SYRACUSE -- Barb Woodhall home schools her three sons, ages 7, 10 and 12, and intends on continuing with it through their high school years. For now, she sees no disadvantages, but her sons aren't in high school yet, so she hasn't had to deal with transcripts and similar paperwork. Still, she believes there are other home schoolers and organizations in place to walk her through that. Woodhall is one of a growing number of home schoolers in Davis County and the state who teach their children at home for a variety of reasons, ranging from moral issues with the curriculum taught at public schools, to increasing class size, to believing their kids can get a better education at home. For Woodhall the decision to home school was made for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, she said, "It gives us flexibility to do what we want, when we want."
It also gives Woodhall time to spend with her sons, so she and her husband have more influence over them. "When kids are in school all day, you see them a couple of hours each evening. By home schooling, we can teach them our values -- or core beliefs," she said.
She has found that many institutions of higher learning and the military are looking more to home-schooled kids to fill coveted slots.
Woodhall has been teaching her sons for four years now and considers it her full-time job.
She said her sons are old enough now that they're able to do some things on their own. This allows her a little time during the day to get other things done, but "most non-school activities for her and the kids are still done after school and on weekends."
Woodhall uses the Christian A Becka curriculum, one that some home schoolers have described as intense.
The program offers a fully accredited college preparatory program which includes textbooks, workbooks, class and homework assignments and tests.
Through support groups they're involved in like the Utah Christian Home School Association, her sons attend a physical education class weekly and go on a variety of field trips to factories, hospitals, the Utah State Fair, the Children's Museum of Utah, Thiokol and the Utah Symphony. "Sometimes it's with UTCH or another large group, sometimes it's on our own." Those activities offer her sons ample socialization skills.
Woodhall said she has found the curriculum she uses complete enough that she hasn't felt inadequate teaching any subject yet. "Most curriculums walk parents through the lessons," she said, and when her sons hit high school there are courses online, on satellite and through co-op classes, where, for example, a parent skilled in science may teach a chemistry class to a group of home schooled kids. And, she said, kids may take some classes at their local high school or even at area colleges. "There's a lot of options for areas you're not strong in," she said.
She said the home schooled kids can get involved in sports through their cities.