School begins within days for many Iowa kids, and among those getting ready for the fall term are home-schoolers. Rachelle Whaley counsels fellow home-schooling parents in Iowa and Nebraska, and says today there are as many opportunities as public-school kids enjoy.The home-schoolers have their own yearbook, the Scholastic Books and “Book-It” reading programs, and annual trips abroad. This year’s trip will take the home school high schoolers to half-a-dozen European countries for 21 days. Whaley says in Iowa, there’s a simple form that lets parents “dual enroll” kids in home-schooling and local public schools as well. They can take a public-school class or sports, and if a high-school student wants a class not offered at the school, the local district will pay tuition at a college. In the past, parents have home-schooled younger children, but Whaley says now they don’t have to send them to public schools for junior and senior high classes.She says the curriculum is self-explanatory so the kids can do the work without a lot of supervision. Whaley home-schools her sons, who are 15 and 17.She says they behave so they won’t lose the generous leeway they’ve earned by acting mature. Her homeschool newspaper, the Gardener, has pages of ads for music lessons, sports activities, science clinics, photographers, and other educational add-ons.
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