In America, we are still free to choose “what” we learn, and have many choices to choose from. If you are considering “home schooling” your children, there are so many choices. I too was boggled by the sheer number of methods, styles, and curriculum’s when I first started in the 1990’s.
I was encouraged to read the book, Homeschooling for Excellence, by David and Micki Colfax. Their book is definitely encouraging. It explains in practical details, how life long skills may be learned by doing and/or applying the lessons to real life. I’m a believer in hands on/real life learning because it deepens the understanding beyond a page of letters. *Spoiler alert: David and Micki Colfax got divorced. Although their children are doing well, it was too much on their marriage.
Learning is an important part of life. It carries on far beyond the “schooling” years. It’s a primary necessity for every person on the planet. I am not comparing the differences between “schooling” and “home schooling.” The reasons to home school or not to home school are different for every family. For example, some family’s cannot home school due to financial reasons, while other family’s may simply not have the time. Either way, they both have their PRO’s and CON’s. And from a “learners” perspective, it’s not the teachers knowledge that matters, it’s ultimately about what the learner does with their life that matters. A learner can get a Ph.D from a prestigious university and yet, still not do anything with their life. There are many home learners. For example, here are a few:
Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney, Orville and Wilbur Wright, George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Robert Frost, C.S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, Louis Armstrong, Taylor Swift, Whoopi Goldberg, Charlie Chaplin, Benjamin Franklin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sandra Day O’Connor, Winston Churchill, George Washington Carver, Albert Einstein, Joan of Arc, Tim Tebow, Venus and Serena Williams, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Joseph Pulitzer, Condoleezza Rice, Colonel Harland Sanders, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Carl Sandburg, George Bernard Shaw, John Philip Sousa, Margaret Atwood, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, LeAnne Rimes, Andrew Carnegie, Davy Crockett, Walt Whitman, Isaac Newton, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, The Jonas Brothers, Booker T. Washington, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dakota Fanning, Ryan Gosling, Patrick Henry, Noah Webster, etc.
And when it comes to learning subjects outside of your comfort zone, there are a plethora of support groups, many of whom have CO-OP’s. For a nominal fee, these co-op’s host speakers from various career fields to share with the group. For example, don’t know español? Someone who is fluent in Spanish will hold guided lessons for the group. Don’t know Calculus? Same thing. They also have speech, debate, and some even have organized sports teams. The co-op’s also provide socialization with all age groups, which is very important.
Children need their own social lives. And don’t forget. We need our own socialization too. All too often a “home school” forgets that parents are people too. It’s too easy for life to become 100% centered around the children, quickly leading to exhaustion, burnout, or even worse.
All too often a “home school” forgets that parents are people too.
A good resource for curriculum’s is, The Home School Mom’s website, founded by Mary Ann Kelley. It has a broad range of topics covering the different types, methods, and many How-To’s of home schooling.
As a teacher, one cannot know what a learner will do with their learning and can only hope for the best. A teacher shares and nurtures potential and growth, but It’s the learner who ultimately decides what they do with that.
If I could home school all over again, would I ? No. Although it was my wife’s dream to be home 24/7 with her children, maintaining a full-time job in the military and home schooling was too much for me. And in my case, my wife decided to walk away after 23 years of home schooling. This ultimately led to my children having a one-sided view–the view of a stay-at-home mom. For example, this view: “Parents who work do not love their children as much as parents who stay home.” What child would argue with that? It’s not until children are old enough to work until they realize the importance of work for their survival. This is true for everyone in America, unless living in a commune. Balancing a profession with a family is clearly a challenge that few in this world are able to achieve.
Happy learning. Fair winds and following seas.