AÂ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania newspaper company, Gateway Newspapers, must have assigned all their subsidiaries the subject of homeschoolingÂ because seven articles from the Gateway chain appeared in one week.Â The region seems toÂ have beenÂ awash in homeschooling stories.Â
One of the newspapers in the chain printed an article that showed the differences between a child being enrolled in a Pennsylvania virtual charter school and being homeschooled, but many of the reporters apparently didn’tÂ see that article or share resources, so confusion between the two choices is part of the articles.
- Penn-Trafford Star, Trafford, Manor and Penn Boroughs, and Penn Township, Pennsylvania, 16 November 2005, Home-school family would have it no other wayÂ
(in reference to homeschooling)Â "I wouldn’t trade this for anything."
TheÂ following pieceÂ is more an article about publicly schooled children who were home part of the time.Â Does this qualify them as "homeschoolers?"Â I don’t say that to be deprecating, but only in the spirit of inquiry concerning how people are labeled.
- The Times Express, Monroeville, Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, 16 November 2005,Â Home school in family’s mix
Far from it, actually. During the years she has home schooled her children, she has experimented with public schools, Christian schools, extracurricular activities at public schools, enrichment centers and more.
And in the case of the followingÂ story, the fact that only a handful of families are home educating is the story.Â The ‘include homeschooling this week’ assignment must’ve been ‘strongly recommended’ to the local newspaper managers if a story about people not doing something was considered newsworthy.
- The Advance LeaderÂ Oakmont, Verona, 16 November 2005,Â Few families in Riverview opt for charter, home schooling
This year, two families have chosen to home school their children and four families have enrolled their students in charter cyber schools.
The following is one of the articles that confuses at-home-public-enrollment with homeschooling.
- Plum Advance Leader, Center, East Oakmont, Holiday Park, Logans Ferry, Regency, Renton, and Unity, Pennsylvania, 16 November 2005, Family enjoys home schooling
Tony, 6, is enrolled in the second grade through the Pennsylvania Distance Education Learning Association.
(article is cut off at the bottom)
The followingÂ Penn HillsÂ article includes interviews withÂ two families who have adult children who were homeschooled.Â It’s always nice to read about kids-who-were-homeschooled doing well.
- Penn Hills Progress,Â Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, 16 November 2005, Some students learn at home
Her oldest son, Daniel, is a heating, ventilating and air conditioning expert and owns a paintball shop.
Her second son, Joseph, is married with two kids and runs his own Web development business that he started at 15 years old.
Her daughter, Esther, is married and expecting her first child. She graduated from Community College of Allegheny County with an associate’s degree in elementary education.
Her third son, Nathan, is attending the community college to pursue a career in music or business.
The McKnight Journal article gives a short history of home education in Pennsylvania, and includes the differences between at-home-public-enrollment, and homeschooling.
- McKnight Journal, McCandless, Ross Township, West View, Pennsylvania, 17 November 2005,Â Charter schools an option in Pennsylvania since 1997
Charter schools were established in Pennsylvania in 1997 with the passing of Act. 22.
These schools are self-managed public schools that are approved by local school districts.
In 1988 the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169 that amended the state school code to allow parents or guardians to home school their children as an option to compulsory school attendance.
The Mon Valley article focuses on children enrolled in a virtual charter.
- Mon Valley View, Charleroi, Donora, Monongahela, Ringgold School District and Charleroi School District Areas, Pennsylvania, 17 November 2005, For some, there’s no place like home
The seven-year-old is a student of the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School — a school that tailors its lessons for each student.
The West Allegheny Record article, below,Â has other information that may be useful to those ‘new to homeschooling,’ but the part about approaching the story of humanity in chronological order jumped out at me because I had the same experience.Â
Our first ‘school in a box’ used the ‘child centric’ method of social studies/history where the instruction progresses ‘from the child out’ (child –> family –> community –> state –> country –> world), and when American history was introduced, the kids wondered why certain things happened, which meant I had to backtrack.Â All the explanatory backtracking led to more backtracking until I declared, "Enough!" and started over the next year ‘at the beginning.’
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one ‘out there’ with the opinion that going through history chronologically is easier than taking it piecemeal.Â I’ve heard that The Well-Trained Mind uses the same format, as does the book series The Story of the World, but as they were ‘after my time,’ I can’t speak from personal experience.Â As it was, I enjoyed finding resources on my own, and using them to help the kids make our own sense out of what we were reading, and seeing, about how humanity has got to where we are today.
- West Allegheny Record, Findlay, North Fayette, Oakdale, Pennsylvania, 16 November 2005, For one local family, homeschooling the right choice
One subject that Jeny says she teaches differently than the public schools is history. Whereas many public schools start history with America, Jeny started with ancient history.
She says she wanted to start at the beginning and not the middle. In this way, it is easy to see what kinds of traits Americans picked up from the Greek and Romans, such as building structure. In addition, the kids realize that America wasn’t there all along, and it shows how history repeats itself with war then peace then war and peace again.