Star-Tribune‘s Leah Todd wrote a piece late last month on two families learning at home. Both families are enrolled in the public school system’s Wyoming Connection Academy. However, the article and this month’s editorial showed lack of clarity on Wyoming’s homeschooling regulations, as opposed to public virtual school guidelines. The benefits of time flexibility and family life at home were laid out well.
Teacher, Mom: Wyoming home schooling mothers live dual roles
Breakfast was banana bread and butter next to her sister Alexis, 8. Bailey, the family’s 11-year-old golden retriever, lapped Maren’s crumbs from under the table as Maren ate and chatted with her mother, Beth, about what to do first in school. James Worthen, Maren’s father, and Connor, her 11-year-old brother, weren’t home. The morning was too perfect to waste a chance deer hunting before school.
The author does point this out about Wyoming homeschooling. I assume these statistics do not include virtual public school students.
About 2,300 students are home-schooled in Wyoming, according to data from the Wyoming Department of Education. That figure has not changed significantly over the past decade, said Dianne Frazer, the agency’s home-school contact. The state asks local school districts to report the number of home-school families and students in their districts annually, Frazer said.
Beyond that, she said, home-school families are considered private schools.
The Star-Tribune‘s Editorial Board followed up with a piece on homeschooling, even as the above article only interviewed families using the public virtual school program.
Home schooled students become part of community in Wyoming
These are students who, because of state policies and community resources, are being integrated into schools and local sporting, arts and cultural activities. It’s a situation that enriches schools and communities, as well as the children who are home schooled.
Wyoming has established reasonable policies that are intended to ensure the students get a complete education at home, while encouraging integration into local school activities.
The editors pointed out the diverse opportunities Connections Academy families and independent homeschoolers have opened up to them.
Todd’s article described how James and Beth Worthen of Casper take advantage of Casper’s variety of educational opportunities: “For the Worthens, it’s a five-minute drive to a horde of social excursions. They pile into the family SUV each week to home-school gym class at the Boys and Girls Club, home-school science class at the Science Zone, and home-school art class at the Nicolaysen Art Museum. Their classroom has varied over the years from the family cabin near Lander during elk hunting season to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on a historical field trip.”
Upon reading the editorial title, I was thrilled a media source ‘gets it’ about homeschoolers and the lifestyle enabling them to participate in their community’s library, museum, club and other social activities. After reading Leah Todd’s article, I’m not sure they meant what I assumed, but instead, were commenting on public virtual school families, without realizing the differences. Even as they laid out Wyoming homeschool requirements requiring parents to “annually submit a curriculum to the local board of trustees showing that a ‘basic academic educational program’ is provided,” according to Wyoming state statute.”
Confusion reigned for me with the authors’ descriptive blending of the two types of education at home – private and public. Even as the Star Tribune seems to appreciate various educational opportunities.