Home school might lack the social interaction that comes with learning in the classroom, but a growing trend is aiming to change that.
Kingsport Christian Academy, which meets at Tri-Cities Baptist Church, is the area’s only university model school, which allows local home school students to gather together to be taught by professional teachers in a classroom setting.
“You get all the benefits of high school but you also get to be in real classes with real teachers and experience what that’s like,” said David Rock, a 16-year-old rising junior at Kingsport Christian Academy. “That’s something I think is one of the big problems with home school. Obviously, I’m a big advocate of it, but home school does have flaws and one of those was the lack of social interaction and classroom experience, and university model school helps nullify that.”
Students meet twice a week for various classes, ranging from everything from trigonometry and Spanish to physics and chemistry. School days last from 8:30 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, much like a normal day of classes at a public school.
The only difference is class sizes are small and the students come from home-schooling backgrounds.
Kingsport Christian Academy began in 2005 with about 60 students and six different classes, according to Administrator Rena Rock, David’s mother. When the school year came to an end in May, about 125 students were enrolled and the school offered 32 classes.
Like many of his classmates, David has been home schooled his entire life. When he reached high school, his parents gave him the option of heading to public school, but after seeing the benefits of the university model school, he decided to stick with home school.
“One thing you always hear about home-schoolers is that they never get any social interaction. One thing that I’ve always liked about KCA is that it gives you the chance to choose your own classes, you have teachers other than your parents who might be more specialized in the field and you get that whole class interaction thing,” he said.
Megan Shoaf, a 17-year-old rising senior at the academy, said home school has given her the chance to learn at her own pace.
“If you learn really fast, you can go faster and do more classes each year. The other thing I like is that it gives me a lot more free time once I finish my studies,” she said.
As she gets ready for her senior year, Shoaf said taking classes at the academy has better prepared her for the kinds of classes she’s likely to take while in college.
“I think a lot of things we read and how class works with discussion really helps,” she said. “Had I not come here, I think it would have been really hard to go to college and have discussions with people, cause you don’t really have that at home.”
For more information, including online registration, visit KCALions.net or call 335-5466.