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Christian Home Schoolers: R-C’s organization of the month for November

by Nancy Hamlett

Parents who home-school need organization, dedication, resourcefulness and ingenuity, many of the same traits that public school teachers needs. But home-schooling doesn’t have the support of an administration or a school district. That’s where the Home School Support network of the Carson Valley Christian Home Schoolers comes in.

Over 30 families are members of CVCHS, and each family adopts a style of teaching that fits in with their individual needs. The support network publishes a newsletter for members, organizes field trips, offers biology and home economics classes, hosts a literature club and coordinates seasonal activities for the students and parents.

“We all have a common thread, that we were called on by God to do this, but we all have secondary reasons, and we all employ different methods,” said Tammy Claughton, a home-schooling parent and Home School Support member. “People home-school because of curriculum choices, character building, religious teaching, lifestyle or family togetherness.”

There are several different home-schooling groups in the Carson Valley, but the members of this group found each other “out of desperation,” said Carla MacMillan.

“There used to be one person that coordinated all of the activities for CVCHS, but she moved on to other things, and it took all of us to do what she used to do,” MacMillan said.

Members of Home School Support are Lenny Sue Tinseth and MacMillan, co-coordinators, Peggy Killgore, treasurer, Denise Llewellyn, newsletter editor, and Claughton as a “check and balance.”

“I’m the tie-breaker,” said Claughton.

Although education is the primary concern for CVCHS, parents are interested in developing a well-balanced child by introducing them to community service, social activities, sports and religion.

“The kids sometimes think they are missing out on something by not going to school, especially when they are teens,” said Tinseth. “But we think they are more socialized and well-rounded. Our children learn to interact with adults and other children equally as well, and they learn to do it in a non-school-oriented way.”

CVCHS students clean up the roads, assist families with house and yard work and donate time to programs that benefit the Carson Valley Community Food Closet. The teens adopt a family every year.

“Most of the children are involved in dance, piano, gymnastics and sports. We are very conscious about making sure they are socially adjusted,” said MacMillan.

“Statistically, we are more involved with social, church and community activities,” said Claughton. “Sometimes we over-commit.”

Field trips are scheduled by Home School Support once a month. Recent trips have included Apple Hill and the Stream Profile at Lake Tahoe.

“More than anything, we strive to show our children that education and learning are everywhere,” said Killgore.

“We are trying to break the mindset that learning only happens in school. We are developing learners. Our children are learning that every life experience has something to offer,” said Tinseth.

In 1999, for the first year, CVCHS held graduation ceremonies, honoring two seniors and three 8th-graders and awarding numerous achievement awards.

“Home-schooling isn’t a decision we take lightly,” said Killgore.

“It’s a monumental task, and something I definitely didn’t think I could do,” said Claughton.

“For the first two years I thought I was nuts,” said MacMillan. “But now I’m in the fifth year. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but now I know what to expect.”

MacMillan stressed that CVCHS is not against public education.

“Some people misinterpret home-schooling as making a statement against public schools. We’re not,” said MacMillan. “We are making a choice that is best for our families.”

“Each one of us in CVCHS made the choice individually based on what was best for the children and most supportive of the family,” said Tinseth. “We aren’t exclusionists. We want to be part of the community. We offer community service and take advantage of community events.”

Membership in the CVCHS is $10 a year per family and is open to all home-schooling families. Members range from Washoe Valley and Stagecoach to Carson City, Carson Valley and Markleeville.

“The advantages of home-schooling far outweigh the disadvantages,” said Claughton. “Learning has become a way of life. Everything is a school, wherever you go.

For more information about Carson Valley Christian Home Schoolers, contact Tinseth at (530) 694-2182 or MacMillan at 782-4392.