Through a program of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD), over 400 home school children receive services through a program called Connections. Erling Hofseth is the principal of the program which started about three years ago.
According to Hofseth, the District realized that there was a community of home school students that were not being served by the KPBSD and the District wanted to provide services that would help facilitate the home school educators at their homes.
"I like to call it a value added program. There are a number of statewide programs that cater to home school students, but what the District has done is to allow students here on the Peninsula that are home school oriented to have the options to take part not only in extra curricular local school activities but selected academic classes at the public school as well. So you can have the best of both worlds participating in both public education as well as home school," said Hofseth.
A home school student that participates in the Connections program is included in the state funding formula for public schools. However, the District receives no funding if a student participates in any other home school program. Connections staff provide a variety of services and help for home school students and educators including counseling to parents that are considering the option of home schooling.
"Parents need to realize that home schooling is a major commitment of time, energy and effort and is not something to be entered into lightly. It doesn't suit everyone, but for a parent that wants to be very involved with their children's education, this is a great opportunity," said Hofseth who along with his wife has been involved in home school for the last twenty years.
Technology has also become a great asset to those who choose to home school. Hofseth says that each student is provided with a Dell computer, printer, e-mail and Internet access to provide communication with the Connections staff and the world. "We really do try to put our parents in touch with as many educational resources and research options as possible," added Hofseth. The Connections office is located across from the Borough Building in Soldotna, and anyone interested in more information about the program can call 262-6315 for an appointment.
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