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Home school's new home

Village Home Resource Center spreads out in its roomy location
by: Jaime Valdez, Michael McDonald,13, tests his helicopter in flight as Emma Deloughery helps during math artistry class on the first day of class at the Village Resource Center in Beaverton.

Village Home Educational Resource Center is kicking off the year in a new location that includes more classrooms and is within walking distance of Beaverton City Library and City Park.

On Tuesday, the center opened its doors in space provided by Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ, 5150 S.W. Watson Ave., moving from its previous location in West Hills Unitarian Church in Garden Home.

'It's fantastic,' said Lori Walker, Village Home president and founder, of the center's new location. 'We have a lot more space.'

Village Home is designed to supplement those who home-school their children by providing classes, field trips and other learning experiences.

The center serves an estimated 110 families, offering 70 classes each week along with a field trip.

Classes offered range from math to drama and everything in between.

A word power class at Village Home Educational Resource Center certainly proved helpful for Shelley Clark, who won the third annual Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee in March. She advanced to national competition in Washington, D.C.

Although Village Home rents space from the church, the center isn't affiliated with it, said Walker.

'We're decidedly secular,' she said. 'We are a place where people of all faiths or no faith are invited.'

Walker said approval to occupy the space cut it close, with a final land-use order issued by the city of Beaverton on Sept. 17.

Village Home and the church raised $50,000 to bring the facility built in the 1960s up to current building code.

With a faculty of about 30, Walker said the school has access to some the best teachers in town.

'They propose a course to us,' she said. 'So what we end up with are teachers that are, first and foremost, passionate about their subject matter.'

Of that faculty, a third are professional teachers, a third are professionals in their various areas of expertise and the remainder are parents.

The latter group, Walker said, is top-notch in their fields. As an example, she points to a molecular biology class taught by a parent who has a doctorate in the subject from Stanford University.

During a recent tour, Walker showed off classrooms with rooms named after noted people who have been homeschooled, bearing names such as Einstein, Pulitzer and Audubon.

One of the classrooms has a computer lab, which replaces a room in the former building where computers had to be set up and later taken down after their use.

In addition to the new classrooms, the new location also boasts a nursery as well as a student lounge and a separate family lounge complete with a kitchenette.

This fall, the center will launch CHOICE, a private school option designed for the community.