Homeschooling is one educational option that many families in Whatcom County choose for their children. There is a lot of information that families need to know before even getting started, however. With a passion for creating fun in learning for all children, Bellingham’s Launching Success is an incredible support system for homeschoolers. They provide state-required information as well as materials based on best practices.
“We first start by talking to the families,” says Jen Zimmermann, co-owner of locally-owned Launching Success. “We talk about the general do’s and don’ts of homeschooling and how to get started.”
Zimmermann goes on to say that the first conversation with a family considering homeschooling involves understanding goals and objectives. She explains that it is important to understand what you hope to achieve with homeschooling along with understanding the requirements for education in the state of Washington.
She also explains that there are various reasons and different perspectives that would lead families to choose homeschooling as an option for education. The first place they send a family considering home schooling is to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Education where they can see all of the criteria for general K through 12 education as well as the requirements necessary for homeschooling based on Washington state law. This website provides an incredible amount of information to give homeschooling a solid starting point.
In the state of Washington parents can choose homeschooling and receive resource support, providing certain rigorous requirements are met. Choosing not to receive resource support is an option but Washington state laws, such as school testing, still need to be met in order to receive a high school diploma.
“The resource support varies based on many factors,” explains Zimmermann. “We talk to families about the accountability requirements of home schooling, such as providing regular lesson plans for review and belonging to a local homeschooling group, to qualify for resource support should they choose that direction.”
This is where Launching Success really excels. They have created an environment for homeschool families in their store that is full of resources, a space with a table to sit and review and catalogs to peruse for ideas and products.
The staff at Launching Success knows the various materials available and understands the regulations and requirements for homeschooling. This is why they are the local resource for providing any level of support needed for any family involved in educating kids. To that end, Launching Success has created a series of packages based on best practices and supplies for kindergarten through eighth grade and for each subject area.
When you walk into Launching Success’ homeschooling section, you are encouraged to touch, feel and look through the materials before you make a purchase. Here you’ll find a binder full of information that supports the successful implementation of homeschooling. You’ll also find an array of catalogs with a plethora of great products.
“If a family comes in with a suggestion for a certain product to carry, we do our best to get those products in the store,” says Zimmermann. “We can offer new curriculum based on family recommendations.”
In order to receive resource support from the state, homeschooling families must become part of a local organization such as the Bellingham Family Partnership or Lynden Academy, among others. Launching Success provides a list of resource support-based organizations, as well as those that are not resource support-based, to anyone needing that information. The difference between the two types of organizations are the Washington state accountability requirements in order to qualify for resource support.
Launching Success, through its relationships with these partnerships and families, is truly a local resource supporting Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties along with Oak Harbor. In fact, they have an open week for Oak Harbor families to shop for supplies and will even deliver supplies to their local partners. “We want to support families and children wherever they are learning,” says Zimmermann. “It’s what we do and that’s our mission.”
At Launching Success you’ll find support materials such as books, science kits, art and even foreign language materials, in addition to basic curriculum. “It is great information presented in a fun way,” Zimmermann describes.
Launching Success provides educational materials for teachers and homeschool, as well as fun items that encourage kids to learn. Stop in and spend some time in the store, taking in all of the fun ways there are to learn just about anything!