Hard Questions About Homeschooling (Part Seven) – THE WORLD SEEMS TO HATE HOMESCHOOL (Part I)!

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!

15 comments for “Hard Questions About Homeschooling (Part Seven) – THE WORLD SEEMS TO HATE HOMESCHOOL (Part I)!

  1. October 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    A very powerful article! The state of Oregon is an easy place to home school children. They even have their own on line home school site where students can participate K-12 and receive a diploma. While I feel that it is somewhat restrictive in that it does not develop the independence of study that most home school students need, it does give a place for parents to start on the new journey.

    • Sharon Marks
      October 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

      K12 online public charter schools are just that, public charter schools. It is not the same thing as homeschooling.

    • November 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      I agree with Sharon.K12 is a far cry from homeschooling. They even say that they are not a homeschool program.

  2. October 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Sounds like a good thing, but the strength of homeschool largely lies in the idea that it can be entirely designed to accommodate the student and homeschool family. Anyway, at least you are not being attacked for homeschooling! Sounds good!

  3. Jennifer Watson
    May 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I am a former teacher (8 years high school 2 years middle school) and I couldn’t agree more with the benefits of homeschooling. Unfortunately I have seen homeschool kids enter public school and have great difficulty. The biggest assumption was that the parents couldn’t handle it or the children lacked social skills. Who knows the real reason – maybe it is simply the difference in how children are taught in both situations and the transition is tough.

    My son is 13 months and I haven’t decided yet if I will homeschool or not. There are so many things wrong in public schools today, I feel like there are some benefits. My nephews were homeschooled for a year or so and begged to go back to public school. Both of them are great students and their school system is one of the better ones. They missed their friends and they are amazing athletes. If they homeschool they would be able to play sports once they were high school age. The 12 year old has college scouts looking at him!

    What is your thought on HS until high school then going to public school?

  4. May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    This is very thoughtful, and I want to provide a thoughtful response. I am sure that SOME homeschoolers entering public school do have difficulties. Not ALL, as may be construed in your post. (I’m pretty sure that’s not what you meant.) Trust me, kids who are not bullied, threatened by teachers and administrators and the like, abused on a nearly daily basis DO NOT LACK SOCIAL SKILLS. Kids in public schools, dealing every day with a very dangerous environment, certainly do lack those skills, however, and it’s pretty easy to see. I used to take my two children when they were homeschooling to a fast food place at lunch, one near a High School, a few times a year. I asked them to look at the kids pouring in from that school, to evaluate what they saw. They felt that the behavior displayed was repulsive and dangerous, and I certainly agreed. As a rule, homeschoolers are very well-behaved, and if you talk to homeschool families and people who deal with them, you’re going to see clearly that this is so.

    As to “can’t handle it” – homeschoolers as a group score higher on all standardized (ridiculous) tests that public school kids take – you know, those tests where we decide which kids are “handling” education well and which are not. Let me repeat – homeschoolers do BETTER on these tests than public school children. So they can most certainly handle the academics of public schooling. That said – the academics in public schooling are generally so behind, so retrograde, that homeschoolers do often struggle with babyish material they passed up years ago. That’s very common, I’m afraid.

    Yes, you’re right, children are taught differently when comparing homeschooling to schooling. Because schooling uses techniques and tools that are very destructive and that never have worked. And homeschoolers often are able to avoid their use.

    13 months is way too early to be deciding on an educational path, I believe. I would teach anyone younger than 5 to read, I guess, and to count, but that’s about it. Kids should have fun. It will end soon enough.

    Yes, you’re right, there are so many things wrong with public schools today that they are just about beyond reckoning with. Personally, I don’t believe public education can or should be fixed. I think it should be eliminated in favor of many private options tailored for everyone to win, rich and poor, working families and others. I’ve written a lot about this.

    I understand why a homeschooler who is into athletics would need and want an outlet for those skills! I know other homeschoolers who went into public schooling for that very reason. That said – they all regretted it later. I’ve heard this from many people. Very cool that the 12 year old is being scouted! But shouldn’t he also be getting the best education he can get at age 12? And that’s where I draw a line – because that would be homeschooling and all the numbers say so.

    In brief, I think people should homeschool. I think public school is a disaster. I think it gets worse as the kids get older, and that High Schools are little short of prisons. Homeschooling and private education is the answer, and I believe there are variations of it that will work for everyone.

    • August 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

      What a wonderful response! Please keep up the good work. I love your articles!

  5. December 8, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Good post. I’m writing to point out that not all public school teachers object to homeschooling. When I recently began researching homeschool for our 4 1/2 year old, my husband, a high school math teacher, was dead set against it at first. He gave the usual reasons about “socialization,” and somewhat more seriously, questioned how we’d make enough $ to live if I’m not going to work full time. He came around to it, at least on the elementary and middle school level, based on much of what you talk about – the inability of public schools to individualize education, the “roll the dice” problems involved with having a new teacher every year, and the objective (testing) data on most of our local schools (it’s not good). I think over-generalizing about teachers is something homeschoolers love to do, but some (maybe many) teachers are able to make decisions about their kids that don’t match up with what their union tells them to think.

