Home schoolers get out of the house
(Page 2 of 2)
There will only be one home school prom in the state of Florida, and this year Beverly Orris, homeschool mother of 10 from Kissimmee, is in charge of it. The prom isn't until June, but Mrs. Orris anticipates more than 100 attendees. She's already disseminating invitations through e-mails and online postings on Florida's home schooling websites.Skip to next paragraph
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Last year, home schoolers from Sarasota, Jacksonville, and Miami attended the prom, including Beverly's daughter, Jessica, age 17. Out of the 110 people in the banquet hall of the Holiday Inn last year, Jessica only knew two - her parents, the chaperones.
But it turned out that nobody else knew anyone either, so Jessica, an adopted Japanese-American who describes herself as shy, asked the boys to dance. "If you're going to stand there doing nothing, after a while you might as well dance," Jessica explains. Soon the dance floor was packed. By the end of the night, nobody wanted to go home.
"She had a ball," Mrs. Orris says. "It was so important to her, she talked about that for weeks. "
For the past 10 years, the Creightons, a family with 15 home schooled children in Romoland, Calif., have competed in a regional home school science fair. Approximately 80 home schoolers from the Riverside, Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino school districts compete in the science fair every year. The top six winners advance to the county science fair and compete with public school students; from there, winners go on the state science fair in Los Angeles.
Every year for the past 12 years, at least one home schooler has advanced to the state fair. The Creighton kids have made so many friends through the fair that they now teach a class of 20 home schoolers how to create science fair projects.
Irene Miles, a homes chool mom from Marietta, Calif., has five kids who all compete in the science fair. Like many home schoolers, her children juggle other group activities: piano lessons, club soccer, youth church group, and home school field trips. "Our problem is not a lack of socialization," she says. "Our problem is making sure we have enough time to do the school work."
Home schooling is not only getting out of the house, it's getting on the air. Warner Brothers will be airing a half-hour sitcom, "The O'Keefes," in which, according to the television treatment, two parents (played by Judge Reinhold and Kirsten Nelson) home school their three gifted and multilingual kids in order to protect them from a materialistic society.
According to the WB, the O'Keefe siblings can speak six languages, "but have no idea how to talk to kids their own age." An air date for the sitcom has yet to be scheduled, but the proposed show has already stirred commotion among the home-schooling community.
"All studies find home schoolers to be very well socialized and able to deal with their peers better than their high school counterparts," says Chris Klicka, senior counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association of Purcellville, Va., who has home schooled all seven of his children.
"To have a show opening whose main theme says that these kids aren't very well socialized is a complete myth." Mr. Klicka, who has received dozens of e-mail complaints from home schoolers about the show, hopes that his organization can give the WB input before it airs.
"We want it to be entertaining, but we want it to be accurate," Klicka says. The show was created by executive producer Mark O'Keefe and produced by Hamcat Entertainment in association with Turner Television. A spokesperson from the WB would not comment.