The Home Based Learning Guide

Home Schooling. As the name implies, homeschooling consists of educating children at home, usually by the parents or hired tutors, instead of a public or private school educational setting. Homeschooling was the norm prior to mandated attendance laws, which required children to acquire an education within a specific time period of their lives. Depending on the community, homeschooling was the only option for families to introduce a formal education for their young ones. In modern times, homeschooling remains a legal alternative for families living in developed countries, and may still be required in remote areas far away from the city. Mobile families who constantly travel may opt for their children to enroll into a correspondence school, whereby the curriculum falls under state approval. Unschooling, a radical approach to homeschooling without a curriculum, was coined by John Holt in his magazine entitled Growing Without Schooling. Unschooling mainly teaches children life skills through everyday experiences that may comprise of play, games, household chores, work-related activities, and social interaction.

The History of Homeschooling

Only the wealthy could receive a formal education through a professional instructor throughout history. Most families had to resort to teaching their children a basic academic curriculum, in the fields, or learning a trade as an apprentice. In fact, compulsory education for most of the West did not take effect until the late seventeenth century, with Gotha, Calemberg and Prussia tailing behind in the early eighteenth century. Despite this introduction to formal education, most families still lacked the resources to send their children, which meant that they were either homeschooled or received no academic instruction at all. Families did not start sending their children off to public and private institutions to sit in a classroom setting until the early and mid-1900s.

Pioneers and proponents of homeschooling philosophy criticized the traditional school system. John Caldwell Holt authored a series of books based on his philosophy that the academic failure of schoolchildren was caused by the immense pressure placed on children by adults. Holt’s main pejorative asserted that the traditional school system taints the natural learning process instilled within children. He challenged society to re-examine and re-think the potential affect a formal education could have on stunting this natural learning process. His vein was to challenge the modern school system to accept and teach children in a friendlier manner than presented at the time.

Rousas John Rushdoony, a Calvinist philosophy, theologian, historian, and homeschooling advocate, sought to combat the secular nature of the United States public school system. Considered the father of the Christian homeschooling movement, Rushdoony argued against the state’s influence in public education in three of his main literary works, including Intellectual Schizophrenia, The Messianic Character of American Education, and The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum. Rushdoony opposed progressive school advocates.

Raymond and Dorothy Moore, researchers and pioneers of the Early Childhood Education movement, opposed the notion of sending children to receive a public education before the ages of eight to twelve. The Moores argued that early exposure to formal schooling actually harmed children’s ability to academically, socially, mentally, and physiologically adapt to natural life occurrences while enrolled into a public schooling institution. The Moores cited over 8.000 studies by independent researchers who supported the bearing of the Early Childhood Education movement on the development of children.

The Methodology of Homeschooling

Similar to formal educational methodologies, homeschooling utilizes a wide array of resources and teaching styles to present a competent learning curriculum for the children receiving it. Families may adopt one or several philosophies to deliver and enhance their children’s learning experience, including unit studies, Trivium or Quadrivium classical education, Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum, the Montessori educational model, the unschooling discipline, a radical version of the unschooling methodology, Waldorf education, the theory of multiple intelligences, school-at-home paradigm, and the Thomas Jefferson-sponsored educational approach. Some of these educational models are available for families in a private schooling environment, such as the Waldorf, Montessori, and unit studies schools of thought. Additionally, most homeschooling families will utilize or incorporate a public library, retail book store, or a non-affiliated publisher of educational materials to help their children progress in their academic studies. Homeschooling students may also use tutorial services, distance learning programs, the Internet, television, radio, and other forms of correspondence. Depending on state and metropolitan laws, some families may need to follow a state-sponsored curriculum in order to qualify as an official learning methodology. 

Homeschooling and College Admissions

Many homeschoolers will choose to pursue a higher education at a traditional college or university after completing a primary, formal education. In order to receive entrance into one of these established institutions, a student must pass a standardized test for proper evaluation and assessment of their educational background. Most colleges suggest that homeschoolers retain a highly detailed journal and portfolio of prior achievements. Over nine hundred different colleges and universities have become accepting of students from various educational backgrounds, including a home-based curriculum. A higher percentage of homeschoolers have opted for dual-enrollment, which earns college credits at local community colleges while also obtaining their high school benchmarks. Others may even choose to take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) standardized tests, which skips formal classes altogether.

Homeschooling Cooperatives

A homeschooling cooperative of families who choose to homeschool their children enables parents of various backgrounds to provide better instruction from families who may possess qualifications not applicable to the immediate family members. Homeschooling cooperatives allow families to relieve stress and ensure an adequate education for their children. Homeschooling cooperatives also allow children to form social bonds with other homeschoolers. Homeschooling cooperatives may organize field trips and dance events that parallel concepts introduced in the public school arena, such as homecoming and prom. Some may even enroll their children into local sports team to encourage athleticism and competition among the group. With the advent of the Internet, many homeschoolers are connecting through social networking websites in order to offer prudent advice and support to assure success in their academic studies.

Research

Statistically, researchers have discovered that homeschoolers outperform students enrolled into traditional educational programs. According to numerous studies, homeschoolers tend to score higher percentages on standardized tests. Many homeschooling advocacy groups vouch for the academic integrity behind the homeschooling paradigm citing studies that support claims of improved retention and performance across all subjects in comparison with their peers. Additionally, these studies further indicate that the gap between minorities and genders were virtually non-existent among homeschoolers than their public-schooled counterparts. According to the National Home Education Institute (NHERI), a survey conducted in 2003 discovered that homeschoolers are more involved in their communities, civic affairs, and happily content with life.

Critics of these supportive achievement studies argue that these studies compare homeschool testing with mandatory public-school testing. To further elaborate, some homeschoolers within the United States are not subject to the testing requirements implemented in the No Child Left Behind Act. Some states require homeschooling parents to follow state mandated testing requirements; however, some states allow the freedom for parents to choose which test to administer to their children. Critics argue that self-selection skews statistical test results. In addition to this argument, some suggest that some studies often have inconclusive, mixed, or conflicting results. Homeschooling advocates suggest that these results were also produced on a strict budget, with families averaging only five to six hundred dollars a year on each student, whereas the public school system estimates between nine and ten thousand dollars per student in one calendar year. Homeschooling advocates further debate about whether the studies would have produced even higher results if each homeschooler were allotted the difference in comparison with students afforded to state-funded educational resources.

Controversies and Criticism of Homeschooling

Ever since homeschooling proponents emerged to defend each paradigm, opposing organizations have equally presented their arguments. Some of these organizations and associations include teachers, school faculty, and school district members. For instance, the National Education Association, a United States teachers union, openly opposes and criticizes homeschooling by expressing concern of societal deterioration. Some popular criticisms include: the inadequacy of academic quality, inability to fully comprehend and retain information, lack of social interaction with peers, growing religious or social extremism, children sheltered from the real world, and the potential for non-conforming societies that do not fit into the role of acceptability among American communities. Some proponents of public education state that parents have the ability to indoctrinate their own personal views into their child, instead of granting the child enough exposure and decision-making ability. More emphasis relies on the limited social interaction homeschoolers have in comparison with public school attendee.

One Response to “The Home Based Learning Guide”

  1. hayeong lee says:

    Hi, im turning 11th grade student this september, but i have decided to stjdy at home. Im korean, but i’ve lived almost 9years in Baja Califronia, Mexico (Near San Diego). im looking for a good homeschool groups and curriculums that can help me to continue with my study in home (Mexico).

    Im looking forward to hearfrom you. Thankyou 😉
    (Sorry for my grammar and spelling mistakes)
    thankyou again^^

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