Roanoke family shows homeschooling doesn't mean that students are home bodies

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Kids are either already back in school, or about to go back in the coming weeks. But what if your home is the classroom?

16-year-old Elisa Hatfield is getting a jump start on this year's studies, as her mom takes care of her baby brother.

16 year old Elisa Hatfield is working on her music lesson, with her baby brother, Clae nearby.

She, along with her 14- year-old brother, Wilkin have always been homeschooled.

But between soccer games, scouts and other activities, they're often away from home.

Mom Jamie Hatfield says she decided to start homeschooling her kids, when Elisa was ready for kindergarten.

"She was 10 days too young for kindergarten and I thought she was completely ready," says Hatfield.

So, Hatfield submitted a notice of intent to home school. It's something she figured would only be for a year.

Over a decade later, she's still at it.

"I have nothing against the pubic school system. I think it's wonderful," says Hatfield. "I just, I'm having a lot of fun doing this. I really enjoy it and our family's made sacrifices so we can continue doing it."

Their instruction has changed, as the kids have gotten older. Now the Hatfield kids take classes through a co-op, which means they have teachers other than their mom.

Hatfield says co-ops offer a lot of support for home schoolers, as do online courses.

In Virginia, home schoolers have submit a notice of intent each year, and submit standardized testing results.

Elisa plans to go to college, and study medicine.

As for her social life, she says she has plenty of friends.

"I go to soccer practices when I have home school soccer practices, and I just hang out with the kids there. I have Wednesday night youth group. I go to church and hang out with everybody there. I mean, I'm not missing out on anything," says Elisa.

There are several co-ops in our region to help home schooling families. We have a link to that information, along with state requirements for home schoolers, to the right of this story.