We all want our children to get the best education possible, especially
in those early, formative years. Yet we have to admit, in most cases,
that the public school system has become inadequate at best, and
just isnt teaching our kids the basic skills theyll need to survive in the
real-world job market.
Private schools can offer a better option, but the cost may be greater
than the average family can afford, especially if there is more than one
child. And the parent usually has little control over the curriculum or
the peer group the child will fall in with.
Many people are looking into the option of home schooling. They are
asking Is home schooling for me? This is an important question. And
there are several related questions you should answer before diving in.
Answering these questions should give you a better understanding of
what home schooling is all about.
First, why would I want to home school?
Most homeschoolers believe the public schools are not doing an
adequate job of educating. Slow learners are falling further and further
behind while gifted students are not adequately challenged. At home
slower learners can get the one-on-one attention they need. And gifted
students can move ahead at their own pace and even finish early.
In a home school setting the parents can adjust the schedule to fit the
child. I have two children Im currently homeschooling. The older
one is a quick learner with a photographic memory. He doesnt need
much repetition of facts in order to remember them. My second child
is just the opposite. He needs hours and hours of repetition. Isnt it
amazing how different two blood brothers can be?
Parents can also adjust the curriculum to fit the child. I had no trouble
teaching my older boy to read. So I used the same curriculum with
boy number two. It didnt work. Hmmm, OK. So I switched curriculums.
Now my second son is doing much better, and not nearly as frustrated
with learning. And Mom didnt have to get frustrated, either. Parents
and students can be flexible when they teach and learn at home.
What are some more reasons?
Many parents are choosing to homeschool for safety reasons. Lets face
it, schools simply are not safe. Sadly, many students in public schools
are faced with criminal situations every day. At the very least they
probably have to put up with bullies. And when was the last time you
heard of any POSITIVE effects from peer pressure? Its easy to see that
this type of environment is usually very stressful and distracts from the
real purpose of being at school, namely learning.
Another reason many people home school, is because they are fed up
with public schools teaching evolution, sex and other hot button subjects.
Homeschoolers generally view these subjects as topics that should be
taught at home, not at school.
They feel that when the schools teach these subjects the schools are
usurping their parental authority. By choosing to homeschool, parents
can take back their God-given authority/responsibility to raise their
children with a Biblical worldview.
Whatever your reason for homeschooling make sure you define it.
Knowing why you are doing something will help you to stay focused
when things get rough.
How can I be sure Im teaching my child the things he/she needs to
Once you have decided to homeschool, you should contact your local
school board and ask them what the requirements are. Some schools
require that you register your child, some do not. Some schools will
allow you to use their curriculum (if you want to). Virtually every
school is different. And every state has different requirements.
Many local libraries also have information on what needs to be taught
at different grade levels. Of course, there have been many books written
on the subject as well. And lets not forget the web. Doing a search on
home schooling will turn up loads of information.
Where can I find curriculum to use?
There are so many publishers of educational materials out there that
the question becomes How do I know which to use?
But lets answer the first question first.
You can find curriculum at your local library, at homeschoolers book
sales, book stores, used book stores, on-line retailers, on-line used
curriculum sites, and direct from the publishers.
How do you decide which to use? That depends on you, your child and
your goals. For example, if your child has learning problems, you would
buy curriculum designed for children with learning problems. If you
want to teach Biblical values you would purchase from a Christian
First, evaluate your childs situation, decide what your goals will be,
and choose the area of study upon which you wish to concentrate.
Then go to the stores, libraries or publishers, or spend some time
online, and make your selections based on these criteria.
Finally, do I have time to home school?
Ah yes, the big T question. There never seems to be enough time
with our busy schedules these days. Obviously, if youre not going to
be home for at least six waking hours (your childs, not yours), then
its going to be very difficult to provide a quality education.
Ideally, there should be a stay-at-home parent to do the teaching, but
even if you have to work the standard 8-hour day, its still possible
by adjusting and pairing your schedules. Its all a matter of priorities.
Well always find the time to do the things we consider most important.
Take the plunge.
Once you have your student(s) and curriculum in front of you the fun
can start. Did I say fun? Forgive me, Im not trying to be sarcastic.
Oftentimes it may seem more like work, but you can make it fun with
the right attitude. Think of it as a new, life-changing adventure that
you and your child will be taking together.
Many home schoolers are even incorporating educational games and
toys into their curriculum. Games can make learning easier and a lot
more interesting. Just one more reason to make the bold move away
from the public school system and over to the home school system.