Wayland chemistry department offering resources for homeschoolers

Wayland Baptist University's chemistry department will begin offering a special program for high school aged homeschool students this fall to provide hands-on experience in the science lab.

The project, called Plainview Area Homeschool Science Enhancement Program or PAHSEP, is designed to provide the laboratory enhancement to chemistry lessons being taught by parents or others providing homeschool education. Labs in Wayland's Moody Science Building on the Plainview campus will be the site for the program.

PAHSEP is the brainchild of Dr. Joel Boyd, assistant professor of chemistry at Wayland. Boyd said the idea came to him after a visit with a scientist in Albuquerque, N.M. that would offer chemistry and physics labs in his home church for homeschooled students. While working on a chemistry Web page for the university, Boyd happened upon another school that was tapping into the homeschool population.

"It just clicked. I put the two together," he said. "It's a great opportunity to help the community educationally, and that's part of our goal, as well as to recruit. We hope to turn these students on to science and maybe also turn them on to Wayland."

Specifically, Boyd said the program will feature sessions held one Saturday each month from September through May, with the first meeting planned on Sept. 14. The sessions will run from 9 a.m. until around noon, and the labs done will reinforce the lessons the students have learned at home for the past month.

"I designed the lab curriculum to follow the basic order that most all chemistry textbooks use," Boyd explained. "Also, the labs will be listed online, so they'll know what they need to be prepared for."

The program is not a course for credit, Boyd points out, but a supplement to the lessons already being taught in the home. Knowing that many parents who homeschool their children lack the traditional science lab resources, Boyd said PAHSEP was simply a chance to help meet those needs for families and give them the same advantage as public school students.

The program is limited to 20 students and is open to families from anywhere around the region. The year-long program costs $40, which helps offset the cost of materials and chemicals for labs. Boyd said if the program is successful, there is a possibility of extending it to other science disciplines as well.

Information and forms for registration and safety release for PAHSEP are available on the Wayland Web site at www.wbu.edu/chem and may be mailed to Boyd at 1900 West 7th St., Plainview, Texas 79072. For additional information about the program, contact Boyd at (806) 291-1125.