Families Talk About the Benefits of Homeschooling

Families from a local home school co-op network enjoy a nature walk on Dykeman Trail. Pictured are, from left, Rebekah Kuriakose, Aliza Kuriakose, Talya Kuriakose, Eliana Kuriakose, Grace Gunnett and Naomi Gunnett.
Families from a local home school co-op network enjoy a nature walk on Dykeman Trail. Pictured are, from left, Rebekah Kuriakose, Aliza Kuriakose, Talya Kuriakose, Eliana Kuriakose, Grace Gunnett and Naomi Gunnett.

Families who choose to homeschool their children aren’t necessarily on their own.

There are cooperatives that exist to help families in choosing a curriculum and generally making the most of their children’s education.

One of those is the Extracurricular Co-Op started by Kendra Burkholder. It stresses core subjects such as mathematics, reading and writing, and specializes in art, music and physical education.

Membership in the network has grown from six to eight families and 25 to 30 children in 2012-13, to 23 families and nearly 100 children today.

Rebekah Kuriakose, a co-op member, said people choose homeschooling for different reasons. For her — the mother of three daughters, ages 8, 6 and 3 — the decision was based on a desire to provide a Christian-based education and to be more involved in her children’s lives.

Also, home school was a hit with her children. By the time her oldest daughter was 5, she had already mastered major kindergarten skills.

“She knew all of her letters and colors by time she was 3, and she was reading at 4,” Kuriakose said.

A graduate of Messiah College and a certified elementary school teacher, Kuriakose said she originally planned to return to work when her children started school.

“That was my thought because that’s what my mom had done,” she said. “But I had a younger one at home at the time and didn’t want to put her in day care, so we decided to home school.

“It’s important to be involved with your child’s education and to spend time with them when they’re young,” she added. “They learn a lot in their first five years. They’re like sponges, absorbing everything so fast … I’m not against day care. In fact, I worked in day care for two years after college, but I felt that if I could stay home with my children, that was my goal.”

Kuriakose said a home school curriculum can be tailored to children’s interests and allow them to learn at their own pace.

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Source: The Sentinel | Debbie Chestnut