life skill she will have forever. My children are learning Spanish and taking piano lessons during the day so we are not so busy in the evening during family time.

Even more importantly we are better able to study the Bible and apply God’s teachings to our less busy lives, which in turn will benefit our friends, community, and professions. Life is about choices and we chose to give home school a try and we are enjoying our time while it lasts. It may not be our choice forever but right now it is a great fit for our family.

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