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Parents! Don't simply ask what kind of education you want for your children. Ask what kind of people do you want them to become!  Bob & Geri Boyd IssuesinEducation.org

"It is time we get our kids out of the public schools." 

Dr. Tim LaHaye, Left Behind Book Series and Pastor

 

 

"I think it's time to get our kids out [of public schools]." Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family

"I think the best way to light our world is to be distinct from darkness, and homeschooling certainly helps to set us apart from the worldly culture in which we live. I have had more opportunities to share the gospel BECAUSE I was homeschooled than I ever would have had in a public school."  Israel Wayne, homeschooled graduate and author of Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview

"Public schools promote homosexuality as equally moral with heterosexuality...the Bible assigns the primary role of educator to parents. It also says that a child, when he grows up, will be like his teacher.  Do we want our children to be like the ultra-liberal teachers that they have in public school? Or do we want them to be like their Christian parents?" T.C. Pinckney, 2002 vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention

"Public schools are destroying the faith of a child...public schools are just the last place you would want to send your child."  Chuck Smith, Pastor Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa

"The only realistic way to fulfill the Biblical mandate to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is to homeschool in the current culture." Mike Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association

"An education without the Bible is useless." Noah Webster

The best gift we can give our children, is a complete Godly upbringing in a loving home, safe from the worldly influences that lure them away from faith in Jesus.  Homeschool your preschoolers, homeschool all the years."  Denise Kanter, Morningstar Educational Network, Considering Homeschooling Ministry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 Considering Homeschooling Ministry™

Homeschool FAQs

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Dr. Brian Ray, National HomeWorldwide Guide to Homeschool Education Research Institute (www.nheri.org)

These questions and answers are excerpted from Dr. Ray's book The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling 

 

 

How Many People Are Homeschooling Now?

From This Author

Worldwide Guide to Homeschool

Worldwide Guide to Homeschool

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Click on book

Home-based education is experiencing regeneration and growth at a significant pace in nations as widespread as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Numbers are hard to come by in some nations. An estimated 50,000 to 95,000 students were being homeschooled in Canada during the 2000–2001 conventional school year. In England and Wales, estimates vary widely, from about 13,000 to 50,000. Australian figures are in the range of 35,000 to 55,000. In Germany, a country that remains strongly committed to state education, one organization thinks there are between 500 and 600 homeschooled students.

The United States offers the most accurate information available. During the 2001–2002 school year, the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates that between 1.6 and 2.0 million students were being homeschooled in the U.S., in every grade level from kindergarten through twelfth grade. This is a remarkable increase of 500 percent over the number homeschooled in 1990–1991. Indications are that the growth rate is between 7 percent and 15 percent per year.

What Kind of Families Homeschool?

Families from all social and racial backgrounds are taking on the education of their own children: parents with a grade 10 education, others with Ph.D.s; the wealthy and the less well-off; Christians, humanists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and New Age devotees; families with eight children and those with one; married couples and single parents; those in the inner city and those in the wilds of Alaska; sales clerks, public schoolteachers, doctors, and plumbers. Every year the variety broadens and expands.

Are Their Children Getting a Good Education?

Homeschooled students in the U.S. and Canada score 15 to 30 percentile points, on average, above their public school peers. This is true not only in the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics, but also in science, social studies, and study skills. Testing shows that they are also receiving a firm foundation in sound values, in the history of their own nation and the world, and in self-directed learning.

What about Socialization?

Homeschooled children and youth are involved in an array of activities with children, youth, and adults of all ages. Homeschoolers know that solid social and emotional development is based on interaction with a variety of people and ages in many different settings, not on the stultified peer group setting of typical institutional schools. Home- and family-based activities – including sports, 4-H clubs, Scouts, church activities, gardening, cooperative small-group classes in foreign language and science, and courses at local community colleges – all help to round out the basic home curriculum.

Homeschooled children and youth develop strong ties with their parents and siblings. Research shows that they are also socially, emotionally, and psychologically healthy and strong.

How Do We Start?

Continue reading and thinking about homeschooling and about your own philosophy of education. Second, find a local support group in your town or city, and learn from experienced homeschoolers who are in it. Join a statewide or provincewide homeschooling organization, and attend one of their conferences. Subscribe to a couple of homeschooling magazines. Consider the benefits of joining an organization that focuses on protecting the unalienable and legal rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children. And finally, read the last chapter of The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling carefully for detailed information and tips on how to get started.

Am I Qualified?

