MESA – This is National School Choice Week across the country. Some families are choosing not to send their children to traditional schools and home-school instead. In Maricopa County, 14,660 children are home-schooled.
Becky Greene, a mother of five, home-schools her three children. She never anticipated home-schooling and did not think she had the qualifications.
“I’m not a trained teacher, and I thought that was something you had to do,” Greene said.
Ana Vuletic, the home-school liaison for Maricopa County, said it’s a simple and quick process once a family decides to home-school.
“They have to file an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool with our office,” Vuletic said. “Along with that, I need to see the original birth certificate of the child.”
The Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool is a form the family must fill out before starting home-schooling. It requires information about the child and parents. Once the family provides those documents they may begin their home instruction.
After having several conversations with families, Vuletic said there are many reasons why her family choose to home-school.
“It could be philosophical differences with the curriculum or the instruction they are receiving,” Vuletic said. “Some may have issues with bullying; there’s a lot of different reasons.”
Greene said she and her husband decided to home-school after realizing they wanted to be the primary educators for their children.
“Being with my kids at home and recognizing that a lot of my interactions with them is an educational process,” Greene said. “Anytime that I’m taking them to the zoo, or the museum, or the park, or I’m sitting down with them reading a book, that’s all a part of their education.”
Greene teams up with other home-schooling families to participate in co-operations. Last semester she taught an astronomy science class.
“It’s designed to give us a chance to come together, have the kids interacting with one another, to be in a classroom setting,” Greene said.
Vuletic says these types of co-operations are helpful for families just getting started.
“Well, sometimes it’s finding the resources and knowing what to teach and how to teach it,” Vuletic says. “And once they find that, it helps and makes it a lot easier.”
Greene started to tear up when talking about the challenges and joy of home-schooling.
“If I’m completely honest, it is not easy. There are days I just want to stick them on a school bus and say, ‘See ya!’” Greene said. “I want to be able to send them out to the world and say, ‘Okay, you’re ready to go!’ I realized that for our family this is the right thing to do.”
There are group educational opportunities for home-schooling families like Chandler’s Recreation Division’s “Homeschool Day,” Feb. 9.