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Will Homeschooling Help My Child Succeed?

     Note: Long-time, experienced educator, Tricia Stevens, responds to readers questions about education. Please send your questions to contact@myfriendDebbie.com.

Thanks, Erica, for providing the question for my initial column for www.MyFriendDebbie.com online magazine. You asked:

     Reader Question: “I ‘m afraid my son won’t get a good education unless I send him to a formal school. How can I be assured that he will get everything he needs to succeed if I should choose to homeschool?"

Patricia’s Answer:

     I basically asked the same question years ago, until I realized one key fact. I understood that I would never be able to teach my children EVERYTHING they could possibly know— but I could teach them what was most important, and that is: To ENJOY LEARNING!

     Another important thing I could teach them, was how to be RESOURCEFUL and FIND the answers.

An Active Learning Mind

     Teaching the joy of learning is fun because it is the responsibility of the teacher to be joyful and curious about the subject being studied. A parent can be a natural teacher. Smile and ask plenty of questions. Don’t give answers but ask all kinds of questions. This will encourage your son or daughter to have an active learning mind. When he or she asks you a question, redirect the question to him by asking him where both of you can find the answer. Explore the resources together for answers. Teach him how to use books as well as electronic research, such as Google and other Search Engines, to find the answer.

Outside Resources

     Also, at each city school district office, there are documents containing the Standards of Learning ( SOL’s) ,which reveal the minimum requirements that the public schools are supposed to teach on every grade level. You may also consider signing up with a correspondence school or follow various curriculums in a sequential manner. You may also ask a book publisher (Abeka, Bob Jones, etc.) for a Scope and Sequence Chart, which shows how the skills develop from kindergarten through high school.

     Another resource to use is Homeschool Legal Defense. Their website is: http://www.hslda.org. People there are available to answer questions.

     Finally, the homeschool support groups in your area provide an invaluable resource. It is important to find other homeschoolers with whom to interact. For example, you can share science time with them or field trips. Attend their meetings until you find the best one that fits your values and goals..

Identify Goals

     I wrote the goals I had for my children and what I wished them to be like when they graduated from high school. A pioneer in homeschooling, Greg Harris, suggested that we do this. I wrote down the following:

  1. I wanted my children to have a relationship with God.
  2. I wanted them to have made a decision to have a life that would honor God.
  3. I wanted them to not be ashamed of their beliefs.

     Yes, I also wanted them to have academic excellence, too. To assure this, I made sure that they were tested each year with accepted national tests such as the IOWA or the Stanford Achievement Tests. These results revealed where their strengths and weaknesses were. For example, if their grammar skills needed work, the tests would pinpoint specific weak areas and I would make it a priority to work on these areas during the following year.

Education is Indoctrination

     Remember that the process of education is the same as indoctrination: the instilling of values to the next generation. As parents, we can entrust this to others or safeguard what goes into their minds and ultimately their belief structure and value system ourselves. For me, it was most important to pass down the values I hold dear.

     After years of teaching my children at home, two of my three children have now successfully graduated college and moved on to graduate school, and one will be entering college soon. But even more importantly, all three hold strong to their faith in God and have fully committed their lives to Him and his purposes. This is something I wouldn’t trade.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Patricia Stevens

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