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school choice week
Families celebrated the value of homeschooling this week in Wilson.
This week was National School Choice Week, held to raise awareness about education options for families and their school-age children.
According to the North Carolina Department of Administration Division of Non-Public Education, in the year 2016-17, the estimated enrollment for home schools in Wilson County was 800 students among 521 home schools. There were 127,847 students home-schooled in the state during the last school year.
“I think the critical reason why families should have a choice is they can make a decision on what is best for their family, for independence and for them to be able to make their own choice for their own family because they know their family best,” said Charlene Dienes, director for lower grade levels within the Wilson County Classical Conversations organization.
The Classical Conversations group assists about 40 families with about 80 students in Wilson County.
On Tuesday, many of those families gathered to sing, learn, share experiences and celebrate students’ winning science projects from a recent science fair.
“Home schooling is really all about the belief that parents are the best teachers for their children,” said Dienes. “Nobody loves their kids like they do, and no one knows their kids like they do. So they are the best ones to be able to chose the best methods, what to learn and to meet them where they are at and give them the best experience and foster their education and their growth, mentally, physically and spiritually.”
The group has a Christian-based classical approach to education.
“It’s about knowing God and making him known. That’s our mission,” Dienes said. “We believe everything is about him and everything is about knowing about him. So our model is to combine a biblical world view with a classical model. We do it by coming alongside parents and modeling for them how to do it at home.”
Molly LaHay of Elm City was at the event with her son Seth.
“We’ve been home schooling for 19 years. Some of my children have already graduated from college,” LaHay said. “The flexibility to teach to their weaknesses and make those into strengths and to choose the curriculum, that’s just a huge benefit.”
Lorri Campbell came from Kinston with her three children to participate in the Classical Conversations meeting.
Campbell wasn’t inclined to home-school until she went to a Classical Conversations meeting.
“I loved the concept of a classical education,” Campbell said. “They empower the parent to be the lead teacher, which means I can home-school my children according to my own Christian world view.”
The organization gives Campbell support, encouragement and a sense of community.
“I am excited about home schooling and I never, ever wanted to home-school,” Campbell said.
She also said it has brought her family closer.
“It is a beautiful thing, the camaraderie that comes within the family,” Campbell said.