|The Home Schooler
A Biblical Light on Education -
With Special Emphasis on Home Schooling
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A s each school year comes to a close,
my husband and I sit down to evaluate how we are doing as a home
schooling family. In our house, everything is not always neat
and tidy. Projects and papers are sometimes left on the floor
or table. Laundry and dishes may pile up. Supper is sometimes
cooked at a restaurant. Frustrations occasionally popped out of
nowhere. We are not the model home school family where kids are
up at the crack of dawn with all their chores done, ready to begin
school by 8:00 a.m.
Perhaps, like you, we wondered if this was the path God would have us take for another year. We looked at alternatives and doubted ourselves as home schooling parents. Then God began to work on us and in us (or perhaps we finally started listening to Him). Conversations with friends and the sharing of this article by the wife of the president of HSLDA made us stop and re-re-evaluate:
1. You get to see the completion of your efforts. Something is lost when you turn over your home discipling to others.
2. You can customize your children's education to provide motivation for their gifts and abilities. No one else will be able to provide the consistent and loving support that you can in weak areas.
3.You can direct them to early college entrance. Even public high schools realize many students are ready for college level courses and have cooperating programs with junior colleges.
4. You can continue the family building process. The teen years continue to be impressionable and formative. This is an invaluable time to cement family relationships.
5. You can be sure that your teens are learning, if they are at home. Studies have revealed that public high school students average 2 hours and 13 minutes of academic work a day.
6. You can continue to have influence over their peer relationships. Teen rebellion is not in God's plan for the family, but it is the humanist agenda for the public schools.
7. You can protect them from pressure to conform to what the other kids are doing. This pressure is so strong in the public high school. You won't need to spend time de-programming.
8. If you send your teens to high school, there will be a diversion away from the academic focus, as well as spiritual priorities. Be aware of the many distractions that won't parallel the home life you have maintained.
9. Your young people will be thrown into things like boy/girl preoccupation, focus on clothes, and pressure to conform in appearance and music.
10. Vast amounts of time separated from the family will affect their relationship with you. We have all put great amounts of our heart and time into our home-schooling years, and we want those efforts preserved.
11. Home school is the best preparation for college studies. The home education "style" is closer to college-type instruction.
12. There is greater flexibility for work/study opportunities.
13. The institutional method of public education is designed around "crowd control," not learning. If and when they learn, it will be a by-product of other priorities to maintain class room order.
14. Home educators have the best available curriculum and greater selection. Public schools offer revisionist history and science that promotes their humanist perspective. The godly commitment of many great Americans has been deleted from public text books.
15. Age/grade isolation or segregation inhibits socialization. Public school children are behind their home school counterparts in maturity, socialization, and vocabulary development, as demonstrated by available research.
We thank Ed & Carol Burke for sending this article to us
Dr. Paul Cates at Faith Christian Ministries
864 Poplar Creek Road, Oliver Springs, TN 37840 (865-435-6185) E-Mail: Dr. Paul Cates <email@example.com>
From: Crystal N. Smisor
Subject: An opportunity to have your voice heard
Dear Home-Educating Families, Supporters of Home-Education, and Friends,
In a recent issue of Parade magazine, dated February 24, 2002, the "Ask Marilyn" column's feature question was on home-education. Marilyn vos Savant, who is respected by the world because of her listing in the
Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame for "Highest I.Q.," answered this question in a manner that deserves a response from us. What kind of view of home-education are we giving to the world? Please prayerfully consider dropping Marilyn a letter or e-mail giving her reason to believe that home-educating parents are not wasting their lives...rather they are laying down their lives for the very most important work in all the world--training and raising the next generation! She issues a challenge at the end of her answer for us to prove to her we are a success. Will you join me in taking the challenge?
Here is the question asked and her response:
"My husband and I are thinking of home-schooling. Do you recommend it?"
-S. B. E.
"I believe that traditional home-schooling (one parent stays home to teach all children in the family up through the high school years) can be a fine alternative to an unacceptable public school, but I would not recommend it broadly unless most schools were inadequate and most parents could teach everything from English literature to physics. And I don't believe that either is true.
"If home schooling were institutionalized, half of the youthful potential of Americans would go unfulfilled. Say that a bright young parent sacrifices a rewarding career to stay home and teach the children. When those children grow up, would half of them (one parent from each married couple) also sacrifice their potential to stay home and teach their own children? If so, much of the result of home-schooling would be the creation of more home-schooling parents for the next generation, and so on.
