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Alaska Homeschooling: Bridgeway has an IDEA

by Jessica Parnell | Sep 18, 2015 | 2 min read

What is there to know about Alaska homeschooling?

Well, I can say, Alaska homeschoolers are amazing! That’s what I found when I recently traveled to Alaska for the IDEA homeschool fairs in Soldatna, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

What made Alaska homeschooling so different from homeschooling throughout the United States?

First, the Alaska homeschooling families I met were incredibly networked. I spoke with several moms who had attended the homeschool fairs together, supporting one another, sharing their finds and pointing one another in the direction they believed best. They were unselfish with their time and willing to just stand and listen while we spoke with the others in their group.

Another reason why Alaska homeschooling is so amazing is that homeschoolers in Alaska have the distinct privilege of partnering with IDEA, Interior Distance Education of Alaska. Entities such as this provide a subsidy to Alaska homeschooling families, and help them to cover their homeschool materials, as well as an education support person who assists students and families throughout the school year. The homeschoolers I spoke with emphasized that they still have the freedom to homeschool the way they see fit even though they are homeschooling through a “school district.” It seems that Alaska school districts have found a way to support homeschoolers while also retaining much needed funding for their brick and mortar schools.

Alaska homeschooling, from the stories we’ve heard,  has varied just as it has throughout the United States and around the world. They spend much of their time pursuing additional recreation and skills outside of academics. From skiing and snowboarding to 4H to running a ranch to hunting, fishing and trapping to sports like hockey, dog sledding and more if it was available we met someone who was actively pursing it. The kids were unusually confident, friendly and very willing to help—perhaps because they have learned to be creative during long, dark winter days. I’m not sure, but there was definitely a different culture among the Alaskan families that was refreshing and inspiring.

Many of the families homeschooling in Alaska were also military families. For them, homeschooling meant consistency no matter where they were stationed. And because we were so close to the base, it meant that we had the incredible privilege to meet and thank many different servicemen and women.

Bridgeway Academy is a newly approved vendor for IDEA families so for many Alaska homeschoolers this was their first introduction to our homeschool programs. And their input has helped to shape some of our newer programs.

• Our live classes now start even later in the day so that Alaska homeschoolers can join us without waking at 6:00am.

• Our textbook and online classes are available to purchase one at a time so that Alaska homeschoolers can pick and choose what works for them in partnership with their school district.

• Our transcripts can be issued mid-year rather than only at the end of the school year.

Find more information on Bridgeway Alaska, and see all the incredible benefits Bridgeway Academy can offer your homeschool family.
So thank-you to the homeschooling families in Alaska who made our trip so wonderful and were willing to provide feedback that made our homeschool programs even better! We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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