By Alissa Aichele
A growing number of families are opting for Homeschool along the Emerald Coast. This family friendly area of the panhandle has always been a favorite for parents to raise children or vacation with grandchildren. The lush landscapes and access to various kinds of ecosystems naturally foster wonder and a love for learning that every child longs for. Along with the rise of home education, groups of schooling mamas diligently gather and form co-ops to aid their instructional efforts. Forming a sense of togetherness, these groups can be made up of common interests such as nature walks or classes filled with fizzing science projects or lessons in long division. Energetically, home educating parents organize through Facebook groups to line up field trips or to buy and sell text books online. While enjoying the active outdoor life that the South Walton area provides, families are also meeting around the kitchen table to teach students at home.
What would cause a family in the stunning Emerald Coast to choose school at home? The mainline educational choices are usually between public or private school, but the family who homeschools is willing to take up the task with ingenuity and DIY power. Among the many reasons to homeschool, a family might look for a specific form of education that can be easily and affordability offered from home. Nationwide, parents look to teaching methods such as classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, unschooling, unit studies and Electronic methods. Some families might be attracted to a lifestyle of learning in the comfort of home while others desire the flexibility to travel or get into nature. Whatever the draw, homeschooling children offers the chance to aptly tailor a student’s education and experience to size.
As homeschooling families grow in number along the Gulf Coast, the community responds with enthusiastic efforts. Groups such as Emerald Coast Theater Company and Alfonso Company offer acting and dance classes during the normal school day to accommodate the needs of homeschooled children. Businesses such as the Gulfarium, Zoo World and Wonder Works promote special offers for homeschoolers to take advantage of enriching educational activities. Florida State now provides Florida’s Virtual online school to meet the growing demand of homeschool options. It is more and more common to see families doing school at home in the Destin area at large.
Unquestionably, homeschooling families are generating increased openness and acceptance from the Gulf Coast community members. Parents have more availability, opportunity and support than ever before to take the plunge into this alternative route to home education. When asked about school by an interested senior, a homeschool student can explain that their parent is also their teacher. If you see a group of kids touring Publix on a week day or quietly listening to a Turtle Talk at the Seaside Farmer’s market, you might have met some homeschoolers. The presence of home education is vibrant and undeniable in this ever-growing community.
For more information about classical conversations, look for a community near you at classicalconversations.com or for questions about connecting with homeschool families in the Santa Rosa Beach and Destin area, reach out by email to 30Abeachmamas@gmail.com.
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