The following information has been compiled from my personal experience and what my friends have told me from their
s. I am friends with a good many homeschoolers, and also people who used to home school
and quit. Homeschooling is not
for everyone. Some people flourish
in a structured environment, for the rest of us, there are other options. I am not
forcing my views on homeschooling on you and certainly not judging you, I am just trying to share my knowledge on the subject with you, please don't take up arms against me if you had a great time at school, I am not denying that it is possible.
Self Directed Learning/Unschooling
I recommend this method. It can be used from early childhood, but it is better for an older child, like a teenager. Basically it consists of the child doing whatever they want. No actual requirements that they have to fulfill (save those set by your state so you are not considered a truant/accomplice to truancy). You may be worried that they will never want to learn anything by themselves. That is untrue. Maybe someone who has been in public school their whole lives would have a negative reaction to learning (Learning? That's work!), but after a while a lack of intellectual stimulation will cause them to actually want to learn on their own. Actually using something you learned on your own because you wanted to learn it is a much better reward than any 100% or A+. When I first started homeschooling/unschooling (I went to school until high school and then left to home school), I didn't do much of anything but read, nothing really caught my attention. But after a while the ball got rolling and I started finding learning things very enjoyable. I still do, and have actually taken courses at colleges not for credit because I found the subject matter interesting (rare, for a 16 year old).
When your child is too young to go to the library and get books themselves or surf the 'net for some information, you don't have to sit them down in a chair with a home-blackboard and teach them things, instead, just let them know that you are there for a ride to the library, to pull down things from the net and to explain whatever needs to be explained. You don't have to be their teacher, you just have to be their guide. There can also be a bit of mixing with self directed learning and homeschooling, they learn whatever they want, but you set goals for them. Say they have to choose 4 subjects to learn by the end of the month. They can ask you for suggestions or just find them on their own. Then, any subject that they choose that they cannot sufficiently research on their own, you can teach them. Just read some books and websites and find what best suits your child.
When homeschooling a child, it is good to give them a good amount of freedom. You are their teacher, but also their parent. Whether you took them from school because you don't want them to deal with teasing or because you don't like the environment, whatever, one of the worst parts of school is when you are cooped up in a room on a beautiful day for 6 hours. There is no requirement on how many days you have to learn for, so why not just set flexible hours? If you give your child freedom, they will be less likely to reject the material you are teaching. I would recommend against following the requirements that the school system sets to the word. They are usually very lax with what you are required to learn. It is the minimum you have to do, and in a one on one teaching situation, you can get through material more easily. I remember taking courses at Pathfinder Center in Amherst when there was one teacher and only about 3 people in the class, and I learned more in just 5 or 6 classes then people my age learned all year in a class on the same subject. This doesn't mean you have to just give your kid 5 or 6 lessons, it just means that you have far more time to educate your child to the fullest. A one to one teaching situation is the ideal way to learn, don't waste it.
But This Will Kill My Child's Social Life
Not necesarily. If you think about it, since when is school a good place to socialize? You are punished if you talk in class, and talking in the halls merely causes congestion and is frowned upon. You won't really get to know someone if they talk to you in school, it's just a place to meet people. There are other places to meet people, and by targeting people with similar intrests you will find that you are more likely to make friends than enemies. The key is not to be afraid of social gatherings. Join clubs, play sports, introduce yourself to people at the mall. I find that alot of my homeschooler friends are more open to talk to strangers (in a well-lit public place) and make friends. As John Holt says, "Sending a kid to school to learn to soclialize is like teaching them to swim by pushing them into the deep end and screaming, 'Swim!'" (I am paraphrasing, he probably said it more elegantly, but I read it in an article in a Times that I no longer have. I may also be mis-attributing, but it's a good quote in any case).
Materials you may want to check out.
I was fortunate enough to live near Pathfinder Center
when I started homeschooling, and since they helped me get started, I have very little personal experience with materials on the subject, so I suggest you check the net beyond what is listed here.
I would like to thank quoi?
for his help with this node, and as always if you have anything to add or any comments (be they positive or negative), feel free to /msg me.