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Home-schoolers vie in science fair

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Jacob Sokalski, 13, right, explains his science fair project to science fair judge Sheila Shearon Thursday in the Student Life Building at Church on the Rise.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Saturday, January 27, 2018

As charter schools, private schools and home schools celebrated National School Choice Week this week, a group of local home-schooled students gathered Thursday to hold their annual science fair competition.

This year’s Classical Conversations Science Fair featured 22 projects from students in the Challenge A for seventh grade and Challenge B for eighth grade groups. James Edwards won first place in the Challenge B competition with his project using Legos to determine how different gear combinations impact speed. Emily Baker won first place in the Challenge A group with a project testing which substances best melt ice.

“The science project was a lot of work, but it was fun,” Baker said. “I learned that salt can prevent ice from forming.”

Baker said she has been home schooling all her life and she loves it.

“I like it because I get to do school at home, and I can finish my schoolwork quicker and then do things I enjoy doing,” Baker said.

One of the judges at the science fair was Dr. Renee Cockrell, a pediatrician with the Rocky Mount office of the N.C. Children’s Developmental Service Agency. She said she was impressed with the work of the students at the science fair.

“I have seen some great science projects here from a wide variety of science fields, ranging from nutrition to physics,” Cockrell said.

Cockrell said she feels it is important for students to participate in such projects.

“The whole point of doing a science project is to teach students about the scientific method, which is something everyone should learn,” Cockrell said. “When students come together for a science fair, they also get to learn from each other’s projects.”

Linda Bittner, who teaches the Challenge A students in the local Classical Conversations program, said the science fair also allow students to explore their future options.

“This helps students have the chance to explore different scientific fields and see if they may be interested in pursing that field in the future,” Bittner said.

Mary Henderson, director of the Challenge B program, said the science fair ia a way to fan the flames of learning.

“Projects like these help students develop research skills and get interested in different aspects of science,” she said. “I could really see the excitement in these students today. This helps students develop a love of learning and a love of life.”

Most of the science projects will be on display at an open house event next week. The event will allow people in the community who are interested in home schooling using Classical Conversations to see the program in action. With Classical Conversations, students meet together for group instruction in various subjects on Tuesdays and then work on assigned schoolwork at home with parental supervision for the rest of the week.

Parents of students in kindergarten through third grade are welcome to visit from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Calvary Baptist Church. Parents of students in older grades are encouraged to observe classes anytime from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Tuesday at the same location.

Justin Nale, who helps coordinate the Classical Conversations program in the area, said the group provides one way to help parents home-school their children. During National School Choice Week, he said it is important for people to realize that they have educational options.

“Home-school parents can give their children the kind of education they think is best whether they are wanting to provide a God-centered education, a better peer environment or more challenging educational options,” Nale said.

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