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Turning The Heat Up – A New Option in Education

| Sande Caplin |

Education continues to be a hot topic in our nation. Issues such as common core controversies, overcrowding, social pressures, bullying and a general apathy towards learning, have created quite a dilemma for families.

There are choices for education such a school choice, charter schools, private and public or virtual school through the county. Another option that has been growing in acceptance over the last two decades is parent directed education, a term coined by Lynne Hartshorn, founder and director of The Bridge Sarasota. “Home education is reaching far beyond the home” explains Hartshorn. “Students love learning together and exploring options in learning within our academically rich community.”

The Bridge is a non-profit educational program serving homeschool families. The program helps to supplement homeschooling with a variety of K-12 academic and elective classes.” We have over 150 students, some come for one class one day a week while others fill their transcripts with as many courses as they can take,” states Hartshorn.

“This option in education,” explains Hartshorn, “is meeting a great need for many families that choose The Bridge. We have an approach to education that assists parents in the planning and teaching of the courses they choose, but the parent maintains control and authority to insure the work gets completed to the standard expected.”

“We nurture the whole child at The Bridge. When I meet with a student to see if The Bridge is a good fit for their family, I’m usually just asking them questions about who they are, what are their goals for the future and what has brought them to this option of parent directed education?

Sadly, there is a growing number of stressed, depressed and dysfunctional kids coming to our campus. It breaks my heart to hear of a students that have been so wounded emotionally due to bullying or various degrees of issues that they feel hopeless. This is where The Bridge shines!

Every student is precious and are treated as such. Instructors work with students and their families to rehabilitate and stimulate a love of learning in a safe and academically rich environment. For the students that have come from a more stable or traditional education program, they are challenged to succeed and push themselves towards academic excellence.”

The Bridge places a high value on community outreach and works to be a blessing to the homeless community that surrounds the campus with clothing and blessing gift baskets. The Bridge also honors our Nations Veterans with thank you notes hand written by every student and pillows hand sewn and delivered to the men and women at the VA Hospital in Clearwater.

The Bridge is in the midst of a raising the necessary funds to finish out their academic school year. Their goal is to raise $30,000 on Monday, February 8 in a 24- hour giving challenge. The Bridge is a non-for profit program and could not operate without financial partnerships.

Please click on the links below to learn more about the unique program of The Bridge and how you can invest in the greatest asset our country has, the education of our children.

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