The ebb and flow of home schooling | Local News

While home schooling their three young children, Brittany and Nathan Vail, of Kankakee, get asked a lot of questions about the process. One question that often pops up is if their children receive enough social interaction.

“That’s usually like one of the top three questions — if we’re worried about that,” Brittany said. “I feel like you could approach homeschooling and make it about isolating your kids from the world, but that’s not our goal. We’re here to equip them to go out into the world. We try to give them lots of exposures in stuff all the time.”

Contrarily, the Vails say their children receive a wide array of social contact.

“They get to interact with kids of different ages,” Brittany said. “When we’re in our home schooling group all day, instead of being in a classroom with kids of 6 or 7 years old, they’re interacting with babies to grandmas all day long. Just a wide range of social interaction, which is really, really cool to see my kids greet each and every kid that walked up with no fear. That’s amazing. I was so proud of them that they can do that and feel confident.”

Home schooling is a growing trend. According to data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics in Washington, D.C., 1.77 million students, or 3.4 percent of all school-aged children, were being home-schooled in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available. It’s estimated more than 90,000 students are home-schooled in Illinois.

The Vails home-school their sons, Isaiah, 7, and Judah, 6, while their 2-year-old daughter, Bella, participates as well.

“We home-school so that we can shepherd their hearts in the world, give them education that’s catered to where they’re at, where they need to be,” said Brittany, who has a bachelor’s degree in theology and English from Franciscan University in Steubenville,…

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