Public school students in Perry have the PACES program to enrich their after-school hours, and Perry-area homeschool students get similar benefits from Perry-Area Training Homeschoolers (PATHS), run by homeschoolers from Perry and surrounding communities who provide extracurricular experiences for their homeschooled children.
Get-togethers such as the recent Valentine’s Day party held Friday at the First Baptist Church in Perry help to “enhance the homeschooling experience,” said Emily Leslie, who organizes the PATHS events along with Danene Stewart and Leanne Maurer.
The children gain social experience outside the family and meet children of their own age in similar schooling situations, Leslie said, and they develop meaningful friendships and grow together.
PATHS seeks out field trips that are educational in nature, often seasonal activities. The group of around 40 children and parents strives to meet once a month and get together more often “depending on what’s happening.”
So far this year, they have visited the Picket Fence Creamery near Woodward, the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge, several local nursing homes during the Christmas season and Deal’s Orchard in rural Jefferson.
Leslie said the aim of PATHS is to offer support outside of the family and to encourage other families on their journeys through homeschooling. The group stays in contact through their Facebook page.
For more information, please contact Leanne Maurer 515-979-6353, Emily Leslie 515-371-2530, or Danene Stewart 515-490-7579.