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Alcorn County Mom Says ‘I Love Homeschooling’

pencilsBy Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today News Editor

My friend Jane decided that instead of the traditional homeschooling method, she would help her children Get Educated Online by researching the best courses she could find. In today’s technology driven world she found the online education was much better than any school or resource she could find elsewhere.

She said that the fact that the resources were there 24/7 and could be accessed at any time helped her children learn at their own pace and let them have a more relaxed routine, for example, a foldable whiteboard could prove helpful, for days on the move or outside lessons.

Another one of my friends, Valinda Williford of Alcorn County has homeschooled her children the traditional way for about 16 years and says the attitude about that type of education has changed.

“It has become more mainstream, and I think that has changed the whole atmosphere of homeschooling. Being homeschooled doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on everything that is being taught into schools. Of course the format isn’t going to be the same, but the topics that you will be introduced to will be. I know someone who’s child wasn’t home schooled. When they went to university to study Science, they took that for granted and left a lot of their assignments till the last minute. To find a way out of failing overall, they looked into a service that allowed him to buy lab report online. He did pass in the end. Deadlines are a problem for many students, but there are always ways around it and nothing should be looked into negatively. He found a solution to his problem and so did parents who home school their kids.” Williford said.

Years ago, there may have been a stigma around homeschool, but now people are doing it for a variety of reasons, she said.

There were 126 homeschool students reported in Alcorn County last year, according to the Mississippi Department of Education.

Williford uses a Christian curriculum because, “I want them to have a good education, but I also want to include Christ in their studies.”

Her children started back this week. They are on a similar schedule to Alcorn County Schools because they have friends in those schools.

“When those kids are out, mine want to be out,” she said.

However, other homeschool parents might use a different schedule, she said, noting, “It’s really individualized to whatever meets your family’s needs.”

Homeschooling is a “huge commitment” but very rewarding, Williford said. “I love homeschooling. I do not think homeschooling is for everybody.”

It has allowed her to build great relationships with her children, she said, adding, “It’s just good for our family life.”

Williford graduated from Alcorn Central High School, but her husband went through some homeschool.

She and her husband have homeschooled their four children, and now one of them has graduated college and one is about to enter college. The other two are in sixth and third grade. Homeschool children benefit from lots of one-on-one attention.

Williford stressed that she thinks the local public schools provide a quality education and that she would be comfortable sending them there. But homeschooling happens to be the best option for her family, she added.

In fact, her daughter went to public school in Tishomingo County in ninth grade and made the cheerleading squad. But the next year she returned home where she finished high school.

“She enjoyed it (public school), and it was great, but she decided she wanted to come back home,” Williford said.

Her children and other homeschool students have many opportunities for social interaction, she said.

“We sometimes laugh about that as homeschool moms, because that’s something people worry about,” she noted. “It seems like my kids are so busy all the time.”

Her family is very involved in church, and the children have played baseball and T-ball at the park.

Williford and her husband Keith of Alcorn County serve as the presidents of the Eagle Homeschool Association. It is a group of more than 120 families and includes Alcorn County, several surrounding counties and part of Tennessee.

Homeschool students in the Eagle Association also interact throughout the year during academic and entertaining enrichment classes that draw some 200 students.

Likewise, there is a sports league for older homeschool students to compete against private Christian schools.

“My kids have made a lot friends through the homeschool group,” she said. “I think they are very socially adjusted. I think most of our moms make a conscious effort to get their kids out and to do things,” she noted.

Field trips and other outlets for the children are also provided by the Eagle Homeschool Association. The association even organizes a “moms night out.”

The group will have an organizational meeting on Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Farmington Baptist Church. People who want to learn more about homeschool are welcome to attend. Testing, such as the ACT, can also be given in homeschool.

“We’re there to help anybody if they have questions about curriculum,” Williford said.

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