Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alternative Education Choices in SC

I was recently interviewed for an article on Alternative Education Choices in SC for Natural Awakenings magazine. (It may not open right away - try a second time and it will open. If not, go to the digital copy and look for page 19-20.)  Here is part of the article:

THE HOMESCHOOLING WAVE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Carissa Leventis-Cox is a stay-at-home mom, natural foods cook and homeschool teacher to her young son. She is also a representative of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum in South Carolina and the leader of the Columbia Holistic Moms Network that meets in the health food store community area in Lexington.

“If you are listening to your child, challenging him on concepts, you are homeschooling,” says Carissa. “The options for homeschooling are many, and the resources are tremendous in South Carolina. In a public school class with 20 Columbia Edition 20 students, can a teacher give full attention and stimulate learning equal to one-on-one attention from a parent?”

Carissa explained away all of the myths that people have about homeschooling, such as homeschoolers aren’t socialized with other children, and that they miss out on band, music groups or organized sports. “Homeschool children join with others frequently and work with children from diverse backgrounds and different ages,” adds Carissa. “It’s actually better.”

Homeschool groups benefit from a diversity of parents as well, with backgrounds that become valuable teaching resources, such as naturalists, language teachers, music and art instructors and experts in various professional fields who combine their talents as teachers for their community homeschool groups.

Community sports venues offer team sports, although public schools don’t allow homeschoolers to be on school teams. “Near me in Irmo, there is a music center that homeschoolers can use before 3 pm, after which the public school students begin arriving,” says Carissa. “We even have prom and graduation venues for homeschoolers.”

What if parents work? How can they offer their own children homeschool benefits? “If parents work, they can still homeschool, but it takes more careful scheduling. It takes time, dedication and love, and with that, a knowledge level or ability to find resources.” Carissa finds the public library to be a key resource. “My son gets 60 books per week. The librarians help with research and even send books.” For parents considering homeschool options, there are a multitude of state and national resources and support systems to research and community support systems to explore.

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