End Time's arrival prompts home schooling boom

Lake City Reporter/November 22, 1988
By Margaret Leguire

A common practice among members of End Time Ministries is to teach children at home, rather than sending them to public school.

And with the recent influx of End Timers into Columbia County from the Midwest, that practice is reflected in statistic kept by the Columbia County school system.

Columbia County has seen a record 800-percent increase in students being taught at home during the past two years.

During the 1986-1987 school term, only 11 students were enrolled in the county's home education program. The following school year, six of the 11 students returned, plus 34 new students were enrolled.

There was an even bigger jump during the current 1998-1999 school term. Seventy-one new students were added to the 22 who continued in the program from the previous year, bringing the total to an all-time high of 93 students.

"A lot of the students are from out West," said Linda Croft, executive secretary for School Superintendent Silas Pittman. "I just can't believe there is so much of it."

Because the children are not enrolled in state accredited schools, none of the laws, which govern children who attend public schools, such as immunization, apply to the home education students.

Only three laws define the state's guidelines for in-home teachings. They are: The parents or guardians must notify the superintendent, in writing, of the intent to teach their children at home; they must maintain a portfolio of records and materials with the minimum content as specified in the law; and they must provide for an annual educational evaluation of each student and file a copy with the superintendent.

Getting members of End Time to talk about their method of teaching is difficult. Five families contacted by the Lake City Reporter refused to talk about home teaching.

"Personally, we don't like to talk about it," one member said.

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