In the last 20 years, the educational option to home-school students has seen significant growth. The reasons that people home-school are as unique as the people making the decisions, but some of the common things that drive families to this option include:
- A child’s specific educational needs not being met within their current school
- A child’s social or psychological needs not being met
- The difficulty of getting a student’s disability recognized and accommodated
- A desire to instill a specific worldview or belief system
- To provide the flexibility for a child to pursue his or her passion
- Concerns over school safety
- And now, because of COVID-19, concerns about students’ health.
For parents considering transitioning their child from traditional school to home-school, the process can be quite stressful. Common concerns include which curriculum to use, financial feasibility, lack of socialization opportunities, and uncertainties of students being admitted to and prepared for colleges.
For many of those families in the Vicksburg area, the answers lie with Emily Harber Williams and a place called Micah’s Mission.
In 2016, Williams was a physical education teacher at Bowmar Avenue Elementary School and pursuing a doctorate degree in education from Walden University.
“I was asked to create an innovative model (of a nontraditional school) and make a proposal for my International Educational Law and Policy class assignment,” Williams said, “and then my professor told me my plan could be implemented. So I began (Micah’s Mission) out of my house in 2017.”
Williams said that during that time, she was led to read the Book of Micah from the Bible. That book tells the story of Jesus walking on water and examines the faith one needs to follow Christ with unwavering faith.
“I knew God was telling me to ‘step out of the boat’ and do something to help children succeed,” she said.
Micah‘s Mission School now operates as an independent entity located inside Crawford Street United Methodist Church near downtown Vicksburg. Its mission is to provide home-schoolers in grades K-12 a place to learn and work in a safe, stress-free environment without the rigor and boundaries found in traditional schools. They also offer a resource center for independent online learners.
“Our students are able to learn life skills that will increase their preparedness for the real world after graduation with a faith-based foundation,” Williams said.
“All students are working toward a high school diploma or certificate to be prepared for college or the workforce. We provide a way for students, with or without disabilities, to learn full circle,” she added.
Micah’s Mission has grown to employ three full-time teachers, one full-time volunteer and Williams. They currently serve 27 students. For most students, they utilize Time4Learning.com, a complete home-school curriculum. They also serve students from other private and public schools with their Dyslexia and Dysgraphia Program and offer after school tutoring.