Exploring homeschooling as another option, families weigh in
MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- While many school districts across the Michiana area recently kicked off the school year or are preparing to head back to school either virtually or with in-person classes, community members hope families will consider a third option—homeschooling.
“I really liked my teachers, I just felt like I wasn’t progressing fast enough,” Founder of Learn in Color, Samantha Shank said. “I’m a very fast learner, and I just felt like I needed to be learning more.”
21-year-old Samantha Shank spent grades 4-12 learning from the comfort of her own home.
Shank’s parents had full-time jobs and a business on the side.
“So there was a lot going on in the family, but when they said ‘Hey, let’s give it a try,’ I ended up really liking it,” Shank said.
Homeschooling gave Shank the flexibility to accomplish her dreams, something she said she would not have been able to do in public school.
“I think that that is where homeschooling made the biggest difference in my life, because instead of having eight hours in a classroom with information being taught to me, I was actively looking for information, and that was around fourth and fifth grade when I discovered World War II,” Shank said.
That love for history inspired her to start up a blog called “Learn in Color”
“I didn’t really have any intentions with it, I just needed a creative outlet,” Shank explained.
It started with blog posts about World War II or her favorite books, until one day she shared a post about a math cheat sheet and it took off.
“I think that was one of the very first posts that made me realize, people like what I have to offer, and made me realize that I could start a business with this,” Shank said. “And so since I’ve been about 15 or 16 years old, turning Learn in Color into my full-time job has always been the priority.”
Since then, Shank has accomplished that very goal offering learning resources, including everything from language and math cheat sheets to historical movies for kids—those resources geared towards folks from all around the world.
“My products have been in all 50 states, in both home schools and classrooms in all 50 states,” Shank said. “It’s been in several countries across Central America, Asia, Europe, all over the world.”
The most rewarding part of it all hits much closer to home, according to Shank.
“And so for me, like, that doesn’t surprise me anymore,” Shank said. “It’s when somebody from Nappanee or South Bend, who I’ve never heard of and who doesn’t have any mutual friends with me purchases a product from me…it’s like it almost came like full circle. And that’s like incredible, just like the impact it’s had.”
Other Michiana families have had a similar experience with homeschooling.
“You see that it does foster independence,” Michiana Christian Co-op member, Kendra Walters said.
Walters has been homeschooling nine children every day and the flexibility has given her children the chance to focus on other activities and teach off of the curriculum that works best for their family.
“This way we’re able to incorporate our family worldview into the curriculum that we choose, and we’re able to focus on what we feel is important,” Walters said.
Walters advises other families to consider taking that leap as well.
Shank is currently working on creating her own curriculum and hopes to roll that out in the spring of next year.
For families who are interested in exploring homeschool, but do not know where to start, there are a number of support groups across Michiana.