Book offers an education for home-schooling families


January 15, 2001|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FAMILIES LOOKING for advice on home schooling their youngsters need look no further than Katrina Workman's recent book, "Homeschooling: Untangling the Web of Confusion."

The Westminster woman, who has home-schooled her two children for eight years, said she wrote the 90-page paperback after discovering many local families had the same questions she did when she began home teaching in 1993.

"I just took all those questions and put them together in the form of a book," said Workman, who oversees other home-schooled children through a program sponsored by Carroll Christian Schools in Westminster.

In Maryland, home-schooled children must be evaluated regularly by public schools or by a private institution, to ensure children are on grade level and are acquiring skills required for graduation. In addition to regular visits from an oversight worker, students may be administered standardized tests or other evaluations, Workman said.

"It's just to make sure that you are legally following all the rules, and that the students are getting everything they are supposed to get," she said.

A year and a half after its publication, Workman acknowledges the book hasn't sold as well as she had hoped. She said problems with her publisher - including its bankruptcy - contributed to flat sales.

"Most of the books sold well where it was offered," she said. Copies were available at branches of Carroll County Public Library and at Pennsylvania libraries in York and Adams counties. The $8 volume can be purchased directly from Workman.

One question the book answers is where to obtain a good curriculum for a home-schooled child, said Workman, who found hers at a fair in Harrisburg, Pa., that features about 350 vendors.

"That was a bit overwhelming at first," she said of the fair.

But through trial and error, speaking with other parents and by mixing and matching works from different publishers, she met the needs of her children, Heidi and Robert.

Heidi, who commutes to York, Pa., each day for interior design classes at Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts, is the first home-schooled student at the school, Workman said. Robert, a senior, is interested in studying journalism at Christian schools in Florida and Illinois.

"It's been a really good experience for us," said Workman, who began teaching her children when outcome-based education was introduced in 1993. "They've done better academically because I could work with them one-on-one. They kind of got lost in a class of 30 kids."

Workman said home schooling is not for everyone. She originally thought people who taught their children at home were crazy, she said.

"I thought they were people who didn't want to bother getting their children on the bus," she said. "But after I checked out every book on it in the local library, I realized it was a lot more organized than I thought it was."

Workman said she isn't a fanatic, noting that home schooling requires discipline and commitment, and that it might not work for every family.

"After all, this is your children's education you're taking on," she said. "But for us, it's been a very rewarding experience. We've had a closer relationship with our kids because they've been around all the time."

Information: 410-346-6138.

History of string music

Common Ground on the Hill founder Walt Michael traces the path of traditional string music from its Celtic roots to its Appalachian sound at Carroll County Arts Council's Lunch and Learn from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the council offices on Main Street in Westminster.

Participants are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch. Desserts and beverages will be provided.

The event is free for arts council members. The cost is $1 for nonmembers.

Information: 410-848-7272.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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