Your Family's Incredible Lifestyle Begins HERE – With Homeschooling
Wednesday May 18th 2022

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Transforming Family Life And Learning Through Homeschooling (Part One of Two)

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By Linda Dobson

After all enjoy their fill of oatmeal and fruit, and the last child laces up his boots and adjusts his hat against the winds, a mom and her three school-aged children wave at the school bus lumbering by and head off for a walk in the woods, instead.

The children grow increasingly excited as they spy the tracks of three different animals. Questions soon fly as freely as the snow. Mom knows she’ll be busy for the next few weeks, possibly months, immersed in the study of weather patterns, drawing and photography, animal tracks and tracking, and the Native Americans who originally lived in the area. She’ll soon shop for materials that compliment her children’s natural curiosity and keep the wonder alive in their eyes – and hearts.

This family, like an estimated million others, delights in a revolutionary approach to learning. Known as homeschoolers, they have, for myriad reasons, decided to take responsibility for their children’s education into their own hands.

Lifestyles“Some teach their children at home for very clearly defined political, religious, philosophical, or pedagogical reasons, while others – perhaps even a majority – would be hard-pressed to say why, exactly, they teach their children at home,” say Micki and David Colfax, authors of Homeschooling for Excellence (Warner Books).

Wait. It gets even more complicated: “Some teach their children at home because of what is being taught in the schools, while others choose to homeschool because of what is not being taught,” the Colfaxes continue. “And some regard homeschooling as a radical action, while others see it as an essentially conservative undertaking.”

Our family chose homeschooling, spurred by meditation and a deep examination of our own schooling which led to the realization that public school education would not complement or support our simple and spiritual lifestyle.

“The highest function of education,” wrote Krishnamurti in Education and the Significance of Life (Harper & Row, San Francisco), “is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole.” So as public school focuses intently on only intellect, we nurture equally the spiritual aspect of our children at home.
Diverse, Successful, Empowered

During the decade we’ve taught our children, the ranks of homeschoolers have grown 15-20% each year. While no one can ascertain an exact number of practitioners, national trends analyst Gerald Celente predicts “the number will continue to climb, fueled by a rise in home-based occupations and dissatisfaction with the public education system.” Whatever the original motivation, this large and growing group takes full advantage of the freedom to do their own thing. Tending to shun the educational “trend du jour” in favor of pursuing routes that work best for individual children, it’s not surprising that a July 17, 1995, Publishers Weekly feature identifies homeschoolers as a “splintered” market.

“When large numbers of private, religious schools lost their tax-exempt status, you had a lot of Christian ‘schoolers’ who claimed the homeschool banner,” says Mark Hegener, who with his wife, Helen, publishes Home Education Magazine and runs Home Education Press. Supported by networks already well established, and bolstered by “political maneuvering,” this act “temporarily skewed the balance,” at least in the eyes of the media. “But homeschooling has always been a very diverse movement,” Mark explains.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal highlighted this diversity in May, 1994, when it reported a “new breed” of homeschoolers, one represented by HappyChildrensophisticated and well-educated “families who…think they can do a better job teaching their children themselves.”

Studies indicate they are doing a better job. Late last year, the Riverside Publishing Company released the scores of 16,000 home educated students on the spring, 1994, Iowa Basic Achievement Tests. Children taught at home averaged in the 77th percentile on tests “normed” at the 50th percentile.

Critics’ concerns for the children’s lack of “socialization” are proving baseless with research, too. University of Florida College of Education doctoral student Larry Shyers compared the behavior and social development of two groups of 70 children, ages 8 to 10, one homeschooled and the other educated in public or private school. The study revealed no major difference between the two groups when measuring self-concept or assertiveness. However, Shyer noted that the homeschooled children behaved better, concluding that the homeschooled children tend to imitate their parents, while traditionally schooled children model themselves after other children in the classroom.

For homeschoolers, time not spent in school is devoted to true education, or the “leading out of that which is within.” Following this natural, loving approach, children involved in community service, volunteer work, and apprenticeship opportunities build experience, increase maturity, and find connection with the greater world. “What appears to be unfolding is nothing less than the creation of energy where none existed before. Homeschoolers are discovering and bringing forth their own energy, their unique creative intelligence. They have summoned forth the necessary courage and trust, and empower themselves, their children, and their communities.” (The Art of Education)


Part Two of Two coming soon

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