Home schooling is still gaining popularity. For the most part some skepticism still remains, but I have found it to be primarily from those who are uninformed as to how home school students are really doing in higher education and beyond. We’ve been through a good 35+ years of homeschooling growth in this country, so there are a number of home school graduates out there in the work force and making their way with their own families and careers.
When I consider that I didn’t even know what home schooling was when my husband brought it to my attention, and I was able to teach my children far beyond my own liberal arts education (without having finished my college degree), then I’d say what the experts really know about home schooling is true and works. They know that you do not need a college degree to home school; in most states of the USA your district just needs to know you have a high school diploma or GED. One on one tutorship is so effective and used to remediate students at risk in schools and basically home education is based on that model. The ratio of student to teacher is greatly reduced. It is not the “institutionalized” model brought into the home, it is much more user friendly with user friendly textbooks and materials and flexible toward the student and teacher both. What takes literally hours to achieve in a classroom for many weeks on end, is accomplished in a home school in far less time, far less. For example, the 6 yr old son of a friend of mine said it took 8 months for her son to really learn to read through the classroom in his school, and he is a bright student. In comparison, it took 3 months for my 4.7 yr old to learn to read with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and although we were still doing the lessons, we were already into kindergarten/1st grade readers outside the textbook. Reading being paramount to all else at an early age in my opinion. I find that teaching them to read early (barring any learning disabilities or disorders), is the best gift you can give your young child to not only encourage a love of reading and further their knowledge by leaps and bounds – it also gives them something else to do in their home school environment while you are helping your other children during school hours. It enables them to become self-directed and involved in a positive and giving activity while you are busy. Fostering an interest in reading is part and parcel of a “learning” environment set up in the home. Making fun and comfortable times to read, going to the library, making libraries at home…reading becomes intriguing and interesting. I am not a believer in later is better; again barring any unknown disabilities at the time, I believe teaching children to read early and first, especially in regard to home school education. Not so much if one is heading to a regular school classroom.
My father, coming from a one-room school house environment in rural Wisconsin, taught me to read before I got to Kindergarten, and while I LOVED reading the summer before I was really going to be taught to read, because I simply loved stories, it kind of set me up for disaster in the classroom situation. Back in the 60s there wasn’t a lot that could be done with someone outside of the box. Eventually I was put up a half grade – in a 3rd grade/4th grade combination room then moved on to fifth (basically a year a head now). That served me much better as I was half bored most of the time with the grade level material and needed to be more challenged. Eventually it all worked out although I graduated at a younger age than my peer-mates. I still had a lot of growing up to do. That’s another story :)
Even parents with special needs children, who do not mind them being home 24/7 and want to oversee their educational needs integrated with their therapies can achieve very high quality education with their children. Once parents learn to access their child’s intellect beyond their disability or disorder (which likely will take some professional intervention-therapeutic measures), they can do wonders for their child as a student. Parents KNOW their children best and really underestimate their ability to bring them to the best ……I’m hear to say regardless of your own educational shortcomings, or impatience….YOU can do it. Again and again, home education proves itself in the most challenging circumstances. But, you must think out of the box, out of institutionalized models to see homeschooling’s true beauty and benefit.