Mat-Su Central School is seeing an increase in parents and students looking at options for home schooling or personalized learning. The school is an alternative public school in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

Principal John Brown said the first two informational meetings of the year set record attendance with nearly 100 people turning out at the Wasilla campus. He thinks more people are looking for a different learning style than traditional classroom settings offer.

“The personalization meets every child where they’re at in their passions, their hopes, their dreams so for some students that could be textbooks, others students it could be online learning, other students face-to-face classes but I'd say for most of our students it’s a blend of all those things,” Brown said.

For Christine Greco, home schooling has given her family the freedom to travel and turn any experience into a learning opportunity.

“This is the boys a few years back doing their schoolwork when we weren’t catching any fish,” she pointed to a picture of her two life jacket-clad sons with their books open on a fishing boat.

As a former public school teacher, she took on the challenge of teaching at home when her oldest son, Carter, was ready for kindergarten.

It was a good fit and the family stuck with it. Now Carter is heading into his sophomore year.

“It was just amazing how you could just kind of build an academic journey for the kids that was best for them,” Greco said.

The programs at Mat-Su Central, Greco said, helped the family maintain the social aspects of school like team sports, class parties and field trips.

At the Wasilla campus, students are getting ready for the year by meeting with their advisers and creating an individual learning plan.

Tracy Kalytiak and her daughter Nina went to the informational meeting to learn more about what the school offers.

Nina, 17, will be a senior this year. She just started a new job and wants flexibility to keep working during the school year.

Tracy said it was eye-opening to see the wide range of options out there for her daughter.

“She can continue with her athletics and still see her friends. She can still take courses at Palmer High if she wishes,” Tracy said. “With this she just has more options, more freedom and she’s really excited about that.”

While an alternative style of learning might not work for every family, Brown wants parents and students to know there are resources out there to help them find the right fit.

The Wasilla and Palmer campuses will host informational meetings over the next two months. For more information, including specific times and locations, visit the Mat-Su Central School website.

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