Students go for the gold in 'olympics'
By JUDY SHERARD
It was all fun and games at the Ellis County Home School Network Olympics on Friday morning.
Each of the 40 participants making up four teams got the thrill of standing on the "podium" to receive a medal replica hanging on a crocheted chain.
The events included paper skating, hoop game, ice melt and balloon hockey.
A total of 80 children from 23 families are in the network, double the number from last year, said Katie Wolfe, who chairs the network's executive committee.
Most are from the Hays area, but three families are from Russell County.
Each family determines its own curriculum and sets its own schedule.
The education co-op meets every Friday for one of four classes -- science, social studies, art and physical education -- for students in grades K-6, Wolfe said.
"It's like a one-room schoolhouse," she said.
At least one parent from each family is involved in the other activities.
"Sometimes grandparents help, too," said Wolfe, who has one child, David, 7.
Wolfe, a former teacher in California, said she made the decision to homeschool because she feels responsible for being the source of his education.
"With just one child, he gets all my attention all the time," she said.
Homeschooling "can be very isolated if (families) aren't in a network," she said.
The network provides support, said Erin Cook, who's homeschooling her two children, ages four and five.
Cook said she's homeschooling because "we wanted to include religion to their education, and had some concern about public school."
Through the network, parents can get advice from "those who have been doing it longer."
The network "gives kids time away from Mom (or the person homeschooling) and be with other kids," said Felicia Latka.
She is homeschooling her children, ages seven and nine, because she was unhappy with the core curriculum.
"I could teach what they needed and give them more attention one-on-one," she said.
Anyone interested in the network can contact Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.