NAME: Michael Quinn
IN THE NEWS: Quinn ran for school committee in the April 9 Rockland election. He didn’t win, but drew interest for the unique way his children are educated. Three go to public school and three are homeschooled.
NOW YOU KNOW: Quinn was in the Army for eight years and then spent three years in the North Carolina Air National Guard. He said “a good day” was when he got to jump out of an airplane.
HIS STORY: Michael Quinn has six children. Three of them – ages 17, 15 and 13 – attend public school, and the other three – a 10-year-old and twin 5-year-olds – are homeschooled, primarily by Quinn’s wife, Lisa Quinn.
If the weather permits, the couple’s homeschooled children start their day by playing outside. If the weather looks better in the afternoon, they start off by coloring, doing chores or completing schoolwork.
“I can’t tell you how many math workbooks we go through. (My twins) just enjoy them,” Quinn said. “They’re as likely to be doing a math workbook as they are to be doing a coloring page.”
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Quinn ran for the Rockland School Committee in the April 9 election with the goals of advocating for a community comment period, “medical freedom” with masks, education on paths other than four-year colleges, transparency on third-party influences on the committee and making information about homeschooling and school committee meetings more accessible.
He didn’t win, but he said he plans to run again.
Quinn grew up in North Carolina. He attended private school until seventh grade before attending public school. After high school, he went into basic training and spent eight years in active duty in the Army and three years in the North Carolina Air National Guard.
He moved to Rockland in November 2019 and works in occupational safety.
Quinn said public school was a “natural route” for his three older children, while homeschooling made sense for his younger children. He and his wife evaluated multiple factors when their 10-year-old daughter, their oldest child together, was in preschool.
“We made the decision for (my wife) to stay home … and it just kind of developed into homeschool,” Quinn said. “(My 10-year-old daughter) started learning to read just because she was at home with an involved parent.”
He said the 5-year-old twins can read at different levels.
“That’s one of the great things about homeschool, is that they decided they wanted to learn how to read, and after that, it was kind of hard to stop them from doing it,” Quinn said.
He and his wife took a more regimented approach to homeschooling with their first child and adapted it for the younger two. The family has student and teacher workbooks they use for lessons. He said artwork is stacked on the fridge and the dining room table is the primary work space.
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Quinn and his wife’s investment in their children and being able to track their children’s progress are advantages of homeschooling, he said. He said a 5-year-old daughter attends speech therapy, a need he thinks would have been identified sooner in public school.
Between post-high school plans for the 17-year-old and involvement in school teams for the 15- and 13-year-olds, all of Quinn’s children have exciting events and milestones on the horizon, he said.
“For the three that are homeschooled, we’re just going to continue that. It’s working out great,” he said.
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Reach Alyssa Fell at firstname.lastname@example.org.