If you happen to see school-age kids around town during the day, don’t assume they’re truants—there is a growing home-school community in the Hudson Valley, and if you scratch below the surface, you’ll see a network of parents providing a vibrant and varied learning experience for their kids.
There are many different methods of homeschooling and home-schooled kids definitely don’t sit at home. Those who follow a more curriculum-based approach are combining outdoor learning with classes—at the Soujourner Truth Schoolhouse in New Paltz, at the Gardiner library, at Mohonk Preserve, or at local businesses—many of whom offer specific classes for kids. Home schooling can cost more—these classes are not always free, though many are inexpensive.
Others follow the “unschooler” approach and encourage their kids to follow their own interests, with the parents in a supportive and encouraging role. In either case Hudson Valley homeschooled kids are often on field trips—to the Catskills, learning to make slime in science class, to the New Paltz Town Hall learning about voter registration and civics, or over at Gardiner’s Ultimate Gymnastics tumbling around. Janine Brutvan, a Gardiner resident and certified teacher herself is particularly excited about an up-coming archeology dig her kids will be participating in.
The reasons for choosing to homeschool are varied. Parents cite concerns about big classes and short recesses at local public schools and the long bus ride twice a day that leaves little time for kids to be kids. We are blessed with tremendous educational opportunities in the Hudson Valley, including Waldorf, Montessori, public and private schools. Home-schooling offers one more choice―and the super supportive network of home-school parents busts the myth that home schooled kids are less-socialized. There’s a tremendous amount of interaction between different children and parents during the year.
Those who choose home-schooling send a “Letter of Intent” to the school district when the child turns six. An “Individual Home Instruction Program” is developed, progress reports are submitted four times a year and there is a year-end assessment. The children take all the same standardized tests and some parents would love to see more cooperation with the schools so that home-schooled children could be enrolled in activities such as band and sports.
At any time, the home-schooled child can be entered into a local school. For more information visit: