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Something for everyone

Ensuring your child has a well-rounded education can be difficult for parents who have children in traditional education, as well as those who homeschool.

Offering a variety of classes that range from the arts to physical education, the Renaissance School of the Arts is a co-operative that reaches out to students of all ages from differing academic and religious backgrounds.

“There is something for everyone,” said Theresa Romanelli, a homeschooling mom. “It’s a good place with a mix of different courses and open to everyone. You find things you wouldn’t find in a normal school setting.”

The school meets every Thursday at Ebenezer United Methodist Church or in private session, depending on the class, and has a strong emphasis on the visual and performing arts, although there are also classes in sciences and other areas. Nearly 50 different classes are offered throughout the year and are taught by a mix of professionals and individuals well versed in their subjects.

“The instructors always have a definite background in whatever they’re teaching,” Romanelli said. “We have a great new vocal instructor this year who has a degree in music and sings opera. My daughter Alyssa loves to sing. It’s allowed her an opportunity to be in that.”

Romanelli is also helping as musical producer for the school’s upcoming play. Her three children, ages 13, 11 and 7, are all enrolled in classes at the school.

For her, the schools offers many advantages as a supplement to her home curriculum. One such advantage is that it allows her children an opportunity to receive concentrated education in a subject.

“I have played the flute before, but I’m not someone who could give lessons,” Romanelli said. “In normal schools you get that, and teaching subjects outside one’s expertise can be a challenge to homeschool parents. It provides classes for my kids that I’m not an expert in.”

There are also opportunities that may not normally be found in a regular school setting that her children are able to take advantage of, such as Irish dance lessons.

“You find things you wouldn’t normally find in a school setting,” Romanelli said. “My 7-year-old is in Irish dance lessons at the school.”

The school also offers a safe social setting for her children, as well.

“Some people are so afraid of that social aspect,” Romanelli said. “While my children get socialization elsewhere too, it’s a good environment for the kids. It’s a good chance to be around other kids who share similar interests. I love that.”

One of the most rewarding things about the school and its assistance to Romanelli’s homeschool core-curriculum is how it has brought her family together.

“It offers so much for children to have an education apart from basic academics,” Romanelli said. “It’s wonderful to hear your three children work together on a song. My 7-year-old writes the lyrics, the oldest sings and my son plays the guitar. As a mom, it makes your heart so excited to hear them working together.”

To find out more about the co-operative, visit www.rsa-tidewater.blogspot.com.