The following feature appeared in the March 10th edition of the Choices in Education tab in the Lapeer County Press.
LAPEER, Michigan — Homeschoolers are increasingly feeling right at home in Lapeer Community Schools.
Take senior Avery Warren as an example. She will begin her collegiate career in the fall at Madonna University on a volleyball scholarship. Avery, who resides in Attica, is part of the ever-expanding Lapeer Homeschool Partnership (LHP), housed at the Cramton Campus on Lake Nepessing Road near I-69.
LHP is a program supported by Lapeer Community Schools and offered to homeschool students in grades K-12 in Lapeer and all adjacent counties. Students can enroll full or part-time and have access to a wide array of academic and extracurricular opportunities including dual enrollment for college credit. The program is directed by Michon Periso, the mother of three homeschooled girls who has lived in the Lapeer area for more than 30 years.
LHP was created to support the homeschool community with local educational resources through a mutually beneficial partnership. For Avery, and many others like her, the opportunities made available to her through LHP were too good to pass up.
“Without being able to play sports like I did, I wouldn’t have been able to get a scholarship,” Avery said. “(LHP) has given me so many opportunities with (Lapeer High School) and sports. Getting a really great education at home while still being able to do everything I wanted to do.
“My experience has been nothing but great … I would definitely recommend it to any homeschool students who are looking for opportunities and opened doors.”
From football to robotics, band to basketball and everything in between, homeschool students have become a vital part of Lapeer Community Schools. Providing a bridge to the homeschool community has built relationships that may never have existed without it.
According to Avery, the LHP experience offers homeschool students the best of both worlds — freedom and flexibility of homeschool coupled with the opportunities of a dynamic school district.
“I think it gets rid of the homeschool stigma that we don’t go out…that we can’t be a part of anything the high school did,” she said. “It gets rid of all of that. We are playing sports … people are involved in all sorts of programs.”
Three days a week, the Cramton Campus is open for students, both full and part-time, for seated and online courses as well as academic support. It’s brimming with activity, as students engage with mentors, community experts and other homeschool parents.
“When you walk in, it feels like a school,” said Warren said. “It’s definitely a school feeling, but it’s family friendly. There’s a family vibe.”
Ken Janczarek, the Director of Innovation for Lapeer Community Schools, has witnessed the steady growth of the program of the last several years and expects even more as the program expands.
“As we continue to adapt to meet the needs of our families and students, more and more homeschool families will come to recognize the real value of what we are offering,” Janczarek said. “Homeschool students are able to take a variety of virtual courses and either support the education they receive at home or move into full-time virtual students.”
For more information on LHP including a guide to enrollment, visit MiHomeschoolPartnership.com or e-mail MPeriso@lapeerschools.org.