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9/14/2013 1:40:00 PM
Home Educators step 'outside the box'
After a day at work, Camp Verde resident Branden Ackerman helps his 8-year-old daughter Cheyann with her math lesson. “I’ve shown Cheyann some tricks to math,” He says. “Every moment is a learning opportunity.” VVN/Bill Helm
After a day at work, Camp Verde resident Branden Ackerman helps his 8-year-old daughter Cheyann with her math lesson. “I’ve shown Cheyann some tricks to math,” He says. “Every moment is a learning opportunity.” VVN/Bill Helm
Glynis Blakely, foreground, and her daughter Beth Ackerman, both of Camp Verde, recently attended a meeting of home schooling parents and children at the Camp Verde Community Library. VVN/Bill Helm
Glynis Blakely, foreground, and her daughter Beth Ackerman, both of Camp Verde, recently attended a meeting of home schooling parents and children at the Camp Verde Community Library. VVN/Bill Helm

Bill Helm
Reporter


VERDE VALLEY - They start each day the way most school-aged children do.

They shower. They get dressed. They eat breakfast.

Then they go to school.

But for these children, class is usually held at the kitchen table or in the living room.

And once each month, class is held at the Camp Verde Community Library, where their parents can join them to share teaching methods and discuss possible field trips.

More and more, home schooling is becoming a viable option for parents who seek more of a say-so in their children's education.

For the past few years, Camp Verde residents Beth and Branden Ackerman have gone back and forth between home school and traditional schools. This year, their 8-year-old daughter Cheyann starts third grade - at home, with her 4-year-old brother Jacksen, who is starting pre-school.

According to Beth, as long as Arizona home educators give their home county an affidavit of intent, they may teach their children at home, rather than sending them to a traditional school. Beth says that the ultimate responsibility is on the parent, to make sure the academics are strong enough to prepare children for the future.

"With home schooling for our family, it's all about spending more time together," Beth says. "My husband and I can raise our children the way God wants us to raise them. These are the years that everyone says to enjoy because they fly by so fast, and that's just what we plan on doing."

Beth says that Jacksen has never been to a traditional school. She also says the Common Core Curriculum program has been a motivator to teach her children at home.

"Once I found out that the state was changing to the Common Core Curriculum, I started doing my research," she says. "As an involved mom, I want to know what my kids are being taught. And after looking at both good versus bad and discussing it with my husband, we chose that home schooling is our best option right now."

Though she says it is unwise to say never, Camp Verde resident Kelly Cook and her husband Tony have no plans to send her 5-year-old son T. J. to a traditional school.

"My husband and I share the responsibility for teaching him, and we make choices based on his individual needs," Cook says. "It is our job as parents to disciple our children. Having T.J. home with us enables us to walk out our faith as an example for him to follow. Learning opportunities arise in some of the most unexpected places, and he'd miss them if he were stuck inside all day.

"Beyond that, there are a multitude of reasons: Not following an arbitrary schedule, one that has been shown to be less than beneficial to the students it purports to educate," Kelly continues. "Wanting my son to enjoy the process of learning, since it is something we do for our entire lives, and what you call a traditional school situation generally doesn't do a good job of that. Wanting more than a 'one size fits all' education for my child."

Now that her daughter Beth Ackerman has a family of her own, Camp Verde resident Glynis Blakely is raising two children she has adopted. And Blakely has decided that home school is the best way to educate them.

"This is my first year home schooling them," Blakely said of her 14-year-old son Joe and 10-year-old daughter Kayla. "I will be doing most of the teaching, but my husband is always here to help. My goal is [to teach them] long term, through high school."

Joe, now a freshman in high school, admits that he was looking forward to attending Camp Verde High School. He also says that there are advantages to being home schooled.

"I like being able to stay at home," Joe says. "I am able to be on my own schedule. And I can be a better student learning at home. There are fewer distractions."

Beth says her children learn better in the evening, once their father has returned home from work. So they complete the majority of their studies at night. Once home, Branden is able to help the children with their math and Bible studies. He says that their math studies are both functional than traditional.

"We talk about balancing a checkbook and doing grocery shopping," he says. "I've shown Cheyann some tricks to math. Every moment is a learning opportunity."

Though children schooled at home do not have the same opportunities to socialize with other children, the Ackerman children do enjoy time with extended family and children at their church.

When finished teaching for the day, Clarkdale resident Lisa Benites takes her three sons to the neighborhood park. Benites is in her third year home schooling her children: 9-year-old Quintin, 7-year-old Jesse and 5-year-old Joseph, who just started kindergarten.

"It's going good. It's challenging, but we enjoy it," Benites says. "We're stepping outside the box. Most kids aren't doing what you're doing."

Benites says her favorite part of home schooling her children is "to be able to spend extra time with the boys while they are young. We don't have to rush when we're working on things. We can do things in more fun ways."


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Article comment by: lol really?

....all other info- who, what, where, and why, and leave out the when? i am assuming this article was meant to inform other homeschooling parents about these meetings, pretty crucial piece of info to leave out!



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