Homeschool moms get support

May 21, 2001

Homeschool moms get support


Sheryl Deike chose to teach her children at home even though she knew the decision could have far-reaching effects.

She is not alone, however. Deike has been able to depend on SonLIGHT Homeschool, a home-schooling support group rooted in Washington County, for advice and counsel.

Founded about six years ago by four or five mothers who taught their children at home, SonLIGHT has grown to 132 families schooling more than 300 children.

Christian-based, SonLIGHT stands for Loving Instruction and Guidance through Home Teaching, according to Lisa Heller, one of those founding mothers.

"Most of our families are in Washington County but there are some in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Frederick County, Md.," Heller said.


Members pay dues, which next year will be $20 a year, Heller said. Or they offer to do jobs for a discount to the dues. Deike, a music teacher, conducts the SonLIGHT choir and orchestra, and gets a discount.

For those dues, members get a newsletter, curriculum information, seminar opportunities, and support.

"Home-schools depend on the willingness of these moms to give up their lives to teach their children at home," Heller said.

While some fathers help in specific areas, most of the home-school programs are run by the mothers, Heller said.

Deike's home in Hagerstown lends itself to the home-school atmosphere with a room off the living room that has a table, chairs, a desk and storage for instructional materials.

There is a regimen, a specific time to start each day.

"I teach my daughter, Rebecca, 13, and my son, Matthew, 10, right now," Deike said. The youngest child of Eric and Sheryl is Rachel who is just 3.

Sheryl Deike used to teach music at Faith Christian Academy in Martinsburg, W.Va. She has home-schooled off and on in recent years.

"There are some things you can provide and some you can't, like sports," said Sheryl Deike.

She first learned of SonLIGHT at her church, Maranatha Brethren on Jefferson Boulevard.

Each year, the Deikes make the decision whether to continue to home-school or to re-enroll the children in Christian school.

Matthew said he likes home-schooling but he misses his friends from Christian school.

"My mom gives piano lessons at home and I get to see friends then," he said.

Deike said her children are both doing well ... and that's not just her opinion.

"Two times a year, I go to be observed," she said. "I must show that my children are progressing."

For each child, Sheryl Deike keeps a thick binder of school work, forms, and standardized test results which she coordinates with her Washington County School Board home school reviewer.

"I'm not trying to hide from the government or live in a bubble with my children," she said. "I just want my children to have the best education and I think I can do that."

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