The Great Home Schooling Debate

Home schooling has been around for quite some time now. The debate about it’s overall effectiveness has been going on for just as long. Recently however, home schooling has been gaining more and more advocates in support of it.

For the longest time, home schooling has been viewed with a somewhat contemptuous attitude by many. They’re under the misguided notion that home schooling is for weirdoes and social misfits.

People these days are much more open minded about the idea of home schooling. Lots more parents are choosing to put their kids in some kind of home schooling program.

So what are the possible reasons for parents to home school their kids? What are the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling? Is it right for your child and what must be taken into consideration when choosing to home school your child?

Home schooling has traditionally been for those children who suffer from some kind of condition or whose current circumstances don’t allow them to attend regular school. However, more and more parents are choosing to home school their children because they believe it to be a more beneficial alternative to traditional schools.

There are a lot of advantages to be taken from home schooling.

Home schooling allows a child be taught in a more individualized way. The child will not have to compete with several other students for the time and attention of the teacher. Their parent is their teacher and the one-on-one teaching that the child receives will increase the quality of learning.

The nature of home schooling allows for an incredible amount of flexibility and freedom in regards to learning. The lessons and curriculum to be undertaken can be custom made to suit the particular educational needs of the child.

The child can also learn at their own pace, seeing as there’s no set schedule that must be followed. A child can take as much time as they need to learn something without being pressured, or they can go as quickly as they can, learning things that would normally take a much longer time to cover in a classroom.

In many cases home schooling will enforce an inherent love of learning and will strengthen the child abilities to learn on their own. These skill will become a valuable asset throughout their lives.

Many parents home school their kids in order to instill moral values that can’t be sufficiently achieved in traditional schools. This is especially true if they feel that the child is easily influenced and the schools in the area are a particularly bad influence.

Home schooling helps to cultivate family ties. The time that the family spend together teaching and learning helps to strengthen family bonds.

Thanks to more advanced technology and in particular the internet, home schooling has become even more effective. The internet is a vast source of knowledge and you can find a plethora of home schooling resources like sample curriculums, lesson plans, and all sorts of guides.

The greatest criticism aimed at home schooling is that it might hamper the child’s social growth. Home schooled kids tend to be more isolated and many feel that this is harmful.

This isn’t necessarily the case though, as studies have shown that many home schooled adults have excellent social skills and are living happy, meaningful lives.

These studies also show that home schooled individuals tend to do better academically than traditionally schooled individuals.

Despite the seemingly many benefits of home schooling, it isn’t for everyone. Parents should take in mind several considerations before taking the plunge.

Home schooling takes a tremendous amount of time and effort on the part of the parents.

Teaching will take up most of the teaching parent’s day, so this means that the they will most likely not have the time to work. The family must be able to cope with this situation. This is especially difficult for single parents.

Also, the parent must be sure that they will be able teach their child properly and handle all the possible problems and responsibilities that come with the home schooling their child.

Home schooling, when done right can have very positive results. However, getting it wrong can result in absolute disaster. Ultimately, it’s up to the parents to assess their child and decide if home schooling is the right choice for them.

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Home Schooling 101

Why bother? Well, if you are thinking it is a bother, you might re-think your decision right there. To educate your child at home is not a bother, but a wonderful, richly rewarding experience that benefits you and your child. So, take the “bother” word from your vocabulary if you really would like that opportunity. Yes, this is your opportunity and your child’s opportunity.

If you are a stay-at-home mom or dad, then you have the opportunity to have wonderful learning experiences by home-schooling your child. In most states, home-schooling is legal, a legal option. There are some guidelines and rules and regulations that you need to follow, but after that everything rocks! (In some states, there are a certain amount of days that you have to notify the Board of Education that you intend to home-school your child).

You cannot simply keep your child from school and decide to home school. You must, almost always notify the School Board or the Board of Education. You can find out the rules and regulations through your government officials or through some wonderful home-schooling magazines and literature. Once you find out the rules and regulations, you are set to go.

Are there benefits to home-schooling?

Time, Balance, Growth & Togetherness

When home-schooling is done in the proper way, your child will have a fully-balanced education and will become a well-rounded good student. The rewards are unmeasurable. First, one of the benefits is that you both spend more time together and give each other more attention. The average student sees their parent for probably a few minutes a day during the week, or at most an hour or two. However, the average home-schooling parent or guardian sees their child on a regular basis for a few hours a day (when that parent or guardian is teaching). You will learn together! Now that’s one of the biggest and best benefits of home-schooling. The teacher and the student learn from each other. You grow together. And you can look back on this experience in years to come and both of you will be happy about your choices and decisions. Children get to spend more time with their siblings, and the younger ones will learn while the older ones are learning also.

You will have more time for each other. You can make practically any life-lesson an education lesson. Going to the supermarket or going to a department store is a lesson in buying, purchasing, finances and product comparison. Going to a fast food place is a lesson in food, health, and in purchasing and even a lesson in customer service. The fast food process shows the children very valuable marketing lessons. So things in every day life add to your home schooling experience.

Good Education

Another benefit is a great education. You see first hand what your child is learning without the need for PTA meetings and without the need for a strangers’ report on your child’s progress. You choose your child’s education. If you want to teach your child spiritual lessons, you can do that. You can teach religion as history and history as religious lessons. (Look at all the Christians in history and look at the impact they made in our land). You can teach fun science lessons and math lessons. A trip to the bank and to the ATM will be a great business math lesson.

