Monthly Archives: April 2017

Home School Controversy

Home schooling has been around in its present form for nearly 40 years, is gaining in popularity and is legal in all 50 states. But is it still mired in controversy. Sadly, the home school controversy stems from both ignorance and the self interest of some groups. Talk to parents who are homeschooling their children and you will hear stories of sarcasm, scrutiny, criticism and even that it carries a social stigma for both the parents and the children. The school system and Parent Teacher Associations who feel that home schooling reflects badly on them, are active in their criticism.

“Home Schoole Adventages”

Unfortunately, it is not only schools and PTAs that pass judgment of home schooling. Family, friends and neighbors all chip in with their opinions and since in most cases home schooling is something they have never experienced and have no knowledge of, the advice parents get is nearly always negative. People have become conditioned to associate a school – the buildings, classrooms, labs and gyms – with education. They feel that without the formal physical structure, there can be no educations. They are unable to comprehend that education is a process of transfer and acquiring knowledge and the physical structures only support the process and do not control it. They feel home schooled children are being deprived of what should rightfully be given to them. In extreme cases the children are even discriminated against in matter of play and social activities.

Another area of home school controversy is the fact that home school means one parent give up a job and the income from it to stay at home and teach. The argument here goes that the additional income would improve the family’s standard of living and would allow the children to go to a “good” school and get a “proper” education.

One area of genuine concern that many people have is that home schooled children are cut off from their peers and will grow up lacking the social skills needed to survive in our modern world or even just to be able to go to college. This is true but to a large extent could be over come by an understanding of what home school is, why the parents have made this choice and support in terms of encouraging social interaction between children going to regular school and home schoolers.

Yet another cause of the home school controversy is the question of extracurricular activities – dramatics, sports, academic competitions and so on. This is one area where the concern is based on, at least to some extent, reality. While some state laws say a home schooled child should be allowed to participate in all activities of the local school board, other states require a child to attend a regular school to be eligible to participate. Whatever the law, the fact remains that a home schooler will not be able to be a member of a school sports team, act in plays and the many other things that a regular school provides. A home schooler also has less opportunity for the normal school high jinks that are very much apart of growing up. Support groups can help to overcome this problem to some extent.

In the end it is for the parents to weigh the pro and cons of home schooling and make their own decision. Home schooling is not a perfect solution, but if society would stop finding reasons against home schooling and instead find way to support families who have opted for home schooling, no one would lose.

Catholic Home School

Many Catholic parents are uncomfortable with the current school education system. Besides the approach to various subjects with may be contrary to their religious beliefs, many parents feel that the actual importance of religion in life is undervalued. This may even happen at Catholic school where the pressure to produce academic results often forces religious teaching to take second place. One option that parents with these misgiving have before them is the Catholic home school.

Besides the other acknowledged benefits of home school – no long bus rides, learning at the child’s own pace, focus on areas that parents deem important keeping the child’s life goals in mind, Catholic hole school provides 3 more – the opportunity to teach religious values as desired by the parents, keeping their children away from subjects like sex education and birth control and protecting them from undesirable external influences.

There are e few things to keep in mind when setting up a Catholic home school:

· There are a variety of Catholic home school curricula available. Research them and find one that suits your family. Some are accredited programs that require the students to submit their work regularly and receives grades along with regular report cards and progress reports. These are usually structured around an academic year and require the student to stick to a daily schedule of study. The other option is where lesson plans and course material is provided and it is left to the parents to teach the children at their own pace and their own times. These allow the parents flexibility in their teaching procedure but keep challenging the students. This type of Catholic home school program is better for parents who want to design their own religious teachings with their own focus.

· Once you have shortlisted a few options, contact them for more information – most will have catalogs and information packs available for sale. This is money well spent as it will help you refine your choice.

· Visit home school fairs if possible and spend time with the Catholic Home School representatives. Do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you want. Your child’s education is not something you can take lightly.

· There are consultancy services available that will help you to choose the right kind of Catholic home school for your children.

· If you want, you can even design your own Catholic home school curriculum. There are books and other resources available on the internet that will help you in doing this. A word of caution – please check your state home schooling laws to ensure that whatever you do in compatible with them.

A Catholic home school will also protect your children from peer and other external influences to indulge in sex, drugs, alcohol and other vices or inappropriate behavior. While this is one of the main reasons for parents deciding to go in for a Catholic home school, care should be taken to ensure that the children are also given enough opportunity to socialize with others of their age group. Parents often tend to over look that fact that later on in life the children will be exposed to much that is negative in life. While a Catholic home school will give them the fundamental to withstand this pressure, it should not come as a sudden assault on their sensibilities. A gradual conditioning to external influences, both positive and negative, it the best solution for children educated in a Catholic home school.

Secular Home Schooling

The majority of parents who opt for home schooling do so because of either their dissatisfaction with the way education is imparted in regular schools, the unpalatable influences a child is subject to or because of their children’s special needs. There are a vast variety of home school programs available for parents to choose from. Most are based on specific religious principles – Christian (and more specifically Catholic), Jewish and other faiths.

But there are a growing number of parents who want to give their children a secular education away from all religious dogma and are looking at the secular home school option. This does not necessarily mean that they do not subscribe to religious beliefs. They may just feel that religion and education are separate issues and that they will educate their children about religion away from the schooling process.

