Homeschooling Education is Like a Box of Chocolates
This post is intended to help all families not just homeschooling families to develop a plan for their families’ education. Planning each year and asking God to direct you to the best approach for each year for each child is part of learning to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. If you have decided to consider homeschooling than you are likely overwhelmed by the amount of choices and philosophies. Let me help to introduce you to the nomenclature (terms) of home education and homeschooling.
Notice here there is a space between home and school/education. Most civilizations begin with education starting in the home and then as the civilization develops the responsibility of educating the children moves to the community as a result of demands from agriculture, industry and religion/culture. When we moved away from a hunter-gather and self-sustained way of life, as a society the demands for community/state led education rose. Also when Martin Luther asserted that everyone should be able to read the Bible in their own language, the demand rose again.
Unfortunately, the state often determines that the goal of education is to make great workers.
Therefore, education is a child’s work. Hence play and work are opposing forces. So, at some point education in all developed civilizations education is widely seen as the business of the State, the work of the child and parents may or may not be included. In top performing public, private and charter schools they know parent involvement is predictive of success and educators seek to provide opportunities for parents to engage.
The truth is we are all still responsible for our children’s education; so, home education is still something that is and should continue even if we outsource some of our children’s education to a school system, private teacher/tutor, or co-op.
Intentional parents are considering regularly if their children’s spiritual, emotional, physical, relational and intellectual needs are being met to promote healthy growth and they have been since the beginning of time.
The modern movement of homeschooling (notice there is no space between home and schooling) was developed by John Holt in the 1970’s. He decided the method of teaching children was faulty. He was followed by a man named Raymond Moore who felt children should be schooled at home till the age of nine for developing a social, emotional and moral foundation. During the 1980’s and 90’s, Christian homeschooling rose quickly. In the 80’s the states began to regulate homeschooling. Currently it is legal to homeschool in all fifty states.
Choosing to homeschool may be influenced by a variety of factors including: the safety of your area and the schools; convictions about why, how and what should be taught; and, your children’s specific needs.
When we decided to homeschool, I picked up a few (10-15) books to educate myself. I am guessing you will jump on a few websites, subscribe to the best blogs and watch a bunch of YouTube videos. I’m kinda jealous. There were approximately seven main philosophies when I started in 1998. There are significantly more voices, choices and resources now; however, they have all developed from these main philosophies.
Whatever you choose to do it will benefit you to conduct a bit of research into how your family works best, your individual strengths, personality styles and the different approaches to home education.
There is not a best way to educate. That would be like saying there is a best shoe size or shirt size and that everyone should buy the same size and style. Clearly, you need the right fit for shoes, shirts and homeschooling. Get to know your unique family.
Eventually you will create a plan, rhythm and style all your own. As your needs change and your children grow up you will need to be flexible to adapt. You will be an expert at flexing by then!
Here are some terms that also apply to Home Education:
Phi·los·o·phy: The why and what of a particular approach.
Philosophy is a particular system of philosophical thought and the theoretical basis behind that thought. In home education you will develop a philosophy either intentionally or unintentionally. Either you will be surrounded by a group of people home schooling in a certain way and simply follow by example or you will consider the approaches and choose one or a few for your family.
Truly either path you take to finding an approach is fine, but you might feel more confident knowing the what, why, how and who behind the approach you are taking. Philosophy in home education is all about your beliefs about why children should be educated and what they should be taught.
Ped·a·go·gy : The how of a particular approach.
Pedagogy is the science of teaching and learning. Socrates is considered the father of education (5th century BC). At the end of the 19th century the science of learning was developed. Pedagogy is an applied science meaning there is a significant amount of research supporting the discipline geared towards the practical application of acquiring knowledge. Pedagogy is all about learning strategies and application. In regards to home education it is all about your beliefs about how children learn best.
Psy·chol·o·gy: The who that directs you to a particular approach.
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behavior. The sub-fields of developmental, learning, social, and behavioral psychology apply widely to home education.
Is it necessary to know all of this information prior to home educating – no! However, having some knowledge will help in tailoring your approach to your child’s developmental stage and their personality. One of the greatest benefits to home education is that it can be tailored to your individual children’s needs; who you are educating can influence the how, why and what.
- Why are you considering homeschooling/ private school/ hybrid/ charter or public school?
- What did you, your spouse, and children like about the way you were each educated?
- What did you, your spouse and children not like about the way you were each educated?
- What is the goal of education?
- How do you feel children learn best? How do you feel your children learn best?
- Describe each of your children’s needs, strengths, personalities and learning styles. Create a notebook for each child you can add to each year. Journal your prayers and dreams! This makes a great gift when they graduate.