Home Education: Part 6

National Home Education week is coming up (November 21st-25th of November) and to help spread the word I am going to be doing a series of Home Ed based blog posts that will explain our home ed journey as well as providing links and resources. For more information on National Home Education Week please visit the Australian Homeschool Network. They will be running free online chats about home education as well as park days and get togethers during Home Ed week where you can find out more about home education.

So lets say you have decided – yup homeschooling is for us….BUT my husband/Mother In Law/Aunt Gladys have some issues with it. How do you begin to overcome the objections to homeschooling?

While there are numerous articles out there (and even an ebook) I am just going to post a copy of the first one I discovered on the Rockpool. A big thank you to Miss Stacey who wrote it. Please note I have altered the information about legality as this was originally written for NZ parents. I am also going to link to an excerpt from John Holts book HERE on overcoming objections

Are parents really qualified to teach their own children?
Any teacher can tell you that the children who do well are the ones whose parents are involved in their education. Parental involvement in homeschooling is very deep. The best teachers for all children are people who love and care about them and who respect their particular way of learning–people who have the time and the patience to provide one-on-one attention. Homeschooling parents do what teachers wish they could do in the classroom but cannot for lack of time and help and an excess of students.

Parents do not lightly make the decision to homeschool their children. They realize that it is a big undertaking and responsibility. But for homeschooling parents, the task of helping their children learn is seldom a burden. Children who are given the opportunity to follow their own interests, to dig deeply into topics that interest them, to have some say in how they learn, become eager and effective learners.

It is a myth that homeschooling parents do all of the teaching. Most parents know when they are not the best to handle certain subjects, and they get help, either from other family members, from friends, or from the extensive resources available, such as online instruction or community college classes for older children. The job of the parent is to help find the tools and resources that will help their children succeed.

It is also a myth that having a credential is necessary for homeschooling parents.  The bulk of coursework for a credential prepares the teacher to teach a large group of children, and to prepare formal lesson plans meeting state standards far in advance.  Parents working with their own children don’t need to learn classroom management.  They also find that the freedom to change the lessons to meet their children’s needs or interests is one of the most wonderful things about homeschooling.

How well do homeschooled students really learn?
There are no controlled studies of the effectiveness of homeschooling as an educational option, nor, because of the complexity of the problem (exactly which variables can or should be controlled for?), are there likely to be.
There are, however, numerous studies comparing the achievement of homeschoolers and schoolchildren on a variety of standardized tests. Generally, homeschoolers tend to score as well or better than those conventionally schooled.

Perhaps more useful are the performances of homeschooled students as they enter college. Homeschooled students are eagerly sought by many selective and highly selective colleges; they are reported to be more focused and more self-reliant than schooled students, and to adapt better to living on their own.

What about socialization?
Most homeschooling families consider socialization to be one of homeschooling’s great advantages. Instead of spending the better part of their days in close contact only with others of their own age, homeschooled students have the time and freedom and energy to get to know people of many ages and backgrounds. With more say in the direction of their education, they become more self-reliant and self-confident, and less dependent upon peer approval than most school children.

Few, if any, homeschoolers are isolated to the point where they don’t interact with other people. Most are heavily involved in their communities. They belong to Scouts and church groups, take swimming and dance lessons, play on soccer and softball teams, etc. Many do volunteer work, such as visiting convalescent hospitals, shelving books at the library, even helping at public schools.
Homeschoolers also get together in support groups, to take field trips, hold park days, and for other group activities.

They build deep and meaningful friendships, with more time and space to talk and learn from each other than would be possible in school.
Most parents who withdraw their children from conventional schools report that their children quickly learn to get along better with a wider variety of people–siblings, older and younger children, and adults of all ages–as homeschoolers than they ever did as school students.

Aren’t you just sheltering children from the real world?
When you stop to think about it, it is the conventional school which shelters children from the real world. Schools segregate children by age and sometimes even by sex. Do you find this situation anywhere in that real world for which schools are supposedly preparing these peer segregated children? The home and family, the neighbourhood, the community, the workplace, the marketplace are all composed of integrated mixtures of ages and sexes. To be prepared for the future, children must learn to live within the age-integrated society at large, not the age-segregated classroom situation.

Classroom logistics demand that instruction is in the form of theory and practical busy-work; there is rarely if ever any ultimately useful or value-creating function involved. Public education’s great philosopher, John Dewey, said as much himself: “The educational process has no end beyond itself….. (Education is) vital energy seeking opportunity for effective exercise.” On the other hand, home educated children observe and take part in the day to day routine of real life situations: a trip to the supermarket is a lesson in stock taking and stock control, menu planning, budgeting, evaluating price differentials, etc.; helping dad build a treehouse is a lesson in design options, architecture, measurement, spatial estimations, geometry, etc.

In fact home educators are ideally situated for turning their hobbies, crafts and special interests into cottage industries so that the children run their own businesses with practical experience in costing, production, marketing, banking, accounting, taxation and profit. When even 8-year-olds see that profit money sitting in their hands, money they earned by their own intellectual and manual labour, money which they can spend however they like, they are really motivated to relearn those old lessons and keen to learn some new ones.

But don’t children legally need to be enrolled in school?
In Australia children do not need to be enrolled in any school until they turn six. While each state has its own rules and regulations, home education is legal in Australia. We have it very easy in Victoria. Registration forms and further information for Victoria can be downloaded here. FIll it in and send it back and within 14 days you will be registered to Homeschool. Each Novemeber you are required to resubmitt your registration if you plan to continue homeschooling. If you choose to no longer homeschool you just need to let the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority know.  Other states vary with some needing a Board of Studies member to come to your home, review your plans and will then approve you for up to two years of home education. For further information on homeschooling in varioius states of Australia follow the links below.

And for a funny one, (well, we thought it was funny…)

We’ve got socialization covered (published in an American newspaper, Deseret News)
Published: Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005 10:23 p.m. MDT

When my wife and I mention we are strongly considering home-schooling our children, we are without fail asked, “But what about socialization?” Fortunately, we found a way our kids can receive the same socialization that government schools provide.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie and take his lunch money. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease our children for not being in the “in” crowd, taking special care to poke fun of any physical abnormalities.
Fridays will be “Fad and Peer Pressure Day.” We will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, most expensive clothes and the loudest, fastest and most dangerous car.
Every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hallways and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality. If our kids attempt to use the bathroom without permission, we will punish them immediately.

And we have asked them to report us to the authorities in the event we mention God or try to bring up morals and values.

Alan Brymer


Almost there….think you know it all yet? Next up homeschooling – 15 years on. Did it really work?


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