Homeschooling 101: It Works for an Orrington Family

Updated 9 months ago

There are many options for you child’s schooling. You can send them to public or private schools or you can homeschool them.

According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, 3% of American students are homeschooled. That percentage adds up to a little more than 1.5 million kids.

In Maine, thousands of children are being homeschooled.

We talked with a family who has been homeschooling for years.

 

Victoria Wardell is just like any other teenager.

” I have a lot of friendships that I’ve had since fifth grade doing softball, t-ball, and stuff. I know a lot of people from my childhood,” explained Victoria.

She manages to balance, school, sports, friendships, and family pretty effortlessly.

” I get up in the morning and I go to UTC and then when I come back here I’ll get my core subjects done,” said Victoria.

Victoria and her younger brother, Anthony, are homeschooled.

” I never had any plans of homeschooling this long. It was just going to be a year,” said Cecelia Wardwell, Victoria and Anthony’s mother.

It all started when Victoria was in second grade, and now, she’s in high school.

” When we first started, I was like, no , this isn’t going to work, you’re insane. But it actually does, and if you get your work done and you really learn it really well, and you know how to do it. I took SATs at the school this year and knowing how to do it really well helped me,” said Victoria.

For the Wardwell family, homeschooling works. They do it because of their Christian beliefs, but also because it works with their schedule.

Dad, Joe, is a firefighter. He doesn’t get the typical weekend off, so mom can teach on the weekends, and the family can spend time together during the week.

” So then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, when I’m off, we might go someplace and travel around, see some neat things, or go visit family,” explained Joe.

It also works well for Anthony.

” I like that it’s quiet and I can do my work,” said Anthony.

” Anthony is actually dyslexic and so his learning style is completely different from Victoria. I use different curriculums for both of them,” explained Cecilia.

The state mandates homeschooled students have 175 class days; the Wardwell family says they always exceed that.

” We don’t take Mondays off, the Monday holidays. We don’t have snow days, we don’t have February or April vacation,” said Cecilia.

They also use vacations as lessons.

” Everything in history that we studied, we went and visited. So it kind of helped fee the interest. I love history just because of how we did it,” said Victoria.

They have a classroom in their home, but now that the kids are older you’ll often find them on the couch, relaxed, doing school work.

” We don’t move on from a subject until they get it. So their grades are A’s most of the time because they have to get it before I move on to something else,” explained Cecilia.

The family is part of a homeschooling co-op with more than 100 other kids. Parents take turns teaching subjects they excel at.

” I know nothing about music and he can go there and get lessons and they play as a band,” said Cecilia.

At the end of the school year, a teacher looks over what the Wardwell family has done.

” I put a portfolio together of what we did for each of the kids and have a certified teacher look at that. We have to send a letter to the state saying that I did all of the requirements,” said Cecilia.

Besides learning, it has also helped this family stay connected.

” Yea, we have a lot of fun together, tease each other,” said Victoria with a laugh.

It’s something this family would not trade.

” I feel like I can conquer the world, ” said Victoria.

Each year, the kids have the option of going to public school full-time, and they both choose to continue homeschooling.

Victoria wants to be a state trooper and Anthony is just focused on being a kid for now.


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