Perhaps you are thinking, “I have only a high school education myself. I hate math. I do not know a foreign language. I do not know much science.” One of your most important qualifications, as a parent, is that you care – a lot – about your children. You love them more than does anyone else. Much more than do licensed teachers and administrators in institutional schools.

Second, you are willing either to learn something so that you can teach it to your children or to find someone or some educational resource that can teach what you are not prepared or willing to teach. You are not afraid of a little hard work. This may sound too simple, but it is true.

Thousands upon thousands of parents have found that their own willingness to learn or to be resourceful in helping their children learn is the key to their children’s success. To the joyful surprise of the parents, this willingness to learn also leads to the parents themselves learning more than they ever dreamed possible. In addition, the research of this author and many scholars repeatedly shows that both the children of homeschool parents with doctorates and the children of homeschool parents who did not even earn a high school (secondary) diploma are doing very well academically.

(For a little more encouragement in this area, you might want to purchase Zan Tyler’s book, 7 Tools For Cultivating Your Child's Potential.) And see other chapters of The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling to study the research on how homeschool children and families do in many areas of life.

Is It Legal?

What is the law? Laws vary from nation to nation and state to state (or county, canton, province). In the United States, for example, homeschooling is legal in every one of the 50 states and every territory. In Alaska, if parents never send away their children to be under the authority and control of the state school, then they do not have to have any contact with the state about the education of their children.

In Massachusetts, on the other hand, a state school committee may examine the competency of the parents to teach their children but may not require teacher certification or advanced or college degrees. As an example of another nation, in Germany the state strictly controls education, and homeschooling is still basically treated as illegal.

The best way to get an initial understanding of the law regarding homeschooling is to contact homeschool organizations. An excellent one that works extensively in the United States and with homeschoolers in many other nations is the Home School Legal Defense Association. Parents should also contact their own state/province/canton private homeschool organization for information. (See the LifeWay.com Directory of State Homeschooling Organizations.) They might also learn some important things by contacting government agencies about the law, but I believe they should do this only after getting advice from homeschool-friendly organizations, possibly making only anonymous contact with government agencies.

Can Someone Else Homeschool My Children?

Homeschooling, by definition, is family-based, home-based, and usually parent-led – with parents in charge of the child’s education. If a parent wants another parent to do all the teaching and be in charge of the child, then it is probably not homeschooling. Maybe it is a small private school or a dame school. There are, however, many ways in which parents do not do all the teaching of their own children.

This is a key point. In homeschooling, parents recognize their own responsibility and right to direct the education and upbringing of their child. As both discussed and alluded to in earlier sections of The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling however, parents and children may choose from many learning opportunities, classes, field trips, and so forth to be a part of the children’s education.

Often, classes for a specific subject are taught by someone other than the child’s parent. Someone else may teach science, advanced mathematics, computer programming, Latin, or piano. This is a common, legitimate, and philosophically agreeable practice in the context of homeschooling. It is also common for a group of families to develop more elaborate systems of helping one another homeschool. For example, some families use cooperatives.

How Do We Take Our Children Out of State/Public Schools?

If your children are already in public/state schools and you want to take them out, begin by contacting your state/province/canton private homeschool organization for information. Start your search for information with individuals and organizations you know to be friendly toward parental rights and homeschooling.

Second, I strongly suggest that you or a member of your family become a member of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in the U.S., HSLDA of Canada, or a similar organization in your own country before removing your children from a state school. Seek the advice of veteran homeschool leaders and of organizations like HSLDA.

You should prepare yourself, and then act prudently. Some state school officials are friendly but others are hostile to homeschooling. In all of this, however, parents should remember and be confident in the fact that God has given them the fundamental and unalienable right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

What Curriculum Should I Use?

If a person new to homeschooling meets a veteran who says there is one best way and one best curriculum for all homeschoolers, the new person should quickly depart from the presence of that veteran. I hope I have made it clear in other portions of my book – The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling – that there is no one best system for all homeschoolers to follow. Homeschooling lets parents carefully and wisely evaluate curriculum materials and instructional approaches. In choosing materials and strategies, parents should consider their own educational philosophy and talents, their child’s special gifts and unique needs, as well as their family’s unique character.

This is not to say, however, that the choices need to be complicated, anxiety producing, or ponderous. The new homeschooler should talk with a variety of homeschoolers who share similar values and beliefs, look at a variety of curriculum materials, then confidently choose some things with which to begin.

