Fayelee Overman, Frontier Army Museum museum technician, hands potential home-school parent Michelle Bradford a map of the Santa Fe Trail while sharing information about the museum’s online resources during the Homeschool Meet and Greet Aug. 7 at Haymarket Square in downtown Leavenworth. FAM was one of several on-post organizations represented during the event that provided resources and support for area home-school parents. Photo by Katie Peterson/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Various organizations from Fort Leavenworth and the immediate Missouri and Kansas area gathered for the Homeschool Meet and Greet Aug. 7 at Haymarket Square in downtown Leavenworth.

The event offered families information on various home-school programs and supplementary resources available for use.

Home-school programs represented at the event included Midwest Parent Educators, Families for Home Education, and Homeschool Expert.

Additional programs represented included the Combined Arms Research Library, the Frontier Army Museum, the Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth Parents as Teachers Program, and Fort Leavenworth Child and Youth Services.

“We have a ton of resources that are available to all people who can access us on post, so we want to make sure everybody is aware of our (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) resources that aren’t as visible inside our library, especially while we’re closed, and people can’t come in and talk to us face-to-face,” said Sierra Hochstatter, CARL library technician.

Sierra Hochstatter, Combined Arms Research Library library technician, shares information about the library’s Stop the Brain Drain online resources with home-school parent Katie Aiesi and her son Jonah, second-grade student, and Scarlett, pre-kindergarten student, during the Homeschool Meet and Greet Aug. 7 at Haymarket Square in downtown Leavenworth. CARL was one of several on-post organizations that attended the event, which offered resources and support to area home-school parents. Photo by Katie Peterson/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“Even though home school kids need to have all the resources for learning, we also want to have a space where they can access with other kids, so we have our Summer Reading Program, Stop the Brain Drain (activities on the CARL website), and StoryWalk.”
Fayelee Overman, FAM museum technician, said she wanted to participate in the event because of the new online resources available through FAM like the Oregon Trail interactive website; the newly digitized Lewis and Clark activity booklet and flashcards; and the virtual tour of the museum.

“I did this event last year and it was a big hit,” Overman said. “We had a lot of visitors, so I really wanted to do it again this year … and push those virtual programs.”

With COVID-19 restrictions factoring into the decision-making, the event was attended by first-time and veteran home-school families alike.

Michelle Bradford said she was still going back and forth on whether to home school her 9-year-old and 11-year-old children.

“Because of COVID-19 and because of the different situations at the schools, trying to decide if the procedures at the schools are the best for the kids to be in at this time is difficult,” Bradford said.

Katie Aiesi, wife of Maj. Matthew Aiesi, Command and General Staff Officer Course student, and mother of Jonah, second-grade, and Scarlett, pre-kindergarten, said she was happy to see so many resources available.

Amanda Neltner, homeschool parent, asks Amanda Buckingham, Child and Youth Services school liaison officer, about resources on post while her children, 6-year-old Ashley (not pictured) 3-year-old Ethel and 11-month-old Ruth (not pictured), wait during the Homeschool Meet and Greet Aug. 7 at Haymarket Square in downtown Leavenworth. Neltner’s family, including her husband Capt. William Neltner, Combined Arms Center, recently completed a permanent-change-of-station move to Fort Leavenworth. Photo by Katie Peterson/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“We started home schooling last year in first grade,” Aiesi said. “We knew that with the military life, we’re going to be moving around a lot, so we just like for the early years to have them have that consistency at home.”

Amanda Neltner, wife of Capt. William Neltner, Combined Arms Center, and mother of 6-year-old Ashley, 3-year-old Ethel and 11-month-old Ruth, said the uncertainty of COVID-19 was the deciding factor to home school.

“On a normal basis, I would have put (Ashley) in private school … but we wanted to keep the stability versus taking the chance of putting her in and then having to come back home,” Neltner said. “We asked quite a few different individuals, including doctors, what their thoughts and opinions were. They said because this is a new start and a transition and because we had the area in the home to provide a good home-schooling atmosphere that it’d be best … at least until we learn a little bit more about what all is going on.”

Families who are new to home schooling and who previously were part of a public school system in Kansas or Missouri, must formally withdraw the student from the public school system, said Irina Connell, Leavenworth-area home-school coordinator, during the school edition of the bi-weekly live community update July 29 on the Fort Leavenworth Facebook page.

For more information, visit the Homeschool Legal Defense website at https://hslda.org.

For more information about home-school cooperatives and programs, visit the Fort Leavenworth and Surrounding Areas Homeschoolers Facebook page or visit https://www.facebook.com/86506442610/videos/580982855900378 to view the school edition of the Fort Leavenworth Community Update.


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