Dual-enrolled students march with Mustangs


by Kinsey Phipps

Homeschooling is a normalcy around the country, but it is a rarity for the PCM community. There are currently five students dual-enrolled in the high school, meaning that the majority of their coursework is done at home while they come to PCM to take select classes which aren’t able to be taught in their environment. One of the most popular classes for the homeschool students is band. One family, especially, is heavily involved in the music department at PCM: The Van Gorp’s. Junior Rory Van Gorp and sophomore Wyatt Van Gorp are homeschool students who are enrolled in the Mustang music program, participating in band; R. Van Gorp plays in the jazz band, as well. Their older brother, Max Van Gorp, was a 2016 graduate who was also dual-enrolled for band and participated in jazz band, as well. M. Van Gorp is now at Drake University participating in music at the collegiate level.

The Van Gorp’s course work and daily schedule is quite similar to the other dual-enrolled students in the community.

“My day-to-day schedule is waking up at seven [in the morning] to go to first period [band] at PCM. Then, I return home and get started on my normal assignments,” R. Van Gorp said.

Upon returning home after band, the Van Gorp’s get started on math, English, literature, writing, history, Spanish and science. They are taught by their mother for all subjects except for writing, science and math. For math, they have online video lessons. With writing and science, many of the other homeschool students in Prairie City meet up every Tuesday to be given their classes. These classes are taught by one of the homeschooling moms in the community.

“We use different curriculums. The way were are taught is much different. There isn’t really lectures for every class, and I’m sure the assignments are different, as well,” R. Van Gorp said.

On the average day, the Van Gorp brothers get done with their school day around 2 or 3 p.m. However, this varies depending on the amount of assignments due for the day.

Through PCM, the dual-enrolled students are issued macbook laptops like the rest of the high school students, and they are able to enroll in online DMACC courses, as well. R.Van Gorp takes Intro to Business through this program.

“I rely on the internet pretty heavily for turning in writing assignments on time, as well as DMACC,” R. Van Gorp said.

The PCM school district gives homeschool students a great opportunity to be educated from home while also experiencing some aspects of regular high school.

“I think one of the advantages is still having contact with other students in your community. Being dual enrolled through PCM helps connect with other students. Another benefit is being able to go more in detail to my personal interests by being homeschooled but also the ability to take classes through PCM,” R. Van Gorp said. “So I think there are a lot of benefits to being dual enrolled. [We get] the social aspect of being able to take classes and be involved in the school, and we still are able to have the benefits from being homeschooled.”