Every parent should home school — but hold on, before you yank Junior out of the 4th grade at Possum Valley Elementary, let me explain.
After home schooling one of my sons for a few years and sending the other all the way through public schools, as well as teaching in a public system, I’ve come to believe the #1 shortcoming in the American educational system is that we’ve handed over full responsibility of educating our children to someone else.
A blend of home school methods combined with traditional school is the way to go, and actually the way it used to be.
Parents seem to have washed their hands of any involvement in the education of their offspring and expect teachers to do it all — from math to art, from spelling to science, with a dash of morals worked in after P.E. Parents want to send Buffy-Jo off in the morning as a blank, dull slate and have her bounce off the bus at the end of the day holding scholarships to 42 top colleges as well as the promise of head majorette in the community college’s show band, but they don’t want to lift a finger to help her get there.
If we consider ourselves to be home school teachers who also send our children to regular school, the darlings will be ahead of the game. They’ll soar when given new challenges because they’ll have the confidence of rich experiences at home. A partnership between the parent and teacher is team-teaching at its best.
Reading with them at night, painting with them on the weekends, taking them to free libraries, free museums, free concerts, walking through parks and watching musicals on PBS while playing board games all add up to a home education that will catapult them to the top of their classroom. No matter what the brick and mortar school is like, the parent will always be the most important teacher.
Moms of yesterday would send notes to the teacher saying things like, “I’ve arranged to borrow the neighbor’s stuffed bobcat next week, so Leland Ray can bring it for show and tell when you discuss natural predators of Alabama.” But today, the notes say, “Harold didn’t finish his book report this weekend. It was just too hard for him to read all those pages. He was stressed out.”
The point is to be active. Don’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to nurture the brain of your little darling. If you think they aren’t learning proper handwriting (they aren’t), have them hand copy your grocery list or a few poems from a book (because they don’t study enough poetry either). My son shockingly loved to do this and said he felt like he was actually accomplishing something when he hand-wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, famous quotes or even Bible verses. We saved cursive for crazy days when we felt wild, but bless his heart, he attempted it, with great flair.
“Always be teaching” should be our theme as parents. The teachers work hard, but with classes overflowing with distractions and an over-kill of paperwork, it never hurts to give your child the advantage by double-enrolling them in your own private home school.
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[…] of young children, I say give them all the advantages you can. (Here’s my story about “Always Be Teaching“). Take them to museums, concerts, puppet shows and parades. Have them enter contests, do […]
I remember the stuffed bobcat days! I’m not sure whether the teacher was always appreciative of those offerings but the kids sure did like them. Through blogging I’ve met families who do homeschool and admire them so much. I’m thinking especially of the Parisienne Farmgirl–do you know her fascinating blog?–who homeschools their 6 children, well one is still too young but he’ll get there too. I love the way they combine their actual life as part of the learning process. And then there’s my youngest son and his wife who don’t homeschool but do exactly what you wrote about here. It’s all about being involved, isn’t it?
Yes! Be involved! They grow up so quickly – I’m dropping my baby off at college next week and I’d love to spend another year with him and his brother (especially if I could make them 9 years old again!). I’ll check out the Parisienne Farmgirl blog. I used to follow one like that called . . . Schoolhouse . .. what was it? I can’t remember now, but I should try to find it. They were so interesting! Thanks Dewena.
What a fantastic post! As a student (taking some coursework this year), parent, and teacher, I applaud your insights. The home-school connection is essential to student success. It is unfortunate when through no fault of their own a student has no parental figure, I do my best to fill the void and often pray for them when they are not with me.
Prayer works wonders and it truly is sad when there is no one standing behind a talented, gifted child who can give them that extra push. Thanks Beemie!
Yes, absolutely! Parents should be homeschooling after kiddos come home with their homework. Making sure they understand what was taught in the classroom and preparing for the next day. Parents have to counter what some teachers (personal beliefs should be off limits!!!) are saying in the classroom and what is taught parents don’t agree with. That is why parents have to be involved and know what’s happening in the class room. I think you know how I feel about this subject. It’s just a no brainer!
It’s not just countering what the teachers may say, but countering what the other kids say. Geez! You wouldn’t believe! Great points, Emily. Thanks for adding!
This is exactly why, in places such as California, the ‘educators’ are getting away with so many things detrimental to a proper world view, and shutting the parents out of knowing just what they are doing during school hours.
I’m shocked, yet not totally surprised that some schools discourage parent participation. You are correct that some schools are faltering and without parents to monitor the situation it will only get worse. Thanks Kenneth!
When I first saw the title of this article, I braced myself. I have homeschooled mine for two years, and I am now sending her back.
I love what you are saying in this article. Most learning occurs through modeling, and parents, especially the mother, I have read is typically the most influential in a young person’s life.
I think that one issue that stands in our way today is the idea that appearing busy and being on a tight schedule means a bright future and that we are doing our best.
I find from personal experience that, with schedules, less is more. Every day as a parent does not need to feel like a race.
When we slow down, we can notice if our child is struggling with an assignment, and we may even be calm enough to help them without taking over. Parenting is the hardest job around, but done at neckbreaking speed, we have much to talk about and say we are doing on paper, but we do not have that time with the book at bedtime discussing a subject, or listening to them practice piano as our parents did each night.
I think it’s fascinating how much young people love to discuss subjects when they are in a more casual environment than school. But, I also think school can be a very positive place, making their world wider and bigger when they need it to be.
When we as parents stop sharing with them and talking with them, we send the message that learning is not that important. If we want them to think for themselves, then we need to encourage discussion, sharing of thoughts and ideas. Learning takes place everywhere. I so agree. So, here is hoping for a good school year for all of us homeschoolers.
Shelley, so many great points in your comment, I could talk to you all day! The overall feeling of “slowing down” is essential and you are absolutely right about needing that calmer time during the day. I worked with some children this summer who were embarrassed to color in a coloring book because they thought they were too old, yet once they began, they loved it because they could slow down and talk to us. When we left public school and homeschooled, our home life became much calmer and more controlled. You’ve made big decisions and it sounds like you have found a great balance for your family. Cheers to a happy new school year!
Amen! Another word for it is “parenting.” And don’t leave it up to the offspring to tell you when your parenting services are no longer required. Love them, but certainly don’t leave them on their own to figure out the world. Great article!
Thank you, dear! Great point about not listening to the timing of the offspring. My son would have sent me on my way when he was about 12 if he was the boss. Did you know he knew everything then? Little does he know how he still needs me so much! But working with him through high school was a great experience for us both.
I have always said my grandchildren are both public and home schooled. Literally everything they do at home is a learning experience and they don’t even realize it. My daughter has not worked (she’s a teacher) since having children until she began subbing this past year when they were 4th and 7th graders. She waited a long time for those babies and puts everything into parenting along with her supportive husband, and believe me it is time well-spent.
I would tell you all their honors and achievements but Mother always told me not to brag even about the truth. ? All this to validate what you are saying here. It takes hands-on parenting to produce productive adults who will contribute to society and emulate the parenting skills they experienced.
Thanks for validating my philosophy of education, and hopefully more young parents will do the same.
Hi Sue. Thanks so much for chiming in on this topic. I’m glad you see the benefits of both public and “home” education. Your daughter is ahead of the game by taking time to devote to her kids, but really, even parents who have to work full time can fit in activities on the weekends. It’s putting the children first – 18 years goes by quickly and they’ll be gone before you know it. Spend time investing in their education. You won’t be sorry! Thanks so much!