Here’s a guest blog from a fine writer and homeschool mom, Cindy LaJoy. Sad, but true.
We had a great big laugh yesterday afternoon when my hubby and I were talking about how uneducated the average American is these days. To prove it, I got the idea of looking on You Tube for Jay Leno’s “Jay Walking” segments, the ones where he goes out on the street and stops whoever is passing by to ask basic questions about a specific topic. Since we are going to Washington, DC in a week and did a quick overview of some basics about American History to prepare, it was sheer luck that the first segment I pulled up was one he did on American History.
How utterly sad is it that our 11 and 13 year old daughters, new to this country a mere year ago, were able to correctly answer every question he posed with the exception of ones about the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner which we haven’t taught them yet, but the adults he interviewed couldn’t answer the most basic questions…and I mean BASIC…such as “In what year did America win it’s independence?”…and “Who did we win our independence from?”…and “What happened during the Boston Tea Party?”. Even more depressing is how these adults laughed so casually at not knowing such basics. Making matters worse is that one of the women he stopped was a high school US history teacher, and she knew the least.
Our 13 year old laughed so hard at first, then when we moved on to another segment about geography where Jay stated before hand that he had a hard time believing a new statistic that came out that showed that 11% of all American adults can’t find America on a world map. She looked up at me and said “Is that true Mom? They can’t even find their own country on a map?” and I answered “Actually, I am certain it is true…many of us were never taught any geography at all in school. I wasn’t.” and she got this stunned look on her face and said “Mama, thanks for homeschooling us. I never want to be THAT stupid! This really isn’t funny, is it?”
No, Angela, it’s not.
Someday, we will all stop laughing about how poor our educational system is, and will look more closely at what this system produces. We hand 18 year olds diplomas that are meaningless to prove anything more than seat time spent in a class, for they certainly don’t prove that a core amount of knowledge has been obtained over a 13 year period. When a young adult can complete high school AND 3 years of college and STILL be unable to count change out for a customer (I hired two like this not so long ago for our restaurant…my then 8 year old spent an hour teaching them how to count change back and not rely on the register), we have a terrible problem. When a young adult can not correctly spell the name of the high school they graduated from on a job application (more than I can count), we have a terrible problem. When we have young adults who think the Panama Canal is located in Mexico or that Iraq is located in Africa (true answers), we have a major problem.
I’m sorry to say it, but if 50 years old is the now equivalent to 40 years old, then college is the new high school. The remediation most colleges are complaining about having to do with incoming students proves it. I guess one could say that they are paying a high price for the equivalent of a high school education when writing that check for the first year or two of college. The statistics reflect this to be true as well, as students are taking far longer to graduate than the expected four years. Eventually parents will catch on and get angry about it, but until then, a fool and his money are soon parted.
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!