If you’ve read our previous Student Spotlights in this blog, you’ve learned that families just like yours homeschool for a wide variety of reasons–from dissatisfaction with the public school system to bullying to traveling, and everything in between. Our newest spotlight focuses on Braelyn Wasem, a Bridgeway Academy 7th grader who has been homeschooling for most of her student career. And, like all our Bridgeway families, the Wasems homeschool their children with us for a number of important reasons.
So many families homeschool for the scheduling flexibility that comes with it. Some students are elite athletes who require hours and hours of practice every single day to hone their skills and travel to competitions. Others are talented performers who spend much of their time perfecting their craft, whether it be acting, singing, or playing an instrument. For Braelyn and her family, the flexibility that homeschooling provides afforded them the opportunity to travel quite a distance in order for Braelyn to receive speech therapy.
“Braelyn has been in speech therapy since she was 2,” explained her mom, Jolyn. “Our therapist is 120 miles away from our home–one way. I had worked with our local school for services, but they just weren’t providing the quality of service she needed. Homeschooling allows us to travel to her speech therapist as well as many other visits to doctors.”
Bridgeway’s Total Care HOPE program is a unique combination of learning therapy, customized curriculum, and academic support that helps students rediscover their love of learning, which, in turn, allows them to thrive in school. While this program is ideal for students who have been diagnosed with autism or who are on the spectrum, ADHD, and other learning disorders, Total Care HOPE is also effective for those without a diagnosis and who are struggling with learning.
Along with a full year of online courses or textbook curriculum specified to each child’s needs, the Total Care HOPE program also offers nine months of individualized healing sensory integration therapy from Essential Learning Institute, designed to improve visual and auditory processing and memory as well as reading and spelling. Braelyn’s parents enrolled her in Total Care HOPE in March and continued with the curriculum and therapy throughout the summer. She has already tested out of the vision therapy and plans to successfully complete the rest sometime around Christmas!
At Bridgeway Academy, learning styles are the foundation upon which a child’s education plan is built. By assessing each Bridgeway student, we’re able to pinpoint their strengths and opportunity areas as well as how they best process information. That way, we’re able to partner with families, just like the Wasems, to create a customized education that allows students to thrive. That was one of the major selling points for Jolyn. “We have used several programs, but we really like that Bridgeway implements different learning styles into their curriculum,” she said. “I also homeschool Braelyn’s older sister, and they are very different in their learning styles. Kacee is a very independent learner, and Braelyn takes much more involvement on my part.”
A Better Education
“I didn’t like Common Core, and our state chose to continue to use the Common Core standards.” This is a very common (no pun intended) refrain from homeschooling parents when asked to explain some of the reasons they decided to abandon public school education. The reason is simple…more and more families are deciding that their child deserves something better than the one-size-fits-all education that occurs in classrooms filled with too many students and instructed by frustrated, over-stressed teachers who are leaving the industry in record numbers.
Homeschooling provides so much more than the cookie-cutter lessons that are commonplace in schools today: tailored instruction, personalized curriculum, the ability to expedite or slow down the learning process to accommodate each child’s needs and abilities…just to name a few. As Jolyn concisely puts it, “I feel that my kids are getting a better education at home.”
Live Online Classes
While Braelyn was enrolled in independent classes with other homeschool programs, Jolyn found it very challenging to manage everything involved with being a home educator. Because Braelyn requires a little bit more supervision with her schoolwork and classes, staying on top of everything Braelyn was doing and figuring out whether she was on track gradually became more difficult. So, the family decided to switch things up a bit for her 7th grade year.
Braelyn enrolled in our Live Online Classes for a few reasons. “I needed a break from being her teacher, and she needed a break from me, too,” admitted Jolyn. “I wanted to see if she would work a bit harder for someone else, and I could just encourage her. After much research and many conversations with her advisor (Likesha), I felt like the Live Online Classes were the best fit.”
Though it’s early in the school year, Jolyn is hoping that having Braelyn as part of a live, virtual classroom with experienced teachers will help keep both mom and daughter accountable and on target to complete the school year on time. And, before the start of the school year, Braelyn was pretty excited about the prospect of taking Live Online Classes with teachers and classmates. So, that’s a good start!
A Dedicated Academic Advisor
Once families start homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy, they nearly unanimously agree that having an academic advisor dedicated to their student (and the whole family, really) is one of the biggest benefits to homeschooling with us. The Wasems are certainly no exception.
“Likesha has been wonderful to work with,” explained Jolyn. “She really helped me through our decision on which program might be best for Braelyn. She has always been very positive and helpful every time I have needed her.”
Say what? Homeschooled kids don’t socialize, right? Well, don’t tell Braelyn, because she keeps herself plenty busy outside of school as an active member of her local 4H club as well as on her local school’s volleyball and basketball teams. Braelyn is also planning on enrolling in an agriculture class at her local school in the near future and is looking forward to joining the Future Farmers of America, a youth organization based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. It sure seems like Braelyn is keeping active socially during her school weeks.
But remember, homeschool socialization isn’t reserved for students only. Many homeschooling parents find comfort, support, and camaraderie with others in similar situations. Jolyn took the initiative to join some homeschool groups for exactly those reasons, and she’s glad she did. “I would recommend getting involved in homeschool groups to meet other moms,” she said. “They were a GREAT resource for me.”
Homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy
For all of the above reasons, and then some, the Wasems chose to homeschool Braelyn with Bridgeway…and she advises other prospective homeschool families to do the same. “I have recommended Bridgeway to many people who have asked me about homeschooling,” Jolyn said. “I love that there are so many options, having an academic advisor is great, and the teachers are really nice and helpful. I have been very happy with Bridgeway.”
And Bridgeway is thrilled to be the homeschool partner for Braelyn, the Wasems, and all of our other families! If you’re interested in homeschooling and want to learn more about homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy, call us at 1-800-863-1474 to speak with a homeschool expert.
Would you like your child spotlighted in our blog? If so, email us here or contact your academic advisor!