Home School Dads






Co-Op Gives Homeschool Parents Extra Option

April 12,2005
written by LaToya Mack

KINSTON, NC -- Homeschooling a child doesn't have to take place solely in the home.

Lenoir County homeschool parents take their children to Fairfield Community Center from 1:30-3:45 p.m. on Mondays so someone else can teach them. The co-op began in September.

"We wanted to offer the children a chance to take some classes and have some experiences that we couldn't offer ourselves," said Carol Irvin, a home-school parent and co-op coordinator.

Students have Spanish, sign language and physical education classes at Fairfield. Parents also considered science, music, art and drama classes. About 45 students attend the co-op.

"It's an overwhelming success," Irvin said. "The kids have learned a lot. They enjoy getting together every week. It's just been positive."

Irvin said one criticism of home schooling is the perceived lack of socialization the children receive. Bringing the children together every week is one of the ways homeschool parents ensure that their children learn social skills.

The co-op has three teachers. Parents pay $60 per student, per semester to cover the cost of classes and expenses.

On Monday, students were playing outside in physical education, learning the Mexican Hat Dance in Spanish class and playing a version of charades in sign language class.

Homeschool student Abbey Shimer likes going to the co-op "because I like the things they do here." Spanish is her favorite class.

Parents look forward to getting together on Mondays too.

"I've enjoyed the interaction. My son gets to be around other children his age. He gets exposure to Spanish, which I have no background in," parent Annie Kay Grady said. "(My son) loves it. He looks forward to it every week."

Parent Pam Campbell said the weekly classes give her a chance to socialize with other parents. She helps with teaching at the co-op.

"It gives them a lot of exercise and time to play with other children their age," Campbell said.

LaToya Mack can be reached at (252) 527-3191, Ext. 273, or lmack@freedomenc.com.