What is Home Education?
Home education is a method of passing values, character and knowledge on to children, in which parents assume the primary role in their child’s total development as a unique person created in the image of God. In home education, a child’s relationship with his parent is elevated above all outside relationships. Parents direct their children’s educational achievement, stimulate their creativity and individuality, and cultivate their character growth towards maturity and godliness.
This does not require “super” parents; only parents who care and are committed enough to make an effort. Studies have shown that there is no relationship between the educational level of parents and the academic achievement of the children they are teaching. Because of the great variety of educational materials available and the wide range of children’s learning styles, there is not a ‘best’ way to home educate. You have the opportunity to tailor-make a unique program of study for each of your children according to their individual needs.
Home education is an adventure similar to mountain climbing. There are times along the trail that you can pause to enjoy the beautiful view and appreciate the sense of accomplishment. But there are also times when you become tired and discouraged, the trail becomes more difficult and your goal becomes obscured. Ensuring you connect with other home-educating families will bring encouragement, edification, support and greater success.
What Home Education is NOT
We prefer the term home education rather than home schooling because home schooling conjures up ideas of ‘doing school at home.’ “School” as most of us know it is opposite of home education in many ways: individual vs. group learning, encouraging creativity vs. fitting into a mold, building Christian values vs. value free knowledge, learning through work, service and study vs. an ‘academics only’ approach.
Steps in Beginning Home Education
- Pray! Seek God for direction, wisdom, and search scripture. He will answer!
- Discipline is essential! Training of Character is essential in our homes if we desire our children to make progress in their studies and is a requirement for success as adults.
- Research and study home education by reading literature (newsletters, magazines and books - see the attached reading list.) and by spending time with those already home educating their children. Understand the basic approaches to home schooling: traditional, classical, unit studies and combination of approaches. Establish your own “philosophy of education” (for information see reference list).
- Write down the reasons you want to home school. Listing these reasons will be a tremendous benefit later if you need to re-focus on why you are teaching your children at home. You will probably add to this list as you gain experience. Also write down Bible verses that help you make your decision. Because of the commitment needed from the entire family, we strongly encourage both parents to develop this list.
- Prepare yourself to answer questions and concerns from others.
- Join APACHE to benefit yourself and others.
- Set aside time to plan your week. Begin a journal or plan book to record your school’s activities. This can include daily assignments and activities.
- List goals (spiritual, character, academic, physical) for each of your children.
- Based on your educational philosophy and goals for your children, choose and obtain the curriculum and materials you feel are best for your children.
- Equip your home for study with dictionaries, an encyclopedia set, computer, etc. Don’t have some of these tools...don’t forget your local library has them.
- Actively involve your children in helping with household chores. This is a must! You will not have time to clean your house like you once had. Besides your children need to learn to work and master domestic duties.
- It is important to keep updated medical records.
- Practice the following keys to being a good parent-teacher:
- Be warm, consistent, responsive parents.
- Be willing to reorder your priorities, and be flexible.
- Be willing to learn with your child and don’t expect to know everything.
- Use your imagination to integrate learning into everyday life; don’t consider books the only way to learn.
- Obtain sound curriculum materials and be its master - not its slave.
- Use your local library, the inter-library loan system and other resources.
- You may wish to consider naming your school and designing letterhead for your school correspondence. This is highly beneficial to receive “teacher” discounts and promotional items.
- Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. See Mom’s Encouragement list! Mom, determine what it is you need that will help you persevere in the home-education lifestyle and then give yourself permission to have it!
Do not feel guilty about helping yourself, especially if it makes you feel more effective as a homeschool mother!
Disadvantages of Home Education
Advantages of Home Education
- You may fail to notice speech, vision or auditory problems. Ask your pediatrician for help on these areas.
- Your house is not always as clean as you would want it to be.
- You have very little time for yourself. (But because you spent the time home educating you should have considerably less hassles in their teenage years so some time will be redeemed!)
- Children see your weaknesses.
- Textbooks cost money.
- There is no “perfect curriculum.” Need to adjust your curriculum to fit your child-not the other way around!
- It’s legal.
- It is safer.
- You can teach the child on his own level through his own learning style.
- It develops overall social skills.
- Your child’s peer stress level is reduced.
- The importance of the family can be stressed.
- You choose your own priorities.
- You don’t have to be certified.
- You’ll learn more than you ever expected!
- You have time to develop life skills.
- You can control your child’s curriculum.
- Children see your weaknesses.
- You save money on kids clothes budget.
- Field trips are not limited to only a few per year.
- You can get rid of labels.
- Your child receives more individual attention.
- Your child will grow up more self-directed!
- There are more opportunities for your child to be around people of different ages.
- You have more control over the innocence of the child.
- You can get support, help, encouragement and advice from those who have your same values and calling from God.
- You can utilize immersion teaching, (teach at any moment, using teachable moments all the time.)
- You can even home educate through hard times.
- You can develop a desire to learn not a fear of learning.
- It allows more time for the development of the child’s creativity.
- You can do a better job than the classroom teacher because you are committed to them for life not just that year.
- You will get to know your child so well that you can see beyond the surface performance and deal with life issues.