Home Schooling: 5 Reasons to Take the Plunge

We asked parents across North Carolina, “What made you take the plunge?”


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67,804.

That’s the number North Carolina parents are buzzing about this fall. According to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education, there were an estimated 67,804 of home-school students in North Carolina in 2014-15. Nationally, that number is 2.2 million.

Why does home-school draw so many traditional school families? We asked parents across North Carolina, including married couples, single parents, blended families, stay-at-home parents and working parents: “What made you take the plunge?”

1. Customized Learning

Gina Grothoff of Charlotte has a background in education. One of her top reasons for home schooling her two children was to enable them to learn “in their own timeline and their own style of learning. … You can change your methods along the way and modify as you go along to what works best for you and your family,” she says. “It also doesn’t have to look the same for every child, because each child has his own strengths, weaknesses and learning style.”

For example, the parent of a child with dyslexia could modify his lesson by using manipulatives to teach math, rather than a workbook.

“There are so many choices out there that it is mind boggling!” says Veronica Wright of Lexington, North Carolina. Wright, who also has a background in education, says the main reason she chose home-school was because the traditional education setting required hours of homework every night, which cut into family time.

“Home schooling really is a journey and it has touched every aspect of my life in one way or another,” she says. “It has brought new friendships to our lives, leadership roles, job opportunities and lifetime family memories that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

2. Flexibility

Home-schoolers don’t have to follow a weekly, day-to-day bell schedule but, according to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education, they must still operate school “on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year.” The division also recommends that home-schools maintain at least five clock hours of instruction each school day.

Many families take it a step further and home-school their children year-around, choosing vacation destinations that double as learning experiences and extended field trips. In addition to enabling a flexible schedule, home-schooling also removes limits on where classes can be held.

3. Values

Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, has been studying the home-school movement for 30 years. He observes that by adulthood, home-school students are likely to internalize their parents’ values and beliefs at a high rate.

Charlotte residents Richard and Gail Hawkins, who immigrated to the U.S. from Africa, want to pass their values and heritage to their children. They echo one of the primary reasons parents all over the country opt to home-school.

“Choosing to educate our own children has helped us to define what really matters to us in all areas — faith, academics, career, relationships and more,” the couple wrote together in an email statement.

4. Real-life Experiences

Families who choose to home-school their children say it isn’t just an educational choice, it’s a lifestyle choice that includes the entire family working together and sharing experiences, like volunteering or taking classes together.

It’s also not a coincidence that many families who choose to take the plunge start their own businesses and have their kids work alongside them, like the Hawkins, who own nJoyScience, a home-school program offering science curricula for ages 6 and older.

5. Quality Time

“The main reason I chose to home-school is because I missed my boys,” Wright says. “For me, there was so much I wanted to share with and teach my kids, but there just wasn’t enough time.”

The unifying thread in all of the reasons these parents took the plunge is that they don’t want to miss out. At the end of a long day with hours of homework ahead, these parents are asking for more. More time, more connection and more experiences with their children.


Ursula Vogt is a freelance writer who began home-schooling in 2001. She and her husband, Mark, have four kids. They chose home-school when their son was diagnosed with autism. 

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December 2017

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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Barriskill Dance Theatre School present its annual production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Reynolds Theater, Duke University
125 Science Dr.
Durham, NC  27708
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Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $15 and up

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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
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Join Burning Coal Theatre Company as it presents a stage production based on the children's novel by JM Barrie. Purchase tickets online.  

Cost: $25/adult, $15/student

Where:
Burning Coal Theatre
224 Polk St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919-834-4001
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Learn about winter. Sip pine needle tea, and observe the ice and snow through hands-on science experiments. All ages with adult. Registration required. 

Cost: $1/person

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Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cary Ballet students presents a condensed version of the holiday story for younger audiences. Join Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends on a...

Cost: $21-$25

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
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Cost: $26/adult, $22/student

Where:
Stewart Theatre, N.C. State University
Raleigh, NC


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Athens Drive High School Auditorium
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Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. The Raleigh Boychoir's Resident...

Cost: $21-$25

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Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
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Cost: $10 children 3-18, $12 adults. At the door: $12 children 3-18, $15 adults

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Beth Meyer Synagogue Social Hall
504 Newton Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Beth Meyer Preschool
Contact Name: Michelle Panek
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Enjoy a family-friendly holiday gospel tradition. The show, created by Langston Hughes, features soaring singers, inspirational dancers and the heartwarming and humorous procession of...

Cost: $26/adult, $22/student

Where:
Stewart Theatre, N.C. State University
Raleigh, NC


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3801 Hillsborough St, Suite 113,
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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: $10.00/raffle ticket

Where:
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7208 Falls of Neuse Road, #201
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Terramor Homes
Telephone: 919-810-2504
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Cost: Free

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Apex Community Center
73 Hunter St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Telephone: 919-249-3402
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Enjoy a family-friendly holiday gospel tradition. The show, created by Langston Hughes, features soaring singers, inspirational dancers and the heartwarming and humorous procession of...

Cost: $26/adult, $22/student

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Stewart Theatre, N.C. State University
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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McIntyre's Books at Fearrington Village
2000 Fearrington Village Center
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Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
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Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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Cost: $5/member, $8/nonmember

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N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Explore creative movement. Ages 2-5 with caregiver. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $5/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore creative movement. Ages 2-5 with caregiver. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $5/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
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Website »

More information

Show More...
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Cost: $16/child

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Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St.Clair
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $6/child

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Edenton Street United Methodist Church
228 W. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Millbrook United Methodist Church
1712 E. Millbrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: CRLStudios
Telephone: 919-889-9332
Contact Name: Roberta Greene
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Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come experience O'Henry's classic Christmas tale “The Gift of the Magi." Be transported back to the Roaring '20s in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Sonorous Road Theatre
3801 Hillsborough St, Suite 113,
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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