The Heartbeat of Homeschooling
Insight into homeschooling versus public school
The best way that I know how to describe the true heartbeat of homeschooling is to first compare and contrast the difference between an entrepreneur versus an employee of a company.
According to the Encarta dictionary, we know an entrepreneur to be a “risk-taking businessperson or somebody who initiates or finances new commercial enterprises.” Obviously then, an entrepreneur faces advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of being an entrepreneur are that he works for himself, possesses chief decision-making authority, bears more responsibility in developing the work culture, and the business’s potential is limitless if applied appropriately. The disadvantages of being an entrepreneur include: more is at stake if the company fails, your salary is unpredictable (especially at first), and there is often a lack of structure in the initial stages of the businesses’ development.
Just as there are pros and cons of being an entrepreneur, the same applies in being an employee of a company. The advantages of working under a company include predictable pay and employee benefits, job security, and a relatively controlled environment. The disadvantages include inflexibility, sometimes there is less esteem held for the given company, and you are under the authority of a boss.
The process of homeschooling and the process of entrepreneurship are really quite similar, just as the public school system and working under a company are also comparable. From the parent standpoint of view, the onset of homeschooling their children seems like a large risk and major commitment, similar to the same pressure an entrepreneur would face. From the homeschooled student standpoint of view, it also seems like it is a risk because there is more responsibility and less accountability, except that which comes from their parents. Hopefully the student will develop a work ethic and come to understand that it is in their best interest to apply themselves to the fullest potential of their abilities.
A homeschool student works for himself in the sense that if he slacks off in his studies, then he is only stunting his own growth; and it is the same with an entrepreneur. If he becomes lax in his production and business ventures, then he is thereby impeding his own business’s progress! The more experience the entrepreneur gains or the more familiarity the homeschooler achieves, the easier and more confident they will become. There is a major adjustment that occurs when a person is used to working for a company, under a boss, then they decide to quit their job and start their own business. This would be the equivalent of a public school student who, all of a sudden, decides that he wants to drop out of his high school and be homeschooled or vice versa. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that there can be flexibility in the student's schedule; and if there are specific areas of interest for the student, those can really be emphasized in addition to the mandatory subjects. In a sense, then the homeschool student has a greater level of decision making then does his public school counterpart. The true heartbeat of homeschooling, then, is to educate, develop, and help them understand that learning is a lifelong experience, not simply a set of guidelines on how to make it from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Once they grasp this concept, their potential and confidence level really is limitless!
The reason the public schooled student is like that of a person who works under a company is because the predominant attitude in public schools seems to be that it is acceptable to do as little as possible just to get by and make the teachers happy. Their teachers are similar to a workers’ boss. If they follow exactly what they are told to do, study for as long they should, then they should make good grades. The public school system looks at the grade, whereas the homeschooler looks at how to apply the learned subject area to their life after their grade school years.
Does this support and suggest that all people be entrepreneurs? The answer to this is a resounding, of course not! We need people who are willing to work under corporations and in smaller companies just as much as we need pioneers to take a risk and start their own businesses; the same is true for the public schooled and the homeschooled. Are there homeschoolers who abuse their freedom of independence? The answer to this is, yes. The answer is the same when it comes to entrepreneurs who take advantage of their freedom to make and break their own guidelines for their business.
One last issue that should be addressed in this article is the mistaken idea that homeschoolers are not socialized enough. According to one doctor whose studied the homeschool movement for nearly 20 years, he states,
In essence, the home-educated were very positive about their homeschool experiences, actively involved in their local communities, keeping abreast of current affairs, highly civically engaged, going on to college at a higher rate than the national average, tolerant of others’ expressing their viewpoints, religiously active, but wide-ranging in their worldview beliefs, holding worldview beliefs similar to those of their parents, and largely home-educating their own children. (Ray 9)
Are there reclusive homeschoolers out there? Yes, there are some, but according to research, the majority of students who are homeschooled are very active with the outside world and try to leave it a better place.
Ray, Dr. Brian D. Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ682480.pdf
Cogan, Michael F. Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ893891.pdfInfographic, Web. Retrieved fromhttp://www.topmastersineducation.com/homeschooled/