Annual convention brings area home-schools together at Clarion Inn
By: Jesse Rininger
March 23, 2012
Some are former teachers in public school systems. Some stress religious convictions. Some just want their children to develop at their own pace. And some do it out of necessity.
The reasons parents home-school their children vary from family to family, but they're coming together today for the 18th annual Homeschool Convention hosted by Southwestern Indiana Home Educators at the Clarion Inn and Convention Center on U.S. 41 North.
The convention, which opened Friday, allows those who teach at home to stock up on updated textbooks, educational activities and to learn different methods of teaching their children.
Friday afternoon, parents and children milled about the book vendors, hunting programs that might best suit the youngsters.
"Public and private school is not effective for everyone," said Mike Fendrich, a member of the organization's steering committee. "We try to assist families in their own efforts in their own home."
Erin Miller, a former English teacher at Central High School, said she feels comfortable and capable to teach her three children.
"I wanted to give my children a quality education without the stressors of peer pressure," said Miller, for two years a home-schooler of three.
Religion often plays a significant role in the decision by parents to home-school. The convention is Christian-oriented, but offers programs for nonreligious education.
Former science teacher Buddy Hamke, 39, home-schools his four children. He began teaching at home eight years ago, mainly for religious purposes.
"We wanted to teach the kids what we wanted them to be taught," Hamke said. "We didn't want them to go to school for eight hours a day, being taught one thing, and then us trying to deprogram them when they came home."
Some parents attend the convention to explore if they can home-school their children.
Lisa Radke's 5-year-old son Kai will start kindergarten in the fall, and consideration has been given to the possibility of home schooling.
"I'd be able to teach my son on his level, and that would free up a lot of time for him to pursue other interests," Radke said. "It seems like it could be very lonely, though, and he's a very social kid, so I worry about that."
Fendrich said since he attended his first convention in 1986, the nationwide community has grown from a few thousand to about 1.5 million.
"Knowing the commitment that's required and the time that you have to put in, and seeing all these young families stepping up and saying 'Yeah, I think we can try this,' it's all very exciting," Fendrich said.