Happy Home-schoolers

Robin Yost with students at KEA Homeschool. Amanda C. Gregg photos

Robin Yost
KEA Homeschool

Tell us about what you do. I teach a home-schooling program. This program, KEA Homeschool, offers a unique schooling experience for elementary and middle school grades. This uniqueness comes in the form of a nurturing, old-fashioned, one-room schoolhouse. In KEA Homeschool, all the basic skills and academic subjects are covered, as well as the arts, movements and garden. Quality and creativity, values and virtues also are stressed. The class size is small (10-12), with mixed ages of students. There also are teacher’s aides who help. Together, we’re able to give great service to each student’s individual needs.

How did you get started in this business and how long has it been going? In the mid-’80s I had an opportunity to teach a group of home-schoolers here on Kaua’i. A small group of parents at that time was looking for an alternative educational experience for their kids, and we came together and created a magnificent home-school program. I learned how to work with a multigrade-leveled group of students each year. I loved it! Having the different-aged students challenged me, and I found it to be beneficial to all the kids. It was such an enriching and positive experience that I continue teaching home-schoolers to this day.

Busy students in the KEA ‘classroom’. Photo courtesy Robin Yost

Where are you from originally and what role does that play in your business, if any? I was raised in Southern California. I am in love with the ocean, and it led me to Kaua’i in 1979. I earned my BA in education and teaching credential at San Diego State University before moving here. Education was my choice of career.

What is your specialty?My specialties range within the areas of a student’s needs. For each student, academic and skill levels’ assessments are given and evaluated, then an educational plan is developed and implemented. It’s amazing to watch and be a part of the progress that unfolds for each individual student. I love teaching the essential areas of reading, writing and arithmetic, which is so vital. I also watch much of the students’ personalities, interests and feelings throughout a lesson to allow for flexibility and relevance. They sometimes take the lead, and magical learning happens.

Who can benefit from what you do? I think all the students I have worked with through the years have benefited not only with their academic skills, but in values and virtues they have carried into their lives. Sometimes a former student will surprise me with a visit or a phone call – and they’ve told me how their time at KEA Homeschool added much to their life and created special memories.

For those who may not understand what you do, in lay terms, why is it essential? I think about these children’s future. I think about the educational, life and emotional skills that are important for their lives for when they are older. Important skills that have strength and values to help the students become competent and caring are a part of our everyday interaction.

What sets your business apart? The small class size – the low student-to-teacher ratio gives personal attention toward mastery of skills. I also believe that because the curriculum is tailored for the individual student, they each achieve success in all areas of study. Some people wonder about the class size being too small, but I have found that there are enough students for working, playing and socializing in positive ways together.

Why do you do what you do? I do what I do for many reasons. Mostly, it’s such a heart-opener for me to be with kids. Not only do I get to see and be a part of their growth, they’re so much fun. I laugh a lot when I’m at work. This work is so gratifying and rewarding to me. Every day there are successes, and when I think about these successes contributing in beneficial ways to these children’s lives, I feel very blessed and privileged to work in a school setting such as this one.

What motivates you to get up and go to work every day? The students and what’s planned for the day motivate me. I walk into the classroom in the morning and a smile pops onto my face. Oftentimes, I burst into a song and the children join in! The lessons and activities that are implemented are stimulating and fruitful. As a teacher, how could all this not be a great way to be motivated?

What is your business philosophy/motto? I believe that the most important thing to teach children is respect. Respect is all-encompassing within every aspect and walk of life. We all benefit when we practice respect in our lives. It also is my intention to help cultivate curious-minded, independent thinkers to become skilled, creative and responsible individuals.

What is the most challenging aspect of your business? The most challenging aspect for me is the last day of school. It’s a joyous, proud day, as we celebrate a year’s worth of work, progress and growth. But I’m always touched with a sad heart on this day, because the school year is over. Some students will return, but other students will move on. It will be the last day that the student group and their families will be together.

What is your business plan for the future? My business plan changes and unfolds anew every year. It’s based on the group of students – their needs, ages and skills levels.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? That’s yet to unfold.

Where can people learn more? Email rbnyost@yahoo.com, go online to keahomeschool.webs.com or call 822-1775. agregg@midweekkauai.com