Homeschooling – Unschooling, Freedom or Anarchy?

While some parents may still balk at the thought of homeschooling their children, it is more widely accepted than the relatively new educational approach: unschooling. Unschooling is a rather unstructured approach to education. As the name would suggest, it means approaching learning, sans a curriculum, but instead allowing the child to explore whatever interests them. The child proceeds at his or her own pace and can choose to learn any topic in any order that they choose.

The basic concept that underlies this movement comes from two views regarding child development. One is that children are naturally curious. They begin exploring their environment almost from birth. They want to touch, taste, smell, hear and see everything around them. They want to discover for themselves what they can do. As they become verbal they ask question after question.

The second concept is that a child will naturally take an interest in certain things in the world around them but may be less interested in other things. They make these value choices early in life.

By using these two fundamental concepts as a jumping off point, those who advocate unschooling assert that the best approach to learning is to allow the child to lead. The child chooses what to study, when and how. These children have no pre set curriculum, but simply explore the things that interest them.

Unschoolers differ in their approach to parental involvement and guidance. Some believe that the child should take the helm and the parent should adopt a hands off approach entirely while others are more involved, sharing topics that excited them, answer questions and even assist in finding solutions to problems. This experiential approach is controversial and the results are mixed.

This approach is very successful with children who are very independent and highly motivated. These children will actively seek out areas that are interesting to them and useful, making use of the knowledge later. Many unschooled children have gone on to pursue Ivy League academic careers and excelled. These children have a lifelong love of learning.

Other children take a more scattershot approach, gaining in depth knowledge in just one or two areas and getting very little or no knowledge is other areas. Many homeschoolers disagree on just what subjects are important and should be learned and which are not as important. It is a common area of contention among homeschooling families.

For instance, many people do not learning science and mathematics. Either they have a difficult time learning it or they are not interested. For a small population, this is not a problem, but for the majority of people, they need an understanding of math and science that extends beyond the rudimentary, particularly with our society experiencing such rapid technological advances.

On the other hand, some people may focus heavily on subjects such as science and mathematics but have no exposure to art, literature, fine music, history and other areas of the humanities. For some people that is perfectly fine, but for many homeschoolers it indicates a deprivation in an area where the child could be enriched and enlightened.

There is no doubt that there must be a balance between these two camps. Many argue that it is essential. However unschooling does not work to achieve that when it relies solely on the child to discover and choose the route he or she wants to take.

Unschooling has been advocated as far back as the mid 1960s by John Holt, one of the foremost writers on homeschooling. However, as of this date, studies that have followed unschoolers and have analyzed the long term effects of this approach are still inconclusive and on going. At this time only personal views and experience are the only guide to determine the worth of this educational method.

Homeschool Teaching – Four Rules to Success

You have decided to homeschool your children. Now, you need to learn and to follow the five rules of homeschool teaching success.

The first rule is select a homeschooling school to provide your educational materials. Homeschooling schools are institutions which provide a full range of services to parents who homeschool their children. Particularly, such schools provide a core set of courses to meet state requirements, as well a selection of electives. In addition, most homeschooling schools issue student identification cards and diplomas.

Secondly, join a homeschooling association. A homeschooling association will keep you up to date on legal requirements for your state and help guide you in complying those requirements. The association will also act as your advocate before state education officials and policymakers, much like a parents/teachers association does for public schools. Further, associations can help you with the administrative end of homeschooling.

Thirdly, you should subscribe to a homeschooling magazine. A good home schooling magazine is critical to the success of parents who are thinking about, or have already made the decision to home school their children. This is because homeschooling can be complicated and downright scary to those who may not know where to start. And as a busy parent, why reinvent the wheel?

I checked out a few of these and was impressed with the link for “Homeschooling Today: A Journal for Home Discipleship which those interested in a Christian education experience would be interested in. Another site, :The Teaching Home,” has been around for over 27 years and presently offers only an online version of its magazine. Like Home Discipleship, The Teaching Home is written within a Christian context.

Fourthly, join a homeschooling parents online forum. Such forums provide a unique opportunity for you to interact with other parents and share your wisdom with them as well as seek their advice. Sometimes, you might feel alone during your homeschooling experience. Other parents are there to assure you that you are not alone and that you are a vital member of a large and informed community.

You decided to homeschool your children because you want the best for them. Now, insure that success by following the above four rules. Happy homeschool teaching!

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

In order to get an unbiased assessment about homeschooling, it is best to fairly weigh the benefits and advantages of homeschooling, as well the disadvantages and limitations of the said educational program.

Homeschool happens when the parent/s or guardian/s decided to pull the children out of their regular school environment and decided to become the children’s educator. The motivations of each parent or guardian may or may not be different from one another but all are aiming to give a more quality education to their children as they see fit.

Not different from any other issues, homeschool have its gains and losses. Below are the advantages of homeschooling:

a. It reestablishes the role of the family as the core of educational basis of each child;
b. The family becomes the central figure in the child’s life as the parents mold their children influencing them with their social, moral and educational growth.
c. Homeschool has community-based socialization as opposed to the school’s classroom-based one. This will help the children to interact with people of different ages and stature; not limiting their exposure to the issues and life of their same-aged classmates

It is also said that home school provide a more realistic view of what the world really is unlike being confined to a room with kids of the same age and behavior. It has been argued that the best way to mold a child is by the beauty of example.

d. Homeschool advocates are insistent that academic excellence is more achievable with homeschool than with the unfocused learning done in regular / public schools.
e. The parents also understand that each child has a pace, making the lessons learned appropriately without the need to hurry or delay the schedule because of the student’s different levels of comprehension
f. The curriculum is also designed to work with the child’s pace and learning style.
g. Homeschool also gives a chance for the family to bond together longer. It is a common sentiment that American families nowadays are drifting apart because of unshared interests and beliefs.

Now, the ones given are only a part of the many advantages of homeschooling. These are the ones that fulfill the four different aspects of parent’s motivation: religion, academics, socialization, and family.

On the other hand, with every advantage comes a disadvantage. No educational program is perfect, and imperfection means disadvantages. Below are some of the most commonly raised ones about homeschool:

a. One disadvantage is the lack or insufficient interaction of homeschoolers with the kids of their own age. It should be accepted that the kids need to know how a normal kid of his age react as to know how the social norms will assess him.
b. Another is the limited resources of homeschooling as compared to the state budgeted schools. Limited resources means limited educational materials that will greatly help the children achieve academic excellence.
c. And the third one is the parental limitations that in turn also limit the child’s learning potential.

All in all, a parent must properly weigh all the considerations before deciding for the next phase. Always keep in mind that in your hands is the future of your child.