You can even take a trip to the Treasury Building and other related places. Your child will benefit first hand so much more in seeing and doing rather than relying on mostly book-based education. (Yes, you need books and you use books, but you do not depend on them solely as your only education tool). Socialization happens just as easily with home-schooled children as it does for children who attend school in school buildings. Many times when we do television shows, we invite the home-school children, parents and guardians to come into our studio, take a tour and be on the show. So, your options are wide open and your world is your education. Another benefit is a focused education. You are the teacher; you are in charge. That gives you lots of options and lots of opportunities.

What are the problems related to home-schooling?

There are few problems to home-schooling, and these are some:

Your child might miss the classmates if your child started out with regular education and now switched to home-schooling.

How do you solve those problems?

The way to overcome this is to have your child interact as much as possible with the children from the other schools. Invite the children (with parents’ permission) to come on some day trips with you . Or invite them over after school. Have your child enroll in a hobby that he or she likes . (Children take up piano or bowling, or art , and in these hobbies the children make new friends and have interaction with children their own age). Use your own imagination and you will find ways to have your child interact with other children and still be home-schooled.

Testing

Most school districts require specific tests for home-schoolers. But the tests are no harder than those given to regular school children. So, prepare for the tests. They also usually require that a licensed teacher observe or give the tests. This can all be arranged. If you are determined to home-school, there is nothing that should stop you from at least trying this option of education.

Stigma

Years ago, there used to be a stigma attached to home-schooling. Years ago, most times farmers and poor people and migrant workers home-schooled. Sometimes children and even adults made fun of home-schoolers. But today, that is all changed around remarkably. And this was especially noted when one year, the home-schooled child won the National Spelling Bee on national tv, proving that she was the best speller in the nation. Even after that so many came forward on television stating they had been home-schooled and were now attending college or had graduated from conventional colleges.

What if you change your mind? If you change your mind about home-schooling, you have a right to have your child attend public school. Check with your school district. Most times in most cities, every child is entitled to a free public education, and most likely you live in a city or town like that. So don’t worry about changing your mind -if you find that home-schooling is impossible for you to do.

Where can I get supplies or books if I educate my child/children at home?

Look online! Do a search for everything related to home-schooling. There are entire companies who focus on nothing but home-school supplies, books and videos. There are plenty of companies out there for you to become educated about home-schooling. You can become an expert in home-schooling if you want to be.

For art lessons, contact the Pearl Paint Store in New York City. They have a mail-order company also and you will find every single item you need for any arts or arts and crafts lessons that you choose to give. For math and business and finances, write to the Treasury Department, the consumer department, you will be amazed at what is available for free. Write away to Pueblo and ask for the government information catalog. This catalog is a hub of wonderful ideas, books, booklets and pamphlets, many that you can use in your school.

Should I home-school my child?

This is the hardest question that you ask. The answer is obvious. Only you and your child know if you should home-school your child. Know that this is hard work, mixed with lots of fun and great together times. So you must be ready for hours of hard work if you choose home-schooling. If you are ready for that and if you have the time for that , then you know what to do.

Our Experience

In the past I have home-schooled my three children (before they became of school age), and every one of them went into school way ahead of the class. By the time one child was in second grade, that child was tested and found to be able to read college journals. So home-schooling works, even when it is ‘unofficial” home-schooling. The tools that I used were everything that was around. . For example, before my children learned to read, we both would be walking down the street and come to the stoplight. The light was marked with the word, “STOP”, and that , to me, was and is a reading lesson. We would read all the words that we passed as we walked down the street. I was doing the home-schooling thing as my child and I walked along the sidewalk. That was “Reading 101”.

Simple and fun as this was – this game of reading, this was the game that enabled my children to enter school reading years before their classmates learned to read. So home-schooling, even basic home-schooling works wonders in children’s lives.

You have probably read about home-schooling and you might have talked to other parents or guardians who have home-schooled their children. But no matter what you have heard, there is more to home-schooling than just reading. When you check with your local school boards you will have the details about government regulations (and there are many) regarding home-schooling. When I first thought about home-schooling, my

second child was in the older grades. I thought about it lots because the school was polluted and it had to be shut down temporarily. We went back to conventional schooling after the building was almost re-built. My child and I learned so much from just observing nature and from visiting parks.

Your Experience

Only you know what your own experience will be like. You know yourself and you know your child better than anyone else knows them. So decide according to your needs, wants and lifestyles and your time schedule. Only you know the answer to whether you should home-school or not. Some home-school through a temporary need; perhaps a child has a broken leg and cannot attend the local school. They begin home-schooling and find that both the parent and guardian and the child like the experience, so they apply to home-school on a regular basis and everyone is happy.

One thing for sure, do not let anyone make this decision for you, and do not let anyone make you have negative feelings about home-schooling. If this is what you want, this is what you should do. Try it, you’ll like it. And if you do not like it, or if you feel it is too much of a responsibility, then it is your decision to change your mind. You will never know unless you try. You might want to try it during summer vacation or during the holidays. This offers you the opportunity to educate your child and yet neither of you miss any regular schooling or regular work

You should try home-schooling if you have the time to do it. And you? So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to investigate, prepare for and begin to home-school for your child if that is what you both want to do.

Here is one website you can begin with – check this out, many lessons are here , lessons in nature, lessons in history, lessons in art. You name it and it’s here. Click this website for your very first lesson in home schooling, http://www.nps.gov and here is the Home Education Magazine link. Almost everything you need to know is here: [http://www.homeedmag.com]

If you have an interest in being on television and showing the benefits of home-schooling, please write and let me know what you feel about the subject of home-schooling and conventional schooling. Write to me at [email protected]

The author is a creative, individual artists living in the United States

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