New homeschool parents should spend cautiously at first to avoid wasting money on materials they later find unsatisfactory for their family. Yet education does cost money, and parents are educating themselves about what is good curriculum for their families. In the United States, parents spend, on average, $300 to $600 per year per child for home education materials. They should not be afraid of spending money, and they should anticipate that they will make some wrong choices once in a while. (See chapter 10, “Getting Started” of The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling.)

What about My Talented or Gifted Child?

Homeschooling is also growing quickly as the educational practice of choice for parents of children who are particularly gifted or talented. With homeschooling, a student’s education can be customized so that he or she can excel at whatever pace is appropriate. The gifted child or youth can quickly become competent in the basics, and then accelerate, through instruction by special tutors or mentors, in any area of special giftedness or interest such as science, history, painting, geography, or instrumental music.

What about My Special Needs Child?

Homeschooling is especially suited to the needs of children who are learning disabled, ADD or ADHD, autistic, inexplicably academically slow, who have chronic illnesses, or who are physically limited or handicapped. Many parents are realizing that individually tailored curricula, flexibility, one-to-one teaching, and the time-efficient nature of homeschooling contribute to making homeschooling an excellent choice for their youngsters who have special needs. Research supports their conviction.

I Am a Teenager Who Has Been in Public or Private School. How Should I Go About Beginning Homeschooling?

Are you bored at school? Tired of peer pressure? Do you feel you are wasting the best years of your life, with no time for what really interests you? Would you simply like to spend more time with your parents, brothers, and sisters?

There may be many reasons for wanting to get out of institutional schools and into home-based education. Remember – it is important that you respect your parents, even if they balk at the idea of your getting out of conventional school (“quitting”) and into homeschooling. Help your parents understand your desire by sharing your knowledge and insight into homeschooling.

If you decide to go the homeschooling route, be prepared to be different and to work hard. Be prepared also to experience a new way of life, to feel free, and to be joyful about learning.

Are All Curriculum Materials Religious?

You may have noticed that many religious people homeschool. You may be asking yourself whether all the curriculum materials, Christian or otherwise, are religious. Of course, everyone is, in a sense, religious. This is true in that every person has a set of beliefs that informs his or her behavior and ways of dealing with the world and God, regardless of whether he or she believes in a supernatural power.

Yet some people are more aware than others of their own religious ideas; some are more confident about them; some are more vocal about them; and some are more aware that religious ideas saturate all educational materials and institutions.

That being said, it is true that most homeschoolers these days are confidently religious. At this historical moment, most homeschoolers are Christians. However, not all are.

Many homeschoolers do not focus on religious ideas or reasons for homeschooling, and many curriculum materials do not focus on religious themes or coherent religious belief systems. Many textbooks, films, movies, computer software programs, online Internet-based courses, workbooks, books, science kits, and other materials appear religiously neutral. Homeschooling has grown so much around the world that curriculum producers have developed so many products that almost anyone of any religious – or supposedly nonreligious – persuasion can find plenty of materials to purchase or use.

What Field Trips Are Available to Homeschoolers?

The possibilities are endless. Homeschoolers have probably come up with more creative and out-of-the-way field trip explorations than most institutional schoolteachers have ever imagined – often because homeschool groups’ schedules are very flexible and because homeschoolers can often bring smaller groups of children and more adult supervisors than can the school class.

Here are some examples: art museum, zoo (zoological garden), potato chip factory, fish processing plant, glass blowing studio, pottery studio, museum of science and industry, newspaper publishing company, television station, radio station, government capitol building, legislative/assembly/parliament offices, historic buildings, water sewage treatment plant, plant nursery, beef production ranch, farm, computer software company, shoemaker shop, candlemaker shop, butcher shop, florist shop, deep-sea fishing vessel, military base, military naval ship, and airport.

What about Co-ops (Cooperatives)?

Homeschoolers have been creating cooperatives (co-ops) throughout the more than two decades of the modern homeschool movement. In a co-op, a number of parents volunteer and share their teaching expertise or skill in teaching one another’s children.

For example, families may form a co-op where they can meet either weekly or bi-weekly where one mother teaches biology, one father teaches woodcarving, and another mother teaches a foreign language during these times. The other parents act as teaching aides, keep students engaged in the learning activities, and care for small children. After the classes, the families eat lunch together and the children play awhile before they all return home. This works in varied ways, limited only by the creativity and abilities of the participants. A few states may have requirements on how co-op's operate.  Co-op's are a great way to facilitate learning opportunities, so if you would like to participate in or start a co-op, be sure to check with the Home School Legal Defense and state law for special requirements, if any.

What Extracurricular Activities Are Available to Homeschoolers?

