Friday, January 13, 2012

Supporting homeschoolers

Districts and states take an incredible diversity of approaches to homeschooling - a practice that has grown considerably over the past 20 years. Some are actively antagonistic. Others figure that if you're opting out of the public school system, it's best if all parties don't have a lot to do with each other. But others have decided to offer support services to people who choose to homeschool, particularly on the enrichment front.

That's what seems to be going on in the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 in Colorado. According to this article, the district will be opening an enrichment academy that, one day a week, offers the "fun stuff" -- art, music, P.E.

I think this is a cool idea. Obviously, some people who are homeschooling for political reasons may want nothing whatsoever to do with a public school system, but many families homeschool for other reasons. I know many Gifted Exchange readers do simply because it's the best way to deal with their child's particular learning style and needs. Need college math, 6th grade English, and your kid wants to learn 3 different languages because he's really into that? Yeah, good luck with that in most institutional settings. But that kid might still like to do normal art class and PE. So why not serve all the children in one's community the best that you can?

If you're homeschooling, does your district offer any support services?


gasstationwithoutpumps said...

Our district has a school for homeschoolers: Alternative Family Education

The school has one classroom, access to an art studio (shared with other small schools), a library, and consultant teachers. Each of the teachers teaches one class (mostly for middle-schoolers this year, since that is the largest group of home schoolers) and meets every couple of weeks for a one-to-two-hour meeting with the student and parent.

We'll be trying one of their classes next semester, but so far we've been using community college, a local teen theater group, and instruction at home, because none of the offered courses were a good fit.

They have social activities (game nights, movies, dances), which we've not attended. They have art classes which our son has no interest in. There are also PE-like things (volleyball, for example), which he also has no interest in. He gets his exercise bicycling to and from the community college (which counts as PE credits).

Anonymous said...

My state (Md) does not allow homeschoolers and public schoolers to mingle. Earlier this year a bill came up at the capitol to let homeschoolers do extra curriculars and there was a strong push in the homeschooling community to kill it. The vocal group does not want to have anything to do with the school system.

And the school system wants nothing to do with the homeschoolers. I'd heard that enrolled exhome schoolers are routinely placed in the lowest classes, even if parents have testing in hand to support higher placement. And I saw it first hand when we pulled my dd out of school for a "gap" year between elem and middle, repeating a grade at home. School reps told us that dd would have to enroll in her age grade and would not be allowed in GT due to "policies". Of course no policy could be produced and the nonsense didn't prevail, but nonetheless it shows there is no love shared between home schooling and public schooling.

'Nother Barb said...

I find it very curious that public schools would not want to have anything to do with homeschoolers. Homeschool families pay property taxes that support the school, and families who are involved also tend to contribute more financially, by enrolling in extracurriculars and, in some schools, contributing to a foundation that benefits the school. I don't know about our school district, except that a home-schooler did participate in our afterschool theater program for 2 years, and is now enrolled in school.

Heather said...

I homeschool through a charter school that is a public school. Funds are made available to purchase classes through approved vendors. And some of the vendors create small school like environments. But because my children are enrolled in a public school--they could not then go to a different school for other services because of dual enrollment issues.

Zev said...

homeschooling for gifted students is OK but from the education point of view we must develop Gifted Education systems as critical mass towards knowledge based economy and I don’t see if it is possible by homeschooling.

I hope Gifted Worlds ( ) will do Gifted Education towards knowledge based economy and specially in the 3rd world.

Anonymous said...

We benefit from part-time enrollment through a public charter school in Colorado Springs that caters to gifted children; here is the information on it - It's a terrific option, and we are very pleased to have it. The local school district (D-11 Colorado Springs) also has a homeschool support program that we used for a year and found OK. Colorado seems to be a wonderful place for school choice and flexible school arrangements, in general.

K-Man said...

If parents feel forced to homeschool a gifted child because the public school system doesn't want to give the child an appropriate education, then just why would these parents want that same school system to provide some kind of "support"? If it were I, there would be as little contact with that school system as possible—let alone seeking "support". That encourages unwarranted scrutiny and meddling.

And the gifted in such circumstances are virtually the only students who I believe would actually benefit from homeschooling. Mostly, for other, nongifted and nondisabled students, homeschooling seems to have little or no benefit and potentially many problems.