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Continued from page 17


HOMESCHOOLING


Luke Pinion, a homeschool graduate with a Bach- elor’s Degree in Digital Media Studies from Union University, said it wasn’t diffi cult getting into college. He had to submit a high school transcript (which his mother created), take the ACT (scored 27), and un- dergo several interviews. After graduation, Luke went to work for Global Client Solutions in his own home- town of Tulsa, Okla. His boss, Chris Woodard, said that Luke had no trouble adapting to the work envi- ronment. “Luke is very consistent, punctual, always willing to stick around and help; and he gets things done,” Woodard said.


What about socialization? One of the fi rst questions most people ask home- schoolers is, “What about socialization?” Amber Guthery’s mother, Darlene Braga, admits she was concerned about social adjustments when Amber started homeschooling; but, now, she doesn’t see that it’s made any difference. Last fall, her grandkids worked at Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch. “They handled the cus- tomers just fi ne.” Darlene said. “In fact, the owner said she’d never met as well adjusted kids socially.” Angel said she has to make an effort to ensure her children connect with friends because they’re not in a classroom of 25 kids everyday. However, there are plenty of resources available for social networking, in- cluding homeschool band, homeschool sports, home- school choir, homeschool co-ops, church, and local clubs.


Luke Pinion said he had no problems making friends. He remembers a time in high school when he went to a concert with a friend who was in public school. After watching Luke interact with a variety of friends at the concert, his public school friend said, “You’re home- schooled, and I’m the one who goes to school; yet you know more people than I do!”


Angel Morris said that Elizabeth is a normal teen- ager, doing normal teenager things. When she’s not doing school or volunteering, she’s going to the mov- ies, spending the night with friends, and hanging out at the mall.


In order for her children to play with their public school friends, Sheila keeps the same schedule as the schools. However, she believes that children need a va- riety of interactions. “We run errands together. We go to the bank together. They’ve even gone to vote with me,” Sheila said. “They talk to people that are older and younger and from different backgrounds.” She also encourages them to participate in volunteer ser- vice projects, such as serving at John 3:16, a ministry to the homeless in Tulsa.


Volunteering is a popular activity among home- schoolers. Elizabeth Morris volunteers 100 hours per year as a Junior Curator for the Oklahoma City Zoo. Her supervisor, volunteer coordinator Melissa Kesler, said her experience with homeschoolers in the pro- gram has been positive. “The stereotype I always hear from people is, ‘homeschoolers are just sitting at home watching cartoons,’ but the students I’ve met are very intelligent and doing challenging work at home.” Shandra Pinion, Luke’s wife and also a homeschool graduate, remembers fi lling out an application that asked her to list any volunteer work done. “I didn’t have enough spots on my paper to fi ll out all my vol-


18 OKLAHOMA LIVING


Sheila Wilson, member of Lake Region Electric Co-op, homeschools her children Hannah and Seth in Coweta, Okla.


unteer work!” Shandra said.


“Socialization is not the challenge,” Sheila said. “The challenge is making sure you have time to stay home and do school!”


Challenges of Homeschooling


The biggest challenge of homeschooling for Amber is spring fever. “The weather gets nice. We want to get out. It’s hard to keep that motivation to fi nish out the school year.” To compensate, Amber plans ahead by working harder at the beginning of the year so she can lighten up in April.


Sheila said one of her challenges is housework. “The house never stays clean because we’re home all day messing it up!”


Finances can be a common challenge for home- schoolers. Most of them live on one income, and they take on the added expense of educating their children at home. However, Dr. Ray estimates that homeschool- ing has saved taxpayers more than $16 billion. Sheila said she saves money by buying used curricu- lum, borrowing from friends, and using free resources on the Internet.


Amber said she cuts costs by passing down curricu- lum to the next child. She spends about $300 per year on curriculum.


What motivates people to homeschool? When Hannah Wilson reached preschool age, Shei- la decided that Hannah wasn’t ready to be away from home that much. Instead, Sheila kept her home with the idea that she would put her into “real” school when she was ready. However, when Hannah turned fi ve, Sheila said, “I realized what we were doing was work- ing; so I started reading books about homeschooling, researching curricula, and ended up joining a home- school support group.”


In the Guthery household, Ryan wanted to home- school, but Amber wasn’t convinced. “I had always looked down on homeschooling,” Amber said, “thinking that the kids weren’t really learning any- thing, and that the kids were awkward.” After a year of prayer and research, Amber decided to try it. Now, “I wouldn’t trade homeschooling for anything.” “One of the benefi ts of homeschooling,” Amber said, “is that you can tailor your schooling to how your children learn.”


needs of each of her children. One of her children is in 3rd


grade work. Another


grade, but working at a lower level in math. They’re not pushed when they’re not ready, Amber said, and they can move ahead when they’ve mastered a subject.


child is in 8th


As stories of school shootings, child molestations, and bullying continue to make the news, parents look to homeschool as a way out. “The best reason to homeschool,” Angel Morris said, “is it gives chil- dren a safe envi ronment to fi gure out who they are.” The most cited reason for homeschooling, how- ever, is the opportunity to impart family values and improve family relationships.


“Being homeschooled, I had more interaction with my family,” Luke said. “Maybe for some people that would be annoying, but I think it made us a stronger family.”


“My perspective has changed,” Amber said. “Our former days of public school was rushing around, getting my oldest off to school, picking her up, do- ing homework, and then it was time to prep for bed and begin it all over again. God has shown me what a gift they are, and I feel blessed to be sharing their life in this special way.”


Amber customizes her curriculum to meet the grade, but doing some 5th


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