"Maybe home-schoolers can justify this loss. If so, please write. I believe that home-schooling is a noble experiment done for the right reasons, and I hope to hear why it may prove to be a success."
To contact Marilyn write to:
PARADE, 711 Third Ave, New York, N.Y. 10017 < firstname.lastname@example.org> (please include name, city, and state)
I encourage you to forward this on to other home-educators and supporters of home-education!
For Christ and for Liberty,
Crystal Smisor (a 20-yr.-old home school graduate!)
Valley Center, KS. email@example.com
Before I reproduce some answers below, let me make a few points from Marilyn's statement. [Bro Need.]
First, since when do people need to know everything about everything in order to teach anything? There are more than enough available resources to teach what is required by young people in today's world.
Second, "sacrifices a rewarding career to stay home..." Sadly, Marilyn verbalizes the world's opinion, an opinion that should motivate parents to get their children out of the "public schools." God's word is clear older women, mothers, are to teach their daughters to be keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2. See article, "Teaching Daughters to Blaspheme," July, 1994. Download the article from our web site.)
Third, for Christians, the purpose of home-schooling should be to equipt the next generations to please God in all they do.
I have been directed to a challenge
you issued in the 2/24/2002 issue of Parade magazine regarding
Home Schooling. In that challenge you stated the concern that
home educators might be in danger of draining the talent pool
in this country by encouraging more and more talented parents
to stay home to teach their children. This is a very intriguing
question. Most often Home Education is attacked on the premise
that children will not receive an adequate education and will
not be well "socialized" with their peers, both claims
which are easily debunked through many current studies. The question
you pose, however, strikes into new territory for me.
I am 27 years old and I was home educated from the third through twelfth grade and proceeded on to receive a BS in Physics. Naturally, I have quite a bit of bias about the results of home education and its benefits. I believe the possibility of draining the talent pool in America is not one we should associate with home education, but rather more properly belongs attached to public education. Public education in this nation has steadily eroded the number of top scientists and engineers we produce compared to other countries. I have no studies to cite off hand, but I believe it is well established that the youth in our country are struggling educationally compared to the youth of other first world nations.
Rather than draining from the talent pool by producing more stay-at-home parents, I believe home education is adding to the talent pool by creating more self-motivated, ambitious students who are more likely to pursue higher education and the sciences. On averaged home educated students score higher in all areas compared to public educated students, including math and science. Even students whose parents were not able to teach Physics, Calculus or Advanced English in high school learn such a great degree of self-motivation and self-training that they often pursue those courses without much teaching needed from their parents. I was in that situation. I wanted to pursue math and physics and my parents were unable to directly teach the courses. Rather than look for a cooperative of some kind to aid in these courses I taught myself Physics and Calculus I. Imagine my trepidation upon entering college when this knowledge was put to the test. I ended up with straight As in all my college Calculus courses and all As and one B in my Physics major.
Perhaps I'm just smarter or brighter than the average citizen, but I don't believe so. I had to work hard for those grades. What home education gave me was a high level of self-motivation. I worked and worked at problems until I understood them. My parents might not have known Calculus, but they taught ambition and motivation, something severely lacking in today's "self-esteem" driven public education.
Rather than draining the talent pool in America, home education is likely adding some of America's brightest stars to the talent pool. Might many of these home schoolers go on to teaching their own children? Of course, but even if half of all home schoolers "kept their talent home" the percentage of the other half that are adding to America's talent pool will likely outpace the percentage of publicly educated students doing the same.
I haven't presented any raw data here, mostly feeling and conjecture based on modern studies, but we could easily move on to the data itself and the vast number of studies showing the great success of home education in training men and women for even the most technical and high-level fields. I hope you will seriously investigate the data backing up home education's success in this nation.
David Ethell, Front Royal, VA
I appreciate the fact that you've
asked homeschoolers to "prove why [home education] may be
a success." I'd love to do just that!
My parents began home educating their three children back in 1982, before homeschooling was even legal in the state of Virginia. Because my mother had been a certified teacher before she was married, she was able to register to home school us under the Tutorial exemption of the law at that time. It was only one year before home education became legal for all parents in Virginia, and we witnessed the "boom" in this educational alternative.
