Many homeschoolers come to the end of eighth grade and start to get nervous. Should we keep homeschooling? Doubt sets in and college looms as an ominous black cloud waiting at the end to devour us. We just don’t have the courage to face it. I know. I’ve been there. When Peter, my first child, started eighth grade, I realized I had to answer some serious questions. [more...]
Comments (0) 08-08-2008
Understanding what is distinctive about homeschooling is more important now than it has been in the past. When the modern homeschooling movement began growing significantly in the late seventies and early eighties, people were very skeptical. Early homeschoolers had to be strongly motivated and have a clear sense of what we were doing and why to have the courage to do something as unheard of, radical, and "crazy" as homeschooling and to withstand pressure from school officials, legal experts, family, and friends. [more...]
- Spend more time together as a family.
- Spend more time with children when they are rested and fresh rather than tired and cranky from school.
- Avoid having to struggle to get children to do the tedious busywork that is so often sent home as homework.
- Allow children time to learn subjects not usually taught in their school.
- Allow children to have time for more in-depth study than what is allowed in school.
- Allow children to learn at their own pace, not too slow or too fast.
- Allow children to work at a level that is appropriate to their own developmental stage. Skills and concepts can be introduced at the right time for that child.
- Provide long, uninterrupted blocks of time for writing, reading, playing, thinking, or working so that the child is able to engage in sophisticated, complex activities and thought processes.
- Encourage concentration and focus - which are discouraged in crowded classrooms with too many distractions.
- Encourage the child to develop the ability to pace her/himself - this is prevented in a classroom where the schedule is designed to keep every child busy all the time.
- Spend a lot of time out-of-doors. This is more healthy than spending most weekdays indoors in a crowded, and often overheated, classroom.
- Spending more time out-of-doors results in feeling more in touch with the changing of the seasons and with the small and often overlooked miracles of nature.
- Children learn to help more with household chores, developing a sense of personal responsibility.
- Children learn life skills, such as cooking, in a natural way, by spending time with adults who are engaged in those activities.
- More time spent on household responsibilities strengthens family bonds because people become more committed to things they have invested in (in this case, by working for the family).
- Time is available for more nonacademic pursuits such as art or music. This leads to a richer, happier life.
- Children will not feel like passive recipients of subject matter selected by their teachers. They will learn to design their own education and take responsibility for it.
- Children will realize that learning can take place in a large variety of ways.
- Children will learn to seek out assistance from many alternative sources, rather than relying on a classroom teacher to provide all the answers.
- A more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle is possible when families do not feel the necessity to supplement school during after-school and week-end hours.
- Busywork can be avoided.
- Learning can be more efficient since methods can be used that suit a child's particular learning style.
- Children will avoid being forced to work in "cooperative learning groups" which include children who have very uncooperative attitudes.
- Children can learn to work for internal satisfaction rather than for external rewards.
- Children will not be motivated to "take the easy way out" by doing just enough work to satisfy their teacher. They will learn to be their own judge of the quality of their own work.
- Children will be more willing to take risks and be creative since they do not have to worry about being embarrassed in front of peers.
- Children will be more confident since they are not subject to constant fear of criticism from teachers.
- Peer pressure will be reduced. There will be less pressure to grow up as quickly in terms of clothing styles, music, language, interest in the opposite sex.
- Social interactions will be by choice and based on common interests.
- Friends can be more varied, not just with the child's chronological age peer group who happen to go to the same school.
- Field trips can be taken on a much more frequent basis.
- Field trips can be much more enjoyable and more productive when not done with a large school group which usually involves moving too quickly and dealing with too many distractions.
- Field trips can be directly tied into the child's own curriculum.
- Volunteer service activities can be included in the family's regular schedule. Community service can be of tremendous importance in a child's development and can be a great learning experience.
- Scheduling can be flexible, allowing travel during less expensive and less crowded off-peak times. This can allow for more travel than otherwise, which is a wonderful learning experience.
- Children will be less likely to compare their own knowledge or intelligence with other children and will be less likely to become either conceited or feel inferior.
