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Monday, August 8, 2011

Who Should Homeschool?

Yes, it's time to go Back to School.  Private school, public school, homeschool - some of you have gone year-round, but the vast majority of us in the U.S. just started back or are getting ready to begin the new school year.  I had all kinds of "fun school" stuff we were going to do over the summer just to keep our minds sharp, but they went right out the window with all the home-organizing and to-do-list-catching-up I was going to get done in the summer months!

So, you've probably made your choice as far as how to educate your young 'uns this year, but it is the time of year I probably get the most questions about homeschooling.  Some home-schoolers preach that home-schooling is the only way to go, while some public-schoolers cannot imagine why we would do such a thing to our children.  I had one neighbor whose children were in an exclusive private school, and she believed any other education was inferior and unacceptable.  I hope not, since I could not possibly afford to send four children to her school.

Let me just start by saying I kind of toe the line here.  If you are happy with your decision to public school or private school, I have no desire to try to change your mind.  YOU know what is best for YOUR family. If God wanted every family to educate in exactly the same way, He would have spelled it out in the Bible.  (He did emphasize that Parental Involvement is indispensable in any kind of education.  Deut 11:18-19)  At the same time, I can preach the benefits of homeschooling till the cows come home.  I'm a pretty opinionated person who believes that everyone has the right to be just as opinionated as I am!

The people whose thinking I would like to influence are those whose children are not thriving in another environment and who are looking for a change, and most especially those who would like to homeschool but don't think they can.

Here's the whole blogpost in one little sentence:  YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL!

Anyone can homeschool.  Do not confuse this with the statement, "Homeschooling is easy."  It is not easy.  It is hard.  It is time-consuming.  It is possible, and it is absolutely worth it.

Many people start out at one end or the other of the spectrum, but they soon realize they must come to the middle.  At one end of the spectrum are the people who think homeschooling does not take much effort.  I have seen more than one person start out thinking they can purchase a computerized curriculum that will do all the teaching for them, or that they can get all the work done with their children in an hour or two and have the rest of the day free.  (This may be true in kindergarten!)  Sometimes I have told someone who is worried about homeschooling that they should not be so worried, and they say, "So you're saying it's easy, then?"  Nope.  If you are not willing to put in the time and effort, don't try to homeschool and shortchange your children.

On the other end of the spectrum are those dedicated parents who would probably make the best homeschoolers because they are so conscientious, but they are worried that they cannot handle this lifestyle.  That they are not smart enough, not organized enough, not certified.  To those parents, I would like to offer encouragement.  Studies show that the average homeschooler scores over 30% higher than the average student nationwide on standardized tests, notwithstanding the socio-economic class, the certification or non-certification, nor the education level completed by the parents.  (Information obtained from HSLDA.)  There are curriculum choices available these days for every kind of learner, whether you want the freedom to piece together your own syllabus, a completely pre-prepared lesson plan, or something in-between.  If you cannot teach every subject, there are online classes, co-op classes, and DVD-taught classes.  The most important things are to find the support you need in both curriculum and in the people around you, and then to spend the time and energy necessary with your child.

I'm running a little behind, but in the coming days I'll be posting more about my schoolroom, curriculum choices, etc.  Also check the TOS Homeschool Crew Blogroll over there in the margin for more blogs with more ideas and support.  I've been blogging more about my scrapbooking lately (obviously another passion of mine), but I plan to blog more about homeschooling this year, and as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I'll be reviewing some great products and curricula.  (Don't worry, though, the scrapbooking layouts and freebies aren't going anywhere!)

So if you are considering homeschooling, or if you just committed to homeschool for this year and are wondering what you've gotten yourself into, take heart!  Be prepared to work and sweat a little, to use some mental elbow grease, and for your children to succeed with flying colors!

2 comments:

  1. Awesome post! And so totally right on. Virtually anyone can homeschool. But it certainly is not easy. I'm also of the opinion that God has not called everyone to homeschool. There are some amazing private schools, some amazing virtual schools (public school at home) and some amazing public schools. And wonderful kids who thrive in all of them.

    But yes, if your child is not thriving, homeschooling is an option that ought to at least be considered. What makes a difference in homeschooling is not the parent's income, social class, or education level, as you pointed out. What makes a difference is the parent's commitment to this lifestyle.

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  2. You totally know this is going to be linked everywhere, right? Or at least over at my place.

    I'm inspired too! Funny...

    ...danielle

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