I recently read a mom’s post in a Facebook group, asking how homeschooling parents respond when they are asked what qualifications they have to teach their children. Fortunately, I’ve never been asked. I find this question as ridiculous as the more common “How do your kids socialize if they’re not in school?” As if there is some social benefit to large groups of children of similar age being together for several hours with one or two adults to guide them?!
The qualifications question really stuck with me, but not because I’m concerned whether or not I have the qualifications. To teach our children, and eventually train them to be self-directed learners, we need to use our love for them to develop a deep desire for guiding them to reach their potential. There is no doubt in my mind that I am able to provide my children with an education that is inline with their learning style and God’s vision for their lives. An institutional education system just can’t provide a personalized education for each child.
The system is into group teaching. Homeschoolers are into individual teaching.
The summer 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine has an article that really got me on this train of thought. It’s about the personalized education that we can provide as homeschoolers. In closing the article, Dr. Brian Ray says,
“To answer the question at hand, research and experience show that homeschool parents not only can provide a customized and individualized education program for their children, but also that the very nature of parent-led home-based education is personalized and adjusted to each child’s distinctive character and developmental pace.”
Read the full article online: Is Homeschooling an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Yes, a parent-led, home-based education is the ideal way to meet a child’s special needs. I’m not referring to special needs as a disability or disorder. Each of our children has special needs. Although I’m only homeschooling two boys, I’ve got confirmation from other moms who homeschool many more children that each one needs a little—or a lot—of a different learning experience. Rarely have I heard of all the children in a family following the exact same curriculum or using the same learning resources for specific levels.
My 8-year-old is an exceptionally fluent reader and likely spells better than both of my older boys (one whom is 25 years old and did not have his reading needs met in his primarily public school education). My 11-year-old struggles somewhat with reading, and I’m currently looking into a different reading program that may cater to the way his brain works a bit better.
(If you too have a struggling reader, you may want to check this out: https://onlinereadingtutor.com/ and take advantage of their free Dyslexia screener)
However, my struggling reader happens to pick up new math concepts fairly quickly (especially when he keeps focused) and is especially keen on learning programming and video editing. If he were in school, his reading ability would be seen as a disability that he would get extra help for—and I’m not sure that his interest in programming and video editing (which is directly improving his willingness to read) would even be supported in a classroom at this age.
I could share many more situations where the parent-led, home-based education is far superior to the experience in an institution-based system. You only need to scroll through a few posts in a Facebook homeschooling group to learn of the frustrations that parents are having in public school to learn that homeschooling is so much more than doing school at home.
I’ll end with a quote from Steve and Jane Lambert (from the website Five in a Row) that I read on The Canadian Schoolhouse Facebook page:
“We’re not trying to do school at home. We’re trying to homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions.
We’re not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we’re trying to cultivate a style of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7-days a week.”
This voices exactly what I’m trying to nurture in my home . . . to always be learning.