Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Another Option for Homeschoolers

I get asked about homeschooling pretty often. Since I'm in the unique position of having some of my children enrolled in school, and some of my children being homeschooled, I probably have more opportunities to talk to regular moms who don't have any idea how a person gets started with homeschooling or how to make sure you're doing all of the things you need to do to educate a child.

Pretty commonly I have mothers tell me that they are interested in homeschooling for various reasons, but they aren't confident that they would know how to teach, what to teach, or if they can handle high school courses. (Moms seem to even worry about this when their potential homeschoolers are in kindergarten. :) )

I found out about an interesting option for homeschooling. It's St Gabriel's Catholic Academy, which is an internet-based homeschool option. This school offers complete course selection for preschool through 12th grade, with very reasonable tuition rates of about $1000 per student. Amazingly, this price INCLUDES the child's textbooks, DVDs, CDs, grading, progress reports, and oversight by their academic counselors! Honestly--that's a lot of good stuff for that price. I know that a lot of the women I talked to would especially feel happy to have the teacher oversight that St. Gabriel's provides, and honestly, for the total beginner that does not have a lot of opinions about educational philosophy, to spare yourself the pain and agony of sifting through dozens of homeschool websites and catalogs trying to figure out exactly WHICH math/handwriting/science/history/Bible/grammar curriculum will be right for YOUR kids. THAT stuff is the stuff that makes homeschool mommies everywhere want to run and hide in the corner, me included. If you don't know what you want--why not start with something like this, and tweak from there?

I was glad to see that St. Gabriel's offers a lot of flexibility. You can change courses for a small fee if you find that it isn't a good fit for your child, or you can drop a class for free if you need to. The educational philosophy of the academy seems very reasonable to me. They have a nice emphasis on children learning at their own pace, and supporting parents in their role as well.

For those of us not Catholic, you might be curious if St. Gabriel's offers teaching that is compatible with your own beliefs. I did not see anything in the statement of faith that would not be acceptable to every professing Christian that I know, regardless of their doctrinal beliefs or denomination.

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