Home Schooling Provides Parents More Control

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Home Schooling Provides Parents More Control

For most students, school begins with the first bell of the day and ends with the last, but for 228 pupils in the Smallville school district and roughly 1.5 million nationwide, the structure of a typical school day is anything but typical.

These are home-schooled students, and their reasons for dropping out of standard educational systems are almost as varied as the hours which they keep.

While some families want more time together, others focus on the special needs of children, and still others hope to instill values that they feel are not addressed in public or even private schools. Nearly all seek more control over the education of their children.

"With home schooling, you can take your child's learning style and develop curriculum that fits how your child learns best. You're not trying to put a square peg in a round hole," said Sheri Cramer, whose ninth-grade son Jordan recently left public schooling to enroll under a new part-time policy adopted by the Lakota Board of Education last August.

Under the policy, home-schooled students can enroll in up to two classes in the district each year and take part in extracurricular activities while maintaining their home-schooled status.

"Through the policy, Jordan gets the best of both worlds ‹ he can still take part in school activities, but can work at his own pace and get individual attention also," says Cramer.

It is this individualization that draws families to home schooling.

"Because of the direct one-on-one interaction, you can tell if material is too boring or too difficult for your child and can make adjustments to that," says West Chester CHEC(Christian Home Education of Cincinnati) support group leader Susan Schechter, who has home schooled her two children for eight years.

"I've always felt that I was able to do with home schooling what most teachers would like to do if they had the time and money."

While expenses are not always a problem for home schoolers, they receive no financial aid from the government, and come from mostly single-paycheck families so that one parent can teach at home.

"The idea is for parents to participate and share the skills they have with others so that we (home schooling families) don't have to hire as many teachers," says Schechter.

For the majority of home schoolers, the primary teacher is the parent, though many are involved in home-schooling co-ops for special classes or hire private tutors for difficult subjects.
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