Home School Online

Homeschooling Online – Together At Home!

By

HOMESCHOOLING?!! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!


Look back to that time when your toddler was sticking magnetic letters on the refrigerator or when your preschooler was rolling out play dough into long, skinny green and yellow snakes.  At that time, you probably took for granted how easy your precocious bundle of joy would make the transition into school when the time came. Many parents start out with every intention of relying on the institutional school system (public, private, or parochial) but then some series of events involving teachers or other students or even the school administration takes them on a road they perhaps weren’t prepared for.  Maybe they don’t give up right away – – they may try other private, magnet, or charter schools.  But ultimately, some families decide that, for whatever reason, their child is a poor fit with the available school options. 
If any of this sounds familiar, know that you aren’t alone.  If you suddenly find yourself asking, “What was I thinking?”, the answer may be that you were thinking just like thousands of other families who have had a sudden push toward homeschooling.  In fact, most people who begin homeschooling their children seem to have one of three main reasons for beginning the journey:
·         Religious Reasons – Usually this includes parents who want to manage their children’s exposure to secular thinking during their early formative years or parents who feel that a Bible-based approach is the fundamental principle of their life.  They usually feel that the value system of their family is not adequately represented in the local school system. More often than not, these homeschooling families start out with a mostly religious or values-based curriculum.
·         Philosophical Reasons – Some parents find that the educational institutions of today inhibit true learning and education. Inspired by the writings of Holt and Gatto, they have a range of views on education that run counter to the strict curriculum-based institutional approach. They may have become disillusioned by the focus on standardized testing, or the competitive nature of achievement vs. the enjoyment of learning for its own sake. Often these homeschoolers begin with non-standard approaches to education such as unit studies, literature based learning, or unschooling.  
·         Needs-Based Reasons – These parents had their children in school but they were disappointed by the experience.  Their child’s needs were overlooked or simply weren’t being met. Parents frequently explain the schools were under-resourced with troubled student bodies or that the staff was less than professional. In many cases, they have children with special needs. Many parents in this category begin their homeschool method with a “school at home” approach.  They feel more comfortable following a schedule and curriculum similar to what their child was used to in the classroom setting.
 

The interesting thing about the homeschooling journey, though, is that often the reason you begin homeschooling is not the same reason that you continue.  As homeschooling mother Elise LaTorre puts it:
 

“Over the years, a funny thing happened.  I began to notice that there was nothing accidental about my homeschooling at all. In fact, I had become a huge proponent of homeschooling and was often called on to speak about homeschooling at meetings, libraries and other events.  Along the way, I either reviewed or road-tested most of the major curricula available and had written curriculum for my children when I was unable to find the right materials ready-to-buy.  I noticed that many of the friends I made that first year experienced a similar metamorphosis:  the Accidental Homeschooler became the Committed Homeschooler.”

 

Sometimes Christian homeschoolers begin homeschooling for religious reasons, then discover that their child is quite gifted and needs the extra challenge that homeschooling can offer.  A family that pulls their child from school for one year because of a difficult teacher may find that their family dynamic is so improved by the homeschooling lifestyle that they choose to continue.  This shift may happen so subtly that you don’t even realize it has occurred.  Fortunately, it will only serve to strengthen your resolve that you have made the right choice for your children. 

 

Homeschooling at its best can be a powerful positive influence in the life of a child.  Although there are no manuals that tell you exactly how long you should continue on this journey with your child, your instincts will guide you as make the year by year decision.  When you feel doubt creeping over your choice, remind yourself of some of the accomplished people who were successfully homeschooled: Leonardo Da Vinci, Irving Berlin, George Patton, Alexander Graham Bell, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John and Charles Wesley, Mark Twain, Sandra Day O’Connor, and many, many others.  I’m not sure what each of those person’s families were thinking – – but whatever it was, we can be thankful they were thinking about homeschooling!!
 


 

By Kerry Jones