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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The home school alternative

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kim Hart and her husband Jim have three children that have received home school diplomas. Their youngest son, Joseph, is also being home schooled. Kim helps Joseph do some of his school work on the computer. Photo by Jan Thompson
THAYER -- Jim and Kim Hart of rural Thayer have home schooled and graduated three of their four children and the fourth will also graduate from home school.

"My husband was a career military man in the Navy and we moved a lot. We also came from military families and we knew what it was like to move from school to school. Jim would sometimes be gone from home three to six months and we found that home schooling was just more flexible. It allowed us to be together more," said Kim.

That's just one of the reasons the Harts chose to home school their children.

The oldest daughter is the only child of the Hart's to attend an outside Christian school. She started being home schooled when she was in the second grade.

Their oldest daughter Jessica, 25, is married and the mother of three; Amy who is 23, is married and works at Mammoth Spring, and James, 17, is currently working at Harps in Thayer but is thinking about joining the military. The Hart's youngest son Joseph is 15 and is currently in the home school program at the ninth or 10th grade level.

"All children need to be educated. The method by which they are educated is the question. Parents need to have the right to choose that method. We decided home schooling was the best method for our children. It may not be for everyone," Kim said.

Home schooling is geared more to the individual child. "If a child is in a classroom with 20 other students and there is one method of teaching, they are not getting taught to their individual needs," she said.

All three of their older children have home school diplomas and Jessica and James both have their GEDs.

The Harts also belong to the Christian Home School Coop which consists of families from northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

"Right now we have 10 families in the coop but have had as many as 20," Kim said.

The coop is used for enrichment. "The parents of the children in the coop are full of resources. We meet five months out of the year, one day a week, at what is now the Repertory Theater of the Ozarks in Thayer. We have parents that are qualified in science, forensics, languages such as Spanish, French and German. The coop has been together about 10 years," she said.

Joseph does not mind being home schooled at all he says. "I'm not sure what I am going to do when my schooling is finished. I have been thinking about the military and attending Navy Flight School but I am also interested in the University of Texas where they have a great surgical program," he said.

All of the Hart children have been involved in outside of school activities including soccer and the swim team.

"I don't mind not going to public school at all. I have a lot of friends that attend public school," Joseph said.

"I feel as if I am just as well-rounded as any other student my age and have had some people that are in the same grade as me ask me how come I'm so smart. I tell them I am able to concentrate more. I would never put myself higher than someone in public school," he said.

"The coop offers a lot more variety of subjects and interest. Currently I'm studying math, history, geography and science," Joseph said.

Kim will be the first to tell you home schooling is not for everyone. "It puts you in a very dedicated position. If you can do it, it is well worth the effort to watch your child develop," she said. Joseph added, "It also makes a child have a better relationship with their parents."

Kim is already wondering what she will do when Joseph completes his schooling. She has been home schooling her children since 1987. She is now a new grandmother and thinks that will probably fill some of her time.

The Harts are not at all against public schools. "We just wanted our children taught with the best method. We wanted our children taught with a Christian principal opposed to a wordly principal," she said.

"To home school your children you have to be dedicated. A majority of students that are pulled out of school to be home schooled end up going back into public school. What works for one child may not work for another child," Kim said.

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