At that point, she decided she needed a change. Subjects had become too complex for her mother to explain and spending all day with her mother was no longer fun.
She looked into going to Mountain Home High School, but because of the number of students at the high school compared to just her and her mom, she chose to go to Richard McKenna Charter High School. She will graduate Saturday with a 3.68 GPA and has been accepted into the Idaho State University honors program in the fall.
McKenna is just one option students and parents have when looking for alternatives to traditional public schools in Mountain Home.
McKenna, a public charter high school, Shiloh Christian School a private non-denominational Christian school, Desert View Christian School, a Seventh-day Adventist Church-based school, and home schooling offer students and parents alternatives to the public school system.
McKenna is a charter school. As a charter school, the school is a public school and receives funding from the state based on attendance but cannot seek bonds from the public. It is its own school district, School District #453.
The school has an online program and an on-site alternative program.
Chantel Durrence, the school's business manger, said more than 800 students throughout the state took part in the online program this school year.
Students can take up to three classes in nine-week semesters. Enrollment is open to any student from the state and students can earn a diploma. Durrence said a lot of home-school students are dual enrolled and use the program to supplement their home school lessons.
To be eligible to enroll in the on-site alternative program, students must meet three or more of the following criteria: repeated at least one grade in high school; have absenteeism that is greater than 10 percent during the previous semester; have an overall GPA less than 1.5; have failed one or more basic skills subject; are two or more semester credits behind the graduation rate; and/or meet one of the following additional criteria -- have substance abuse behavior problems; are pregnant or are parents; are emancipated; are previous drop outs, have serious personal, emotional or medical problems; are court or agency referrals; upon recommendation of the school district, as determined by locally developed criteria, have displayed significant disruptive behavior in the regular schools.
Perkins was eligible for enrollment due to health problems she said would have caused her to drop out at the high school because of her frequent trips to doctor appointments.
Perkins said the way she learns at school is similar to the way she studied at home.
The school has four teachers who teach one subject for a three-week period for a 90-hour block of instruction.
"It's really nice to have students all day for three weeks," Dean of Students and head teacher Winkie Felton said. "We can do field trips and get out and get our hands dirty."
All grade levels are taught in the same class, which Perkins said are taught like seminars.
Charter schools generally have some kind of a focus, which general credits and electives earned focus on. At McKenna, the focus is getting students ready for the workplace.
Students spend the first part of every day memorizing and reviewing the school's four rules and its list of workplace behaviors.
They are tested on those items and the school's "five habits of mind at the end of every three-week session" and are evaluated daily on their performance on those behaviors. A statement of overall performance is listed on their final transcript.
School administrators, teachers and students agree the underlying theme at McKenna is respect.
School officials stress to students that attending the school's on-site program is a privilege, not a right, and they have to earn the right to stay enrolled in the program.
The school's strict rules are enforced, -- and appreciated by students.
"I like the rules, there's no question, no gray area," Perkins said. "You don't have to worry about doing something wrong. It's either right or wrong, there's no in between and you know there's a consequence."
Perkins said because disrespect is not tolerated, everyone is usually very friendly and because of the school's small size-- a maximum enrollment of 50-- there aren't very many cliques because there are not enough students to divide into cliques.
It is this same level of school-wide respect that allows students to address the school's teachers by their first name.
Tiffany Kochick, a student at McKenna, said the teachers make it fun and easier to learn at the school.
She came to McKenna after missing what she said was three months of school at the high school.
She said it was hard to ask for help from teachers at the high school and when they did help her, it made her feel stupid.
Once at McKenna, she said she still had a hard time asking for help, but once she did, she said she "got it."
She likes school so much at McKenna she said she doesn't want to be away for more then a weekend at a time.
Kochick said the school's uniform policy also makes the school more relaxed.
"No one tries to look cool because we all have the same clothes on," Kochick said.
While McKenna is a different option for high school students and parents, Desert View Christian School offers another choice to first- though eighth-grade students and their parents.
The private school is based on the Seventh-day Adventist Church faith and run by the church.
Principal Dannia Birth said academic requirements at the school are the same as other schools -- with a religious element added.
The school's curriculum must meet state standards and comes from the North America Division Office of Education, part of the Seventh-Day Adventist educational system -- a list of standards the church passes down to the school. Birth said the curriculum is based on the strictest standards from each state across the country.
There are currently eight students enrolled in the school. Students wear uniforms and are all taught by Birth in a nine-month school year.
Birth said having so many different grades in the same classroom "requires a lot of shuffling."
Shiloh Christian School gives parents and students the option of attending a nondenominational Christian school for grades one though 12.
The school is accredited through the Southern Accreditation Association, Florida Accreditation (because that is the home base of the curriculum resource), and the Christian School Accreditation Association. Students earn diplomas for graduating.
The private school uses A Beka for its curriculum, a Christain-based curriculum that uses DVDs to deliver lessons.
Principal Michele Ring said it is "a challenging college-prep program" that people tend to tell her is harder than the high school's. She contended it is two years ahead of the high school's curriculum.
The school made the switch to the program in 2006 because with the small number of students --enrollment is currently 23 -- it became cheaper to do so than continuing with traditional classes.
The school's three teachers tutor students, organize the school and its program, grade assignments and handle discipline.
Parents who chose not to enroll their children in any of the town's public or private school's have another option -- home schooling.
The state does not monitor or regulate the progress of home-schooled students. As a result, the state does not have any figures on the number of students currently enrolled in home school programs.
Lorraine Goodrich and her husband, John, have home schooled all four of their children, including their two youngest, who are still "enrolled" at home.
Goodrich said home schooling gives her family the opportunity to not be bound to the public school system and provides the family with the chance to travel.
"It works out better to take their school books and hit the road and see the world," Goodrich said.
Goodrich said the family has gone on several service missions to Mexico, visited historical sites in Virginia and Washington, D.C., and travels often in Europe when John, a dentist, attends a dentist seminar.
Goodrich said classes at her house start every day at 8:30 a.m. and go until 3-4 p.m. Goodrich teaches reading and writing while John teaches math and science.
Classes are year-round and the Goodrich children use the summer to take college classes online.
Because the state does not have a required curriculum for home-school students, parents have to make their own.
Goodrich sees that as a positive thing.
"You can do what works for your child's needs that year," she said. "You can change the next year if needed. You are able to customize it for their needs or interest."
Goodrich said with so much available on DVDs, computer programs and the Internet, there are a variety of different learning mediums to use.
Goodrich uses her large library of DVDs and workbooks to help teach her children.
She said she can find what she doesn't have online, calling the Internet "a huge resource."
Instead of a high school diploma, home-school students can take the GED test and use the state ISAT test to find out what level their skills are at compared to other students in the same grade level in the state.
Spencer, who at 15 is a year away from being old enough to take the real test, recently took the practice test and scored in the 80th percentile.
Goodrich said she doesn't think socialization for children is a problem for home-schooled students.
"I don't know how anyone can have a problem (with socialization) unless they live on Bennett Mountain in a tent," she said.
She called her teenagers, "regular teenagers" and said they participate in "lots of events and are always around people."
She said she wouldn't say home schooling was for everyone, but it works out with her family goals. She said it lets her kids get an education, travel and see the world and give back to the community.