Offerings to include photography, sports and new business programby Katie Jansen
Brenda Kresak, a home-school mother of five, plans to teach her children how to manage money with the help of a new program at the Siskey YMCA.
Beginning next school year, the Siskey home-school program will partner with the Junior Achievement, or JA, program to offer classes centering on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workplace readiness.
Kresak, who began home schooling her children when she moved to North Carolina in the summer of 2012, is excited about the new opportunities afforded by Siskey’s home-school program.
The 2012-13 school year was the first year Siskey offered home-school classes beyond physical education.
This year, the program branched out to include music, art and Spanish classes for home-school students ages 4 to 17.
“My kids love the (Spanish class),” Kresak said. “They come home singing the songs.”
Siskey decided to add more classes because of the large surrounding community, said Jenn Espinosa, director for the youth center and active adults.
“It was very quick,” Espinosa said, adding she stumbled across a homeschool program in a different state and decided to implement a similar one at Siskey. “I tried a few classes
to see the response, and then it just blew up.”
The home-school program enrolled 459 students in 2012-13 – more than double the 228 students who enrolled in 2011-12 when Siskey only offered physical education classes for home-school students.
The program finds teachers by drawing on the diverse backgrounds of Siskey employees and even homeschool parents.
Kresak said she enjoys the way Siskey’s classes supplement the education she provides for her children at home. She also is pleased with the affordability of the program. As
a former volunteer for the Junior Achievement program, she looks forward to the addition of achievement classes.
“I think the earlier we can teach our children the value of money, the better,” Kresak said.
For the 2013-14 school year, the achievement classes will focus on students in grades third through fifth. The classes, which will be taught by volunteers trained through the program, will teach students about money management and how to become a citizen and worker, as
well as practical skills such as balancing a checkbook. Siskey hopes to eventually expand its achievement program and offer classes for students grades K-12, Kresak said.
By fall 2014, Siskey plans to introduce an initiative called BizTown.
Students who participate in BizTown take classes in preparation for the simulation at the end of the course, said Amy Korb, director of education for JA of the Carolinas. Students will then travel to uptown Charlotte to participate in a four-hour “miniature economy,” Korb said. Participants will apply and interview for jobs and then begin working. After they are paid with BizTown’s currency, they also will have the opportunity to buy other products within the small community.
Kresak said she is excited that JA will teach her children how to recognize their personal qualities that will foster success and entrepreneurship.
In addition to JA classes, Siskey will be expanding its curriculum even further, adding math, science, photography and sports classes. To celebrate the new classes and the
end of the school year, the home school program threw a pool party for its parents and students on Friday, May 17.
Ian Kresak, 10, said he is looking forward to taking the science class because it’s his “favorite subject of them all” and because he loves animals and dinosaurs. His brother Nolan Kresak, 8, is excited to take volleyball classes.
The mission of the home-school program is to offer quality classes and meet the needs of the community, Espinosa said.
Brenda Kresak agreed the program is successful in meeting the needs of both parents and students, adding that Siskey provides “a wonderful service” for the home-school community.
Registration for home-school classes will open July 1 at Siskey and continue until spots are
For more information about Siskey’s home school program, visit www.ymcacharlotte.org/branches/siskey/youthdev/artseducationandleadership/academicenrichment/homeschool.aspx.
For more information about Junior Achievement, visit www.jacarolinas.org.