- Religious and special family days can be planned and celebrated.
- More time will be spent with people (friends and family) who really love and care about the children. Children will bond more with siblings and parents since they will spend more time together playing, working, and helping each other.
- Feedback on children's work will be immediate and appropriate. They won't have to wait for a teacher to grade and return their work later to find out if they understood it.
- Feedback can be much more useful than just marking answers incorrect or giving grades.
- Testing is optional. Time doesn't have to be spent on testing or preparing for testing unless the parent and/or child desires it.
- Observation and discussion are ongoing at home and additional assessment methods are often redundant. Testing, if used, is best used to indicate areas for further work.
- Grading is usually unnecessary and learning is seen as motivating in and of itself. Understanding and knowledge are the rewards for studying, rather than grades (or stickers, or teacher's approval, etc.).
- Children can be consistently guided in a family's values and can learn them by seeing and participating in parents' daily lives.
- Children will learn to devote their energy and time to activities that THEY think are worthwhile.
- Children will be able to learn about their ethnicities in a manner that will not demean. Children will be able to understand multiculturalism in its true sense and not from the pseudo-multicultural materials presented in schools which tend to depict others from a dominant culture perspective.
- Children will not learn to "fit into society," but will, instead, value morality and love more than status and money.
- Children do not have to wait until they are grown to begin to seriously explore their passions; they can start living now.
- Children's education can be more complete than what schools offer.
- Children who are "different" in any way can avoid being subjected to the constant and merciless teasing, taunting, and bullying which so often occurs in school.
- Children with special needs will be encouraged to reach their full potential and not be limited by the use of "cookie cutter" educational methods used in schools.
- Low standards or expectations of school personnel will not influence or limit children's ability to learn and excel.
- Children will be safer from gangs, drugs, and guns.
- Parents will decide what is important for the children to learn, rather than a government bureaucracy.
- Family will not be forced to work within school's traditional hours if it does not fit well with their job schedules and sleep needs.
Comments (0) 10-12-2007
What completely surprises them, is that they find that the homeschooling option has been available to them all along.
"You mean it's LEGAL to homeschool? All I've had to do this whole time is click my heels together three times?" [more...]
Here are just some of the advantages you might want to think about as you are considering a homeschooling lifestyle. This is only a partial list. Any homeschooling family could come up with more items for the list. We hope this list sparks your thought processes, and helps you with your decision.
- Parents are with their children all day.
- Parents know and understand their children, and are influential in their lives, even as they enter the teen years.
I used to say it was for religious or philosophical reasons and because it provided the best possible education for the kids. But now that's changed to: it's best for the kids because it allows them to be more complete human beings. By following their interests, they are living in a more real world with real people. They are their own little beings, not just a part of the big machine. [more...]
So what is homeschooling? In the broadest sense, homeschooling is educating your children at home. You, as parent, become teacher. Parents homeschool for more reasons than you can imagine. Some want to avoid having their children exposed to violence and peer pressure. Some homeschool so that they can make sure their children's education adheres to their religious beliefs. Some live a different lifestyle, perhaps they travel a lot and want their children's schooling to be flexible enough to fit around that life style. And some, like me, simply enjoy being with their children. [more...]
Let me offer a slightly different view, and define it this way: "Homeschooling is parents deciding and directing the education of their children". Deciding and directing the education, not doing all the educating. [more...]
Gaining Confidence In Our Homeschooling
Confidence is especially important in a choice like homeschooling where we're going against the dominant culture, without the support and reassurance that comes from doing what almost everyone else is doing. In addition, the more confident we are, the better able we are to maintain our homeschooling freedoms. We are better able to convince others that homeschooling works, that homeschoolers do not need to be tested or unnecessarily regulated by the state. We are less tempted to seek assistance or reassurance from conventional schools. [more...]
Removing your kids from school permanently can be both frightening and exhilarating. Having the freedom to choose your child's educational path is thrilling and assuming responsibility for your educational choices can be overwhelming. Confidence in your ability to teach your child will help you through that (sometimes) challenging first year of transition. [more...]