By JUDY SHERARD
The Ellis County Home School Network curriculum fair Thursday night at North Oak Community Church is an idea swap of sorts.
The group has hosted the annual event for about five years, and it gives families a chance to show the curriculum they use, said Katie Wolfe, who homeschools her son David, 7.
She also chairs the network’s executive committee.
There is no mandated home school curriculum in Kansas, so families choose their own.
“It is so overwhelming if you’re a family thinking about home schooling because there are so so many options out there,” Wolfe said. “It’s hard to know where to start and what to get.”
Members of the network come to share their resources and see what others are doing.
Jeff and Jesica Neher are homeschooling advocates. They have five children ages 2 to 11 and are expecting another child in June. Jesica Neher was one of the members sharing information about the curriculum she uses.
“It’s a matter of discipleship,” Jeff Neher said of homeschooling.
“Somebody’s going to have our kids for eight hours a day. I chose wisely when I chose my wife, and to me that’s who I want raising our kids and teaching our kids.”
Jeff Neher also plays a role in his children’s education.
“Every part of life is school,” Jeff Neher said. “I’m off on Fridays, so I teach them how to work and build things.”
Veronica Johnson has four children, ages 1, 3, 6 and 7. She started homeschooling this year.
“I wanted to influence them in the ways that I saw fit such as a godly perspective, a godly education, and I wanted to be the main teacher in their lives instead of a teacher having them for seven hours a day then sending them home,” she said. “I wanted to be that person.”
Others came to get more information about the home schooling concept.
David and Jordan Genboys have a 3-year-old son entering preschool next year.
“We’re thinking about homeschooling for the first two years, then see how it goes,” Jordan Genboys said.
“We feel like we could give him a better one-on-one education that the school system kind of lacks nowdays,” David Genboys said.
Some homeschoolers, such as Jessica Clingan, use a system. For Clingan, that’s A Beka, a comprehensive program for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
Clingan is homeschooling her two children, one in kindergarten and one in fourth grade.
She wasn’t happy with the public school system in Arkansas where she was living at the time. The private school she would have sent her children to was too expensive, but it was using A Beka.
“It’s a pretty challenging curriculum. It’s pretty advanced,” Clingan said.
In the past, she reevaluated every year whether to continue homeschooling, but that’s no longer the case.
Public school isn’t an option now, she said.
She said she is “very much against common core. (It’s) expecting every child to learn the same thing the same way (and) not giving them any other options to do anything differently.”
Other homeschool families, such as Wolfe, piece together their own curriculums.
Resources can be from “Amazon, Christian Books.com or Ebay. I just figure out what I want,” Wolf said.
There will be an information night about the organization and homeschooling at 6 p.m. April 29 at the Hays Public Library.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries in the past week about home schooling,” Wolfe said.