    • December 8, 2012 at 6:05 am

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for writing. While it may be true that not all public school teachers object to homeschooling, ALL of their jobs rely on the failure of homeschooling. They are paid by headcount, that’s where the money comes from, and that’s the real reason role is called at the start of every class.

      You are generalizing when you say you think all homeschoolers love to generalize, of course – which what, makes you a homeschooler, I guess? If teachers disagree with their union en masse (they most certainly do not or the unions would long ago have changed), then let them leave the unions, disband them, and stop accepting union assistance to protect the jobs of teachers who abuse children, as well as the massive paychecks they receive (in Chicago, 3x what the average worker gets!). Let them strike to end National Education Standards, a significant source of the “problems” teachers claim they face educating in public schools, and one which harms millions of kids every day. Let them actually do something for children instead of themselves and their bank accounts.

      Don’t hold your breath on that one.

      Congratulations on homeschooling. You have elected family over the system, and even over your husband’s job, and there is courage in that, and I think, a lot of right thinking. For all the reasons you mentioned and many more, it is the right decision and your family will benefit from it. But I would ask, given that your husband sees the problems, as you say, why does he continue to work inside this corrupt and destructive system?

      One more thing. I do think your child is a bit young to really “school”, but I’m sure you’ve considered that. At that age, I was only interested in seeing children learn a bit about reading, I read a lot to them, I let them start to learn to write if they asked, and we worked some very basic numbers. Not much time was dedicated to “education” as such unless the child expressed a specific interest. I really believe a child should be allowed to be a child, and I’m sure you do, too.

  6. February 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I wasn’t home schooled (though I wish I was) and I didn’t home school my kids. (I don’t think I could have done it even though I wish I could have and I am a pre school educator).I think that you can have successful home schooling and successful schooling all depending on the teachers and the curriculum. Even though home schooling seems ideal for kids who don’t do well in school, many parents are not cut out for home schooling and can do more damage than not by home schooling. Parents need good training to do a good job the same way teachers do. The truth is that they can get the same training because most teachers get basic training and then have to train and prepare specifically for the age level they are teaching. Parents can do the same preparation.

    If you have parents that aren’t consistent or organized then the children don’t get any benefit out of it and those are the kids who end up back in school and far behind.

    • February 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Well, Faigie, again, I’m going to disagree with you. You got it all pretty much wrong, and you have the view of a “trained teacher”, which is unfortunate at best.

      Given the monumental failures of public schooling, homeschooling is almost always an improvement. That is regardless of parents or curriculum. The proof is found in testing – where homeschoolers as a group score better on standardized tests – even though those tests were designed for public school children!

      As for training parents IN THE SAME WAY TEACHERS ARE TRAINED? Well, God forbid!!! Teachers have an unbelievably lousy track record! Parents should neither desire or allow themselves to be trained in the same way teachers are trained. Nor should they use all the destructive tools teachers are trained (and forced) to use, such as homework, report cards, grading, labeling of students, and the rest of that utter garbage. Nope. Parents should be trained to do just about nothing that teachers are trained to do, if any training is going to be done at all. Give me an inconsistent but concerned parent over a trained teacher any day. Give me an UNEDUCATED parent over an “educated” teacher any day – so long as that parent is willing to make an effort.

      As to curriculum, that very much depends on the needs of the child. I’ve designed a homeschool curriculum for ages 5-adult, it is my answer to the “problems” some people like you like to believe exist in homeschooling. But the truth is that there are “unschoolers” who elect to use no curriculum at all, and who teach their children well. Not all parents – in fact, not most parents, in my view, can really make unschooling work well with any consistency, but some certainly do. For the others, the amount of aid available is enormous! My curriculum, Steps, is one outlet of many.

      As to kids who homeschool going to school and being BEHIND – while that does happen on rare occasion, generally, homeschoolers are LIGHT YEARS ahead of the dumbed-down garbage offered by schools today! It’s not even a race! The real problem most homeschoolers have when they end up later in a school is that THE SCHOOL IS SO FAR BEHIND THEM IN STUDIES, and the techniques used so barbaric and repressive, they no longer are able to “fit in” to the nonsense that passes for public schooling today. I know this is so, after working with thousands o9f homeschoolers, some of whom went back to school (usually for financial reasons) – and then happily left the schools at the first opportunity.

      Sorry, Faigie, you don’t have any of this right, not at all.

      • November 5, 2014 at 4:38 am

        Have to agree with you whole-heartedly here, Steven. My husband and I never went to college, grew up in severely dysfunctional homes, and we are not perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination. Nor, do we have a large income (well under 100k). Yet, we homeschool. And in the process, we LEARN to be patient with our kids, we LEARN as they learn about geography, science and the like. Our homeschool is far, far from perfect, but our kids are more prepared for life as an adult than most adults are, and they understand that life is about learning and that it’s okay that their parents aren’t perfect, because no parent is perfect. God shows us how to manage our money, and He teaches us (as we work to seek Him first) how to be patient with our children and how to gain the skills we need to teach them properly and train them up in the way they should go. And our kids consistently score in the 80-90+% range on the Iowa Basic Skills Test. Homeschooling, more than anything else, takes the willingness to commit to doing it and doing it well.

        • November 5, 2014 at 6:57 am

          Well done! Sounds like you have a very good grip on homeschooling for your family. And yes, I found as an educator and parent that I learned about all sorts of subjects every day while homeschooling my own two children.

  7. Boo Soon Yew
    June 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Hi to all,

    Permit me to share my experience about home-schooling in Malaysia.. I’m a parent to 2 boys; 14y autistic with a 12y normal sibling, who followed the public school from Year 1 till Year 5 and Year 3 respectively.. equivalent of your Elementary School.

    But we removed them from public school and enrolled them in a center following a home-school syllabus from the US.

    What I want to share covers the following:
    A) Reasons FOR Home-Schooling
    B) Drawbacks.. their MYTHS and possible TRUTHS

    A) The MAIN reason for effecting the change my wife and I made was because of the change of medium of teaching for Science and Maths back into our national language, Malay, instead of English.

    We had been following a syllabus for Sc & Math taught in English since 2003, but due to the ruling party bowing to political expedience, it chose to revert to Malay to “please” the masses and subsequently cement their vote. Our kids would have suffered NOT learning in English, more so our autistic son.

    Another SUPPORTING reason for change would be the syllabus that we have in Malaysia, or rather the narrow scope of the education syllabi right from the Sciences, Maths till the Languages, History and Geography. We inherit the British system which is (or was) meticulous for details but lacking in general knowledge. Worse when World History and equally World Geography is marginalized in its content.

    Ask a public school student in Malaysia if he or she knows about Washington state, Rocky Mountains or the Andes, or even Mt Kilimanjaro and you’ll be surprised by their answers.. None may ever realize that the Great Lakes are accessible by the St Lawrence River and how the early settlers used that route to colonize the inland areas.

    I shall elaborate on the 2nd part of my sharing in another posting below.. 🙂

  8. Boo Soon Yew
    June 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Hi again,

    Here, I wish to touch on the “drawbacks” of Home-schooling, from my personal experience with my 14y and 12y boys who are entering their 3rd year of Home-school in Malaysia.

    MYTH 1: Home-school kids lack in social skills or interaction.
    I beg to differ here.. As a caveat, my boys may have a slight advantage here as they attend a home-school center with about 60 students (at present) over kids who are fully home-schooled at home.

    In the center where my boys are attending, the administrators organize Outing/Activities EVERY Wed fortnight. The Outings involve the whole “school” traveling together, either to visit a park or even an educational trip to a hotel. Activities will be games, whether indoor or outdoor at a nearby field. The kids interact with each other where a lot of the games are conducted by the older ones who form part of the student council. This may not differ much from a public school but it does allow the older ones to exhibit their leadership and management skills.

    As for fully home-schooled kids, their parents (even those who have kids at centers) would arrange other forms of activities like music classes, games training etc which allow avenues for kids to interact with others.

    MYTH 2: Home school does not adequately prepare kids for their future academic needs.
    I totally disagree here as I’m also speaking as an educator.. My profession is as a private tutor where I teach Sc and Maths to High School students in Malaysia.

    Personally.. I am blown away by the diverse exposure that home school syllabus allows my boys to learn so much of the world around them, instead of being cocooned if they were still in public school. Fair enough, in-depth detail of American History is covered.. but the equally in-depth coverage of World History especially astounds me !! If this is also what Americans learn in public school, then no wonder many have flocked to the US to attend the universities and enjoy the “wholesome” education that you do not get in our home countries.

    Which brings me to some possible drawbacks..
    At the end of the day.. the syllabus may be “good” and the people who devised them may have meant it well.. but it also boils down to its implementation. The knowledge is not easy as the grade progresses.. A student may not grasp the concepts of Socialism and Communism without a proper explanation by a person who has “enough exposure” to the subject matter.

    Or else.. it just becomes a routine obtaining of answers from the text.. answering the questions in the self-tests and life-pacs and move on without really comprehending what the student had learnt.

    I speak also of the sciences where some experiments may not ever be conducted due to lack of material, resources or even knowledge and this leads to a deficiency in adequate understanding. Even the content at higher grades, were things i only learned in university !! So if the parent/facilitator guiding the home-schoolers are not equipped enough, then knowledge transmitted becomes lacking.

    The crunch comes, I would say, when the home-schooler sits for the S.A.T. exam which would be the prerequisite needed to apply for entry into universities.

    Sadly in Malaysia.. there might be an underground current from the ruling party to pressure private colleges in Malaysia not to accept students (eg: home-schoolers) who have S.A.T. qualifications.

    That will be a bridge for my family to cross in the years to come..

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