By Joyce Burges
Texas Home School Coalition© May 7, 2002
Definition of Home Education – education in the home; a one-on-one tutorial method of training/teaching; an atmosphere of learning; a home based education
Who Can Home Educate – parents who are committed to educating their children at home because of their personal choice that this is the best thing to do for their child/children.
The following are what I see as the Five Ps of Home Education.
Adults with children should not be afraid to parent. You have been given an opportunity to train, teach, and nurture young lives—to monitor the influences in your child’s life, to help your child explore new creative interests, and to help develop confidence. As parents, you are qualified to teach your children. Simply being their parent and wanting the very best for them qualifies you.
Giving time to a worthwhile endeavor always requires patience. Home schooling is no different. This effort entails commitment, dedication and sacrifice. However, the long-term seeds of influence that you are sowing into the mind of a child will prove a good investment. You are giving one-on-one attention. This requires eye contact—you have the chance to see to whom you are speaking and how you are making a difference. As your child sees your example, he/she will in turn give you a return on that in which you have invested your time.
When thinking about your teaching tools, consider: what you want to teach your child, why you want to teach your child, and when you want education to take place.
Choose a curriculum
When choosing a curriculum, consider the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher. A good teacher follows the guides exactly and checks the child’s lessons to be sure of accuracy according to the teacher keys. A great teacher is guided by her heart and the connection with the child. She develops a course of study suitable for that particular child, tailoring the education to the specific needs of that child. The following terms and partial explanations are based on information from the Christian Liberty Academy catalog.
Traditional textbooks approach employs textbooks and tests from publishers such as A BEKA, Bob Jones, and Saxon Math.
Work texts combine textbook information with exercises in consumable, write-in workbooks. Such curricula are provided by Alpha Omega, School of Tomorrow, and Rod & Staff, to name a few. (Rod and Staff supplies both consumable and non-consumable curriculum publications.)
Classical Approach emphasizes that children progress from memorization of facts and development of learning skills to advanced logical reasoning and expressive use of language. Critical thinking and analysis are involved in this process as well. A study of Shakespeare, classical books such as the Jane Austen series, the works of C.S. Lewis, and narrative studies of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth may be incorporated with this method.
Unit Studies use theme-centered modules that integrate information from several subjects, such as studying the Renaissance Period, the Solar System, birds, or classical music.
Books and Life Experiences can be rich sources of training materials. Other than the basic teaching, much learning comes through reading good literature and nonfiction books and normal, everyday activities with parental guidance supplement study and give it perspective. Some suggested books can be found in Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson and Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. These books will assist you with some excellent titles from which to choose.
Develop a Course of Study / Lesson Plans
In your planning, consider the following: the ages of your children, the subject matter being taught, the number of children that you are teaching, the learning styles your children find most effective, and the varying abilities or special needs of your children.
Hire Special Tutors
Tutors can be valuable resources. There may come a time when you have to engage a tutor for subjects such as math, music, sciences, foreign language, etc. This can be a good thing because you are still the primary educator. You will simply be overseeing/monitoring another person should this become an option for you.
Institute a Schedule
A schedule is determined based upon a consideration of the uniqueness of the teacher and the child(ren). I believe that regimented learning should take place during the morning hours so the afternoons are free to pursue creative interests.
I begin school quite early:
7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Learning
12:30-1 p.m. – Lunch
1-3 p.m. – Quiet Time (listening to music, reading a quiet story, sleeping, doing a quiet craft – alone)
3-5 p.m. – Dinner Preparation/Chore Time
5-6:30 p.m. – Dinner Time
Evening is Family Togetherness Time, with early bedtime hours following.
Participate in Limited Field Trips
We usually schedule these on a Friday. Monday-Thursday are designed for studying and home life time; field trips should supplement your course of study or relate to the interests of your child(ren). In addition to your regular places of socializing such as libraries, church, neighborhoods, recreational activities, and music/dance/sports classes, field trips should offer positive socialization.
Certainly you know if your child is doing well because you give him one-on-one attention each day. Checking the progress of your child and your course of study reassures that you are on target educationally. Remember that you are the best evaluator of what your child has learned. Any test will only confirm your findings. However, you may wish to perform some of the following:
Standardized Tests – There are many testing options and many considerations to make when choosing a test: should I choose someone else to administer my child’s test, should I give the test, which test, will it mirror my curriculum, etc.?
Weekly Spelling Test – The four keys to accurate spelling are: Look at the word, say the word, spell the word, and say the word.
Daily Timed Reading Test – Test for accuracy and comprehension.
Daily Writing Sheets – Model writing for your child by writing thank-you cards and letters. Have your child narrate to you what he/she reads, and write it in your child’s journal.
Displaying your child’s work
There are places in the community where you can display your students’ work. Examples are libraries, supermarkets, and support group award/moving up ceremonies.
Define your purpose by seeing the big picture. Strive to produce good, people-smart individuals who will be well-educated and able to make a difference; will be independent and people of good character; will fulfill their own dreams; and will work to make good lives for themselves.