Panel discussion hosted for parents seeking education alternatives

Last month’s panel discussion featured parents who teach homeschool students, parents of homeschool students and members of the Greater Valley Home School House, which is a support group for homeschool families.

Shawn Nowlin
shawn.nowlin@ourvalley.org

With the coronavirus pandemic likely to continue through the fall, many students still face uncertainty for the upcoming academic year. In an ideal situation, a COVID-19 vaccine will surface in a few weeks, making it easier for students and parents to resume some type of normalcy. The reality of the situation is no one definitively knows just how long the coronavirus will be around.

Last month, Salem Church of Christ hosted a free panel discussion titled “Getting Started with Homeschooling.” Panelists included parents who teach homeschool students, parents of homeschool students and members of the Greater Valley Home School House, which is a support group for homeschool families.

Glenvar student James Foster completing a school assignment from home.

After participating in Facebook parenting groups like “Salem (VA) Moms,” Kirsty Foster was inspired to organize the panel discussion which was live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.

“Many parents asked the same questions about how to get started, how to find a good curriculum and what resources were out there to help them. I had the same questions too,” said Foster who serves as the Salem Church of Christ Children’s Director.

She continued, “I spoke with some of the other leaders at church and we came up with the idea to have a Q&A session with some experienced home school parents and create a space that anyone could access and get those same questions answered.”

Is it possible to make time for it? Will my child get behind? What if I always fight with my child and nothing gets accomplished? Won’t they be unsocial and withdrawn? Will my child be able to get into a good college if they are homeschooled? Those questions are just some of the misconceptions that parents have about homeschooling their child, noted Foster.

“With some scheduling changes, I think most parents can make it work. I can’t speak for all schools, but with the way Glenvar has their system set up, we can take my son’s school laptop anywhere for his work,” she said. “The best piece of advice I heard came from our minister Eric Evans: ‘Parents are the best teachers – not because they are more skilled, but because their kids can’t wait to make them proud.’”

Foster has a Glenvar teenager and a preschooler. “My oldest son, who excels at math, is able to move quickly through the topics and then we can move at the pace of everyone else for English, science and social studies. His writing needs work and we are taking extra time to improve that,” Foster said before adding, “My youngest son is not thrilled with being stuck inside more often. YouTube has been a great resource for him. There are plenty of baby language videos and preschool videos that are extremely helpful.”

For additional information on private schools and homeschool options, visit www.doe.virginia.gov.

 

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