Every Wednesday afternoon the Anderson University campus fills with the laughter of children. Many have noticed these young guests frolicking on their way to the School of Music and the Kardatzke Wellness Center. There are 706 homeschooled children in Madison County, according to Indiana Youth Institute, and more than 120 of them assemble on AU’s campus each week to take advantage of the homeschool music and physical education programs.
For more than 35 years, AU education students have been pairing up with homeschool students. Dr. Becky Hull, chair of the Department of Kinesiology, has overseen the physical education program for the last 30 years. “There are parents who are homeschooling that are more versed in the traditional things, like math and history, and not so much in P.E. and music,” says Hull. “I think it is good for the homeschool kids to socialize with their friends in a purposeful way.” The facilities and equipment at AU are good tools for the kids to use that they normally would not have access to, adds Hull.
Because of the success of the P.E. program, a homeschool music program was implemented. The music program is in its ninth year and teaches kids to appreciate music. In both programs education majors teach the homeschooled kids as part of a class. “It’s good for our students because they get actual experience with the kids,” says Joanie Brandon, associate professor of music and head of the homeschool music program. “We get to serve the community and the students get experience. We can talk about teaching music to an 8-year-old all day, but putting it into practical experience is vital.”
“Music is something especially you cannot do by yourself,” says Brandon. “Being in a group lets you do things you simply cannot do alone.”
The homeschool P.E. program serves kids from 4 years old to freshman in high school, while the music program serves preschool through 11-year-olds. The programs run 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring. This gives three weeks of preparation for the college students before the classes begin. The cost is free for the music program and $10 for the P.E. program for the entire year.
“You would never believe how much fun it is to play games and sing songs with young children,” says music education major Alyssa Balbaugh. “It's easy to see how much each student enjoys this and what they gain from attending. Actual practice in the teaching field is the best way to prepare.”
— Aaron Vogel is a senior from Fairmount, Indiana, majoring in communication arts with a minor in marketing. Vogel is an associate with Fifth Street Communications writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.