Huntington College offers courses to home-school students

Dr. Patrick Eggleton oversees instruction during a home-school class. The class that day used mathematical equations to attach small teddy bears to "bungee cords" and catapult them from the third floor of Science Hall.

Huntington, Ind.—During the fall semester, Huntington College offered classes to Huntington County home-school students while giving its education majors classroom experience. Physical education and mathematics, two classes that typically become difficult for parents to teach in the home-school setting, were available to home-school students.

Dr. Patricia Zezula, professor of physical education at Huntington College, supervised the physical education course that was taught by HC students. Activities and sports played varied from week to week, offering a wide range of physical activity for home-school students who may not have had an opportunity to play with a large number of children at home or in their neighborhoods.

“Home-school parents find it a little more difficult to do physical education,” said Dr. Zezula. “It’s easier for parents to send their children here to participate with other kids.”

“The opportunities that Huntington College gives to home-school families can’t be beat,” said Kelly Finley, who had two of her children enrolled this fall. “We are very fortunate to tap into what Huntington College has to offer a home-school family, and we are very thankful. The kids really look forward to classes at Huntington College and are disappointed when they have to miss.”

The course also proved beneficial to the college students. Seeking to be teachers, the college students were exposed first-hand to planning a curriculum, writing lesson plans and handling discipline problems. They taught together in teams and were given responsibility over a different grade level each week.

The physical education course has been offered during the fall of each year, consisting of seven class periods for one hour. Starting this spring, the class will be offered each semester at Huntington College. This past fall, grade levels K-12 attended the course with an average of 65 home-school students per class period. Parents were invited to watch and participate in the curriculum.

“I have found that K-12 proves better attendance because it allows for the families to do things as a family,” said Zezula, who began offering the course in 1989, and has watched the success continue every year since.

In the footsteps of Zezula, Dr. Patrick Eggleton, associate professor of mathematics education at Huntington College, began an applied mathematics course for home-school students in the fall of 2001.

“Many home-schooling parents do not feel strong in their abilities to teach math. Math often becomes a course strictly taught from a textbook. In the Huntington College class, the home-schooled students get to experience mathematics through hands-on activities,” said Dr. Eggleton. “Math is a subject that requires opportunities for exploration and authentic problem solving. That is what we hope to provide.”

The topics chosen were designed to complement the parents’ home curriculum and included subjects such as discovering area formulas, the Pythagorean Theorem and probability.

During the fall semester, the mathematics class met nine times. The first four classes were taught by Dr. Eggleton and the final five were collectively taught by HC students. This process allowed the college students to observe Dr. Eggleton’s teaching methods and apply and test their own methods as future teachers.

“The best way to become a teacher is to teach,” stated Dr. Eggleton. “Teaching is a dance. Students and teachers must move together. It’s all about partnership. You can’t put that into a textbook.”

Huntington College students benefited from the practical application of the math course by experiencing classroom settings and researching teaching tips from other teaching professionals.

“Assignments such as creating a classroom management plan, discovering available resources in the library, reading teaching tips from seasoned teachers, and weekly interaction with home-schooled children caused me to think about the details needed to run my class smoothly,” said Christina Coghill.

“It allowed us the opportunity to experience teaching without leaving campus, and it gave us insight into different types of students and classroom settings,” said Rachel Rohrs.

The mathematics course consisted of nine 50-minute classes per semester meeting once each week. It was available to students in middle school and high school.

Parents who are interested in having their child participate in the home-school classes at Huntington College can sign up their children by contacting Jan Lloyd of the Huntington Area Home Educators (HAHE). Both courses are free of charge.

Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana. The College is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

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Heather Barkley
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Joanne Green
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