“Were the colonists geniuses? [i.e., why did our colonial forefathers have literacy rates close to 90 percent?]. No, the truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about 100 hours [italics added] to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. . . . Millions of people teach themselves these things. It really isn’t very hard. . .”
To be conservative, let’s assume that because you’re not an experienced teacher it takes you three hundred hours to teach your child these skills with the help of learn-to-read phonics workbooks and computer software. Three hundred hours, divided by the average six-hour public school day, comes out to fifty school days, which is about ten weeks or three months.
Let me emphasize this point — it could take you, or a tutor you pay, as little as three months to teach your child to read, write, and do simple arithmetic. Again, to be even more conservative, most children could learn these skills in one year if you (or a tutor) concentrated your instruction on these basics. Public schools take eight to twelve years of children’s lives, yet they turn out millions of high-school graduates who can barely read their own diploma or multiply 12 x15 without a calculator.
David Colfax and his wife Micki were public-school teachers turned ranchers who taught their four sons at home in the 1970s and 1980s, and three of their sons eventually went to Harvard. They co-authored a book titled Homeschooling For Excellence, which describes their home-schooling experience. In their book, they compared the time a child wastes in public school to the time average home-schooling parents need to teach their children the basics. Here’s what they wrote:
“The numbers are straightforward and irrefutable. The child who attends public school typically spends approximately 1100 hours a year there, but only twenty percent of these—220—are spent, as the educators say, ‘on task.’ Nearly 900 hours, or eighty percent, are squandered on what are essentially organizational matters.”
“In contrast, the homeschooled child who spends only two hours per day, seven days a week, year-round, on basics alone, logs over three times as many hours ‘on task’ in a given year than does his public school counterpart. Moreover, unlike the public school child, whose day is largely taken up by non-task activities, the homeschooled child has ample time left each day to take part in other activities — athletics, art, history, etc. . .”
So, according to the authors, if home-schooled children study for only two hours a day, year round, they will get three times more educational hours on academic basics like reading, writing, and arithmetic than public-school students get.
Not only does teaching your child the basics at home take far less time than you thought, but teaching these skills is even easier today because parents now have all the educational resources available to them that we’ve already noted. Also, bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders have whole sections full of books about teaching your child to read, write, and do basic math, as well as books that will interest and challenge young readers.
Once your children learn to read well, the whole world of learning opens to them. They can explore any subject that interests them, and read ever more difficult material by themselves in books or on the computer. For a small subscription fee, your children can study the entire Encyclopedia Britannica on the Internet. They can access almost every major library in the world through the Internet, including the Library of Congress. If your kids love to read and learn, the Internet provides unlimited resources.
Once your children read fluently, you can point them towards your local library or bookstore, supervise their studies, and see where their interests lie. Your job is to introduce your kids to as many different subjects and resources as possible. Have them take art classes at the local YMCA, library, or arts and crafts store. Introduce them to different kinds of music. See if they enjoy a music lesson on the piano, guitar, or drums. Give them classic novels by great authors to read.
Most home-schooling parents spend about three to four hours a day homeschooling their kids. The key point to remember is that you have many options and a vast amount of educational resource material available to help you homeschool your children and quickly teach them the basics. When you take advantage of this material, home-schooling can be fairly easy and take much less time than you think.
Although there have been arguments against it, children who have undergone the program actually do well on standardized tests and even do well in college and universities. They are even commended for their abilities to learn on their own through college and independence when they eventually join the work force. Of course, this also depends on the learner and the kind of training that they provide. Below are some of the advantages of homeschooling:
Flexible and dynamic programs
Freedom is perhaps at the heart of the homeschool program. Children are allowed to set their own pace in learning the lessons. There are no time pressures to learn a certain task or to keep up with other people. The lessons can also be tailorfitted to the needs of the children.
For instance, if they are already good in Math and may need some work in English, the program can incorporate more time with English lessons and less with Math. The secret to the success of the homeschooling program is the flexibility and dynamism that it offers to students. It takes into account the learning pace of the child, their abilities and even their learning style.
No fix schedule
Because the program is done at home with parents as teachers, there is no need for a fix time schedule. This does not however mean that they won’t learn the discipline of rising early in bed and adhering to a time-schedule. In homeschooling, lessons may start at a specific time but it may end whenever the child is through. For instance, if the child is able to breeze through the lessons fast, he or she can relax on the remaining time. There is no need to stay in the class and study.
No fix place.
Learning can be done and achieved anywhere. This is why most homeschooling parent do not just make their homes their children’s classrooms but also everywhere they feel their children can learn. For instance, in teaching a lesson on plants and animals, they can conduct the lessons inside a Science museum or a zoo. With a homeschooling program, there are actually more field trips and more practical lessons than traditional classroom lecture.
Homeschooling is becoming a common alternative to traditional classroom teaching. Today, more parents and guardians are opting to teaching their children at home, with an estimated 750,000 to 1,000,000 students learning in a home environment. Many parents believe that homeschooling provides their children with a custom or more complete education than public or private schools. It is easy to get started â€“ you just have to do your homework.
Legality — Can I Teach my Child from Home?
It is legal to homeschool your child in the U.S. and many other countries. Each state has different laws regarding homeschooling, which can range from simple guidelines to more formal legal requirements. Look for a local, state or regional home education organization to provide basic information on the laws that pertain to your state.
Finding the Support You Need
Some home education departments will also provide a list of support groups in your area. These support groups are usually run by volunteers who also homeschool their children. You can find a support group in your area to get the encouragement and information you need from experienced homeschooling families.
In addition to state and local support groups, private groups can be particularly helpful. Their services range from providing books, materials and other resources to consultation, testing and distance education programs. These groups are designed to serve homeschooling families and not only sell the supplies and services you need, but provide helpful information and referrals.
There are many resources available to the new homeschooler. Get the information you need to get started on the right foot. Read books on homeschooling. Browse web pages and links and read different articles that are available to you.
Remember that the benefit of homeschooling is that you can customize the education to fit the needs of your children and your family. You can choose the educational methods that work best for you.
1. When you decide to put your kids to homeschooling, you have to be prepared to spend all day with your children for several days. With homeschooling, you have to be their teacher. You have to be there to supervise their lessons and even check on their progress. You also have to think of activities and make worksheets. This is why most parents would leave work to go fulltime in teaching their kids.
2. Deciding on homeschooling will mean that you have to go against the norm. Be prepared to be grilled by other parents. You should also be prepared to find some difficulties when you do decide to put your kid back to mainstream. Adjustment will be hard as they will not be used to the environment that traditional education has.
3. Spending 24 hours of the day with your child and being their teacher is no joke. At the beginning, you really have to be patient with your child as he or she will not always understand the lesson as fast or as easily as you want. Do not lose your temper because this will only make matters worst. Remember that it is just normal for your kid to be behind in some subjects or to take a longer time understanding lessons.
4. Most would think that a homeschooling education is cheaper. This is not the case. Although you are not paying for any tuition fee, you have to shell out money for the materials that you will be using. Also, a parent may need to quit his or her job to become a full-time teacher. This can pose a problem in the finances especially if both incomes are needed to make both ends meet.
5. Being a teacher is not an easy task. Not only will you have to patient with your child but you also have to put an enthusiastic appearance even when you are not really in the mood to teach them their lessons. It is important that you make the lesson appear fun and interesting for them so that they will be interested to learn. When they see you bored stiff, they will also follow suit, making your task of teaching them all the more difficult.