'Homeschool Hows & Whys'
has moved!
You should be automatically redirected in 10 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.
'Homeschool Under Siege'
Click below!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GUEST BLOG - Do you ever feel insecure about your homeschool choices?

Hi folks. Here's our first guest blog! Elsa offers an interesting take on homeschool choices. Still looking for more guest blog. They can be submitted at cttauthor@aol.com. Thanks, Elsa, this is great!

Elsa Raubenheimer has been a secondary language teacher, book editor, writer, journalist, translator, Hansard reporter, tour guide, web designer and book reviewer, but she sees herself foremost as a life-long learner interested in the role motivation plays in learning. She currently homeschools her two teens and operates an online children’s bookstore in Australia.

How often do we stop to ask ourselves why we have chosen to homeschool in the way that we do? Do we ask ourselves regularly if what we are doing is the best for our child?

Homeschooling has taught me many things. One of the most important is to reassess decisions regularly. What seemed like a good idea only two weeks or two months ago can be the worst possible decision right now. What fitted a student perfectly, challenging her or motivating him, can be a dead-weight upon his/her shoulders a few weeks later. As homeschooling parents we need to have the antennae up all the time. That does not mean we must throw out what is working simply for the sake of change!

Looking at your child’s happiness level is a good indicator of whether things are running smoothly or whether you need to reassess what you’re doing. I’ve found that this is true for younger children, but also for teens and young adults. It is also true for us in our day-to-day lives. We’ll talk more about that later.

I regularly receive emails asking for my opinion or suggestions regarding homeschooling. Let me hasten to add that I do not have the answers, just ideas. Some of these email queries come from parents considering home education as an option to fix specific problems their child is experiencing at school. These problems vary from learning difficulties and boredom, right through to bullying.

Other emails are from homeschooling parents having a wobble. Most of us have periods of insecurity or indecision, but something many who only know homeschooling do not realise is that these periods are by no means unique to homeschooling. If your children have not attended a standard school, you might think school parents don’t question their children’s schooling. They do, but a big difference is that those who do so many times a year tend to pull out of school and start homeschooling!

While I was teaching at secondary school I noticed a pattern emerge. During parent teacher evenings the parents who were never heard from during term tended to put in an appearance and seemed to have developed a sudden itch about their child’s progress. The overwhelming majority of these parents were never in evidence throughout the rest of the year. When there was a call for volunteers, they were silent. When a note was sent out to ask for their help with getting their child to do homework or to bring their attention to some issue, they were unresponsive. Yet, near the end of yet another year during which they had provided absolutely no educational support they would, as if by magic, develop a ten-minute window of interest and ask the hard (but often irrelevant) questions.

That kind of support is worthless, but worse than that... it is damaging. It disheartens the child and the teacher, and that brings no joy to anyone involved.

After I had children of my own, I noticed that my instinct was to be all over their education at all times, even when they were at school, where we started off. Yes, this must have been frustrating for their teachers! In the younger classes there were plenty of opportunities for involvement, but from middle primary level the teachers could not wait to get the parents out of the classroom after drop-off. Even the most involved parent eventually gets lulled into a false sense of security if not aware of what is happening in class. From time to time an odd homework assignment might make the warning lights go on. Yet what can one do? Once you’ve handed the education of your child over to others, you are expected to back off or to be labelled an interfering parent.

The homeschool parent does not have to back off when it comes to knowing what is happening in a child’s education. You always know what your child is learning and can keep an eye on progress, and that is one of the many strong reasons to homeschool. An effective way of keeping your homeschooling healthy is not to become stuck or complacent in your choices.

1 comment:

Brandy said...

I had no idea that homeschooling was illegal in Germany or Botswana, it is ridiculous that the governments should be so afraid of it. As long as the homeschooled students are able to pass the testing required of their education boards, then there should be no problem. I homeschool my children and also am writing a blog about ancient history called Ancient History for Homeschool . As I study ancient history to write this blog, it becomes apparent that until very recently, most children were homeschooled, all over the world, for thousands of years!