Sunday, April 8, 2018

Homeschooling: Yes, YOU Can Do It!

Government-run public schooling is a recent, weird experiment. Up until the late 1800s, it wasn’t even mandatory in most of the United States. For centuries before, in America and Europe, schooling was generally done at home by the parents or a tutor. If a young adult wanted a college education, they typically were ready for it by age 12-14. By their late teens, they had finished their education (including college or apprenticeship to a trade) and had started their career.

This education system turned out some amazing results. The American founders (many in their 20s and 30s), who created an entire government from scratch and won a war against the mightiest nation on earth, went through this system. Some of these founders wrote newspaper articles (the equivalent of today’s Facebook posts) explaining to everyday Americans their philosophy of government. We now call those newspaper articles The Federalist Papers – and most of today’s college students can’t read or comprehend them. Yet everyday American farmers and traders who went through homeschooling in the 1700s could easily understand them.

“Well, that’s great for them,” you might say. “But what about parents today? I sure can’t teach my kids. I was a lousy student myself and have forgotten most of what I learned in school anyway!”

Yes You Can!
You, yes YOU, can teach your kids. That’s not just my opinion, it’s backed up by data from the last four decades of the modern homeschooling movement.*

Study after study has shown that homeschooled students out-perform institutionally schooled students – by a LOT. Public schooled students’ average score is in the 50th percentile. Homeschooled students average scores are 15-30 points higher. That’s an average, meaning some score even higher than that. This high performance also applies to the SAT and ACT. Most colleges love homeschoolers and actively recruit them.

Study after study shows that parents’ income and education levels have no effect on how well their children do in homeschooling. No college degree? Making low wages? Doesn’t make a difference.

Study after study shows that homeschooled students are better socialized, more emotionally and psychologically developed, and have better community participation than public schooled students.

All of this sounds like a strange miracle to our modern sensibilities. HOW do homeschoolers achieve all of these amazing results without EXPERTS teaching their children? The answer is both philosophical and practical.

Philosophically speaking, a system works best when you operate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. God is the “manufacturer” of children. His “instructions” tell parents to be the primary teachers in their children’s lives. When you follow God’s model, you receive God’s blessing.

Practically speaking, all studies of educational systems have shown that one-on-one tutorship is the best educational model, period. Homeschooling is a perfect example of this type of teaching. You as the parent become the “expert” on your child, something you’ve been doing anyway since he or she was born. You use your expertise to customize the curriculum to your child’s needs. This isn’t something hard or mysterious. It’s as simple as saying, “Johnny had trouble with decimals this week. I think we’re going to slow down and repeat a few lessons until he understands them better.” Or maybe saying, “Sally loves history so much that I think we’ll do a more in-depth unit study approach to history this year and give her a chance to read some extra biographies and go to some historical reenactments.”

Every parent, whether “highly educated” or not, is capable of using common sense and love for their child to choose what’s best for them. “But what if my child has GAPS in his education?” you might ask. Do you have gaps? Did you learn all of your school subjects perfectly? Did your teachers always finish every school textbook within the school year and do all the extra experiments and assignments with you? Of course not! And yet, you are a functioning, capable adult. You filled in your own gaps where the gap needed to be filled.

A good teacher is not someone who tells the student everything he needs to know. A good teacher teaches the student how to learn. How to look things up. How to think things through. How to weight evidence and reach a conclusion. How to find knowledgeable sources from which to learn more. When you have these skills, you can learn anything, any time, all your life long. Homeschooling is a perfect way to create a lifelong learner who grows in wisdom and knowledge all his or her life.

With the recent rise in school shootings, many parents are considering homeschooling for the first time. It can be scary for folks who don’t know the history of homeschooling, and don’t know that it has a centuries-old track record of great results. So let this be encouragement – homeschooling is the best option for every child. And you CAN be the parent who gives your child that option!

*For studies and statistics on homeschooling, a good place to start is the National Home Education Research Institute at

Written by Heather Sheen

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