Author Topic: All About Home Schooling  (Read 2051 times)

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All About Home Schooling
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 06:10:06 AM »
Homeschooling or homeschool (also called home education or home learning) is the education of children at home, typically by parents but sometimes by tutors, rather than in other formal settings of public or private school. Although prior to the introduction of compulsory school attendance laws, most childhood education occurred within the family or community, homeschooling in the modern sense is an alternative in developed countries to educational institutions operated by civil governments.

Homeschooling is a legal option in many places for parents to provide their children with a learning environment as an alternative to publicly-provided schools. Parents cite numerous reasons as motivations to homeschool, including better academic test results, poor public school environment, improved character/morality development, and objections to what is taught locally in public school. It may be a factor in the choice of parenting style. It is also an alternative for families living in isolated rural locations or living temporarily abroad.

Homeschooling may also refer to instruction in the home under the supervision of correspondence schools or umbrella schools. In some places, an approved curriculum is legally required if children are to be home-schooled. A curriculum-free philosophy of homeschooling may be called unschooling, a term coined in 1977 by American educator and author John Holt in his magazine Growing Without Schooling.

Frontispiece to Fireside Education, Samuel Griswold (Goodrich).

For much of history and in many cultures, enlisting professional teachers (whether as tutors or in a formal academic setting) was an option available only to a small elite. Thus, until relatively recently, the vast majority of people were educated by parents (especially during early childhood) and in the fields or learning a trade.

The earliest compulsory education in the West began in the late 17th century and early 18th century in the German states of Gotha, Calemberg and, particularly, Prussia.[3] However, even in the 18th century, the vast majority of people in Europe lacked formal schooling, which means they were homeschooled or received no education at all. The same was also true for colonial America and for the United States until the 1850s. Formal schooling in a classroom setting has been the most common means of schooling throughout the world, especially in developed countries, since the early and mid 19th century. Native Americans, who traditionally used homeschooling and apprenticeship, strenuously resisted compulsory education in the United States.

In 1964, John Caldwell Holt, published a book entitled How Children Fail which criticized traditional schools of the time. The book was based on a theory he had developed as a teacher – that the academic failure of schoolchildren was caused by pressure placed on children by adults. Holt began making appearances on major TV talk shows and writing book reviews for Life magazine.In his follow-up work, How Children Learn, 1967, he tried to demonstrate the learning process of children and why he believed school short-circuits this process.

In these books, Holt had not suggested any alternative to institutional schooling; he had hoped to initiate a profound rethinking of education to make schools friendlier toward children. As the years passed he became convinced that the way schools were was what society wanted, and that a serious re-examination was not going to happen in his lifetime.

During this time, the American educational professionals Raymond and Dorothy Moore began to research the academic validity of the rapidly growing Early Childhood Education movement. This research included independent studies by other researchers and a review of over 8,000 studies bearing on Early Childhood Education and the physical and mental development of children.

They asserted that formal schooling before ages 8–12 not only lacked the anticipated effectiveness, but was actually harmful to children. The Moores began to publish their view that formal schooling was damaging young children academically, socially, mentally, and even physiologically. They presented evidence that childhood problems such as juvenile delinquency, nearsightedness, increased enrollment of students in special education classes, and behavioral problems were the result of increasingly earlier enrollment of students. The Moores cited studies demonstrating that orphans who were given surrogate mothers were measurably more intelligent, with superior long term effects – even though the mothers were mentally retarded teenagers – and that illiterate tribal mothers in Africa produced children who were socially and emotionally more advanced than typical western children, by western standards of measurement.

Their primary assertion was that the bonds and emotional development made at home with parents during these years produced critical long term results that were cut short by enrollment in schools, and could neither be replaced nor afterward corrected in an institutional setting. Recognizing a necessity for early out-of-home care for some children – particularly special needs and starkly impoverished children, and children from exceptionally inferior homes– they maintained that the vast majority of children are far better situated at home, even with mediocre parents, than with the most gifted and motivated teachers in a school setting (assuming that the child has a gifted and motivated teacher). They described the difference as follows: "This is like saying, if you can help a child by taking him off the cold street and housing him in a warm tent, then warm tents should be provided for all children – when obviously most children already have even more secure housing."

Similar to Holt, the Moores embraced homeschooling after the publication of their first work, Better Late Than Early, 1975, and went on to become important homeschool advocates and consultants with the publication of books like Home Grown Kids, 1981, Homeschool Burnout, and others.

At the time, other authors published books questioning the premises and efficacy of compulsory schooling, including Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich, 1970 and No More Public School by Harold Bennet, 1972.

In 1976, Holt published Instead of Education; Ways to Help People Do Things Better. In its conclusion he called for a "Children's Underground Railroad" to help children escape compulsory schooling.[8] In response, Holt was contacted by families from around the U.S. to tell him that they were educating their children at home. In 1977, after corresponding with a number of these families, Holt began producing a magazine dedicated to home education: Growing Without Schooling.

In 1980, Holt said, "I want to make it clear that I don't see homeschooling as some kind of answer to badness of schools. I think that the home is the proper base for the exploration of the world which we call learning or education. Home would be the best base no matter how good the schools were."

Holt later wrote a book about homeschooling, Teach Your Own, in 1981.
One common theme in the homeschool philosophies of both Holt and the Moores is that home education should not be an attempt to bring the school construct into the home, or a view of education as an academic preliminary to life. They viewed it as a natural, experiential aspect of life that occurs as the members of the family are involved with one another in daily living.

