About a year and a half ago I made the decision to homeschool my daughter. This was a very personal decision for my family, and usually those who homeschool have their own unique reasons for doing so. Some are for academic reasons, some for religious reasons, or even social reasons. Some want to accommodate a nontraditional family schedule, while others want their child to have access to a more challenging program, or perhaps give a struggling learner more support than a neighborhood school may offer. I wrote about my own personal reasons for homeschooling my daughter on my blog. What it boils down to is that everyone has to do what’s best for their family.
Now, I’m not trying to convince anyone that homeschooling is what you need to be doing with your family. I’m also not saying public school is bad. In fact, I support public school. (I’m also an educator by profession, so of course I support all forms of education!) My son goes to a great public school, which is where my daughter started as well. I realize that not everyone even likes the idea of homeschooling, and that’s okay. I just wanted to take this opportunity to share about how great our local homeschooling community is. And that, my friends, is what FresYes is all about: community!
Last Friday I went to an event called Muffins for Homeschool Moms. It was a local event, put on by a friend of mine and by Summit Academy, a homeschooling charter. The main goal was to celebrate local homeschooling moms (and dads). What I loved about this event was that it wasn’t just for current homeschoolers, but it was also for those who might be interested in homeschooling. Families were there to provide information and support to those who were new to the idea of homeschooling. The thing about homeschooling is that sometimes it can be overwhelming, and sometimes a parent can feel isolated. That is, until they learn that others get together on a regular basis to network and support one another.
Just like in all areas in life, people need support. I’ve found that the more I’m supported in a specific area of my life, the more confident I feel going forward. (Not to say that I’ve gotten it all together-that’s a whole ‘nother story.) This has also been true in my homeschooling journey, which is another reason why the Muffins for Homeschool Moms event was important to me. Families were able to socialize (the dreaded S word among the homeschooling community-but don’t get me started on that) and share ideas on what works for them. They were able to find answers to questions they had.
One way to have this support I keep talking about is to go through a local charter school. A charter school assists families who homeschool. They still go by the rules of California, so there are testing and guidelines to follow. (Yes, Common Core is used here too!) However, there is more freedom for the parent. The parent can use whatever curriculum they choose to teach the standards. Summit Academy then has credentialed teachers who help families find resources, and to support families any way possible. Summit Academy is fairly new to California (first opening this last September), but it is said to be California’s Charter of choice, which means there is a lot of support throughout all of California. When people choose Summit Academy, there is funding given to the families to help with materials, manipulatives, curriculum, and enrichment classes (music, art, sports).
So, even though the event was sponsored by Summit Academy, it brought together many from the homeschooling community, which is a diverse population. If there is one thing I encourage over and over again, it is the idea of community. This community is a large one, and it’s widely supported. For the Muffins for Homeschool Moms event, community businesses donated over $1000 in goods and services. $1000!!! That’s a huge amount! This means that homeschooling is supported within our community. In my opinion, this local (and very much thriving) homeschool community is one of the best aspects of living in Fresno. So, no matter who you go through, or how you school, I cannot stress this enough-find your people. Find those who believe in you and what you do. Find those who will stand behind you and encourage you. But most of all, find those who will love and support you.
If you have any questions about homeschooling or Summit Academy, feel free to contact Janell Gaertig at firstname.lastname@example.org Or you can call her at (559)376-0215. You can check them out on Facebook as well.
Finally, if you’re thinking about homeschooling, and you want to check out Summit Academy, they offer summer school to students entering TK through 12th grade. Students don’t need to un-enroll from their current school to participate. Enrollment in Summit Academy for fall is going on now and they are seeking credentialed teachers interested in supporting homeschooling families. So if you’re interested in either of these things, you can also contact Janell. Tell her I said hi. 🙂 You’ll just love her, I promise!