Deborah Glick (center) stands between her parents during the IDEA Homeschool group's celebration of its 2016 graduates on Friday, May 13 in Soldotna.

Deborah Glick (center) stands between her parents during the IDEA Homeschool group's celebration of its 2016 graduates on Friday, May 13 in Soldotna.

IDEA graduates make after-school plans

Ten home-schooled students and their families gathered on Friday afternoon to eat pizza and cake, entertain each other with music, and speak about their accomplishments and future hopes. The event celebrated their completion of the IDEA home school program.

IDEA — an acronym for Interior Distance Education of Alaska — began as a home schooling support program in the Galena School District in the late 1990’s and has since expanded statewide.

This year, IDEA graduated around 300 home-schooled students in Alaska and 60 in the Kenai Peninsula. The ten local students were a diverse group with career plans including accounting, paramedic practice, the National Guard, process technology, linguistics, and prosthesis design.

Graduate Deborah Glick said she was glad to have been home schooled, in part because of the openness it gave to her time.

“It can give you more freedom in your schedule when you’re doing other stuff,” Glick said. “You can work around it and bring it with you when you go places. You can work ahead easier, to get done sooner, finish two math books in a year or whatever.”

Many of the graduates thanked Jan Waldron, an IDEA employee who served as their contact with the program. In addition to charting the students’ academic progress, organizing clubs, helping families navigate the paperwork to receive state-allotted funding for their education, Waldron said one her responsibilities was helping students and their families to choose courses.

“Every child is unique, and so every child requires their own kind of learning,” Waldron said “…Through all the experiences of all the kids I’ve worked with, no two are alike.”

Waldron said each home school-enrolled high school student gets $2400 from the state education budget to spend on their curriculum.

“I help them fill out their learning plan, and the money follows the plan,” Waldron said. “If you have math on your learning plan, you can purchase math supplementary materials, and you’ll turn in work samples for that.”

Although Glick said she hadn’t had a particular goal for the course of study she and her mother developed together, the ability to customize her courses was another thing she valued about home-schooling.

She said this flexibility allowed her family to incorporate a non-IDEA Bible study course and to avoid material on evolution.

Other graduates said they had planned their courses with a career goal in mind.

Graduate Daniel Boatright plans to apply to Kenai Peninsula College’s process technology program.

“My mom had me do all the math up to calculus, and she had me do physic, too, and chemistry, because it would help prepare me for all of this,” Boatright said.

Although graduate Liam Floyd said he had studied design and engineering, his summer plans to work as an intern with Kenai-based sensor-research company Integrated Robotics Imaging Systems came about partly by accident.

“(IRIS owner John Parker) swung by the coffee shop my family owns (Ammo Can coffee) and had a talk with my dad,” Floyd said. “My dad gave me a call and said ‘guess who I just talked to?’ He told me about it and I went to talk with him.”

Floyd said he planned to talk further with Parker about the internship after returning from a missionary trip to Haiti. Longer term, Floyd plans to work in biomedical engineering and prosthetic design.

Floyd was one of two members of his family graduating from IDEA this year. His sister Lindsay Floyd intends to move to Anchorage to study for a double major in linguistics and fine arts.

“After that I’m thinking about possibly going back to Europe,” Lindsay Floyd said. I went there on a cultural exchange.

The linguistics course wants me to be fluent in three different languages, or at least have the basics. So I might be going back to Finland.”

Two graduates — Sarah Loehr and Krista Dunn — said they intend to remain Kenai Peninsula residents.

Loehr, who will work for the summer at a Kenai Peninsula Harley Davidson dealership, intends to become a paramedic, while Dunn, who has a summer job aboard a fishing boat, hopes for an associate’s degree in accounting.

Glick, undecided about her career, said she will spend the summer working at Trinity Greenhouse and taking an online calculus class.


Reach Ben Boettger at

More in News

Stickers are available for voters at the Kenai No. 1 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to hold ‘I Voted’ sticker design contest

City council members approved the program during their Wednesday night meeting

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bill seeking to bump use of Alaska Performance Scholarship clears the House with unanimous support

The money is awarded to high-performing high school graduates to help pay for postsecondary education at participating institutions in Alaska

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson answers questions from state senators during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State officials working to meet Friday deadline for revised transportation plan

The federal government rejected the plan on Feb. 9, citing numerous deficiencies

Travis Every, top left, speaks in support of fishing opportunity for the east side setnet fishery before the State Board of Fisheries at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local fishers talk conservation, opportunity before Board of Fisheries in Anchorage

Local fishers from the Kenai Peninsula traveled to Anchorage this weekend to… Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman bill would pay bonuses to nationally certified teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development estimates that the bonus program would apply to about 215 of Alaska’s estimated 7,315 teachers — about 3%

Alaska senators meet with members of the media to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

A map displays a wide-ranging special weather statement, published Tuesday by the National Weather Service, covering Southcentral Alaska. (Map courtesy of National Weather Service)
Strong winds, low wind chills forecast through Friday

Wind chills over night may reach as low as -20 to -40 degrees in much of Southcentral

Snow falls atop the Central Peninsula Diabetes Center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. The office opened in October, but a grand opening was held this week. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital adds Diabetes Center

The center has been seeing patients since October and held a grand opening Monday

Gary Hollier pulls a sockeye salmon from a set gillnet at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Findings from pilot setnet fishery study inconclusive

The study sought to see whether shorter nets could selectively catch sockeye salmon while allowing king salmon to pass below

Most Read