Growing interest in Village Home, alternative schooling


Growing interest in Village Home, alternative schooling

4:25 p.m. PDT July 29, 2016

Village Home, an alternative to conventional schooling, is growing in popularity in Salem.

Though not a school itself, Village Home provides classes for children who are predominantly home-schooled.

Village Home began its first classes in January.

In the winter term, Village Home had 75 students, with an average of 6.25 students per class. However, the spring term brought 90 students, with an average of 7.5 students per class. On average, each student takes 2.8 classes, said Loriann Schmidt, Village Home teacher and parent.

This year, Village Home Salem will offer a handful of classes, including “Creepy Science,” “Civics for Young Activists,” “Exotic Animal Investigators,” and “Herstory,” which explores prominent women in history.

New activities offered include mock trial and a teen performance of “The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 minutes or Less.”

Sherri Clark will work with preschool students. She is also the mother of student Linus Clark.

Linus, 8, said Village Home wasn’t was he thought it would be.

“I thought it was going to be a lot of seats in a row with names on it like a regular school,” he said.

Linus wants to grow up to have his own Lego museum because he “has more Lego than any of his friends.”

Sherri has been homeschooling Linus since first grade when they realized his personality didn’t fit with traditional schooling.

She said Linus enjoys project-based learning and likes having more individualized attention from teachers.

Though homeschooling was a good choice for Linus and Sherri, she said they were still looking for community and activities.

Sherri praised Village Home, saying the teachers are passionate and the students thrive.

“The community aspect is so great,” she said. “Everybody takes care of everybody.”

Having a small class size was important to Sherri.

Village Home classes average 5-12 students, depending on the location, with a 10:1 student-teacher ratio at the Portland location. The program offers classes for children from pre-school through high school.

Tuition is $105 for a 10-week course — or $10.50 per instructional hour — though parents can work on a payment plan to fit a budget, Sherri said.

The students learn in mixed-aged classrooms. All students learn with students of different ages under the program’s philosophy that “peer-to-peer learning is a natural part of the rhythm of the classroom.”

The school also has a “grade-free learning environment,” which program leaders said allows students to focus on learning and not on testing.

Classes for 2016-2017 will be on Tuesdays and Fridays. Class offerings and schedules can be found at

Contact Natalie Pate at, 503-399-6745 or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate or

Open House

Village Home Salem will hold an open house at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 9 at its Salem location, 197 Hrubetz Road SE, for people who want to learn more about the program and meet the teachers. 

For more information, contact the Salem location at 503-400-7854 or email


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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit, like her on Facebook at, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at

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