International Homeschool Spirit Week

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) This is International Homeschool Spirit Week.
While there are a lot of families who homeschool these days, one Roanoke family was ahead of the trend.

Eric and Amy Whitlow are doing their morning lesson, say they also enjoy educational opportunities away from home

In this week's Early Years, we're meeting the Whitlows, who have been homeschooling for over 20 YEARS.

17 year old Amy and 16 year old Eric are home schooled by their mom, Bonita, who also home schooled their two older siblings, who are now in their 30s.

Bonita says she hadn't even heard of homeschooling, before starting it when her oldest son, Ryan was entering the third grade.
Now he's homeschooling his own children.

For Bonita, starting her family's homeschooling tradition was a leap of faith.

"I really wanted to do a good job, and so the first year was very nervous, and I was like "Lord, please help us to do good'. And so when they got the Iowa test back, they were so good, and I'm like, whew!," says Bonita.

Amy and Eric have daily Bible devotion in the mornings, and then move on to classwork.

Bonita says there's a lot of resources online and through groups like the Greater Roanoke Home Educators.

Each year, the kids have to take a standardized test to make sure they're on the right track.

"But when you're in a small setting, you can do that very quickly. You can meet those standards very quickly. Each day you can cover that. But then the rest of the day, you get to go into a direction the child is bent," says Bonita.

Her daughter, Amy wants to work with ultrasound, and uses her time away from her studies volunteering at the Women's Center.
Her other passion is baking.

"I've been selling at some farmer's markets on Saturdays. So, that's been fun and enjoyable to learn how to bake new things and I've also started my own baking business," says Amy.

Eric plans to be a pediatrician, but he also loves playing soccer and basketball, and is an amateur filmmaker.

He says, "I like to make movies, I make stop- motion, live action, all kinds of movies, so I enjoy that as well."

Both Eric and Amy say they enjoy homeschooling, and the balance it brings in their lives and their learning.