So now this is supposed to be all about a hobby of mine, although this is definitely not a hobby it is something I hold quite dear to my heart. I'm supposed to toot my own horn, so here it goes... Toot Toot Toot! Now that all that nonsense is out of the way... On to the very subject we are here to read about. Home education! Read on if you dare, it is definitely NOT for the faint of heart!
Who educates their children at home?
The reason why people choose to home educate their children is usually taken to be due to religious convictions or medical necessity. However, in Australia one of the fastest growing trends is the rise in parent’s home educating their children. This is in part due to the failing academics in Australia. Australia is currently ranked 27th in the world. What is so amazing about this is that Hong Kong who spends far less money and far less time in school than Australia is ranked number 1. This makes me wonder why it is that Australia is dropping the proverbial ball when it comes to children’s education. Teachers blame the School, Schools blame the curriculum passed by the Government, and the Government blames funding. Yet most governments waste billions of dollars per year on Immigration or Military. So who suffers? It’s the children who suffer, that’s who. So now while religious and medical reasons still rank high on why people choose to home educate their children, a rise in the number of parents disillusioned by the school system are now turning to home education as a viable option.
Home Schoolers are just LAZY!
Now people immediately think that home schoolers are just lazy. Parents who don’t wish to wake up early enough to make breakfast and get their children off to school. But nothing can be further from the truth. My own day begins at 5:30 every morning and does not end until 8:30 at night. There is no one to grade the work my son does but me, there is no one to set the curriculum but me, there is no one to research different learning styles but me. My son meanwhile is with ME, EVERY DAY, ALL DAY. Could you deal with that kind of commitment to your child?
Your curriculum can’t possibly be any good!
Our personal school day may operate differently than a regular school day but my son’s curriculum is far superior to what is currently offered in the schools. The law dictates what we must “touch upon” and we not only touch upon these items but actually TEACH them. Add to this my son who is in grade four has the following curriculum: Journal writing (every morning), Mathematics, English Grammar, Spelling, Reading, Research and Writing, Science, History, Technology, Art, Music and Foreign Language Studies and World Events/History. Everything and I do mean everything can be found on the internet. Links to some of my favorite sites are provided below.
So what is so good about home schooling?
· · There are a number of things that are great about home schooling. The first is our schedules are our own. In our case my son goes to school Monday through Friday from 9 to 3 for 6 weeks then he gets a week off. In the regular schools here they go for 9 to 11 weeks and then have a week off and 6 weeks off at Christmas time. My son’s schedule allows that he is in school for the same number of weeks per year as the children in Public/Private Schools but without that long Christmas break so he doesn’t have time to get bored or to forget everything he has been taught. There is also the aspect of closure, he gets his rewards for reading, writing, just as other children do but they are more frequent during the year since his term ends every 6 weeks. Since we work in unit studies our subject matter is across ALL subjects, i.e. this term was Greek Mythology using Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief as reading material with the prize of getting to watch the movie at the end of term. This crossed into all subjects from reading on through to maths and sciences.
· We have subjects which are not even being taught to grade four children. My son is taking Spanish, which is not even offered here in Australia and no foreign languages are offered until year 7. Art and Music are being taught in a much different manner. While in the schools my son was taught Art simply by drawing or painting “crafts”, while at home we did an entire unit study on an Artist and then did our art projects to emulate the artist’s style, in this case Romero Britto. In Music, he is being taught about Music Theory, something that the schools here don’t offer to grade 4 children. Yet it is a wonderful way to teach children to not only read music but to play it as well. He is also enrolled in a Drama Class and Dance class.
· The last thing that pops into my mind when asked what is so great about home schooling is that Home Education offers us FREEDOM! In our case my son has special learning needs that the school regardless of how many times I pointed them out and asked them to have him evaluated ignored. In our case my son’s teacher told me that they were promoting him to fourth grade even after numerous requests for him to be retained, fourth grade started and my son slipped farther and farther behind. At the end of third term I pulled him when the teachers once again said they were promoting him to grade 5. What gets me is at this point my son could pass the grade two maths test with an 80% but when it went to the grade three maths test he scored only 30% and the grade four a whopping .04% yes you read right, and they were going to promote him regardless of his failing grades due to his supposed ability to socialize. HOWEVER, my son has NO friends, not a single one. Socialization is not a reason to promote a child especially since it will not do the child any good to be a grade higher and farther behind. Since this time my son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s/Non-Verbal Learning Disorder and he is thriving at home. He can have frequent breaks or reminders from me to keep him on task. He can have as I call it Wiggle time. He can have the stimulation that he could not possibly have in the school system. Plus we can take the time needed for him to master the subjects in question. He is currently working on Grade 6 English Grammar, Grade 3 Maths, Grade 3 Science, and Grade 6 History. So as you can see his needs are being met by allowing for a cross grade curriculum.
Can anyone home educate their children?
Yes, however, home educating is not something to undertake lightly. You are committing yourself not only to be a parent, but to be a teacher of a young mind. You have to be committed to be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, you will say yeah well that’s what parents do commit to be there every day for 18 years. But in the case of home educating, you have to remember that it is hard work, you have to set the curriculum for your children, you have to give them the work they need to do, you need to teach them what they need to learn, you need to grade the work you gave them and you have to do all this while your child is still in the home with you, no breaks from your child for you. You also have to remember that children need different forms of entertainment than adults do. And you absolutely must remember to take ME time (or as I jokingly call it sanity time) and to give your child their ME time. It’s a tightrope walk some days, but when you make it to the end of another long day and see your child sleeping in their bed you realize that it truly is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
My Favorite Books for Home Education/Special Needs
Home School Secrets
The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child:
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas:
What It Is to Be Me!: An Asperger Kid Book
The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents)
Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers
Links I frequent in my curriculum plans: