This is the last article in a series answering hard questions dealing with homeschooling. In article one, we made a brief list of major concerns and objections one might encounter to homeschooling. This article is long enough that I’ve had to break into two parts.
Let’s take up the final point on that list now.
– No support in the community for homeschooling.
First of all, I would debate the truth of this assertion. I believe there is plenty of support for homeschooling, given the millions of homeschoolers in the United States at this time. But homeschooling is a pretty private thing. It happens in, well, homes. Homeschooling is happening right now, and in every community. It is a quiet thing. It isn’t loud, as hundreds of kids playing on a playground are loud, so you don’t always know that it’s there. Homeschooling doesn’t require huge tracts of land and big, expensive buildings, like schools do. Homeschooling uses existing resources. It re-tasks bedrooms and garages. You can’t see that homeschooling is happening, yet it does.
Homeschooling is very quiet. You never hear about a homeschooler bringing a gun to school, or attacking a teacher…or being brutalized by a teacher. Homeschooling isn’t “sexy”, it doesn’t get much “press.” Its victories are personal and private. They include moments of silent triumph, as when a child suddenly understands something he struggled in school with, but was never able to receive the attention or time he needed from overburdened teachers. It includes simple discussion with one’s parents about the way the world is, in science, in religion, in ways that schools can’t and won’t work.
Homeschool is private, personal, and happens in normal houses all over the place. So homeschooling rarely receives the attention that it merits.
But its enemies, though actually few, can be very loud indeed. They are often well-funded, and they very often lie.
I will say that sometimes a few very loud individuals can make it seem like the opposition is enormous. Teachers paid by schools almost always hate homeschooling! They will kill it if they can, and will use almost any means to do so. And well they should, as homeschooling is the single largest threat to their apparent monopoly in the area of education.
Education is very big business, as you know. It eats up a remarkable amount of our national wherewithal. Educators will protect this massive boondoggle with all their might – their next rent payment depends on it. So, their paid shills…um, so sorry, the “experts” in education sometimes show up on TV and talk about how “bizarre” homeschool parents can be, the “odd violent act” or “shocking crime” committed by homeschoolers or by their parents. Of course, these supposed educators always fail to mention the overwhelming number of teacher abuses in their schools, or school dropout rates that reach to the moon as children find any way at all available to them to escape these prisons, or the common, violent acts in schools, . No, these won’t be mentioned or discussed by “experts” who try to sell the public their brand of poison snake oil – “Homeschool BAD, Schools GOOD”. Poison, indeed.
Any fair comparison of schools and homeschooling makes homeschool look a lot like paradise. The media loves stories of abuse. Such tales pay the bills. As they say in TV news, “if it bleeds, it leads”. (The lead story is the first story of the hour, the “headline”.)
Let’s look at some simple ideas that most sane parents, most sane people would probably agree with, and which should lead sane people everywhere to support homeschooling.
1) Children are the future.
Children will grow up as a generation, as a group. What they think and feel, what they know and what they will be able to do as a group and as individuals will decide whether or not the world becomes a better or worse place to live.
2) The skills and understandings a person can bring to his life and work are largely developed throughout his youth. The ideas and skills that a person can use to solve problems in life will largely be determined by the understandings, skills, and ideas they are exposed to and that they develop as children.
The other side of this coin is that the limits of a person’s understanding and effectiveness are largely determined in youth. The more limited the child’s experience and exposure to ideas, the more limited will be his later, adult response to the world.
3) Schools cannot cater to the individual child. Classrooms are too crowded for personalized handlings. They do not have the resources, or the methodology to individualize education. Schools are too populated for tailored programs intended to service and bring out the best in an individual child. Schools do not and cannot deal with much outside of the “average” as they have defined the average. They provide an ‘average” program, for their idea of an “average student”.
4) No child is in fact “average”, so no child comfortably or profitably fits into a school’s self-assigned limits.
This is pretty basic reasoning, and is not debatable.
Homeschool deals almost entirely with the individual child. Because of this truth, and for many other reasons, people who are truly concerned about their children’s welfare and for the future are re-discovering homeschooling. Why do I say that they are “rediscovering” it? Because the standard in education for all the centuries prior to enforced public schooling, instituted in the 1860s, was homeschooling!
Read PART II of this article!
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!