SCCA plans program for homeschooled children

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For parents who homeschool their children, a well-rounded arts education can become a challenge.

It is a challenge the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is helping to overcome this year, with its new homeschool arts program.

“We already have 50 kids signed up,” said Jody Mazur, director of education and community outreach at the center. “We have a terrific faculty lined up.”

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The first session of homeschool arts will run Sept. 18 to Nov. 18 on Wednesday mornings. Children will take theater arts and visual arts, and can choose between ballet or martial arts for their third option.

“We have found a need in the community,” said Paul Lasakow, the director of the center. “Fulfilling educational needs, as far as I’m concerned, is the best possible thing we can do as an organization.”

Students ages 3 to 18 will attend the three 50-minute sessions on Wednesday mornings, while their parents spend the three hours relaxing and socializing in the parents’ lounge, participating in a crocheting circle or enrolling their younger children in a baby sign language class going on at the same time, Lasakow said. So far, the oldest child enrolled is in the ninth grade.

The center advertised the class by word of mouth, and enrollment skyrocketed.

“Homeschool parents are the best network you can hope for,” Lasakow said.

The classes will tie in to a performance by Avner the Eccentric at the end of the session. The man’s performance will allow students to see the things they’ve been learning performed by a professional, Lasakow said.

“It gives them a context,” he explained.

The center partnered with Todd Rosenlieb Dance to help teach the ballet portion. Other teachers come from the community, some of them homeschool parents themselves, Mazur said.

Many students already enrolled cannot wait for the classes to begin, said Kay Boone, the box office manager at the center.

“It’s not just the parents — the kids are excited,” Boone said. “They are gung-ho about coming to the center for this program.

For more information about the program or the center’s other offerings, call 923-0003 or visit www.SuffolkCenter.org.