Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Homeschooling: A Boon for Crack Babies?

By Gretchen Mork
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #17, 1997.

   Pin It

This is a true story about how homeschooling approaches are helping three children in Northern California who began their lives as crack babies. All the names in the story except the author's have been changed, because she is very optimistic about the future of these boys and doesn't want to label them further. Because "homeschooling" is the only successful solution she knows for educating these children, Gretchen wants to share with others what is happening.

I had finally found the Mason Street group home. It was located in an old neighborhood, down a wooded gully, next to the freeway. After checking the address for a second time, I gathered my bag and started down the driveway.

Eight-year-old Andrew was the first to see me. "It's the tutor," he shouted, dropping his bike and running up the long driveway. John, also age eight, and Matthew, age seven, followed.

"Are you going to work with us?"
"Did you bring stickers?"
"Can I see them?"
"After we work."
"Can I be first?"
"No, me! Andrew's always first."
"I haven't decided who will be first yet."

A clean-cut looking young man with a "Jesus" T-shirt was watching us from the top of the steps. He was Mr. James Taylor, the boys' daytime care provider. "Looks like you haven't forgotten us," he said, smiling warmly.

"I thought the boys would all be in school."

"Well, they are supposed to be in school, but after their school closed, my boss, Mrs. Darlin, gave the order that they were not to go to school until the school could provide an appropriate classroom for them."

"Are they getting any education at all?" I asked.

"I've been teaching them a little math and I was hoping that you would show me how to teach reading."

"I'd be glad to. Just watch me work and afterwards I can answer your questions and leave my materials with you. By the way, do you feel imposed upon, having the boys left with you, rather than having them in school?"

"No, Mrs. Gretchen, I'm glad to help out when I can and they don't make any trouble for me."

I had to laugh. Last spring their school had consulted with me because they were interested in my reading program, which works particularly well with immature children. I enjoyed the children so much that I volunteered to come in every Monday and work with them. While the school seemed ideal, with only four pupils per class and reasonable expectations for their students, one or the other of the boys seemed to always be causing problems of such magnitude that classroom activity came to a halt.

"They don't make any trouble." Indeed!

After the boys had all read to me and received their stickers, I watched them perform stunts on their bicycles. Since that day, I have been coming back twice a week to work with the boys and provide materials for Mr. Taylor. The boys have changed remarkably since they have been studying at "home." They are learning to read (which is almost impossible for such children in a classroom) as well as write and do math. They run, climb, play ball and ride their bikes every day. Their bodies are much less tense. Their behavior is so normal that a visitor might not pick up on there being anything wrong with these children.

While this program does not have the blessings of the school district, it certainly has the blessings of the boys' future teachers, whoever they may be. I think that I can speak for the children when I say that they are very grateful for Mr. Taylor's help.

Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

University of Nebraska High School University of Nebraska High School
Free Email Newsletter!
Sign up to receive our free email newsletter, and up to three special offers from homeschool providers every week.

Articles by Gretchen Mork

Homeschooling: A Boon for Crack Babies?

Popular Articles

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

The Charlotte Mason Method

University Model Schools

Montessori Math

Bears in the House

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

A Reason for Reading

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

The Gift of a Mentor

How to Win the Geography Bee

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Getting Organized Part 3

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Critical Thinking and Logic

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Classical Education

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Myth of the Teenager

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Laptop Homeschool

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Character Matters for Kids

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Who Needs the Prom?

Teach Your Children to Work

I Was an Accelerated Child

Narration Beats Tests

Teaching Blends

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Phonics the Montessori Way

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Shakespeare Camp

AP Courses At Home

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

The Benefits of Debate

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Combining Work and Homeschool

Start a Nature Notebook

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry

The History of Public Education

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1993-2021 Home Life, Inc.