The Eagle Homeschool Association will kick off its new school year with an organizational meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, at Farmington Baptist Church.
The meeting is intended to be an opportunity for people to find out about what Eagle has to offer, to sign up for various activities, to submit membership materials, to check out the Eagle Library and get to know other home school families.
Eagle member Bevin Wilder said the meeting is open to anyone who wants information. “It’s a great time to ask questions. I really want to be a little more proactive in making people aware that we exist. If they are interested in home schooling and just have questions, but they’re not committed, then there’s someone they can talk to who can answer their questions,” said Wilder.
Eagle Homeschool Association has seen considerable growth. It began in 1985 with four families and last year reported 145 families.
Wilder has been home schooling for over a decade. Another group member, Donna Miles, said she has been home schooling for 20 years.
“I started when my oldest was in the fifth grade. I have four children. Now, my youngest is a junior. I’m working my way out of a job,” Miles said, with a laugh.
Eagle member Amy Claunch said the the home school association is a group that helps each other for support, resources and socialization.
“It’s a family,” all three women said, simultaneously. They laughed. It was obvious they shared a bond and felt the same way.
All three were passionate about their educational choices for their children, but none wanted to pressure any parents into making the same choice unless it was something they felt strongly about.
“Home schooling can be overwhelming, especially when you’re first starting. We’re not here to pressure anyone into home schooling, or to tell them that this is the choice they should be making, but if this is something they feel ‘called’ to do — because there are days you need to ‘know’ this is what you’re supposed to be doing — this is a major decision in your life. We want to be there as a support and a resource,” said Wilder.
All three women also wanted to clear up misconceptions about home schooling such as home schoolers lacking socialization, lack of sports participation or other similar activities.
Miles pointed out that Eagle has flag football, both varsity and junior varsity, as well as basketball and volleyball.
“We also have cheerleaders. In the past, we’ve had bowling and we’ve checked into having another bowling league again since it’s become so popular. We have a prom every year, we have a yearbook and school pictures. We have a fantastic graduation. We have field trips and our Tuesday enrichment classes,” said Miles.
“This group [Eagle] helps with socialization. I think most home schoolers would tell you that’s a big misconception — that the home schoolers don’t have a social life. We’ve found that most home schoolers have a very active social life with their community, with their church. My boys have been involved in Boy Scouts and church, then there’s the home school group. I feel like my boys can interact with anybody of any age group,” said Claunch.
Eagle also offers enrichment classes for ages K-12 with everything from educational options like speech classes, literary analysis classes or Mississippi history to other classes that may be creative or fun such as cooking or craft classes.
“There’s a balance between the academic and the creative or fun classes. It usually fits well with our families. It’s all taught by mamas. We’re a 100 percent volunteer organization. There’s no paid leadership or teachers. It just depends on what moms volunteer to teach so it can vary from semester to semester,” said Wilder.
Another misconception they would clear up is Eagle is not a school. It is a supportive association of parents who home school their own children.
The final misconception is Eagle is a church.
“We are a Christian organization and we have a statement of faith, but we are not a church. We have a broad spectrum of believers from all different denominations as part of our group,” said Wilder.
Finally, they wanted people to understand that a home school education is a quality education.
“We don’t have anything against public school, but home schooling is not a subpar education by any stretch. I mean, how can you beat one-on-one tutoring for your entire educational career?” said Wilder.
Eagle members would enjoy the opportunity to tell others about why they chose home schooling and the meeting is the perfect time to come.
After the organizational meeting in the church’s sanctuary, there will be a dessert social in the gym with information tables set up to to answer questions.
(For more information, visit the Eagle website at www.eaglehomeschool.com.)