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The benefits of homeschooling
My wife and I have been homeschooling our kids since 2004 and have really enjoyed it. It is not something that we always planned to do, but something we stumbled on when we found a pamphlet at our local library. We found that after doing some research, it snowballed and grew from there.
Homeschooling is simply guiding your kids through their education at home rather than sending them to a formal school each day. Some parents use a set curriculum, while others use a variety of resources to make sure they are covering all the basics of learning. Most states in Australia have a moderator from the local Education Department that monitors the progress of your child and gives you help and practical advice along the way.
In this article I want to share some of the benefits (from a Dad's perspective) we have found through homeschooling. In writing this article, it is not that we are against normal education and sending your kids to school, but we have found this is something that has fitted our family situation and lifestyle. Hopefully some of the information will encourage you if you are new to homeschooling or thinking about it for your kids.
One on one attention
One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can give your child one on one attention and help. This one on one attention helps you to see how your child is coping with the different subjects. You can also easily see what subjects they need to do extra work on or need help with. You might also find that your child has a particular talent in one area that can be encouraged and developed over time.
You get to see the best of your kids
One exciting part of homeschooling is that you get to see the best parts of your kids as they grow and learn. We get to see the great art works as they are produced, we have the thrill of hearing them read new words for the first time and we are there when the penny drops and they grasp a new concept or are able to solve a difficult problem. To be honest I would not give these precious experiences away to someone else and only hear about them second hand.
Same teacher throughout the school years
In primary school education most schools change teachers each year as the kids progress through school. Sometimes this can be a good experience, but sometimes it is not. With schooling your kids at home you are the major teacher and you journey through the years and subjects with your kids. This allows you to understand your child's learning style and provide a consistent environment for you kids to learn in. Your child does not need to get to know a new teacher each year and adapt to how they teach.
You can pass on your values and beliefs
I have found over the last few years that societies values and beliefs have been changing. With schooling your kids at home you can pass on your values and beliefs to your kids. In our case we can teach them about God and the Christian faith and not have to filter it because some other children in the class are not Christians. Alternately, your kids do not have to learn about Witchcraft, Ouija Boards and Taro Cards that have been allowed to be taught in some schools in recent years.
Homeschooling is very flexible
The flexibility of homeschooling is one of its biggest positives. If needed you can take a few days off due to illness or to go on a family holiday mid week you can do it. We have also found that getting together with other homeschooling families is great during the week. Occasionally we let the kids take a day off "formal" school and go to SciTech or a park and let them just play all day and be kids.
Socialisation is not a big issue
The first question people ask about homeschooling is what about socialisation. I don't why people ask this, but it seems people are almost compelled to bring it up and share their opinion on it! We have found that socialisation is not really a big issue. Our kids have friends at church, at youth club and regularly interact with other homeschooling families. When we go shopping they interact with the shopping assistants, when we go to playgrounds they interact with other kids and when we go to the library they interact with the library staff. This interaction with others happens in a natural way and allows your kids to mix with people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds in everyday situations.
Learning is not confined to the classroom
After you have been homeschooling for a while you will find that school is not just about books and computer time. It is really about life and learning. For most of us, we learn all the way through our lives and at any time, not just when we are in class. While we do "school" four or five days a week, the reality is our kids are learning seven days per week. They ask questions at the shop, while watching a TV show, while digging in the garden, while looking at a cloud in the sky, or while kicking a ball at the park. Each question is a learning opportunity and chance to prepare them for their lives ahead.
Homeschooling for us as a family has been a great experience. Like with most things in life there are times when you get frustrated and want to tear your hair out, but the benefits and the fun times have vastly outweighed those moments. Being there with your kids while they are learning and taking an active role in shaping their lives in a positive way is priceless.
If you are considering homeschooling I would encourage you to contact
your local Education Department and do some research at your local
library. You might just finds it fits in with your family like it has
By Dave Quinn
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