Expanding fields of learning

By Mark Johnson

Home schooling is going beyond the walls of ranch-style homes and split level residences – at least in Smithville where a group of home-schoolers is bringing to a close a six-week session of meeting on Fridays for everything from physical education to cooking and art lessons to history and science.

Elaine Kochanowicz of the Smithville Scholars said the group also met for a six-week session during the first semester of the school year.

“We hope to be able to expand the sessions for the next school year,” she said. The genesis for the sessions came from individual field trips the group took last year.

Community building, new skills and expanded learning opportunities are some of the benefits generated by the sessions, Kochanowicz said.

Serving as instructors for the different courses are adults called on to teach in their areas of expertise.

She said there is a small fee for some of the courses while others are free.

Kochanowicz said close to 15 students from six to 14 years old have been meeting together during the weekly gatherings, which are drawing to a close for this semester.

They could see their numbers grow next year.

“We know that there are more than 100 families who home school their children in the Northland,” she said.

Missouri, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), allows children to be home schooled as long as a series of requirements are met, including that a minimum number of instructional hours are provided in the core subjects and accurate timely records and samples are kept of the student’s work.

“A completed credit towards high school graduation is defined as 100 hours or more of instruction in a course,” according to the DESE website, dese.mo.gov/schoollaw/HomeSch/homeschool.htm.


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