The second year of Discovery Park of America’s “Homeschool Days” program kicks off on September 19th, 2017.
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UNION CITY, TN- The second year of Discovery Park of America’s “Homeschool Days” program kicks off on September 19th, 2017. Depending on the grade, the September class will focus on Mexico, Rails or Hieroglyphs. Discovery Park of America’s Education Department started the Homeschool Days program last year in response to requests by the local homeschool community.
According to recent statistics, home schooling is a trend that is not going away any time soon in the United States. It became fashionable in the 80’s with evangelical Christians who were not happy with the public curriculum, and has since spread to other families who make the decision to home school for any number of reasons. According to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, somewhere between 32,000 and 42,000 Tennesseans are being home schooled instead of attending a public or private school. These students must enroll with the state and meet certain standards along the way. Discovery Park of America in Union City, TN developed a special “Homeschool Days” program to assist families in this region with students in grades one through nine.
“Our program gives families that home school the opportunity to get out, visit the park and gives the students an opportunity to interact with other students in a learning environment,” Chris Gunlefinger, Assistant Director of the Education Department explained. “We have many home school families that visit on a regular basis, but on the third Tuesday, we have an organized lesson prepared for the students,” he added.
Discovery Park used the state requirements to develop a three-year home school program that is broken into three grade levels: Grades 1 – 3; grades 4 – 6 and grades 7 – 9. “A home schooled student can actually begin Discovery Park’s program in grade one and attend each month of the program through grade 9 and never repeat the same lesson,” said Gunlefinger. The program started with a handful of participants and grew each month last year. “This year, we expect even more people in the home-school community to take advantage of the program at Discovery Park,” Gunlefinger added. “We are having to rely on non-traditional methods to get information to the home-school community, and we are still trying to figure out how to advertise our classes,” he added. “We are hoping that the people who come and enjoy it will help spread the word to other families that home school,” he added.
Homeschool Days 2017 – 2018 will begin in September of 2017 and continue through April of 2018 with all new classes for each age division. This special home school day is the third Tuesday of each month. On that day, any family that home schools can enjoy a special general admission rate of $8.00 for the home schooled student from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Members of Discovery Park always enjoy free general admission. The actual Homeschool Days class is held from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday and is $4.00 for members and $6.00 for non-members. The students are with professional educators during the class. The parents are free to leave, or they can enjoy the park by purchasing a general admission ticket. If they prefer, they can wait in the lobby, gift shop or cafe free of charge. “We want parents to be comfortable leaving their children with us,” Gunlefinger explained. “For any parent with safety concerns, we want them to know that there is never a single adult in the room alone with any of the children, and that all of our staff are subject to background checks and drug screenings,” he added.
No preregistration is required, according to Gunlefinger. Students can just show up on the day of the class and register in the lobby at Discover Park. “However, each class is limited to the first 24 students that sign up,” he went on to say. Students or their parents can pre-register on line at the park’s website at www.discoveryparkofamerica.com or in the lobby on the day of the class. The itinerary for the upcoming year can be found on the park’s website, as well.
Discovery Park of America is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN. You can see the complete 2016 Calendar of Events, including upcoming educational and entertaining events, by visiting the website at www.discoveryparkofamerica.com . The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.