Meet a homeschooling mom. Rebekah Azzarelli of Beacon



Mom shares an insider view of a local homeschooling co-op

home school, coop, learn, teach, kids, moms

If you are interested in homeschooling what better way to explore homeschooling opportunities, than to ask a mom. Rebekah Azzarelli has homeschooled two of her children who are now adults and is homeschooling her 9-year-old son Euan. 

“Originally our group began in a storefront in Beacon, said Azzarelli. She described it as a community space for all homeschoolers - a self-directed learning center. They used the space as a hub for classes. And they hired some professional teachers. But they found it hard to get the classes filled. And it was also expensive to maintain. 

Now they meet at a local church. 

The Rivertown Homeschoolers Cooperative outlines their goals:
 
  • Rivertown Homeschoolers Cooperative (RHC) is a family-centered and inclusive homeschooling and unschooling cooperative for families from Beacon, NY and beyond. We seek to nurture each child’s passions and interests in a rich learning environment while also building a strong web of connection and support between students and their families.

  • Our offerings are member-driven, and include classes led by both co-op members and professional teachers as well as a variety of activities that students can choose to participate in when they are not taking classes. Students are encouraged to follow their interests and are given the space to work both independently and collaboratively, and all our offerings and activities are non-compulsory.

How will socialization change for homeschoolers? 

They have kids from 5-years-old to teens in the co-op. She suggested that the toddlers to teens were all around at the same time. We will see them at other programs as well. So, all the kids got to know each other. 

Azzarelli said she couldn’t generalize about socialization with Covid-19 looming in each neighborhood. “There are so many different experiences for homeschoolers. And we don’t know what September will bring. It is hard to know how to handle this with health recommendations rapidly changing. 

“Although there might be no school, more contact with others may become more accepted. There are so many unknowns. Maybe more outside activities will be developed.”

Azzarelli does note that parents with high risk children are being very careful on limiting their child’s contact with others.  

When asked if her lifestyle has changed as the virus entered the Hudson Valley, she said not. The family attend one coop meeting a week with others. “Euan has a limited attention span virtual classroom learning,” said Azzarelli. "We have four adults in our household. And so he gets lots of interaction at home. 

“Now there is more inward time. Less stress in some ways. Not have 10 things to go to”. Her son needs a lot of down time.  And he is not interested in online groups. 

How will group learning change? What will group learning look like?

According to Azzarelli, kids learn all the time. Sometimes its instruction. Other times open ended learning from each of each other. She suggests that there will probably be more of a shift in how we learn. A lonelier way of learning. 

Because in most households both kids and their parents have been home, parents are re-examining how their kids are learning. They are seeing it happen. She feels people are rejecting this remote learning system that schools have introduced. As parents become discouraged with the current learning system, more people will contact the schools about homeschooling their kids. 

Suggested Resources

Hudson Valley Homeschoolers is on Facebook and they provide a wealth of resources. 

Rivertown Homeschoolers Cooperative. The group is eager to support others, especially those who want to open a coop.  Right now, they have about 40 kids in the coop. Ages 3 to 15 years old. For more information email rhcooperative@gmail.com.

Some schools offer group learning experiences. Based on new rules Azzarelli is not sure how that will change.  Two schools mentioned are the Randolph School and the Birch School. 

An interested fact is that in New York State it is up to the district to determine if they will allow access to the school’s extra curriculum activities. Including sports. Beacon does not allow homeschoolers to participate in school programs.  

Rebekah Azzarelli is the owner of Beacon Homeopathy, as well as a homeschooling mom. According to her website, Homeopathy is a safe, gentle, and natural system of healing that works with your body to relieve symptoms, restore itself, and improve your overall health.



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