On this episode, redefinED senior writer Lisa Buie speaks with Stephanie Conner, a mother of four from the tiny town of LaBelle, Florida. The former teacher and her husband, Joel, an adult education teacher, use the Gardiner Scholarship for their son, Eli and daughter, Madeline.

Their younger children, Meizie and Gideon, joined the family through adoption and use the Family Empowerment Scholarship to attend a nearby private school. 

 Conner discusses her children’s unique needs and how pre-approved therapy equipment made possible by Gardiner’s flexible spending accounts helped maximize her two older children’s ability to learn. She also describes how an arrangement with the school that her younger children attend allow her to mix and match services for Eli and Madeline, providing a truly customized learning plan for each.

“The main blessing of the Gardiner is being able to use it for whatever we think they need and not have other people tell us what they think we should do, being able to control and do what is best for our children … Flexibility has been the key to making it successful for us.”

EPISODE DETAILS:

·       How the Conners’ homeschool journey began

·       An overview of the Conner children’s unique educational needs

·       How education choice allows the family to use “unbundled” services from a local private school

·       What a typical school day looks like for the Conners

·       How the Conners are using their education savings accounts to help Eli and Madeline get the most from their education, even in a rural area

·       What Stephanie Conner would change about the Family Empowerment Scholarship

·       Her thoughts on Senate Bill 48 and the flexibility it would offer

Editor’s note: To read more about how the Conners are exercising education choice, click here. To read a recent op-ed Stephanie Conner wrote on education choice that was published in the Naples Daily News, click here.

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