James is 'one of a kind' graduate

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2003

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features Writer
Imagine being the valedictorian, most popular, most intellectual and all the other "mosts" in your class. That is just the case with Brandon James who has just graduated from high school.
James was the one and only member of his class at Cornerstone Christian School, which is a home school program based at Cornerstone Community Church in Brewton. His mother home schools both him and his little brother at their home, but they are under the umbrella of Cornerstone.
People home school for various reasons including health or religion. Some children have allergies that won't allow them to be in a school room situation while some have handicaps that prohibit them from being in a public school. And there are those who prefer home school over the public system.
James' parents were married a long time before he was born and his arrival made a big impact on their lives. While all parents love their children, they sometimes welcome the opportunity to get them in school. Leo and Brenda James had waited so long for their child that they "couldn't get enough time with him". Brenda James doesn't work outside the home so she was able to take on the job of home schooling.
Brenda started talking to a friend of hers who was home schooling and believed that she could do it, too. She began to check with others to see what she had to do and where she had to go for supplies. Pensacola Christian School is a good source of materials used by the families that home school, but as there are more and more who choose to make the change to home schooling, there are now more places to buy materials.
Cornerstone Christian School has about 22 families with 28 children enrolled. They are schooled at home but they do many things together.
There are many things about home school that are appealing. Schedules are different than public school. One good point is that when school is over for the day, there is no home work to take home. There are no dress codes to bother with and if he wanted to go to school in his pajamas, it was all right. He didn't have to worry about having school lunches because his mother cooked his dinner every day.
James and his younger brother learned together. Although his brother will have to study the same subjects in the future, he learned a lot being there with Brandon. They and other students in home school advance at their own rate and if there is a problem with a particular subject, more time can be taken with it.
Brandon feels his teacher did a great job.
Those who think home-schooled children don't put in a lot of school time, they may be surprised. There is a definite schedule to a day at school, but there is always room to allow for a change. Also, they don't have to work in a nine month time frame. If they want to do so they may extend into the summer months or take vacation time at various points in the year. Just so long as they put in 175 days a year at school, the state recognizes the plan.
James is really into hunting and fishing. He participated in the shooting sports program in Atlanta. Any free time he had during school he spent outdoors and hopes to be able to continue now that he has graduated from high school. He doesn't plan on attending college but would love to get into some sort of trade.
He also loves music, preferably bluegrass music. His dad is a musician and always hoped that the children would love music.
James plays the guitar and mandolin as well as others. He really enjoys playing with his family.
James was treated like any other graduate by Cornerstone Christian School on the night that he graduated. There was a program at Cornerstone Community church followed by a party held in his honor at the Brewton Civic Center. He smiles when he is reminded that he will have a most unique class reunion in future years.

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