“Home is where the heart is.”
Likewise, home is where the schooling is for a rural Melbeta family.
The Leggott family has a passion for homeschooling. It’s not just a chosen way to educate the children, but also a legacy built on passion. Parents, Ben and Laura Leggott, were both home schooled, and now pass this legacy and passion to their four children, Tyler, Emma, Mayda and Wyatt. Their homeschool is faith-based.
“We call our home school the Leggott Christian Academy,” Laura said.
Nebraska home schools must be registered with the state.
“Our home school is registered with the State of Nebraska as an exempt school, and I actually use the same name that Ben’s parents used when they registered their home school, so we can say we were established in 1985,” Laura said.
“In Nebraska, you have to file an affidavit with the state that says you plan to have an exempt school,” Laura said. “You must list the teacher representative of the school as the person representing the school.” The teacher does not need a certain level of education.
“You must list what education the teacher has, but there is no requirement to have a certain level of education ... you just have to list it,” Laura said. “You must list the curriculum you plan to use as well, and the number of hours you plan to do. Elementary age kids require 1,032 hours per year; high school is like 1,200-some.”
Some parents home school their children to have a direct hand in their education.
“Homes chooling is when parents choose to take the direction of their children’s education into their own hands,” Laura said. “A big part of why we home school is I want to spend a bigger part of my day pouring my faith and my Christian worldview into my kids. I don’t want them to spend all day in school getting a different worldview.
“We spend more time together as a family in the mornings and then do school work after Ben goes to work at the railroad in Alliance in the afternoons,” Laura said. “My biggest joy is that I get to hang out with my family all day.”
Laura also works from home.
One of the main distinctions between public school and home school is the latter is “a totally different approach to education.” Laura said. “We conduct school at home. We don’t have desks and class periods. We are fostering learning. We spark a love of learning in our kids.
“This can encompass studying at home, putting together a load of courses from outside sources, or a lot of things,” Laura said. “Everything we do inside and outside the home is learning.”
“Home schooling doesn’t have to happen just at home. We have school everywhere,” Laura said. “We hit the road. We take our books. We visit national parks and museums. We pack up and do school in town sometimes at the library or college. Life is schooling. The world is our classroom.”
As the teacher, Laura keeps the children on task and on track.
“I use planning software that prints out checklists to keep us on track so we don’t get to the end of the school year and wish we had done a lot more math,” Laura said.
The family also utilizes the Valley Home School Association co-op.
“Home school co-op is home school families who get together once every two weeks for learning different things from different families. Different dads have different talents and different moms have different knowledge,” Ben said. “I teach a lot of hands-on skills, like working on vehicles, outdoorsmanship, construction, engine rebuilding, bicycle repair, and other things.”
“The home school association has two parts – the co-op and the other half is field trips, parent’s workshops, home school conference, graduations, prom, and all those kinds of things,” Laura said.
The co-op does many things involving many parents and children.
“The co-op ranges from 55-85 families and 120-155 kids,” Laura said.
This large bi-weekly gathering is an opportunity for socialization beyond the home and other places.
“One of the biggest questions we get is how do your kids get social activity, but actually they do a lot more … it’s just a different social activity,” Ben said.
Home schooling also offers the benefit of personalized education.
“Think of the picture of an elephant, a giraffe, a monkey and a lion all standing in a group with a guy telling them to climb a tree and you’ll be graded on how you do – that’s how I see public education, whereas in homeschooling you have the opportunity to teach every child in their own talents and interests and bent,” Ben said. “It may not be climbing a tree but something else.”
“My favorite thing about home schooling is that the learning is specialized for each person,” Emma said.
“One thing I really like about homeschooling is that I can learn at my own pace,” Tyler said.
“Home schooling allows the unique opportunity to tailor-fit education to each child,” Ben said. “I’m not upset with public schools; I just appreciate the benefits of homeschooling.”
The Leggott Christian Academy tailor-fits education to each of their four children.
“Currently, Tyler and Emma are home schooling but they’re actually fully enrolled at WNCC,” Laura said. “Their primary education registered with the state is 100% home schooled using outsourced courses from WNCC.”
“Tyler and Emma will graduate high school with an associate degree from WNCC. They’re college students while in high school – sort of like a dual enrollment situation. Their classes count for both high school and college credit. Their high school courses are college courses."
Emma is studying to become a nurse, planning to be a registered nurse in a nursing home.
“I really enjoy working with elderly people,” she said.
Tyler has a love of mechanics and aviation. He’s open to exploring the future, saying, “It’s OK f you don’t know what you want to do; explore and figure out some things you enjoy doing.”
Wyatt, the youngest of the four children, likes history. He also favors building with Legos.
“I helped build a Lego robot that went to state 4-H competition held at the SAC museum,” he said. “They didn’t tell us our place, but I was pretty sure we got 11th out of 56 teams.”
“I like science and chemistry, and the more open and flexible schedule of homeschooling,” Mayda said. “I really don’t dislike anything about home schooling.”
“You have to be all-in,” Ben said. “It requires total commitment.”