COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Many public schools across the nation are highly criticized for low test scores and high dropout rates. While charters schools are considered to be one alternative to public schools, others say home-schooling is also a viable option.
Nichole Verdell home-schools her eight-year old twin sons, Kyle and Kyre, and her six-year old daughter Lauren. She’s been teaching her children at home for two years while her husband works as a full-time minister.
“I get to, one-on-one, see where my children are excelling or if they’re failing in an area,” says Verdell.
All Mississippi parents are eligible to home school, but legitimate educational programs must be used. Verdell uses Abeka, a Christian-based online program. She says home-schooling sets aside more quality time with her children, and offers more flexibility for the entire family.
“I’m free to go and come as I please. Like if we want to go on vacation in the middle of the year, we can do that. Everybody put on their earphones and Mama can teach them in the truck on the way to the beach,” says Verdell.
The Verdells also implement plenty of extra-curricular activities. The kids participate in karate, soccer, gymnastics, dance and music.
“We have a big family, so being sociable, that’s not an issue. They have youth ministry at our church, Children’s church. We go there every Saturday and then after church on Sundays,” says Verdell.
While Verdell has a college degree in sociology, the state does not require parents to have any certification to teach. She simply follows the program and gets support from other moms that teach at home. Verdell says at this level, home schooling is the best option for her kids.
“I believe by 6th or 7th grade, I’ll start doing something different. They’ll be vocal enough to tell me what they want to do,” says Verdell.
Verdell has the choice to teach year-round, but she says she enjoys summer vacation like anyone else. She starts the program in August and ends in mid-May.
State law does not require children who are home schooled to take standardized testing.
If you’d like more information on other requirements for home schooling in Mississippi, go to www.mhea.net/mississippi-law/. For more information on the Abeka home school program, go to www.abeka.com.