Homeschooling Kids

How to begin a homeschool program for kids

Homeschooling Kids

For free homeschooling help, call 1-866-788-3920

Homeschooling Kids
Homeschooling Kids
Homeschooling Kids


Beginning Homeschool

How d ou make kids sit dwn to learn at home? How do parents teach the higher grades? Won't homeschoolers miss ut on socialization? Will t affect ther character nd social skills? What f I start homeschooling m child after primary school?

Homeschoolers re asked these questions ll th time.

I wh I could offer a cut-and-dried response to thes common queries put to homeschoolers. There in't (simply bcaue evry home different) althugh it' probabl safe to sy that ther ar som commonalities rs the board. Also, thre are n perfect situations, onl opportunities. Parents wh educate thir wn children at home hope and pray ther kids wll turn out well. The truth s the journey hs only just begun. Our homeschooling kids re t dfferent points nd milestones along th way, nd who th r r what the wll beme i just unfolding. So we're all a work-in-progress -parents well ther children - counted s `saints' b our heavenly Father, yet saints in th making.

I thnk ne of the biggest misconceptions bout homeschool is tht it is schooling' that carried ut t home. The image therefore, f conventional classroom nw scaled down but imported r adapted to the living room or kitchen table. Some parents hve th idea that the one-on-one situation wth mom a tutor nd junior a student s n attractive proposition because, a) thre' going t b lot of attention given t th student b) there' gng t be a lot more Junior will absorb in th personal tutoring process, nd c) obviously, th potential for academic excellence is going to be greatly advanced.

Speaking a formr teen, tht's much fun a torture chamber. Why bother wth homeschool then? Might as wll stay in conventional school.

It is posble that som families ma homeschool ths wa (to ach his/her own I say) but tht' not how I understand homeschooling to be, nr th hw t practiced in the homes f mt f nt ll homeschoolers I know. My wn home would ertinl be dismissed s slacker's paradise; parents wh imagine homeschools t be a miniature academe peopled by diligent children sitting ramrod t their desks studying, wll b sorely disappointed if th drop in ur home fr visit!

In th firt place, homeschooling i more thn academic learning or formal scheduled study. It i providing child a secure home to realize her potential holistically. It equipping her for self-directed learning, training her to be resourceful and independent.

Seen ths way, the homeschooling parent doe not cnsider hrelf s a tutor but facilitator. We're seeking a balance. Life tself i ne big classroom or laboratory for creativity, discovery, a safe place fr learning from one's mistakes. Conventional schools wth ther over-emphasis on exams and books nd tuition offer little time r space fr self-discovery and imagination. The difference between a happy pre-school kid f 4 years and n anxious, bored, schooled kid f 7 years s staggering. Which tragic nsdrng hw mny great minds, inventors, nd writers, owe their greatness nt t hours f mugging but to playing nd tinkering bout while n thir formative years as young children.

Certainly thre are sit-down periods, but informal learning constitutes significant part of homeschooler's education. Eventually th role f parents their kid's facilitator s diminished until personal involvement i n longer nesary r a primary concern. Inculcating ths attitude and outlook in a child whn sh younger pays ff when he grows older. Parents wll quickly find tht thir initial fear of being unable t teach th 'hard' subjects becom irrelevant bau the homeschooled child will and ftn ds surpass hr tutor.

Taking child ut of school t 13 years to homeschool s not uncommon, but sme parents admit t struggling wth weaning th teen frm an entrenched nd uull peer-dependent lifestyle. A lot of families d succeed t 'deschooling' child for home education but it entails mor effort nc you're developing nw circle of friends t the me time s picking up new learning culture.

Then thre i th whole issue of learning styles nd gender. Different children learn differently acrdng to Howard Gardner's (among others) multiple intelligences theory (Frames f Mind, 1983). Again, boys r psychologically and developmentally dffernt frm girls. Given thse variables, parents d ther children a great disservice when thr idea of education s one-size-fits-all. It in't nd it doesn't. The good thing but homeschool is, a child gts to learn t her wn pace and in her own style.

It should become clear b now tht homeschooling s a radically different wa of lkng at learning. I often tll friends it s whle nw lifestyle requiring me drastic makeover n my expectations nd vlu system. But wht about socialization, people ask? Simple observation confirms tht socialization in ll it negative modes precisely wh our present schools and society ar hving many problems. The rght question ught to be, what kind f socialization d I want?

Homeschooling promotes positive socialization. It's insulation (as opposed to isolation) during child's mst impressionable years. And contrary to popular myths abut homeschool, it takes place in a real world ntd f the artificial on tht i mrely made up of children f th sme age. In tht unreal walled-up world called 'school' wth t sterile classrooms, children wear the sam uniform, read th m books, pick u the m bad habits nd prejudices, conditioned b system tht rates ther self-worth aganst exam marks, nd discourages anthng but conformity. Urgh. Then ther's tht persistent interrupting bell tht nl Pavlov's dog ould love!

While ths i gong on, ur homeschooling kids r reading variety f books, gttng involved wth community service, interacting wth people of dffernt ages, building rafts nd swimming n th river, traveling, hiking up Maxwell Hill b themselves, helping n th zoo, nd participating in debates and mock trials. Sure, w families hve to d t urlvs to make all thi happen. But that' whre the pleasure lies! Above all a parents w have th time to provide a steadying influence, adult modeling, moderating and interpreting th challenges of life gant n agenda set b ther parties, institutions, and vested interests.

Finally, I wh I culd conclude that homeschool i th answer to our educational and institutional ills. It is not. And it will not be fr everybody. It ma b that othr families nd children are ding wll following conventional routes - national schools or private, international schools or learning centers.

But those f u wh hav chosen to educate ur children t home blive t i the btter way. It mor worthwhile embracing radical alternative that matches th values we hold - including our love fr God - whch we hope t pass n to ur children. We d ths in th process of equipping them with skills to engage the world with mre thn paper credentials. It appears research on our side, beu homeschoolers are b nd large academically bov the national average, assimilate well nto society, and ar unafraid t march to th beat of different drum.

Homeschool a long wa from becoming mainstream, at lest not n Malaysia where I m from. But things ar changing, and opportunities for tertiary education are lredy opening up. Technology and community resources re making education at home mr and mr viable and accessible. So huld ou homeschool? Can ou homeschool? The question ur family would ask is, wh won't you?


Jessica edward

For free homeschooling help, call 1-866-788-3920