Your Family's Incredible Lifestyle Begins HERE – With Homeschooling
Tuesday December 4th 2018

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The Homeschooling Legacy

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THE HOMESCHOOLING LEGACY

Caveman homeschoolingOnce upon a time, a caveman pointed at a plant and grunted for his son to take a look – the world’s first homeschooler. To date there are no records of a troglodyte who thought it would be a good idea to gather all the little troglodytes together in one cave, far away from field and forest, to review stick drawings of those plants that, if eaten, could kill you.

The Many Approaches to Homeschooling

Are you wondering if our caveman was really homeschooling? Join the crowd! Homeschooling is the world’s most flexible educational approach. As such, its practice looks different from household to household, and it sounds different from description to description. Some would say of the caveman, “Yes, he’s homeschooling”; others would say, “There are no books or lectures or desks involved so, no, he is not.”

A nice reward of homeschooling is that because you take the responsibility for it, because you are the one shaping, modifying, and experimenting with it until it best serves your child’s educational needs, you get to define it for your own family. No matter whether one observer would call what you do homeschooling and another does not, your children will have spent some period of childhood growing in freedom, liberated from compulsory school attendance.

Families have always turned to homeschooling for many different reasons, from the practical to the philosophical. With these myriad starting points, those who begin with the notion of “homeschooling” soon set off on diverse and divergent paths.

To illustrate this, let’s use the analogy of climbing a mountain to describe the process of homeschooling. A couple million families set out to reach the summit of the same mountain. Some start by packing up everything they own. Others choose to travel lightly. Various families walk, drive, fly, or take a train to get to the foot of the mountain.

Arriving at the mountain’s base, families choose various sides from which to begin their climb: north, south, east, west, and all points in between. Some move slowly, others quickly. Some set their sights only on the mountain peak, others tend to emphasize the hike. Some employ a guide, others follow previously traveled trails, still others blaze their own paths. After a given period of time, and even though they’re all headed for the same mountain peak, each family: (a) has experienced a unique journey; and (b) stands at a location unlike the others.

homeschooling

Now, imagine that at one moment in time we ask all the families to describe the view before them. Those who have climbed at the most leisurely pace aren’t high enough to see the lakes dotting the landscape below that the quicker hikers report. Those who have their sights set on the mountain peak can see even higher peaks from their vantage point. Those emphasizing the journey provide detailed reports on the flora and fauna spotted along the way. Those who began from the north side report different flora and fauna from those who began from the south.

Each family – indeed, each individual within each family – views the journey up the mountain from a different perspective. All are headed for the same peak; all are homeschooling. Yet the “views” are different for each.

Choices

All these different paths mean that homeschooling parents can choose from an array of “curricula-in-a-box” (traditional schooling at home), rely on curricula for some subjects and not others (relaxed or eclectic homeschooling), or follow their children’s interests in lieu of a curriculum (interest-led or unschooling).

And the choices continue. Today, many states accommodate parents who want their child to take some classes at school and some at home. Depending on their viewpoint, parents term this approach to learning as supplementing government schooling with homeschooling or supplementing homeschooling with government schooling. Some homeschooling support groups grow large enough to offer their own classes, taught by volunteer parents or by hired teachers.

Homeschooling charter schools have become increasingly popular. Many states license these apparently alternative schools, founded or operated by parents, teachers, or businesses. The schools receive a “charter” from an existing government school system, then operate free from some of the regulations placed on the mainstream school. Government funds enter the equation, for when homeschooled children spend X amount of time at a desk in a school, that school receives a financial benefit. Some homeschooling parents worry about the accountability, reporting, assessments, and control tied to the funds, all means that quietly but ultimately erode family autonomy. He who pays the bills gets to make the major decisions.

Still other parents are beginning to recognize the wisdom of “half a loaf of bread is better than none,” choosing to provide their children a bit of homeschooling after school, on weekends, or during school breaks and vacations. Homeschooling, with the many options available today, has certainly come a long way since the modern movement’s humble beginnings.

From Homeschoolers’ Success Stories: 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives by Linda Dobson, Prima Publishing, 2000
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