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Advice from parents who have been there

When most parents begin home schooling their children, they use the only educational model they have ever known.

They set up desks, lecture and have set recess times.

Marcia Baldwin, a veteran home schooler, wants parents to understand that education at home opens up a world of possibility. She urges parents to loosen up and enjoy the experience.

“One of the biggest advantages is a spacious sense of time — the idea that you can spend as much time on something as you want to,” Baldwin said.

She encourages parents to retire from the podium and become a co-learner.

Baldwin will be a featured speaker at a home school mini-convention taking place in Bremerton Saturday, Sept. 29. The convention will feature workshops, vendors selling curriculum designed for home schooling and community support for parents.

“Its better to be able to look at the (school) materials than to order them out of a catalog,” Charlyn Armstrong, coordinator of the 11th annual home school convention, said of the curriculum booths. “Otherwise you’ll end up with something you didn’t expect.”

The convention also will connect parents with clubs and academic support offered for home-school students, including sports teams, music programs and art and languages, Armstrong said.

Support groups for home-school parents also will be represented.

Baldwin will discuss a unit approach to learning, using successful examples from her experience schooling her three youngest children.

She said she and her children spent almost an entire year studying the Civil War from every possible angle.

“We held a mock slave auction, we watched ‘Roots,’ we studied the medical treatment of the day and examined the birth of photography,” Baldwin said.

She said using this unit approach, she was able to cover science, literature and history.

Mathematics, however, is better taught in a traditional way, she said.

Armstrong and Baldwin both encouraged parents thinking about home-schooling their children to do lots of research before taking the plunge.

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