Home school? What is it? At one time it was limited to a few people with a specific need. But now this educational trend is rapidly on the rise and meets the needs of families for a variety of reasons. In this series of four sections published each Monday, we will explore who home schools, what are the different approaches to home school curriculum and how do co-ops play a role in providing opportunities for students to be involved in extracurricular programs that lead to international travels and college scholarships and how home schools interplays with public schools.
The sun rises making its way past the trees to flood the house with light as she arranges the classroom and prepares lessons. It is a little more challenging this day because she has to take time to find things in boxes that are still being unpacked from their recent move to the Kimberlin Heights area in Seymour from north Knoxville.
The children help in the task and although one of them is not all that excited about the move to the countryside, at least one benefit is they don’t have to change schools or curriculum. They will remain in the same home school co-op and it will be studies and friends as usual.
Amy and Martin Slomski could be poster parents for home schooling. They are a traditional conservative Christian couple with five children ages 5 to 15 years old. Amy, a stay at home mom, and her husband Martin, a professional Communications Coordinator, decided to home school based on the uncertainty of public schools. The uncertainty of what teachers their children might have and how they teach was a concern.
“Just getting to choose who our children socialize with is an important part of the decision,” said Amy. She explained that clicks were less likely to happen in the home school social realm and that while they connected with people of like interests and faith, the children actually were able to communicate and bond well with a variety of ages and people, as opposed to the strict peer dependence seen frequently in schools.
The idea is to educate your children on a holistic level, while raising them to be functional adults she stated.
“You want them to be kids and have fun, which they will; but home schoolers across the board are more mature students. It doesn’t mean they are perfect though, expressed Amy.
While these were originally just a few of the reasons the Slomskis chose home school, they eventually saw it as an excellent way to grow as a Christian. Even parochial schools were not able to get into the depth of Biblical study that can be done as a family she believed.
Her family’s deep faith and interest in the arts led her to choose the Bezalel School of International Dance and Pageantry in Karns, but serves students from multiple counties.
It is a fine arts Christian co-op that teaches children to minister through the arts. For Amy and daughter Megan, age 15, that means starting Wednesday morning with Hebrew lessons learning to read and speak the language of Jesus, in preparation for a performance trip to Israel in the fall. Afterwards, they move to dance class, again learning the ways of Jewish culture by practicing folk dance. Her son Drew, age 10 also gets involved in this aspect of learning, but Dale, age 13, prefers to stay away from dancing and joins his brother and older sister during cultural studies, a class where Jewish history and customs are taught.
Last year they spent time preparing for their cultural exchange in Great Britain where they performed international dances at various churches and schools, while staying with British families. It was through this exchange that the Slomski family met friends they still keep in contact with. “The idea is to form friendships from around the world,” she said. The family is especially looking forward to their Israel exchange coming up where they can feel the vibrancy of the Holy Land. After retuning from there, preparations for a trip to Brazil will be in the works.
In the meantime, youngest daughter Morgan, age 5, is busy with her peers in “Little Praisers” a precursor to interpretive dance, where they stretch their imagination by portraying trees, fruit and farmers, or whatever their young imaginations come up with. Madison age 8 is studying acting where she will display what she learned this year in a performance. This is another art form used to share the gospel. For those wanting to paint as a way to express themselves and minister there are even classes in that area too.
The Slomski family has even found ways to share the information learned with their church, Celebration Lutheran on Chapman Highway, in Seymour. Amy particularly finds ways to bring the Hebrew words and dance to life on Monday nights preceding the ladies Beth Moore Bible study.
This particular co-op seems to be a good fit for this family as does the choice for home schooling, but Amy highly suggest anyone considering this format seriously pray about this decision before making the commitment.
I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody who wasn’t 100% sure this is where the Lord is takings you,” she said.
The second series of Home schooling will be published next Monday.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.