LEARNING LIFE

Education doesn't stop at summer for home schoolers
Jun. 09, 2013 @ 02:48 PM

Summer may be approaching, but that doesn't mean school ends in the Edwards household.

Melissa and Tommy Lee Edwards wrapped up formal curriculum for the official academic year on June 7 for their home-schooled children, Henry and Scarlett.

"But, let's face it, we're life learners," Melissa Edwards said. "Everywhere we go, everything we do, we attempt to learn. We look stuff up. We discuss topics. We listen to talk radio. We go new places. We meet new people. We try new projects. It just doesn't end."

Henry, who just finished eighth grade, next plans to follow through with high school at home with his family.

"It takes a ton of planning and record keeping, so I've already started on the organization, curriculum and research it takes," Melissa Edwards said. "We'll take it one day at a time and hope it works for us."

She doesn't worry about his missing out on anything he might experience in public high school.

"He has friends, activities, family, but most of all he's content with it and secure with himself," she said.

The most important thing that she realized during this academic year, she said, is that their learning process can mean as much to her as it does to the children.

"It's not so much what I've learned, but the realization that I really like these people that are my kids," she said. "I like spending time with them. They make me laugh. They teach me things and expose me to their interests. They amaze me and I'm proud of them every day."

Henry's also learning to drive, which means that – eventually -- he can share some of the commuting work involved in taking him and his sister to activities in Chapel Hill and Durham.

"I'm thrilled he's learning to drive," Melissa Edwards said. "Especially so early so he'll have tons of practice in the car with us. And when he can take over some of the driving, I'll be ecstatic."

Henry said that although it's tough to pick one important thing he learned this year, he leans toward the skills he picked up at Youth Digital Studio, where he helped design a smartphone application for the Nasher Museum, "since my career aspirations are in the (video) gaming industry."

While home schooling seems to have suited the Edwards children so far, Henry doesn't think it is necessarily for everybody.

"I believe home schooling would suit lots of people but not all," he said. "I've met some home school kids who may be more suited to a public school lifestyle and I've also met some kids in public school who may be more suited to a home school lifestyle. It just depends on your personality and matters who you are."