Homeschooling: what to teach
In California, there are county offices of education with at least one staff member who is a credentialed teacher to act as an adviser to and monitor of parents involved in homeschooling. California, also, has a prescribed curriculum and testing for K-12. Parents must cover this curriculum and follow a testing schedule. The offices of education have materials and training to help parents. It is, none-the-less, not easy to homeschool so that children will acquire the skills they will need to continue learning. An educated, creative parent who can recognize "teachable moments" and opportunities can make a math (weight and measurement) lesson, for example, during a trip to the supermarket showing, discussing and comparing cereal boxes and contents. Children will, however, still need to spend time practicing new material and constantly reviewing. Often this requires doing pages of math problems and studying spelling lists, just like kids in the classroom. A home computer can relieve parents of the tedium of correcting all this practice. Often lessons offered on free and for cost web sites are in game formats. These can be more fun than a page of exercises. Because home circumstances may change requiring a child to return to the regular classroom, the homeschooling curriculum should follow the regular state and local requirements. Parents will need to find creative ways to teach facts and concepts, engaging the child in active participation. Teaching how to learn and think are of primary importance.
As an aside, here in California, we are still suffering under "Prop 13", which limited the ability of cities and counties to raise property taxes. The right wing push to law of "Prop 13" caused a shift of funding and power to the state, taking much control of how to educate away from local communities. Ironic. I don't know if "Prop 13" is responsible for the low rank of California, 40th (or worse, I'm not sure) in per-puple spending, but general lack of allocation of funds for education certainly is. I'd be willing to pay another $100 in taxes to improve California schools. California is the 6th largest economy in the world, but spends like one of the poorest U.S. state. I've been a teacher for 30 years. I'll get off the soap box now.
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