bransonglobe.com LOCAL • HOMESCHOOL Continued from page 2 already completed their homeschool studies, have successfully taken their high school equivalency exams, and are well on their way to pursuing their life goals. Hughes’ oldest son is the head of the sales and marketing department at the family’s theatre, while taking a full college course load. One daughter, recently married, is looking forward to beginning a career in early childhood education, and another daughter is using her homeschooling education and the skills she has acquired as she serves a mission through her church. Two more of Hughes’ children are currently preparing to take their high school equivalency tests soon. Like everything, however, homeschooling does have some challenges. ‘For us, a big challenge is scheduling. Making sure you have a consistent schedule is difficult at times, because there are so many things going on in our family,” said Hughes, wife of Jason Hughes, who performs alongside her husband, children and a host of other family members in Branson’s popular Hughes Music Show. “Sometimes it’s a challenge keeping kids motivated and excited about doing it. One of the best ways to remedy that, I have found, is by letting them be as involved as possible in choosing the curriculum, and learning things they are excited about. Of course they have to work on things like reading and writing and math, but if you can find something that they are excited about or want to learn about, and use that for their classes they enjoy learning more.” Another drawback to homeschooling, according to many people, is a lack of socialization. However Hughes and her family have found ways to rectify that concern. Hughes explained, “ I think it’s really important for kids to interact with adults and with others their age. There are lots of homeschool groups, and people they can get together with. Also, we’ve had our kids involved in scouts, in church youth activities, or in different music programs where they do group lessons. You can find all kinds of positive activities for your kids, where they will be able to interact with other kids.” Another local homeschooling mom, Diane B, echoes Hughes’ thoughts on socialization, “There are homeschool co-ops. Some meet once a week, and some once a month. That is a great resource for field trips. A huge part of socialization, for us, is friends and classes at church. Homeschooled children also do sports and music lessons to help with that.” Like Hughes, Diane, who has two school-aged children, has also found both pros and cons to homeschooling. “It is a full-time job. So for those that have to work, it would be tougher to do both,” Diane explained. “A huge benefit to us is time. We don’t feel like we’re missing out on their lives. And, when they learn something new, and you are the one that taught or helped them with that, it’s a great experience. Another benefit is safety. I’m not worrying about a school shooting or any kind of sickness because they are home.” With so many educational options available, there are many opinions on what really is the best option for the coming school year. “It’s my daughter’s senior year,” said Rachel, mother of a teenager, along with younger school-aged children. “She can social distance and wear a mask. My younger two I’m keeping home for at least the first nine weeks. They can’t wear a mask all day. And, they know nothing about personal space!” Another local parent, Mary, the mother of three, added, “I’m homeschooling only if masks are required. I can barely stand to wear my mask to the store, so I’m not going to expect them to wear them for eight hours a day while trying to learn.” SEE HOMESCHOOL, PAGE 13 July 29 - 30, 2020 • 5

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