JACKSONVILLE, Fla – A little more than 2.5 percent of school-aged students in the United States are homeschooled. In Florida, that equals more than 84,000 children.
There are hundreds of options to educate students outside of a school building.
The Adams family's oldest son, CJ, is only 5 years old, but he'll blow your mind with his beautiful brain.
CJ's dad, Colin Adams, said his firstborn boy was speaking in full sentences and counting to 20 in both English and Spanish before he was 1 year old, and it was clear CJ was different.
"I looked at some of the curriculum online to see what was available at some schools and the options just weren't there in order for us to channel CJ the way we thought he needed to be," Adams said.
While Colin and his wife, Chandra, are both products of public schools, they tested their knowledge to educate CJ their way. They chose a homeschool program called Classical Conversations.
Once a week, around 50 kids of different ages meet as a group. Classical Conversations starts the day with everyone together, and then they break into age groups.
This week in science, the students are learning about volcanoes. It sets the stage for what they'll continue learning during the week at home. The curriculum is provided for the entire year and on the other days, it's taught at home.
Christina Scott, who leads the Mandarin South group, homeschools her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. Her son first started at 6 years old and his sister was only 18 months old. Scott said those first few days took some adjusting
"Everyone feels nervous about it, but that's also parenting. I think part of it is realizing that homeschooling can be just an extension of your parenting," Scott said.
Once that concept clicked, she embraced the flexibility.
"We made a lot of adjustments. I would say, 'OK, we're just going to have school outside today' and let her play on the trampoline, and we'll try to get some math in here and there," Scott said.
Four years later, it's still working. Parents work around their own schedule. Sometimes school is at night, on a trip and sometimes the trip is school.
"The biggest difference between homeschooling and regular school is you really take control of what's going on. We learn all day. We learn all year long. There's no set time that we're in school," Adams said.
The entire Adams family is always learning, including Colson, 3, and the youngest member of the family 1-year-old Charlotte, who can already list the planets in the solar system.
These parents have found their tribe, and it's working. They're part of a small percentage of families that keep the learning at home.
"We're going to push the limits on what he can do and challenge him. As long as we can find great social opportunities for him, this is going to be fun. It's great," Adams said.
Also for more information in general about homeschool, click here.