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Home-schoolers gather for social activities

Joe Michaud-Scorza / jscorza@postbulletin.com Evan Koehler, left, and Becca Bartlett race for control of a soft puck Friday at Riverside Arena in Austin. Homeschooled students meet every Friday at Riverside to play hockey with friends.

A few teens got together Friday for some informal ice skating and hockey slap shots.

No, they weren't there for organized hockey practice. They're home-schooled students who were out enjoying some ice time.

Every Friday from November to March, local home-schooled kids get together for hockey. Usually at Packer Arena, the skaters were at Riverside Arena on Friday. They had the ice to themselves as they skated around with their sticks and pucks and played games.

Local families who home-school their children get together for various activities like ice skating, 4-H groups or activities in the community.

Josie Koehler, 19, and her two younger brothers were there. They've been home-schooled in their rural Austin home by their mother, June, and they look forward to "hockey Fridays," as they call it.


Koehler graduated in 2010 and never went to public school.

One of the biggest things she enjoyed about being home-schooled was being able to have a Christian-focused education. She was able to learn history from a Christian perspective and was taught with her beliefs in mind.

"I basically never wished I went to public school," Koehler said. "We all felt like it was a privilege to be home-schooled."

She also doesn't feel like she missed out on anything by not attending public school. Students can participate in sports and music activities at the public schools. They get to see friends and meet people at the different home-school activities, plus they are at church quite a bit.

"It's not like we're shy home-schoolers that don't know anybody," Koehler said.

Individual attention

Home-schooling is also beneficial because of the individualized attention students can get, something that differs from public school, Koehler said. If a student excels in a subject, then the studies and teaching can be adapted to his or her specific needs.

She now works for her dad at Koehler's Yard Service, and she's taking online college courses because of the flexibility it offers.


Her younger brother, Aaron Koehler, 13, is in seventh grade and also likes the flexibility of being home-schooled. He likes to get his work done for the week by Thursday so he can have Friday off.

He said he enjoys being home-schooled and he doesn't want to go to public school. He also likes the Christian aspect of his studies.

"Yeah, that's good," Aaron said. "You could learn more about God."

Evan Koehler, 15, is a 10th-grader and said he enjoys the freedom to go outside on breaks from his school work. It gives him a chance to help out with work outside.

He said the only reason he might like to attend public school would be to have more time to hang out with friends, but he said he'll probably turn out to be a better person by being home-schooled.

"I really like home-school, though," Evan said. "Well, there's a lot of bad influences with public school. And we don't get that at home."

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