CNN's Jamie Colby Talks Options
- 2003 15 Aug
She's got a law degree under her belt, but these days news reporter and anchor Jamie Colby only visits courtrooms of high profile cases. Colby, a CNN news correspondent, has also reported and anchored for CBS and Fox News Channels. Her work is challenging, and she has seen her share of tragedy. Colby was one of the first reporters on the scene at the World Trade Center on September 11th and has covered the crashes of Egypt Air Flight 990 and John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Tragedy was certainly not the theme when Colby asked CBS Marketwatch back in August 2002 if she could do a story on homeschooling. Colby did not know any parents personally who were homeschooling, but was intrigued by how much material she found on the Internet for parents and homeschooled kids. Perhaps, Colby believed, CBS Marketwatch, the much relied-upon source for financial news information and market trends, could share with its viewers why so many parents are homeschooling. And they did.
Colby reached out to the industry's top providers of educational materials as well as publications that cover homeschooling. One New Jersey family, the Bareirros, even invited Colby into their home classroom for an entire "class day."
"After seeing Marianne Bareirro teach four of her kids different lesson plans at the same time and realizing how focused these kids were in the home environment, my whole perception of home schooling changed," says Colby. Marianne Bareirro has been home schooling for nine years and uses the Calvert curriculum. Let's talk directly to Jamie Colby to find out more:
Q: What are your thoughts and reactions to homeschooling now?
A: Obviously, a picture is worth a thousand words. And these were exceptional kids - well behaved, interested in learning and extremely well rounded. That had been a misconception of mine and I think many others, that homeschooled kids don't socialize with kids in traditional schools and aren't encouraged to play sports, etc.
Q: Many who have had no personal involvement with homeschooling think it's a fringe educational theory practiced mostly by religious fundamentalists.
A: I reviewed a number of curriculums in researching my story. There were clearly some that had a strong religious focus. Perhaps for some parents, this is their core of home teaching. But what impressed me about the Bareirro kids was they were just like any other kids their age.
Q: Homeschoolers are everywhere, moving seamlessly into college and the workplace, thriving in internships and in entry and professional level jobs, but a stereotype does still exist.
A: That's true, and though I still do not personally have friends who homeschool, in researching the story I did discover one of my co-workers had made the decision to homeschool and was very pleased with both the material available and his ability to "hook up" with other homeschool families for field trips and social get-togethers. I think having that support network would be key to overcoming the stereotype that does still exist about homeschooling.
Q: What can homeschoolers do to alter the stereotype view?
A: I'd say just keep working hard and letting their accomplishments speak for themselves.
Q: The majority of homeschool teachers are mothers, many who have given up lucrative careers to be more involved with their children's education and growing-up years. Even Karen Hughes, top Bush aide, who homeschooled throughout the campaign, resigned to be more "at home." What comments do you have on her decision and those of countless other high-profile career women who are now homeschool mommies? And what advice or encouragement would you give them?
A: It's a tough call. Woman fought hard for the right to be in the workplace. But it's a personal decision. Marianne Bareirro gave up her job as a graphic artist to give her four kids a better education. She and her family moved into a smaller house to compensate for her loss of income. I think if you'd ask her, she'd say she's never looked back.
Q: Jamie, herself, is a woman who has never looked back. Moving from CBS MarketWatch to a position as reporter for CNN, she is going forward in her career. While she has a teenage son who is not homeschooled, Jamie has clearly been impressed with the merits of homeschooling. For her CBS report on homeschooling she received Calvert's prestigious "Homeschooling's Best Media Representative Award." Thank you, Jamie, for helping to spread the good word about homeschooling to mainstream America.
Kym Wright is The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's news correspondent. Kym resides in Georgia with her homeschooling family. See her site at www.AlWrightpub.com.
Copyright, 2003. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com