Homeschooling is often seen as a new trend. However, this is not strictly true. People of wealth of long ago, often hired a live-in governess, whose sole responsibility was to educate the children of the household—to homeschool the children. There are books and movies, fictional and historical, that have allowed glimpses of this model. Some examples are the fictional book, 'Jane Eyre', the historical movies, 'The King and I', and the ever popular, 'The Sound of Music', readily come to mind.What is new, is the homeschooling paradigm shift from a governess to a parent, in most cases, who home educates their children. It's no longer an exercise for the wealthy, but also for everyday people like you and me. This kind of homeschooling, however, is a lifestyle. It is a family learning and working together, solidifying the connectedness of family ties, and creating a bond that transcends any age gap.
As a mother who homeschooled my daughter and son, I highly recommend homeschooling to parents. Here are five reasons that I identify as being the best benefits of homeschooling, and some easy ways around the barriers to homeschooling.
Core values can be intentionally passed on to your homeschooled children, a sort of rite of passage, as you interact during each day. Household chores that can be a source of drudgery may become part of the daily routine, everyone together doing their part, making this aspect of home life, a non-issue. The benefits of getting to know siblings and parents on a deeper level teaches patience, understanding and confidence that usually spills out into a healthy interaction with the surrounding community. Developing, or joining an altruistic community project also gives children a sense of family involvement in the community, for the benefit of their fellowman.
- Educational Excellence:
As a parent, you have a vested interest in your child doing well educationally. Parents often instinctively know that they have to explain a concept in different ways for different children, and they can take the time to do just that. Many parents may not realize that they do this. They may for example, have their daughter handle objects to get a clearer understanding, or read to their son for him to fully appreciate a tricky concept for him. Parents can instinctively cater to the best method to reach the individual child for the subject at hand. Unfortunately, a teacher in a traditional school setting, usually does not have the time to figure out and to tailor the lesson to suit each student. Not many children are well served by this model.
3. Creative Innovation:
Many parents believe that they need to have a sizeable cash flow to homeschool because they want to buy many books and expensive educational tools. This could not be further from the truth. The local library is a great resource for books. It counts as a field trip, as well as honing the skill of sourcing information. In addition, parents, with or without their children, can create their own charts and hands on equipment. Having a homeschool co-op, of other homeschool parents and children, to tap into, provides the opportunity for books to be purchased cheaply second hand, or swapped, or bartered for, as great options. In addition the internet has great lesson plans you can print off, and hands-on websites for learning.
4. Independent and Self Directed Learning:
First time homeschooling parents, and those who want to homeschool, often feel educationally inadequate for the job. On the contrary, a parent does not need to have a College or University degree to educate their children at home. I am sure that most people can relate to the scenario of a College grad teacher who is unable to explain the concepts in a manner whereby his students can learn. The skills that a home school parent needs, is to have a love of learning themselves, and the ability to pass that love of learning, on to their children. Learn along with your children, if need be. Encourage your children to explore aspects of a subject that they are interested in, and have them tell you all about it. Have them make visual or audio aids to show what they have learned to their siblings, the non teaching parent, and family and friends as well. This kind of self directed, independent learning is exactly the skill sets that make a homeschool student so attractive to universities; not to mention that it's the same drive that makes them stand out in their community and in their jobs and professional life, later on.
So let's be real. Having one parent out of the workforce to homeschool their children, does usually mean that the family is going to be living on only one income. A daunting task in this very expensive and materialistic world in which we live. By necessity, a homeschool family usually has to embrace a minimalist mind set and way of life. Actually this mindset has a very immediate benefit: less clutter and less stuff to clean up!
Financially though, there are two ways to somewhat alleviate the one income problem. Firstly, the teaching parent may have the ability to work from home, determining their own hours. This is great, if the children are of an age or stage when they can look after themselves and younger siblings if there are any.
By far the best method is quite similar, yet fundamentally different. Having a cottage industry, as advocated by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, styled the 'grandparents of homeschooling', is a good way to have some financial solvency. In this model, the family as a whole can do an industry, what we now call a home-based business. One example, is bread making, to sell to neighbours, friends and the community at large, or the cultivation and selling of fruits and/ or vegetables. There are many home based business possibilities, only limited by the family's interests and skills.
Money from a home-based business, can go towards whatever the family decides on, together, from groceries, to clothes to school supplies. This is a business and should be run as such. There are many skills to be garnered from this venture; skills that include, hard work, team work, best advertising practices, customer service, math, book keeping and banking skills, and more.
Homeschooling your child is enjoyable and can be a largely stress-free commitment. However, in a two family home, both parents must agree to this lifestyle. As in every venture, there will be easy days and difficult ones, but keep pressing on. Before you make the decision to homeschool ask yourself why you want to homeschool. Once you have the why, create a mission statement for your school. Following that, name your homeschool.
Having a mission statement and naming your school, gives credence to your endeavour. Happy homeschooling!