Many sports activities in local communities are listed below. Many additional activities and groups available to homeschoolers are not necessarily linked to institutional schools. These include music clubs, instrumental bands, book reading clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, scoutlike programs operated by churches such as AWANA and Pioneer Club, wood-carving clubs, computer clubs, 4-H, shooting clubs, Future Farmers of America, Bible quizzing, Keepers of the Faith, Keepers at Home, folk dance clubs, model railroad organizations, remote-controlled airplane clubs, book reading/discussion groups, poetry clubs, dance classes, music classes, foreign language clubs, and a multitude of other associations.

Almost any homeschool newsletter or support group or organization will quickly point the interested parent or youth to a host of these opportunities. In addition, many home educators start an interest group if the one they want does not exist.

What about Sports?

Almost every small town or large city has sports or athletic leagues. Some of these are crawling with soccer, football, and baseball leagues, boys and girls clubs, the YMCA, the YWCA, hiking clubs, shooting teams, and the list goes on. Children and youth do not have to attend public or private schools in order to find sports teams to which they can belong.

And a young person need not be on a team in a league to participate in sports. Many children and youth throughout history, including today, just go down to the local park or recreation center two or three times per week to play intensive, or low-key, sports with whomever is there.

Sometimes it is harder to find organized sports as youth get into their teen years if they are not attending institutional schools. But there are several possibilities. First, ask a private school if he or she may participate; their rules and policies are often more flexible than those of public/state schools.

Second, sometimes the law requires public/state school sports programs to give access to homeschool students. It must be remembered, however, that often students must come under significant government control in order to participate in government-related or government-controlled sports programs.

How Does Homeschooling Affect Society?

A standard belief in most societies is that well-educated adults make better adults. It is also usually thought that well-educated citizens make better citizens. If these two ideas are true, then any nation that encourages families to homeschool will also be an improved nation. That is because the evidence to date shows the home-educated perform better academically than do those in institutional state-run schools, on average.

It is also known that if education only refers to knowledge and understanding in subject areas (for example, math, writing, science), then it is possible to have a lot of well-educated fools and failures in society. That is, people who just have knowledge in their brains but lack wisdom, discipline, and right choices end up causing all kinds of problems and are not very happy or satisfied in life. At this point, it appears that homeschooling will produce wise adults who make good decisions, because their parents are modeling a lot of good things for them. For example, their parents are modeling:

  • Involvement, that is, time, in their children’s lives;

  • A high value placed on children and consequently human life;

  • Personal discipline and sacrifice;

  • Strong family relationships;

  • Long-lasting marriages;

  • Lifelong learning (by the parents);

  • Productivity, not just consumption; and

  • Freedom of thought and action in a just society.

Are Homeschooled Children Being Prepared to Be a Significant Part of Society?

J. Gary Knowles was the first to focus research on older adults who were home educated, collecting extensive data from a group who were home educated an average of about six years before they were 17 years old. He found that they tended to be involved in occupations that are entrepreneurial and professional, that they were fiercely independent, and strongly emphasized the importance of family. Furthermore, they were glad they had been home-educated, would recommend homeschooling to others, and had no grossly negative perceptions of living in a pluralistic society.

In a different vein, Patricia Lines, while with the United States Department of Education, asked whether homeschooling parents and their children are withdrawing from the larger public debate about education and, more generally, from social discourse that is an integral part of a liberty-loving republic. In a sense she addressed whether these children and youth are being prepared to be a significant part of society.

Lines concluded:

Although (homeschool parents) have turned their backs on a widespread and hallowed practice of sending children to a school located in a particular building, adhering to a particular schedule and program, they have not turned their backs on the broader social contract as understood at the time of the Founding (of the United States)…Like the Antifederalists, these homeschoolers are asserting their historic individual rights so that they may form more meaningful bonds with family and community. In doing so, they are not abdicating from the American agreement. To the contrary, they are affirming it.

Are Homeschooling Families Helping or Abandoning the Common Good?

Homeschoolers have known all along, and now research and common sense are confirming, that the homeschool movement is having a positive effect on society as a whole. This makes sense. If more and more Johnnys and Lucindas learn to read, write, calculate, and communicate effectively, think critically, be civically involved, get along well with a wide range of age groups, and stand firm on sound values and beliefs, they can only benefit society. The common good is best served when the most children possible are well educated and have sound values that drive their behaviors. Research is suggesting this conclusion about homeschooling.

This article is excerpted from Dr. Ray's book  – The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling 

 

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness". 2 Timothy 3:15

 

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6