When it comes to prom night, homeschool students can find themselves out of luck unless they're invited by a public school student.
When it comes to prom night, homeschool students can find themselves out of luck unless they’re invited by a public school student.
So a couple of parents are creating a new prom so homeschoolers won’t have to miss out. It is at Wild Quail Country Club in Camden on Saturday.
The prom, presented by Homeschool Elements Co-Op in Clayton, is by reservation only. It welcomes homeschoolers from throughout the tristate area. Students in public school can attend as long as they’re invited by someone in homeschool.
Unlike a traditional prom, this dance is for students in grades eight through 12. Younger kids are encouraged to attend so they can get used to socializing at a formal event and practice etiquette.
“We feel social functions should be something the younger teens should be exposed to,” said prom co-organizer Audra Littleton. “It’s a formal event and exposes them to a side of socializing that they will not get exposed to otherwise.”
Some students aren’t used to wearing ties or dresses.
“Nobody wakes up in the morning and puts on a formal dress. No guy wakes up out of bed and puts on a tux, unless they’re going to a formal,” Littleton said. “We’re creating this for them.”
The prom has come at a perfect time for Carter Gorham, a graduating senior. Saturday’s dance will mark two firsts for the 16-year-old. He’ll have his first date and first prom.
“This is a kind of a new area for me,” the Clayton resident said. “Until I was 16, I wasn’t allowed to date. I’m freaked out.”
A number of seniors go to prom at age 18. But Gorham would be a sophomore in college if he waited until then. He's looking forward to his prom debut coming sooner.
“It feels like a milestone for people around my age,” he said. “I thought it’d be fun to go with a date and all that.”
Anabelle Littleton, an eighth-grader, likes how Saturday’s dance is closely patterned after a traditional prom. There will be a DJ, souvenirs and a photographer.
“Delaware doesn’t really have homeschool dances,” the 13-year-old said. “Even homeschools that do have dances are normally at churches. But this one is for homeschool and there’s no [issue] with whether or not you go to church.”
Homeschoolers in Delaware can’t attend dances at public or private schools unless invited, Audra Littleton said. The only other homeschool prom she is aware of is in Seaford. However, that might be too far for some students.
“People who live in Wilmington might not be able to drive to Seaford for a three-hour dance,” Audra Littleton said. “We just wanted to make it more accessible, so we thought central Delaware would be a good fit.”
The goal is to attract at least 50 students Saturday. Since this is the first time, there won’t be a prom queen or king, because it’s not clear yet how many kids will attend, Audra Littleton said.
Fellow prom co-organizer Jennifer Meekins, Gorham’s mom, believes it’s important for homeschoolers to meet new people.
“There are certain times you want them to experience the wider scope of society and you don’t want their socializing to be limited to family members,” Meekins said. “Share that with other people their age who also have the experience of being homeschooled.”
IF YOU GO
WHEN 7 to 11 p.m., Saturday
WHERE Wild Quail Country Club,
MORE INFO email firstname.lastname@example.org