While there are a number of non religious or secular home school programs available, the problem with them is that since they are not bound by any specific religious codes of conduct, the material that comprises the programs may often be controversial and possibly objectionable. Also because of their open approach to education many of these secular home schooling programs are very loosely structured. While home schooling is all about allowing the parents to educate children in their own way and at their own pace, many families find that a structured program works as a guide and signpost that allows them to better evaluate their children’s progress.

Secular home school is popular even among those with strong religious beliefs. These people often feel that while religion is a dominant factor in their lives, allowing it to influence their children’s education may affect them in the pursuit of their life goals. For example, a Catholic family will not accept the theory if evolution or any form of Darwinism, but feel that their children should be exposed to this school of thought and to other such issues. The children need not subscribe to these views but they will be better off by having an unbiased appreciation of contrary viewpoints.

Although secular home school programs like the Calvert home school are growing in popularity, families going in for secular home schooling are still in the minority in this country and face the problems of all minorities – lack of support because of a limited number of support groups and other institutions and prejudice from the majority of home school parents who use religion based education.

There are some things parents opting for a secular home school need to keep in mind to ensure that their children get the best possible education. Since there are no fixed parameters for what may be conveyed to children in a secular home school program, parents need to go through all the course material themselves or get advice from like minded parents, on what matter should or should not be used. Those opting for internet based home schooling should monitor what is being taught in the internet classes. The same applies to home school DVD’s which may contain concepts that parents are uncomfortable with.

Calvert Home School

Many parents decide to embark on home schooling their children without realizing the amount of effort that will be involved. Any parent thinking of starting out on this course should do a great deal of research to understand what they are getting into and be sure of their abilities to handle it. There is a vast variety of home school programs that can be of great help to parents in providing them with curricula for their children’s study, test and work books, resource material and teaching guides all of which help to ensure that the parents’ educational goals for their children are met. One of the most popular secular options is the Calvert home school. It offers a “classroom in a box” curriculum that is suited for most children, challenges them and is easy for the parents to use.

Calvert home school has been in existence for about a hundred years, which attests to both the popularity and the success of the program. What stands out about the program is that it is designed to make learning interesting and fun and not just a task that has to be performed. Because of this, there is less pressure on the parents to get their children to sit down and study. One of the problems with home school is often that of discipline. In a regular school the teacher is the symbol and exerciser of authority. In the home school the parent has to be both the parent and the teacher and the exercise of discipline and authority by a person wearing two hats can become confusing for both parent and child. The Calvert home school is designed to alleviate this problem to a large extent.

Calvert home school is designed so that a child moves seamlessly from one level (or grade) to the next with no big jumps or new grade based new syllabus to start on. Each level of learning is just one more layer placed on top of the previous one so the progress is smooth. While most home school programs allow children to learn at their own pace, the Calvert home school is especially flexible in this way and puts no pressure on either the student or the parent. At the same time it is challenging enough to keep children mentally alert and allows for progress to be measured so that parent swill know which are their children’s weak areas so they can place extra emphasis on them.

The Calvert home school works in two ways. There is the normal text book and teaching guide system that is common to all home school programs. There is also the option of using the internet based Calvert home school program where classroom type teaching is done by an online teacher. This is particularly useful for parent who have their own weak areas and subjects they are not properly equipped to teach. This option also offer parents the facility of submitting work online for an external teacher to evaluate.

Beside its high academic standards in all subject, the Calvert home school curriculum is noted for it emphasis on literature and reading where great works of literature are an integral part of the syllabus.

Home School Advantages

With all the advances in education and teaching methods over the last hundred years, are there really any good reasons why children should not be sent to school but be taught at home? Are there any home school advantages? After all home schooling is as old as mankind – till a few hundred years ago most children never went to school and learned everything they needed from their parent at home. Is there a sound reason why some parents should choose the turn their backs on the modern system of education and stick with something that has been around for thousands of years? The answer is first that parent who choose home school for their children are not turning their backs on modern education, they are simply choosing to impart it in their own way and secondly, that home schooling today has little relation with the informal home education given in the past.

Even the best of teachers are limited by the size of the classes they teach. They have to work to the average requirements of the children and do not have the time to focus on the special needs of each child. Parents understand their children and their special requirements and so are able to tailor the teaching they do so to the child is able to perform to his or her best.

School curricula does offer choices in the subjects student takes but these are limited and based on popular demand. One of the many home school advantages is that parents can focus on the specific talents of their children and provide them education to develop their special skills, some thing that a school cannot do for one or two children. Additionally, there are important life skills that are best taught by active participation, such as shopping for healthy foods or home repair that schools cannot provide but which can be learned home.

Much of the time spent in school is not on learning, but in waiting. Children sit in the bus, sometimes for hours to get to and from school. In school itself they wait for a teacher to finish a subject they have already completed, wait for other students to finish their work, wait for lunch and wait in lines for just about everything. Among the other home school advantages is the fact that children educated at home do not have to waste time in this manner and even while working at their own pace, can finish a day’s worth of study in about half the time it takes in a normal school environment. This gives them time to other things that may not be part of a school curriculum but are still import for their futures.

Many people regard the extended time a family spends together as the most important of all home school advantages. The more time a family spends together, the strong are the bonds that develop. These bonds and the greater influence that the parents exert make it easier for the children to absorb the values the parent hold important and reduces the chance of negative peer pressure having a harmful influence on them.