Today we’d like to introduce you to Maralene Ferguson Bates.
Maralene, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My journey into education began in 1990, when I decided to start homeschooling. I didn’t know at the time that it would be such an awesome adventure that it would grow into a mission! I really wanted to have a say in directing what my children learned and how they learned. Also, I knew we’d be together “a lot,” so I wanted days, months, and years to be filled with lots of memories, not of just studying facts.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I have to describe this as a spiritually-guided journey with many interesting transitions over the years. The initial homeschool “idea” grew very quickly into an in-home learning center when 6 more children joined us within the first 4 months. The inspired name was Alkebu-Lan Home School. The attraction was the child-centered program that focused on learning styles. As it turns out, that’s what other families were looking for also. For over 10 years, we became one of the focal points in Atlanta centered around educating children.
The biggest ongoing challenge has been adapting to economic and social changes. In 2005, Sankofa Education Services was formed to continue helping families with more academic services. I have to acknowledge that Guidance continues to come at the right time, so far, to meet each challenge.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Sankofa Education Services?
Sankofa Education Services supports families and students with Tutoring, Test Prep, Homeschool consulting, English for foreign learners, and Summer Bridging. Students get help with math, language arts, and other core subjects for most grades K-12. When most students understand the process of looking at a problem, learning blockages disappear! I’m most proud of my personalized approach and ability to connect with people.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I’m actually an outdoor-nature person, and I love physical challenges. In the Army, I was on the men’s cross-country team, I ran a 20-mile marathon in the snow, and I jumped out of airplanes. I like to walk up Stone Mountain–and run down. When it’s warm, I zip around on my scooter. My children have taken me whitewater rafting and hiking along waterfalls. It’s so cool! I’ve driven cross country with my husband twice. This really is a beautiful land up close. My best weekend meditation is “yardening”—that’s yardwork + gardening.
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