As the school year approaches, parents and guardians must make the decision of how they would like for their children to be educated. Homeschooling is an option some parents choose or implement. Becky Clark and Beth Brown, who have over 35 years of home education experience combined, offered some insight into this mode of teaching during a recent session called Homeschooling 101 at the Mansfield Richland County Public Library.
The two shared the ins and outs of homeschooling. They encouraged visitors interested in homeschooling their children to familiarize themselves with Ohio’s regulations regarding home education, Ohio Regulations 3301-34.
While state regulations mandate at least 900 hours of home education, one is not required to submit a daily attendance or hour log. “You’d be surprised with how much and how long you’re teaching your children,” said Clark. One year she had decided to log her hours and found that they were well above the required amount: approximately 2,000 hours.
In addition to the logistics of home education, Clark and Brown discussed how to engage children in learning through different activities that the parent and guardian can implement. For instance, Brown stated that she likes to do “hands-on” projects and activities, such as visiting national monuments and dressing up in various costumes and embodying the character they’re trying to portray.
“If you can get your kids excited about what they’re doing, they will excel,” said Clark. “You’d be amazed what you can do in this day and age to educate your kids and give them resources and skills and not go into debt.”
In order to maintain a healthy budget, they encouraged people to take advantage of their resources; for instance, using booklets and brochures provided by such organizations like the American Red Cross and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “Look at the databases that the Mansfield Richland County Public Library has,” added Brown. “They [the library] actually have free foreign language programs, ‘Mango,’ that you can sign your kids up for.”
Mom of three, Beth Brown has given/and continues to give all of her children home education, recently graduating her eldest daughter this past year. “Our faith-based learning is very important,” Brown said. Her family appreciates the freedom and enjoyment that is associated with homeschooling.
This will be Becky Clark’s 22nd year to home school her children. She and husband, Wayne Clark, both volunteer with the state organization, Christian Home Educators of Ohio (CHEO).
One of the most valuable things her family has gained from home education, she stated, is “enhancing our faith in God and learning together, growing together, and putting our family together that is bound in a sweet way.”
As a final piece of advice to those wishing to home school their children, Clark stated, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you put your all into teaching your kids to love learning and to learn how to learn, they will soar like eagles. Don’t worry about all the little daily things, but enjoy it because it goes really fast."