11-25-13: District offers enrichment classes for homeschool students
11-25-13: District offers enrichment classes for homeschool students
Posted on 11/25/2013

Katherine Holmes homeschools her children in Lakewood but drives her daughters to Puyallup two afternoons each week so they can attend a new school district program designed to enrich and support their learning at home.


The “Puyallup Parent Partnership Program” began enrolling homeschool students this fall in core and elective classes taught by certified instructors.Image


“We want to partner with our homeschool parents and provide classes that supplement their role as the primary educators,” said Mary Jo Harvey, director of homeschool and continuing education.


Harvey joined the Puyallup School District this year after coordinating a similar parent partnership program for seven years in the Meridian School District in Whatcom County.


Students may enroll in one or two classes a week, and each family works directly with a certified teacher to write and implement a student learning plan. Once a month, the teacher evaluates each student’s progress.


The program is operated by the Puyallup School District and open to homeschool families inside and outside of the district attendance boundaries.


Students attend classes in a district-leased building on South Hill Park Drive near the Best Western Hotel on South Hill. The program will become self-supporting in the future through funds received from the state, said Chrys Sweeting, assistant superintendent of instruction, learning, curriculum, and assessment.


Holmes’ daughters, 6-year-old Lydia and 10-year-old Joeli, are enrolled in two classes this fall.


On one day they participate in “The Arts and Science” class, which combines production arts, performance arts, and science. Students create hands-on projects, learn about music and dance, and do science experiments.


Last month the girls learned how to cut and tie fleece blankets, which they were excited to take home the same day.


“I appreciate having my daughters be able to do fun, hands-on activities that integrate science and the arts,” Holmes said. “Those are areas that I wish I scheduled in our school week more, so it is nice to have all of the materials and instruction offered here.”


Holmes said she also looks forward to talking with a mentor teacher to problem-solve or discuss topics such as current learning expectations at different grade levels.


Lydia and Joeli are also enrolled in “Math and Writer’s Workshop.” The class focuses on math concepts through games and manipulatives, as well as lessons on literacy through reading, writing, revising, and publishing of student work.


The Puyallup Parent Partnership Program also offers homeschoolers classes such as “Current Events,” which studies world, national, and local events with a focus on student awareness and involvement, as well as “Story of the World,” a story-like study of history with readings, hands-on projects, and writing responses.


Families with children enrolled in the classes receive up to $400 to purchase district-approved educational materials such as books, computer software, educational games and toys, or math manipulatives.


For more information about the Puyallup Parent Partnership Program, contact Harvey at (253) 841-8630 or visit the district website at www.puyallup.k12.wa.us.