In these uncertain times, many things that we have always taken for granted have been challenged. How our children have been educated traditionally has been radically altered, so many parents are looking for alternatives beyond the traditional.
Homeschooling has been with us for a long time and its applicability is currently extremely relevant.
My wife and I homeschooled our 3 boys for a large portion of their school years. They all eventually went to school in the 11th, 9th, and 8th grades. If the goal of secondary education is to gain acceptance to a “good” college then our efforts were successful.
Here is how we approached the issue
First, why not try? School can always be the default option.
Secondly, don’t we learn to walk and talk without “school?” It seems that learning beyond these basics could take place without it too.
Homeschooling is highly individualized, all 3 of our boys learned differently and homeschool allowed us to address their unique needs and play to their strengths.
We considered the goals of education and felt that it should instill a sense of intellectual curiosity and present learning as a good thing.
We looked at the experience as one of “child-directed” learning where we would offer wide exposure in the hope that the students would latch onto areas of intense interest. It worked.
We also considered the school environment and found it to be slightly artificial. In life, we are not restricted to interacting solely with our peer group. We work and play with people from ages 9 months to 90 years. In light of this, is school a “real world” process?
It appears that “virtual learning” is going to be with us for many months to come. It may even become a standard part of education. Homeschooling is highly flexible and could be used to enrich the virtual experience, creating a highly effective hybrid.
Does homeschooling work?
For us, the answer was a resounding “yes.” If college is the goal, it was achieved. But not everyone should see college as the ultimate prize. It’s expensive and doesn’t guarantee a satisfying career path.
Does your child show a tremendous interest in computers? Is your child not much of a reader but more of a visual, hands-on learner? Homeschooling allows for a more intense focus.
I hope this article has given you a sense as to how we developed our homeschool philosophy and get your thinking about how it may work for your family as well. There are no right answers. Every member of the family should give thought to the pros and cons of this approach.
In my next story, I will discuss a standard process of evaluation and some questions you need to consider as you begin to seriously contemplate this approach, and decide if homeschooling might work for your family.