Letter: You have education options
Children attend school eight hours a day, learning a federally mandated curriculum, which is aligned with standardized testing expectations. This kind of education isn’t inspiring or personally relevant to students of any age. The good news is, you and your family don’t have to be stuck in this uninspired system. You actually have many options when it comes to facilitating an excellent education for your child.
If your child is unhappy about school, or constantly stressed out about it, their curiosity and love of learning will be negatively affected. Families are frequently choosing homeschooling as their remedy to institutionalized learning.
In the Roaring Fork Valley, there are many options for alternative education. Glenwood Arts Center has an affordable all-day homeschool program that features dance, guitar, pottery and mixed media art classes. The 150 families in the Roaring Fork Valley Homeschool Network organize Spanish, PE, science, public speaking and other group classes for our children. Cornerstone School offers a two- and three-day-a-week homeschool companion program that guides families in their learning journey. CMC offers college classes to keep academically advanced high school students appropriately challenged.
My seventh-grade son and several of his friends have been homeschooling for the past three years and their educational and personal journeys have been so positive. Homeschooling gives children the advantage of deep, relevant learning. You can discuss literature, history and science topics in detail, rather than just skimming over them. Kids slowly and completely learn math skills instead of racing through standards without mastery. In child-focused learning environments, kids of all ages and abilities naturally find their passions and have time to explore them completely. And they have lots of time to socialize through scouting, athletics, internships and other fun pursuits.
Three years ago, my eighth-grade daughter and I read “The Teenage Liberation Handbook,” a remarkable book that details the paths of many families who decided that the traditional school system wasn’t working for them.
These people charted their own educational courses, with fantastic, positive, personalized outcomes. My “straight A” daughter asked if she could drop out (or “drop up” as we like to say now) and she had a magical year of self-directed learning, with a well-rounded selection of subjects that interested her.
The following year, she enrolled at Bridges, a Carbondale public high school that helps students of all abilities plan personalized educations. She’s halfway through her CMC associate’s degree requirements and will graduate from high school with two years of college credit. There are great options out there. You just have to look “outside the box” to find them.
If you are interested in talking to families who are homeschooling children (from toddlers to teens) in the valley, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you. We have an informal Mom’s Night Out meeting planned in Basalt at 7 p.m. Jan. 7. If you’d like to attend, send an email.
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