This post is inspired by Ken Danford's TedX talk. Are you the parent or family friend of a child who hates school because they are bullied, anxious about testing, have different learning styles, have been labeled, or who just doesn't want to sit in a classroom learning stuff that is not pertinent to their lives? What if you had the chance to change that kid's daily reality and yours when they explain for the millionth time why they have to be pushed out the door every day? What if they had another viable educational choice?
That time has come. You can now inform them of an exciting option here in the North Country that celebrates the individual and provides a non-coercive educational environment that empowers kids to take control of their own education, which could also include becoming directly involved in their community through internships, volunteering, or shadowing opportunities.
The legal mechanism to leave school right now is through home schooling. This concept is often misunderstood by families and outright discouraged by the school systems. If a child mentions home schooling, it is many times not taken as a serious option by their parents because of the multiple misconceptions that surround it. If parents embrace the idea, they are many times told by the school district it is too hard and they are not capable of teaching their child at home.
Most of the preconceived ideas about home schooling are in fact myths. The biggest one is about socialization, which has become one of the biggest jokes among home school families. A self-directed learner is not going to be satisfied to sit passively at the dining room (kitchen) table, with a parent, doing the same thing at home that they were doing in school. The whole point is to get out of the situation that was uncomfortable, and detrimental to their learning. An independent learner is going to be an active participant in their education. They want to be engaged and learn new and exciting things. Home schooling empowers them to have time to decompress, assess what their interests really are, and gain some self-confidence.
The legal requirements for home schooling consist of three basic documents: your letter of intent to home school to the school district (most often the superintendent), the IHIP (the individualized home instruction plan), and a quarterly report sent four times (about every ten weeks) during the academic year.
The staff at Deep Root Center explains the essential components for each and helps families file all of these documents. This process is very accessible to all families who wish to pursue home schooling as an option.
Every kid who wants to begin exploring their passions now instead of after they graduate from high school has that opportunity today. For some that chance seems very tangible, because their families have the financial ability to pay the associated member fees.
For others, here, in St Lawrence County it is far more likely their families are not able to afford our modest fees and are hesitant to even explore this option. Deep Root Center's Board of Directors has made a vow to accept any youth despite their family’s financial situation. This is a profound and brave pledge, because the Center has monthly operating costs and obligations that don't lessen because members are not able to pay the full fee; however, we are dedicated to providing this option to the youth who are desperate for change and are ready to own their education. It is our mission to make sure every child who chooses independent learning has the opportunity and support to do so.
As mentioned in the title, you have two opportunities to profoundly change a kid's life: if you know of a child who is abjectly miserable in their learning environment, tell them about Deep Root Center, and, if you are able, support the Center with your financial gift. Your dollars build our fee reduction program and allow us to offer an option to all of those youth who need us so very desperately.