The Kaleidoscope Discovery Center in Rolla is celebrating an exciting entrance into the new year, having served over 100 home schooled students in 2017 by offering a variety of courses.

The Kaleidoscope Discovery Center in Rolla is celebrating an exciting entrance into the new year, having served over 100 home schooled students in 2017 by offering a variety of courses.

According to Martina Hahn-Baur, the vice president and founding director of the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center, the proportional gap between public-schooled students and home-schooled students has become much narrower, however the center remains a valuable resource to home schooled students.

Currently, the center’s Monday and Friday mornings are generally dedicated to homeschooling programs, according to Martina, although these times vary depending on the needs of the home schooling community. Some of the most important classes offered are the science-based labs, that are supported by a group at Missouri S&T.

“In the state of Missouri, home schooled students are required to have two science lab classes at the high school level,” explained Martina in an email. “A number of parents are not particularly excited about doing dissections on their kitchen counters or cooking up chemical experiments on their stovetops. That’s where a place like the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center can certainly help with their needs.

The Kaleidoscope has offered science labs from the elementary level to high school, emphasizing biology, chemistry and even botany, according to Martina.

“We do try to guarantee a minimum number of four and a maximum of ten in the labs,” she explained. “With more than ten students, hands-on experiences are more difficult to monitor and with fewer than four, there is less opportunity to learn from each other.”

According to Martina, the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center is offering their first advanced high school chemistry lab this semester, along with a plant science class and a high school chemistry lab.

On the other end of hands-on high school experiences, two community members, Gini Gaunt and Lexie Mutch have rounded out the Kaleidoscope’s programs by offering art and drawing instruction.

The center additionally continues to have home school students participate in Project MEGSSS, an accelerated math program. In order to be accepted to this program, students test in the spring of tier 4th or 5th grade year. Accepted students have the opportunity to study three years of logistics and intuitive systems, according to Martina, instead of having to drive to St. Louis where the program has been in place for more than three decades.

The center is also continuing to provide extra curricular activities outside of programs to help meet education requirements. These programs are valuable experiences for public school students as well, but are a great resource for parents home schooling their students and looking for other enriching activities for them.

“We have a number of home school students that participated in the FIRST Lego League program this fall, with three of the eight area teams advancing to regionals in Camdenton this past December,” explained Martina. “Currently the First Lego League Junior Program is underway and will it’s Exp on Sunday, February 25, at the Havener Center on the Missouri S&T campus.

Additionally, the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center was able to connect with musically talented Missouri S&T students and have them get students involved with learning several different instruments.

The Kaleidoscope offers these programs to all students, but with a large surrounding home school community in Rolla, their availability means greater opportunities for home schooled students.

“Although we don’t do anything inherently different for the home school students, we do provide programs that help make learning a little easier on the parent and we can offer classes at at time that is convenient for them,” explained Martina.