Independent Study is Built For Independent Thinkers

With the several hits legitimate charter schools have recently taken due to unethical players and an increased competition for student enrollments, school choice has been negatively impacted. Though there has been an impact, there is still an ongoing need for school choice due to a diverse population of students with an even more diverse set of needs. Independent study or homeschooling remains a preferred option for many students and their families with unique needs or interests.

Homeschooling primarily serves students who need an alternate learning modality or environment and many who have a special interest that requires undivided time and focus. A recent article featured a bright, young professional, Andy Powers, who was homeschooled and had a deep passion for guitars. At 13 years old, he was doing guitar repairs for local music shops and building guitars to sell. He ran into the founder of Taylor Guitars and age 15 and was told if he even needed a job, to “look him up”. Years later after college at the age of 29, he was handed over reigns to Taylor Guitars, the number one manufacturer of acoustic guitars in America.

I believe the flexibility and individualization that homeschooling provides afforded Andy the time and structure to not only spend regularly focused time on his specialized interest, but the space to continue to build guitars and refine his craft as a designer. His choice in schooling likely provided him with the time to nurture the foundational skills to land himself in the position as head of Taylor Guitars today.

Independent study or homeschooling can foster may types of talents, special interests and foster then unique needs of many types of students. The below graphic provides further insight to where and how homeschooling can support students with unique needs and interests.



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Dr. Jessica Spallino
Dr. Jessica Spallino
Jessica has a demonstrated track record of building schools that are forward-thinking, high-performing, and often unconventional. She is particularly experienced at building online and blended learning charter schools, and has a passion for improving K-12 education through new and innovative models and concepts. She’s regularly asked to speak on change management and building positive and innovative cultures in schools and in the workplace. Jessica holds a BA in English, an MA in Educational Leadership, and holds PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.

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