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The Mattoon Area Family YMCA Homeschool Program is a unique opportunity for families that choose to homeschool their students. According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 2.3 million students are homeschooled in the United States, up from 1.5 million five years ago. The growing percentage of homeschool families means that more parents are seeking opportunities to grow well-rounded students.

The YMCA Homeschool Program is taught by trained staff members. Participants receive swim lessons and group sports instruction at times that are convenient for homeschool families. “The goal of our Homeschool Program is to offer fun and unique opportunities to all students,” said Sarah Dowell, Mattoon YMCA Community Programs Director. “Our students have fun getting away from the books, and they leave the program stronger and with more endurance, coordination, balance, and hopefully some new friends.”

Jan Allison, a homeschool parent and Mattoon YMCA member said she enjoys the diversity of programming available at the Y for people of different ages. “We can come after dinner or whenever it works for our family,” she said.

Lauren Calandrilla, another homeschool parent agreed. “We joined because we can all come together and not miss out on family time. When the Toledo YMCA opened it was a bonus because we live right in the middle of both locations and now we can use either one.”

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Participants do not have to be members of the YMCA in order to attend the Homeschool Program. It is open to all children who are homeschooled, regardless of membership status. The program is offered in eight-week sessions and each day is split into two 45-minute sections. Parents can attend classes, utilize the fitness center, or just relax during the program. “I love that my kids can blow off steam and socialize with new friends around their age,” homeschool parent Stacey Beever said. “It’s a bonus that I get to talk to other homeschool moms while the kids are learning.”

“It is great to have the opportunity to get together with other parents to ask questions and work through any difficulties we might be having as homeschool parents,” homeschool parent, Renea King agreed.

Fall 2019 sessions of the Mattoon YMCA Homeschool Program will meet from 10-11:45 a.m. on Thursdays. The first session will run August 29 to October 17, 2019 and the second session will run October 24 through December 12, 2019. Children must be 5 years of age by September 1, 2019 to enroll. Program participants will be divided into two or three smaller age or ability-based groups, as needed. Space is limited and registration is on a first come, first served basis.

Families who cannot afford the entire cost of membership are encouraged to apply for Membership for All. Membership for All is a sliding fee scale that is designed to help individuals and families stay healthy, thrive and belong. The assistance can be applied to individual programs. Families who would like more information on either program can contact Sarah Dowell at sdowell@mattoonymca.org or 217-234-9494, or visit www.mattoonymca.org.

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