Home schoolers get a home base

June 09, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

Mason-Dixon Home Schoolers Association, organized 16 years ago to support parents who chose to teach their own children, now has an official headquarters.

The nonprofit, volunteer organization, founded in 1986 by six home-schooling families, has moved into first-floor office space at 32 West Main St.

Mary Hudzinski of Zullinger, Pa., who has home-schooled eight of her nine children in grades K-12, runs the office.

The association, according to its Web site, is a Christian-based group of volunteers organized to provide support for home-schooling families, legislative information about issues of interest to home-schoolers and educators, and promote excellence in home schooling.


Parents volunteer their time and skills to coordinate the programs and activities, the Web site said.

The association also provides what it calls Assisted Learning Program Services, a secondary school level of classes to help parents who are teaching their high school-aged children at home.

For example, Hudzinski said, a parent with a background in math will teach high school level classes to the children of other home-schooling parents.

"Parents pool our abilities to teach what we know," she said. "The assisted learning program helps parents to keep their children home."

Other group classes are taught for gym, music and art, "the things that you need groups of kids to do," she said. "Someday we want to have our own band."

The association offers a state-recognized high school diploma to any home- school student in compliance with Act 169 of 1988, the Home School Law, who meets the requirements outlined in The Mason-Dixon Home Schoolers Diploma Guide.

The diploma is recognized for admission to a state college, Hudzinski said. The progress of each home-schooled child is evaluated by someone certified by the local school district.

The office has a computer system that tracks the academic records of children of association members.

Hudzinski said her children's curriculum includes four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies, plus two years of arts and humanities.

She has a bachelor's degree in economics and business administration.

Home schooling is a growing movement, she said.

"Our association started in 1986 with six families, now we have 107 families and we're still growing," she said.

Hudzinski's husband, Martin Hudzinski, is a physician with a family medical practice in Greencastle, Pa.

Three of the couple's nine children are in college, five are being home-schooled and one is in the Franklin Learning Center.

"Home-schoolers are doing a superb job of preparing their children for college," Hudzinski said.

She chose to teach her children at home because she believed they needed a religious education, she said.

"Home schooling is a way of life," she said. "All of the time I spend with my kids is educational. It's a normal part of living - answering questions.

"In home schooling you get to enjoy your children as people, you get to shape how they think and discover the world," she said.

The Association's Web site address is

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