Homeschooling Provides Options for Metuchen Families

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While this site spends a great deal of time considering and investigating the choices we make in our school district regarding education at all its levels, Metuchen is no stranger to alternative solutions to educating children. Metuchen Matters spoke to two families with very different situations who homeschool one or all of their young children. With improved internet programs available as well as living in a metro area that provides an endless array of additional resources that enhance the educational process, homeschooling has a much different face now than it did just twenty years ago.
 
New Jersey legally acknowledges homeschooling as an option for school-age students in any school district. The State Department of Education provides some guidance in terms of helping districts work with homeschoolers and ensure that they stay on testing schedules required by the government.
 
Take a look at the issues facing homeschooling families and how they are dealing with complying with governmental requirements as well as enjoying the freedom that comes with a more flexible school schedule. Metuchen Matters gratefully acknowledges the help of the Revano and Wilcox families in filing this report.

I. PROVIDING OPTIONS
For children who are pursuing individualized sports or the arts at a highly-competitive level, the flexibility of homeschooling helps provide a better fit for those with intense training or rehearsal schedules.
 
Laura Revano: "My reason for homeschooling my daughter has nothing to do with my dissatisfaction with the Metuchen School District.  We are very happy with our schools, as evidenced by the fact that my two sons still attend schools in the district.  My daughter is a gymnast, and it is a very time consuming sport.  She practices four hours a day, five days a week.  If she attended public school, she would have to wake up at about 6:30 a.m. to get ready for school . . . Another mother at our gym, who had already been homeschooling her daughter for a year, . . . gave me a wealth of information.  After reading the book about the curriculums available, and deciding which ones I thought might be a good fit for us, we attended [a Pennsylvania] convention to speak with the vendors and get more of an understanding of their curricula."
 
II. CHOOSING CURRICULA
Online schools and educational resources can improve the quality of homeschooling. Courses of study, educational games, online tests, online tutoring, and occupational training are easily accessible. These programs allow families access to specialized teachers and materials and parents can be with their children during online tutoring sessions for added instruction.
 
Revano: " The curriculum we chose is computer-based.  We purchase a CD-Rom set for each class that she will take each year.  I base her classes on what my son learned the year before in school, so that we can follow the Metuchen curriculum.  Over the summer I load her computer with the CD-Roms, set up her calendar (I base it on the Metuchen calendar, so that she has the same days off), and she is ready to start school the same day that my boys do.  She takes math, language arts, history, science, health and Spanish, as well as a weekly writing course that she does over the internet with a writing instructor who corrects her work and makes recommendations on how to make her writing better. . .  I am available if she doesn't understand something and needs more of an explanation."
 
III. UTILIZING RESOURCES
Living in the New York-Philadelphia Metro area (as well as being only a few hours from Washington, D.C.) offers opportunities for field trips that enhance education. It is this ability to utilize area resources that makes the Wiicox family feel that homeschooling is their best option--Susan Wilcox wrote, "The beauty of homeschooling in this area is the wealth of resources we have in a reasonable distance.  I firmly believe that kids learn the best when they are actively doing something -- field trips are great experiences." Ms. Revano has "taken trips to museums, and . . . participated in hands-on workshops."
 
IV. RESOLVING SCHEDULING AND TIME STRESSES
Revano: "I have found that our decision to homeschool has reduced a lot of stress in our home.  We are not rushing around to finish homework in an hour, my daughter enjoys a little downtime during the day once her lessons are completed, and I am available when my boys get home to sit with them if they need help with homework.  My daughter still sees many of her friends from town, and has been invited to many of their social functions.  Edgar Middle School made it a point to call us when we first decided to homeschool, to make sure that my daughter knew she was invited to all of the school dances . . . not something you hear of often--many school districts do not look fondly on homeschoolers, and we appreciated the district reaching out to us.  My daughter thinks she would like to return to public or private school for high school, and we will be comfortable with this decision when that time comes if she still chooses to do this.  We feel she is well prepared."
 
V. HOW DOES HOMESCHOOLING AFFECT COLLEGE CHOICES
New Jersey does allow homeschooling parents to issue a high school transcript for their child.
The College Board suggests that homeschooled students keep detailed records and portfolios.In the last few decades, US colleges and universities have accepted students from home-schooling environments. According to one source, homeschoolers have now matriculated at over 900 different colleges and universities, including institutions with highly selective standards of admission such as Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University.
 
Homeschooling rates have increased incrementally across the United State--click here for more information.

2 Comments

Great article. I'm in Piscataway and have always been interested in homeschooling my son. Good to know that there are families nearby thst are actually doing it.

A group of area homeschoolers gets together for a session with Rovers Soccer.

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  • Diane: Great article. I'm in Piscataway and have always been interested read more
  • Anonymous: A group of area homeschoolers gets together for a session read more

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