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Homeschooling Programs; Homeschooling Pros and Cons
Why Choose Homeschooling
The decision to home-school your kids is the toughest of all. Every parent wants the best for their kids - we all know this. This would be the primary reason why you either go for homeschooling or to opt for the traditional school or mainstream. Before going further, let me confess - once you are into homeschooling, you will surely have tons of moments when you feel guilty and you will be asking the question: "Am I doing the right thing?" "Am I depriving my kids of what they deserve?" This is our fifth year homeschooling our kids and these questions still pop up every now and then. So far, the end of the line is the same: my husband and I will stick to homeschooling. I'm not sure if this will hold true for the next year or two. Basically, you will be saying yes to homeschooling if it fits your children's learning style and the learning environment that you will be creating at home. Let me share with you our journey in our homeschooling with the hope that it will guide you through the most critical stage: the decision whether or not to home-school your child/children.
Photo Credit: All Photos in this article are mine
Video Credit: Video links to my videos.
Homeschooling Trip in Lost Island
Fun Time; Learning Time
The Pros of Homeschooling
There lots of advantages but let me highlight only three, based on our first-hand experience.
Is it not great if you can travel with your kids anytime of the year when opportunity presents itself? The picture in the left was taken in China when we have to stay there for few months and explore this very interesting country.
There is no other person in this whole wide world who knew a child other than his/her mom. Well, this could be a debatable presumption with the fact that some children grew up in the arms of other people than their moms but this statement is still the general rule rather than the exception. With this premise, there is truth in the statement that moms can serve as the best teacher to their child; knowing the child's preferences, learning style, tendencies and other facets of his/her psychological make-up comprises the bulk of optimizing learning thru customizing the learning environment.
When I talk about flexibility, I mean flexibility in: time management; topics/lessons; presentation and materials; projects and outputs - generally, all aspects of the learning environment can be customized.
Having completed four years in homeschooling, I personally know that we can work out on the practical application of the theoretical concepts that are traditionally taught in the four corners of a classroom with ease because of the high level of flexibility. Let us put these words in concrete examples:
a. We teach applied Math while in a grocery and while working in the kitchen. You will find many moms elaborating on this.
b. Home Economics and Livelihood Education, otherwise known as HELE (in our curriculum), can be given life by teaching homeschoolers skills in producing, marketing, selling products. They will be learning several life skills here which undoubtedly will be handy when they will start living their own lives independently.
I will share two videos below showing the projects of my children in this subject.
Homeschooling, inevitably, presents more quality time. Parents struggle to find time for their kids with our fast-paced lifestyle. Too many things to do; goals to reach; deadlines to beat; standards to meet - where do we insert three hours or so daily for our children? Wrong question, I would say. Perhaps, if we could edit that question in this way: "Where do I insert the other tasks?" When we put the question in this way, we will get a clearer picture on where we put things in perspective.
One striking statement that convinced me to ask the second question instead of the first is: "Minsan lang sila maging bata" in our language which literally translates: "They are kids only once." Indeed, we can have all our time to accomplish our personal goals in life after they pass this stage. One of my online students once told me: "I think that I had achieved my personal goals but whenever I see my son who is now an adult, I would want to turn back the hands of time. I would choose to give him time instead of treasure."
Inculcating Concepts in the Learner's Long Term Memory
When you start learning more about theories of learning and long term memory, you will surely come up with the reasons why homeschooling will provide a learning environment that will allow saving what the learner learned in his/her long term memory.
Her HELE Project
His HELE Project
Homeschooling is Learning and Acquiring Skills
Cons of Homeschooling
Undoubtedly, there are also disadvantages of homeschooling. Depending on your family's circumstances, certain disadvantages may outweigh the advantages. For instance, if there is no way for one parent (either the husband or the wife) to give up his/her regular day job, then homeschooling may not be an option. Nonetheless, there are families who still managed their way in homeschooling even if both parents maintained their respective regular job. It must be much tougher though.
Personally, I will highlight three disadvantages:
My son started climbing the educational ladder in the traditional way. It was in his second grade that we shifted from traditional school to homeschooling. I noticed that during the first year, his will to compete with others was transformed into him trying his best because he tries to compete with himself. During the succeeding years though, I noticed a decline in his perseverance to do his best. He simply shrugs his shoulders when his output is mediocre and I point it out to him. As compared to his younger years, he would feel very disappointed if he does not meet expectations. I blame this to the fact that there is no one for him to mirror on - other kids in his level who are performing and challenging themselves to do their best. Of course, he has his younger sister at home but her grade level is lower which necessarily means that what is expected of her is not the same as him.
Falling into the Pit of Leniency
This is attributable to the parent-teacher - sometimes, it is very easy to fall into this. Kids are keen at observing and taking advantage of this too. Perhaps, this could be the reason for the first-mentioned disadvantage.
Time, Resources and Materials
"Am I using the right material?" This is usually where the commercially-minded people comes in. Thus, you will be seeing lots of materials online, for sale, that is intended for homeschooling. The thing is, with the breakthrough in technology these days, you really need not worry about materials as long as you have time to look, screen, and choose what best fits your child. There is certainly no need to purchase expensive materials and programs too.
Cooking without Commercial Utencils
Overcoming the Cons
The Desire to Compete and Socialize
It is easier said than done-overcome this by engaging your child with other skill-training and sports activities, specially those that you cannot teach at home. Errol them in piano lessons, ballet, basketball, swimming and other options where they can build and develop their leadership, teamwork and other group/team-related character.
Setting and keeping standards is the key. I, usually, feel guilty breaking this. Kids will surely stretch the limit of the bending of rules once they feel that their parent-teacher allows deviating from set standards and goals.
As parent-teacher, there are millions of excuses that we can think of to justify our leniency but in the end - we know where this leads.
This is not to be messed up with flexibility. Flexibility helps you in achieving your primary goals in homeschooling; leniency pulls you down.
Time, Materials and Resources
As already mentioned in my discussion above, this would not be a concern if you have time plus a reliable internet connection.
Leaning on other homeschooling families for reference and feedback will save you from going through millions of options available in a physical bookstore and online.
In this regard, let me mention what we are using in World History.
Mystery of History
We use this book in World History.
We started from Volume 1. Kids enjoy it and their creativity is tickled with this book. The stereotype notion that history is boring is overcome and your child will surely enjoy it like we do.
The Biggest Question
To quit traditional school or not.
I Admit that it is Likened to a Paradox
The big decision is not a joke. It entails a big impact on the future of your child. Thus, it requires intensive deliberation and weighing of the possible cons and projected pros. Whether homeschooling fits your family or not depends on a number of attendant circumstances. There is no clear cut formula, I know that you hope there is. If you ask me if I recommend homeschooling, my answer would be - it really depends on several factors. We hear of several people who are really successful and their success is mainly attributable to the fact that they were raised homeschooling. But, before we jump into the pool, let us not forget that we haven't seen the ratio yet and a competent study comparing the success rates of the product of homeschooling versus those from the traditional school.
Simple put - it is a personal thing. Just like a shirt - it fits one but not all.