Here is part one of a new article, culled out of my last webinar. You can read part two at:
At one of our blogs, a woman wrote to say that homeschooling isn’t what it was in Lincoln’s day, as if to say it is less effective today. Well, let’s use that great man as a sort of comparison point, or base line for the discussion at hand.
It is true; homeschooling is not the same as in Lincoln’s day. Our values have changed, the reasons that people homeschool have changed. In his day – there were no real public schools and few private schools. Tutoring was relatively costly. Lincoln was from a pretty poor family. His log cabin origins are common knowledge. In Lincoln’s time, people homeschooled because they had no other options. Lincoln certainly did not have many options, being from a fairly poor family.
We picture Lincoln – the famous image, by firelight and reading borrowed books borrowed from lawyers under which he interned. Abraham Lincoln was a man who made the most of everything he was given. Would he work by candlelight today, with a few borrowed books and his own ingenuity to get him through? Nope. Today, Lincoln would use the resources available to him, as he did in his time. In his time, resources included borrowed books and candles, when he could get them.
Today, available resources include massive numbers of books, electric light, cars, libraries, zoos, museums, TV, DVDs, the Internet, even webinars like this one. One can only dream about what an Abe Lincoln could achieve today, educationally. What potentials did he never realize? What could he do with the tools available today?
Today, as then, such a person would make the most out of what is available. And what’s available today is astronomically greater than in Lincoln’s time. What does this mean to you as a homeschooler?” It means that the potential for learning is absolutely enormous.
By the way, all the books that Mr. Lincoln learned from are pretty much still around, often for free on the Internet. And for those of you who believe that books are the core and source of knowledge, we’ll discuss that shortly. For now, let me just say that books can contain “information” that can be as misleading, as incorrect, as plain wrong as any Internet site. More to come on that subject.
You may be asking: WELL, WITH ALL THAT GREAT STUFF AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION, WHERE ARE THE NEW LINCOLNS, THEN? WHY ARE THERE NO ABE LINCOLNS TODAY?
My answer –there are likely many people of comparable ability and potential to the successful homeschoolers of the past, such as Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Mark Twain, and the rest who fill our history books. YOUR OWN CHILDERN MAY BE AMONG THEM. Potential is a remarkable thing. It can lay unseen and dormant for years, and then – when a certain experience takes place, or the right educational key is turned, it can explode to life in the form of intense interest and surprising aptitudes on the part of the student. This is supposedly one of the most important functions of education – to find the key, the experience or ideas which will turn a student’s potential on. And if we lack Lincolns and Twains today, it’s because education has failed miserably in this respect, today. Potential was never awakened. It was not seen. It was permitted to rot and atrophy and die.
As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.
But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.
In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.
CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)
Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.
Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.
Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.
Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.
Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.
For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.
We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!