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Village Home celebrates 10 years


Many local families use the education resource center

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Janet Creasy, right, with her daughter, Tess, works on an art project.Parents work hard to obtain the best education for their children in the Lake Oswego community, but not all local families go about it in the same way.

About 45 Lake Oswego families have been members of the Village Home Education Resource Center in the past five years. Located in Beaverton and Northeast Portland, Village Home offers more than 200 classes and resources to its 275 families. The education center will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a big bash today in Portland.

The main difference between Village Home and a public school is children may choose their own classes, said Lori Walker, Village Home founder and executive director.

“As a result, the children are active participants in their own education, and that makes them show up to class, engaged, ready to learn in a unique way,” Walker said.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Janet Creasy, left, observes her daughters, Tess, left, and Ava, exploring their musical passion during a typical homeschool session.

Classes cover topics including computers and technology, drama, history, math and science. Village Home serves 450 students on its two campuses, and among them are Lake Oswego resident Janet Creasy’s daughters, Tess and Ava. They are taking singing, art, French and dance. Tess, 11, also is taking writing, which her mother teaches. The girls spend time at Village Home when they aren’t at home studying or out in the world, learning at places including Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

“I know myself better than I think I would in public school,” said Ava, 13. “I know my limits.”

Their next adventure?

“We’re going to France for six months as exchange students,” Tess said.

The girls leave next March and will host exchange students for six months before and after the two of them will live with their host family overseas.

Janet Creasy joked: “We are homeschoolers who are never home.”

She and her husband, Brian Creasy, took the girls out of public school when Ava was in fourth grade and Tess was in second grade, and homeschooling has allowed the family to spend more time together.

Tess plans to attend Lake Oswego Junior High part time in the fall, where Ava has been part time since March.

One of the benefits of Village Home is people of all ages are present with regular social activities for the whole family in addition to classes, Janet Creasy said. There also are classes for adults at Village Home, including French, which she is taking.

“It’s a community,” she said. “It’s a village.”

Much has changed for Village Home since it opened in 2003 in Beaverton with 35 classes and 72 students, growing at a rate of 10 percent per year, Walker said. The Northeast Portland site swung wide its doors in 2009.

“Over the years, we have added a computer lab, a tutoring program, a consulting service to help families map out their education plans and our Choices Program that enables students to have a mentoring relationship with a professional educator,” Walker said. “We’ve also added travel programs, including programs for teens, outdoor school and family travel programs.”

Few other education centers in the area offer the breadth and depth of courses for all ages that Village Home does, she said. The focus is not grading and testing but engaging students in learning, Walker added. The Beaverton location serves students from preschool to high school, and the Portland site serves learners from preschool to middle school.

Lake Oswego is well-represented not only in the classroom but also in the leadership at the education center. Since it opened, four Lake Oswego residents have sat on the board, which usually has 12 people.

Local resident Terry Jordan is a Village Home teacher who previously held a board position. Her son, Timothy, attended Village Home from first to fifth grade before transitioning to Hallinan Elementary School. He’s currently a sophomore at Lakeridge High School.

“I love homeschooling,” Jordan said. “It’s just a wonderful thing.”

She added that everyone educates their children differently, and it depends on what “is right for your family.”