the Rochester Area Homeschoolers Association, a mother who subscribes
to the ‘Unschool’ philosophy allowed her son to study with the
Clonlara School. He would work daily under the supervision of
a contact teacher via electronic mail and telephone. By leaving
her son in the hands of a Clonlara teacher, she did not have to
go through the growing pains of working out a curriculum.
spoke of the experiences she has heard from others in her association.
“When parents are just beginning, they tend to purchase a curriculum
for a security blanket, and as they grow more confident, they
move farther and farther from it,” she said.
school allows the breathing room of homeschooling combined with
the supervision and credentials of a private school. With the
bonus of a transcript, the Clonlara School cinches the knot between
homeschooling and correspondence schools.
son followed the ‘unschooler’ program, which, staying true to
its name, redefines the alternative learning aspect within homeschooling.
For example, instead of adhering to a curriculum, one could focus
on subjects by interest, such as attending a nearby museum lecture.
son, now 20, learned under Clonlara until he was 16, at which
point he chose to attend community college, where he followed
the 24 Credit Hour Program. As the New York State Education Department
has dictated, “A student who has not earned a high school diploma
may be issued a New York State High School Equivalency Diploma
if satisfactory evidence is provided documenting successful completion
of 24 credits or the equivalent as a recognized candidate for
a college-level degree or certificate at an approved institution.”
schools are only one option within the array of education choices
available outside of the formal school systems. For homeschoolers,
curriculum choices span from pre-packaged “canned” programs to
rag doll-esque curriculums pieced together from various choices
on the Internet. According to Linda Holzbaur from the Fingerlakes
Unschoolers Network, “Most families probably don’t use purchased
[homeschool] curriculums. They seem to use vague programs [found
on the Internet] that allow lots of breathing room.”
stressed that homeschooling’s greatest strength is its ability
to be completely under the control of the parent. She spoke of
the great resources of the Internet and how much of a vital tool
it is for homeschoolers.
from Long Island Family Teachers United in Prayer (L.I.F.T.U.P.)
reinforced the importance of changing a curriculum to fit the
child. “Whether the child is an auditory or visual learner decides
the curriculum, but many choose purchased curriculums and then
change them along the way.”
is a trend that seems to be growing. Within the United States,
approximately two million children are homeschooled, according
to Homeschool Legal Defense Association. In addition, Governor
Pataki named the week of May 27-June 2 Home Education Week.
the demands of a curriculum, parents often look to outside resources.
One such option would be the “Homeschool Days” at the Liberty
Science Center. According to Julia Kane, coordinator of the program,
“Homeschool Days” occur three times a year—twice in September
and once in February. The Center is closed to school groups on
these days. The homeschool families pay the lowest entrance fee,
the “school group” price. Within the Center itself, homeschoolers
can experience the laser show, the massive IMAX Theater, on-site
demonstrations and Discovery Challenges. This is also a valuable
time to network with other families and discuss one of the more
difficult curriculas to design: science. Although many families
participate in “Homeschool Days,’ most belong to the Education
Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey (www.enochnj.org)
or New York City Home Educators Alliance (www.nychea.com).#
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