As more families choose homeschooling over public school, a Kansas City-area workshop can help them consider their options and explore local resources.
The Midwest Parent Educators (MPE) nonprofit will host its last “How to Homeschool” workshop for the summer Saturday, July 23, at 1 p.m. in Johnson County Library’s Central Resource branch in Overland Park.
“Prior to COVID-19, most families were homeschooling because they knew others who were homeschooling or were homeschooled themselves,” said Jacklynn Walters, the organization’s media director and Shawnee city councilwoman.
“Now families are withdrawing from public schools because they saw firsthand what their children were being taught. They realize that they can homeschool them; they don’t need a degree.”
Addressing obstacles for first-time homeschoolers
The workshop will address common questions from first-time families, which often revolve around legal requirements and organizing a daily school schedule. Parents also tend to ask for local resources on homeschool co-operatives, enrichment programs, and community opportunities for their children to meet regularly with others.
“I hope that parents walk away encouraged that they can homeschool their children,” says Walters, who has been speaking at homeschool workshops for the last four years. She and her husband Justin have homeschooled their four children in both Missouri and Kansas.
“I think the No. 1 misconception is the socialization of homeschooled children,” Walters said, explaining that homeschooling allows her children to socialize with people of all ages.
“We often tease that we have to turn down social interaction to get school done. We are involved in a variety of activities where they are given plenty of opportunities to interact with those younger, older and of the same age. This helps them adapt well and learn to interact with any individual.”
‘Socially engaged young adults’
Despite recent articles criticizing homeschooling, the modern movement’s 40-year history shows homeschool graduates often outperform their public-school peers in preparing for the world after graduation. Harvard researchers found in 2021 that homeschool graduates tend to volunteer more in their local communities. They also were more likely to attend religious services in young adulthood.
“Home-schooled children generally develop into well-adjusted, responsible and socially engaged young adults,” researchers concluded.
Walters agrees with the research, saying parents who switch to homeschooling often report improved family relationships and strong academic growth as a result.
“They see that, as the parent, they know their child best, and in their care they are flourishing,” she said.
Families who cannot attend the workshop in person can register for an online webinar option offered at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6.
The live webinar requires a $9.99 registration fee and includes a video recording that can be watched up to two weeks after the event.