The Ark-La-Tex Homeschool Association holds special night for group of students at Haughton-area clubhouse
A group of local teenagers danced the night away at the first annual homeschool homecoming dance this weekend.
High school students from around the area dressed in their finest and arrived in style Saturday night at the Dogwood Clubhouse in Haughton. The event, hosted by the Ark-La-Tex Homeschool Association (ALTHA), was an opportunity for them to experience perks of a traditional public school activity in a unique way.
ALTHA president Sharron Foster said they organized the event to closely resemble a public school dance.
“This isn't a banquet, this is a dance. We're doing the whole nine yards – the mums, the dresses, the photos,” Foster said. “Just because they don't go to public school doesn't mean we can't have our own events.”
The Ark-La-Tex Homeschool Association is a group in the Shreveport/Bossier City/Haughton area that is being developed to provide local homeschoolers with a support group. Foster said their goal is to help students build friendships and relationships with their peers in a fun group setting.
Foster said the number of local homeschooled students has grown since she began homeschooling her own children five years ago. With more children come new opportunities to raise awareness for their group, Foster said.
“It's continuing to grow more and more,” she said. “We're trying to fight the stereotype and bring these groups together so they can build friendships and relationships like they would in public school.”
Not only did students attend a dance, but they also participated in week-long homecoming festivities. Each day was assigned a theme, just as it’s done in public schools, and students shared photos of themselves dressed up on the group’s private Facebook page.
“We want these kids to have a real experience – the benefits of homeschool plus the perks public school,” Foster said.
Foster said the homecoming dance is the first step to breaking the stereotype of homeschool versus public school students.
“There's a common misconception that homeschool kids don't get the same opportunities as those in public schools,” she said. “Just because our kids are homeschooled doesn't mean they are unsocialized.”
She added that there are also plans for a Sadie Hawkins dance early next year and a prom later in the spring. Foster said they aren't stopping at dances though. She hopes to do more activities like a science fair in the future.
“We're not just doing one [event] and going away. If it's a slow start, that doesn't mean we won't do it next year. We're excited about homeschooling and allowing these kids be real kids and experience what public school kids are doing.”
Foster hopes that more students and homeschool groups will get involved next year and make the events bigger and better each time.