Home-school Happenings: The changing face of home-schooling
Source: The Citizen-Times
By: Nicole McKeon
May 13, 2012
Several months back, I wrote an article about my desire to change the name “home-schooling” to “new-schooling.” I have given this a lot of thought and spent time observing many home educating families. I really believe that as more and more families leave traditional school and enter the home education realm, the face of home-schooling is changing. I think this is for many reasons.
What I observe in the home-schooling community, both online and in our local setting, is an ever more “in tune” parent. Parents are taking the time to learn about how children learn, about why children struggle and have an understanding that just because a child struggles in a traditional school setting, he or she is not defined by this struggle.
Add to this the fact that while many families are comfortable with a limited intimacy and interaction, that is sometimes a result of everyone having many responsibilities and demands outside of the home that keep them apart frequently. An equal push back is occurring there. Many families feel that one way they can emphasize the importance of family closeness and parent/child relationship is to cut out the middle man that traditional school sometimes becomes, thereby creating an environment where family relationships trump the peer relationships that sometimes become more important in a school setting.
In step with these changes, I have observed the ever-changing and often creative ways in which home-educating parents are getting the job done.
Of course, there are still the home-schooling families whom many non-home-schoolers reference, families like TV’s Duggar family, who primarily home educate to pass along their particular religious values on to their children.
But, there is a whole new breed of home-schooler, one who enters the home education realm knowing that they will be choosing carefully every class their child attends or participates in, based on that child’s individual learning style, strengths, weaknesses and interests. Research has shown that children learn and retain more enthusiastically when they are involved in the choices and are inherently interested in the subject matter.
I’d like to take some time, over the next several columns to introduce you to some of the services available for this type of home-schooler in WNC.
This month, I would like you to meet Convenient Tutor, a tutoring service started by James Foust, former Asheville Christian Academy teacher.
We were very excited to meet Mr. Foust and relieved to find that there was a place where we could find the assistance we needed to continue into advanced mathematics. North Carolina law states that the parent must be the primary teacher. Convenient Tutor offers courses that allow the parent to maintain a lead teacher role, while supplementing the learning that takes place at home.
Mr. Foust, a public high school graduate, holds a math/computer degree from Messiah College. His company offers classes ranging from middle and high school math to Latin, art to screenwriting. In addition to classes, they offer private tutoring and PSAT/SAT classes. While most of the classes that take place during the day hold homeschool students, Convenient Tutor also offers tutoring and classes for traditionally schooled kids. Mr. Foust and all the teachers employed at Convenient Tutor have many years of both tutoring and teaching experience. It is a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, and there is also a great understanding that many students struggle with some area of learning, so they are flexible and proactive in arranging the classes to accommodate all learning styles.
In line with the number of home-schoolers in WNC, Convenient Tutor has seen its student numbers increase, so much so, that they will be moving into a larger facility in the Biltmore Forest area by June. While the current facility is great, they have definitely outgrown the space.
The cost involved is $50-$60 per month for classes, with individual tutoring prices in the evening at an average of $40 per hour. Additionally, students can start tutoring or classes immediately, with no “pretesting” requirement, and no long-term commitment required.
Convenient Tutor does very little advertising, and most people find out about the services through word of mouth, which says a lot about the quality of the service.