In February of this year, I decided to teach my son full time instead of sending him to have a “public education”. For a brief introduction of why I decided to do this, click here.
Options Other Than Home Education
I understand that not many people have the opportunity to be able to educate their children themselves because most parents have to go to a job everyday. There are ways around this. It depends on where you are living and what’s available in your community but there are independent or alternative schools that have a completely different style of teaching. The principal of your child’s school should have more information on this and don’t be afraid to ask what your other options are. If the principal isn’t much help, use Google and type in Alternative or Independent schools (then the area you live in). In my area, there is an independent school that cost $430 a year and financial aid was available. I wanted to put my son in that school because instead of the children sitting in desks, there are work stations that they go to and the learning is more “hands on” and interactive compared to sitting in a desk all day and staring at a black board. Another key factor was that they teach the children about who they are as a person and their place in this world, which is an important thing. Unfortunately this school has a huge waiting list and I wasn’t able to get my son in it. There were other schools available like this but cost way more money. One school is $10,000 a year and like most parents, I laughed at that prospect. So home education seemed like the only option for us.
If you can’t put them in an alternative school then another option is to band together with other parents and have a parent or two that are stay-at-home parents to teach a small group of children during the day. That of course would take some work to organize but it can be done. You could also ask a grand-parent or another family member that isn’t working and one that you trust to do it. If none of these suit your schedule or family needs than your last option would be to do expansion classes when you get home from work. I was doing this for years before I had the opportunity to do it full time. Also, make sure you talk with your children about what they are learning at school and even ask their teacher what the curriculum is like this year. If homeschooling isn’t an option for you please don’t get discouraged. I couldn’t do it for years. Not just because I was working a lot but also because I didn’t think I was capable of doing so. Anyone can teach their children. After all we were their first teachers and will always be their most important ones.
Trusting Your Child
It really depends on your child’s age what your options would be. If your child is at an age where they can be left home alone while you are at work then you can still do home education but of course it’s going to take a level of trust. One thing that would help with that trust is getting them to take a “home alone safety and first aid course”. This well help take a bit of the worry away cause if you’re anything like most parents, the worry will be there. After awhile though, you’ll begin to trust their ability to care for themselves and you’ll be more at ease with doing this. You’d get them set up with the work they need to do for the day before heading off to work yourself. Again, the trust thing will come into play and your courage to believe that they are doing the work while you’re gone. From what I’ve seen, most kids will be happy not having to go to school and will do the work instead of risk being sent back to school. When you get home from work, you’d review the days work and discuss with them what they learned or what they didn’t understand and need help with. The discussions are very important with expansion classes.
Myths Regarding Home Education
When I first decided to do this, there were many people who questioned what I was doing based on the myths that have been spread around regarding home education. One myth was that my son would lose out on “social interaction” with kids his age. First off, the idea of grouping kids together simply by age is an uneducated decision all in its own for many reasons. My son still has social interaction with people (not just kids). It’s important for our children to spend time with people from all age groups. Each individual can teach us something regardless of their age. My son teaches me stuff all the time and our social time together is a huge part of it. His social interactions include hanging with friends when they get off school or on the weekends, doing outdoor activities like being at the lake, classes he takes outside of home (which can be music classes, karate, art and even being on sports teams. All community centers offer courses for kids where they can have social interaction in the unlikely event they aren’t getting enough).
Another myth that has come up is will a home educated child have enough education to get into college? I attended college and know a lot about that system as well. Yes it is another broken system. For many, college is a debt sentence and a diploma or certification is not a guarantee for a secure job or to have a meaningful life. Most people go to college so that they can earn a substantial amount of money or more or less they feel it will help them to do so. After high school, when most are preparing to go to college, many still don’t know what they want to do with their lives. Some are even told what they should do by others but not really wanting to do what they were told they should do. This leads them to take a course that will yield high dividends in the money department. When I went to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I took a certification course that I thought would pay good as well as be suitable for a single mother. In the end, I despised the work, the pay wasn’t as great as I was told it would be and the hours did not match daycare hours. That whole experience was the basis for self-education and I learned far more about myself which helped me to establish what I wanted to do with my life. So when it comes to whether or not my son can enter college, I believe that he won’t need to go because he will able to know how to find the education he needs to do the kind of work in life that really makes his soul come alive and that will help him to have the most fulfilling life. On top of that, he will be highly educated in things that truly interest him, and in time he’ll become a master and mastery is a path of earning income because many will pay to either be taught by the master or pay the master for their skill.
Those are just a couple myths; to view an article about more myths click here.
For Those Who Can And Are Interested In Self-Education
After looking into the alternative options for education, I found that there were many resources and supports available to parents who wish to do this. One resource that I’ve taken advantage of is distributed learning which includes two programs in different buildings where my son can go to interact with other children, participate in learning based field trips, participate in hands on interactive learning and where I could get resources such as learning materials (worksheets, ideas, books, and lots more). They also offered support in the form of marking stuff for me, assistance with building a curriculum, encouragement and so much more. I can also receive all the support I need through email as well as over the phone. It’s pretty convenient. After learning a lot about this, I decided I wanted to share this knowledge with parents who wish to teach their children themselves or people who were interested in self-education. The next series of posts after this will detail how I teach my son, what our day to day expansion classes are like, where you can find resources and information about anything you can think of and the most important lesson in all of this; how to discover and teach who you are, your place in the world and how you can contribute to the world through your own unique talents and abilities which will bring you fulfillment. As someone who talks to people from all around the world and from all walks of life, fulfillment is the number one thing people are always striving to achieve.