Beginning of homeschooling

How to make children sit down to learn at home? How do parents teach upper grades? Won’t homeschoolers miss out on socializing? Will it affect his character and social skills? What if I start homeschooling my child after elementary school?

Homeschoolers are asked these questions all the time.

I wish I could provide a clear answer to these common questions homeschoolers get. There isn’t (simply because every home is different), though it’s probably safe to say that there are some commonalities across the board. Also, there are no perfect situations, only opportunities. Parents who homeschool their own children hope and pray that their children turn out well. The truth is that the journey has only just begun. Our homeschooled children are at different points and milestones along the way, and who they are or what they will become is just developing. So we are all a work in progress, both parents and their children, considered ‘saints’ by our heavenly Father, but saints in the making.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that it is homeschooling. The image, therefore, is that of a conventional classroom now reduced but imported or adapted to the living room or kitchen table. Some parents have the idea that the one-on-one situation with the mother as tutor and the minor as student is an attractive proposition because a) there will be a lot of attention given to the student b) there will be a lot more Junior will be absorbed in the personal tutoring process, and c) obviously, the potential for academic excellence is going to be very advanced.

Speaking as a former teenager, that’s about as much fun as a torture chamber. Why bother with homeschooling then? He might as well stay in a mainstream school.

It is possible that some families can homeschool in this way (to each their own, I say) but that is not how I understand homeschooling to be, nor is it how it is practiced in most homes, if not of all the homeschoolers I know. My own home would certainly be dismissed as a slacker’s paradise; Parents who imagine that homeschools are a miniature academy populated by diligent children sitting at their desks studying will be sorely disappointed to visit our home!

First of all, homeschooling is more than formal academic learning or scheduled study. It is providing a child with a safe home to fully develop her potential. You are equipping her for self-directed learning, training her to be resourceful and independent.

Seen in this light, the homeschooling parent is not seen as a guardian but rather as a facilitator. We are looking for balance. Life itself is a great classroom or a laboratory for creativity, discovery, a safe place to learn from one’s own mistakes. Conventional schools, with their overemphasis on tests, books, and tuition, offer little time or space for self-discovery and imagination. The difference between a happy 4-year-old preschooler and an anxious, bored, schooled 7-year-old is staggering. Which is tragic considering how many great minds, inventors, and writers owe their greatness not to hours of heists but to playing and tinkering during their formative years as young children.

There are certainly sitting down periods, but informal learning is an important part of a homeschooler’s education. Eventually, the role of parents as facilitators for their children diminishes until personal involvement is no longer necessary or a primary concern. Instilling this attitude and perspective in a child when she is younger pays off when she gets older. Parents will quickly realize that their initial fear of not being able to teach the ‘difficult’ subjects becomes irrelevant because the home schooled child will and often does outperform his tutor.

Pulling a child out of school at age 13 to homeschool is not uncommon, but some parents admit they have a hard time pulling the teen out of an entrenched and often peer-dependent lifestyle. Many families are successful in ‘unschooling’ a child to homeschool, but it takes more effort as you are developing a new circle of friends while also acquiring a new culture of learning.

Then there’s the whole issue of learning styles and gender. Different children learn differently according to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (among others) (Frames of Mind, 1983). Once again, boys are psychologically and developmentally different from girls. Given these variables, parents do their kids a huge disservice when their idea of ​​education is one-size-fits-all. It is not and it is not. The good thing about homeschooling is that a child learns at her own pace and in her own style.

It should be clear by now that homeschooling is a radically different way of looking at learning. I often tell my friends that it is a whole new lifestyle that requires a drastic change in my expectations and value system. But what about socializing, people ask? Mere observation confirms that socialization in all its negative forms is precisely why our current schools and society are having so much trouble. The correct question should be, what kind of socialization do I want?

Homeschooling promotes positive socialization. It’s isolation (as opposed to isolation) during a child’s more impressionable years. And contrary to popular myths about homeschooling, it takes place in a real world rather than an artificial one that is simply made up of children of the same age. In that unreal and walled world called ‘school’ with its sterile classrooms, children wear the same uniform, read the same books, acquire the same bad habits and prejudices, conditioned by a system that evaluates their self-esteem based on the grades of the students. exams, and discourages anything but compliance. Urgh. Then there’s that persistent interrupt bell that only Pavlov’s dog could love!

While this is happening, our homeschooled children are reading a variety of books, participating in community service, interacting with people of different ages, building rafts and swimming in the river, traveling, climbing Maxwell Hill on their own, helping out at the zoo. , and participate in debates and mock trials. Sure, families have to do it ourselves for all this to happen. But that’s where the pleasure lies! Above all, as parents, we have time to provide a stabilizing influence, an adult role model, moderating, and interpreting life’s challenges against an agenda set by other parties, institutions, and vested interests.

Finally, I wish I could conclude that homeschooling is the answer to our educational and institutional ills. It is not. And it won’t be for everyone. Other families and children may do well by following the conventional routes: national or private schools, international schools or learning centers.

But those of us who have chosen to educate our children at home believe that it is the best way. It is more worth embracing a radical alternative that aligns with the values ​​we hold, including our love for God, that we hope to pass on to our children. We do this in the process of equipping them with skills to engage the world with more than paper credentials. It seems the research is on our side, because homeschoolers are academically above the national average, integrate well into society, and aren’t afraid to march to the beat of a different drum.

Homeschooling is a long way from becoming mainstream, at least not in Malaysia where I come from. But things are changing and opportunities for tertiary education are already opening up. Technology and community resources are making homeschooling increasingly feasible and accessible. So should you homeschool? Can you homeschool? The question our family would ask is, why not you?

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