A teacher at heart and home
The benefits of homeschooling are quite clear to Karen Laurence, which is why after about a decade, she can still sing its praises.
Originally a strategy to preserve structure for her children when the military moved her family, homeschooling has become a major part of Laurence's life. It's not only a good way to set the building blocks of a solid education, Laurence said, it also builds strong relationships within the family.
"What I really loved doing was teaching my kids how to read. It came real natural because we just did a lot of reading together," Laurence said, adding, "Spend a lot of time just cuddling and reading and then the kids will learn to love it. When they love to read, then they'll start loving to learn.
"And when a child loves to learn, then you got a good thing going."
In homeschooling, Laurence has been able to witness the educational right along with the physical growth of her children.
"When they get older they start evaluating things: Do I believe that? Is that true? Does that make sense? Is that fair?" Laurence said. "That's what I loved about the middle school years and high school years is that they are really starting to look critically at things and thinking critically about their world."
Laurence herself spent a lot of time critically thinking before deciding to enroll her children in Lansing Middle School when they were old enough. She said she shed a tear when dropping each child off on their first day, even though she knew they were well prepared.
"The tear is more that we wouldn't be spending as many hours together," Laurence said. "But at the same time, I knew we were doing the right thing and I was just really proud of them."
Name: Karen Laurence
Address: 330 Sage Road
Occupation: Homemaker, new member of Lansing Convention & Tourism Committee
Graduate: Iowa State University
Family: Tad, husband; Hal, 16, David, 12, sons; Heather, 13, Emily, 9, daughters
How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? Since 1993. Moved from Columbus, Ohio, when husband's job relocated.
What do you like most about Lansing? "Lots of things ... It's a small enough town that if you want to get involved and make a difference, you can do that pretty easy."
What do you do for fun? "I like to go downhill skiing in Colorado."
What would surprise people about you? "I am fascinated by the stock market. That's just a little side thing. ... Another one would be that I have done some amateur downhill ski racing."
What's the best advice you've ever received? "To love God and love people."
What organizations or clubs do you belong to? The Learning Group, Lansing First Southern Baptist Church, Lansing Convention & Tourism Committee