My mother is a bright, talented woman who has never felt that she was "sacrificing her potential" by staying home with her children and teaching them. Indeed, she had chosen to stay home with us before any of us were born, so your belief that one parent staying at home with children is a "waste" applies to homemakers as well as home educators. As a stay-at-home mother of three (the eldest of whom I am currently home educating), I feel that I am using my talents and abilities to the fullest and not "wasting" one bit of my education, talent and ambition to train my own children! My parents were able to take their children all over the world during our years of homeschooling, and we had the opportunity to visit England, Germany, Africa, Mexico and Canada. Our lives were enriched by these experiences, and we broadened our educational horizons immensely as we observed other cultures and got to know people of all different age groups instead of being peer-restricted all day in a classroom setting. All of us graduated from high school at home early and earned scholarships to college (I graduated summa cum laude with honors, as did my brother). But the real benefits of homeschooling were not strictly educational (although those benefits were fantastic). What I treasure most about my homeschooling experience and hope to give to my own children is a sense of familial closeness and the joy of knowing your parents as your best friends. I became very close to my mother and father and served three years as my father's research assistant (he was an aviation historian and published 60 books and over 2,000 magazine articles in his 49 years). I would never have had this opportunity had I been confined to a public school classroom or the public school routine for 12 years. My time at home allowed me to grow closer to my siblings and enjoy their company and their different viewpoints. I also had time to visit at length with grandparents and enjoy their teaching for many years.
I am now teaching my 4 1/2-year-old at home and am thoroughly delighted to see him respond with great enjoyment and eagerness. He is already reading and has progressed to 1st-grade math -- without any "pushing" or prodding on my part. He just finds learning a complete joy -- as my parents taught me. Staying at home with my children means that I am not "wasting" their childhoods pursuing a career that gives my talents to others and takes away the only time I will ever have to mold my own children, see their imaginations grow and watch their horizons expand under my tutelage. What greater privilege could I ask? And being at home doesn't rob the world of my talents, if, indeed, giving my talents to the world is supposed to be my goal. I run a successful fashion and pattern design business out of my home (see the URL below) and do freelance writing for several newsletters and magazines. My first book was published in 2000 and comes out in paperback this June ("Hot Shots" from HarperCollins). But these "outlets" aren't what give me my greatest joy. I find that in passing on what my own parents invested in me: time with my children, joy in teaching the next generation and the great delight of having a close family life and the time to share with the community around us.
Homeschooling is far from isolating -- for the parents or the children. It is a way we can open our eyes to the world around us and find that we actually have time to share with others instead of running the "rat race" and finding at the end that we missed what was most important.
Mrs. Jennie Chancey
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Sense and Sensibility Clothing and Patterns
winsome clothing with an old-fashioned
Thank you for issuing a challenge
to home educators to "prove why [home education] may be a
success." I am referring to your 2/24/02 issue of Parade
After my frustration in teaching more than 25 students in each class in public schools before my own children were born, it was a great joy to teach my own children at home. There I could adapt my teaching to their distinctive learning modes (auditory, visual, hands-on, etc), and experience their excitement as they learned something new.
The closeness we developed as a family is something I will never regret! Being a stay-at-home mom (as well as a home schooling mom) gave me opportunities to shape and encourage my children's learning and creativity in ways I never imagined when we first began to home educate them.
We taught them through high school, including some college correspondence courses as part of their curriculum. Our oldest two children graduated summa cum laude from college. Our youngest daughter designed her first booka World War II 400+ page book with color photoswhen she was 15. When she was 16, she designed another book for her dad. By the time she entered college at 17, she was so advanced in her abilities as a graphic designer, that after one semester at college, we all realized that the challenging courses would be available to her only in her senior year. So, we agreed college was not for her!
The academic benefits to our children are common to most students who are tutored one-on-one, so bragging on their "brilliant brains" is not applicable. They were ordinary students who enjoyed learning, and were given the wonderful opportunity to explore knowledge in the safety and warmth of a loving home.
The maturity benefits were the most astounding. Our children were not subjected to same age peer dependency. As a result, they enjoyed being with people of all ages, and especially liked listening to and interacting with adult conversations. "Hanging around" adults and mature people of all nationalities and ages as those people came into our home, gave our children a broader perspective on the world than "hanging around" at the 7-11 or the mall with the local teens.
We did not experience the pains of "teenage rebellion," nor did we as parents feel we were alienated from our children as "old fogies." Our children became our best friends, and they remain that to this day.
As I watch them becoming successful family-centered entrepreneurs, rearing polite, happy children, and educating them at home, I am well rewarded for all my parenting and home education efforts!
Bettie E. Need
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