As homeschooling continues to grow—now involving more than two million American families by most estimates—creative and conscientious parents are looking for more ways to educate their children. In fact, the very term “homeschooling” is actually too limiting in its own description: Many homeschooled students now spend a great deal of time outside their own homes.
The flexibility of homeschooling has always offered valuable opportunities for children to partake in real-world education outside of a classroom setting, such as field trips to zoos or museums, visits to historical sites, outdoor science experiments and so on.
More recently, multiple homeschool families are pooling their resources and talents to form homeschool co-operative learning experiences. That essentially means parent-teachers share their time to offer instruction to other children beyond their own, often in a communal setting. For example, one mother may have a gift for teaching music, and another might have professional experience as a language instructor. It then becomes very efficient for the families to meet in one place and take turns learning from each other.
The St. Louis area offers several such opportunities. One group known as HSN (Home School Network) has been meeting once a week for the last few years. The program now involves dozens of homeschool students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. The HSN program involves a full day of classes teaching writing, math, geography, logic, Spanish, art and more. Meeting at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church on Clayton Road, the students who attend are grouped by age and education level, and then go together from class to class throughout the day. HSN meets on Thursdays from August through November in the fall, and from January to April for the spring semester.
Another exciting homeschool co-op program is Eagle Learning Center (ELC), which meets on Mondays at Ellisville Baptist Church on Clarkson. ELC is customized for older students and features more advanced high-school level courses. ELC is also unique in that it offers classes “a la carte,” so a student can sign up only for select classes rather than a full day.
That way, a homeschool family which is already using an established pre-scheduled curriculum for general studies may attend the ELC for just a few hours a week to pick up specialized training not offered elsewhere. For example, the popular Speech & Debate class helps young men and women to master useful disciplines such as gathering researching, writing presentations and speaking in front of a group.
For more information, contact Noel Kellogg at firstname.lastname@example.org about HSN classes, or Laura Hecht at email@example.com or Beth Unger (BethSTLu79@aol.com) about ELC opportunities. Classes for the upcoming spring semester are forming now.