Homeschools use a wide variety of methods and materials. There are different paradigms, or educational philosophies, that families adopt including unit studies, Classical education (including Trivium, Quadrivium), Charlotte Mason education, Montessori method, Theory of multiple intelligences, Unschooling, Radical Unschooling, Waldorf education, School-at-home, A Thomas Jefferson Education, and many others. Some of these approaches, particularly unit studies, Montessori, and Waldorf, are also available in private or public school settings.

It is not uncommon for the student to experience more than one approach as the family discovers what works best for them. Many families do choose an eclectic (mixed) approach. For sources of curricula and books, "Homeschooling in the United States: 2003"found that 78 percent utilized "a public library"; 77 percent used "a homeschooling catalog, publisher, or individual specialist"; 68 percent used "retail bookstore or other store"; 60 percent used "an education publisher that was not affiliated with homeschooling." "Approximately half" used curriculum or books from "a homeschooling organization", 37 percent from a "church, synagogue or other religious institution" and 23 percent from "their local public school or district." 41 percent in 2003 utilized some sort of distance learning, approximately 20 percent by "television, video or radio"; 19 percent via "Internet, e-mail, or the World Wide Web"; and 15 percent taking a "correspondence course by mail designed specifically for homeschoolers."

Individual governmental units, e, g, states and local districts, vary in official curriculum and attendance requirements.
Unit studies

The unit study approach incorporates several subjects, such as art, history, math, science, geography and other curriculum subjects, around the context of one topical theme, like water, animals, American slavery, or ancient Rome.[15][unreliable source?] For example, a unit study of Native Americans could combine age-appropriate lessons in: social studies, how different tribes lived prior to colonization vs. today; art, making Native American clothing; history (of Native Americans in the U.S.); reading from a special reading list; and the science of plants used by Native Americans.

Unit studies are particularly helpful for teaching multiple grade levels simultaneously, as the topic can easily be adjusted (i.e. from an 8th grader detailing and labeling a spider's anatomy to an elementary student drawing a picture of a spider on its web). As it is generally the case that in a given "homeschool" very few students are spread out among the grade levels, the unit study approach is an attractive option.

Unit study advocates assert that children retain 45% more information following this approach.
All-in-one curricula

"All-in-one" curricula, sometimes called a "school in a box", are comprehensive packages covering many subjects; usually an entire year's worth. They contain all needed books and materials, including pencils and writing paper. Most such curricula were developed for isolated families who lack access to public schools, libraries and shops[by whom?].

Typically, these materials recreate the school environment in the home and are based on the same subject-area expectations as publicly run schools, allowing an easy transition into school. They are among the more expensive options, but are easy to use and require minimal preparation. The guides are usually extensive, with step-by-step instructions. These programs may include standardized tests and remote examinations to yield an accredited school diploma.
Student-paced learning

Similar to All-in-one curricula are learner-paced curriculum packages. These workbooks allow the student to progress at their own speed.
Online education

Online resources for homeschooling include courses of study, curricula, educational games, online tests, online tutoring, and occupational training. Online learning potentially allows students and families access to specialized teachers and materials and greater flexibility in scheduling. Parents can be with their children during online tutoring session. Finally, online tutoring is useful for students who are disabled or otherwise limited in their ability to travel.
Community resources

Homeschoolers often take advantage of educational opportunities at museums, community centers, athletic clubs, after-school programs, churches, science preserves, parks, and other community resources. Secondary school level students may take classes at community colleges, which typically have open admission policies. In many communities, homeschooling parents and students participate in community theater, dance, band, symphony, and chorale opportunities.

Groups of homeschooling families often join together to create homeschool co-ops. These groups typically meet once a week and provide a classroom environment. These are family-centered support groups whose members seek to pool their talents and resources in a collective effort to broaden the scope of their children's education. They provide a classroom environment where students can do hands-on and group learning such as performing, science experiments, art projects, foreign language study, spelling bees, discussions, etc. Parents whose children take classes serve in volunteer roles to keep costs low and make the program a success.
Certain states, such as Maine and New Mexico, have laws that permit homeschooling families to take advantage of public school resources. In such cases, children can be members of sports teams, be members of the school band, can take art classes, and utilize services such as speech therapy while maintaining their homeschool lifestyle.

Unschooling and natural learning

Some people use the terms "unschooling" or "radical unschooling" to describe all methods of education that are not based in a school.

"Natural learning" refers to a type of learning-on-demand where children pursue knowledge based on their interests and parents take an active part in facilitating activities and experiences conducive to learning but do not rely heavily on textbooks or spend much time "teaching", looking instead for "learning moments" throughout their daily activities. Parents see their role as that of affirming through positive feedback and modeling the necessary skills, and the child's role as being responsible for asking and learning.

The term "unschooling" as coined by John Holt describes an approach in which parents do not authoritatively direct the child's education, but interact with the child following the child's own interests, leaving them free to explore and learn as their interests lead."Unschooling" does not indicate that the child is not being educated, but that the child is not being "schooled", or educated in a rigid school-type manner. Holt asserted that children learn through the experiences of life, and he encouraged parents to live their lives with their child. Also known as interest-led or child-led learning, unschooling attempts to follow opportunities as they arise in real life, through which a child will learn without coercion. An unschooled child may utilize texts or classroom instruction, but these are not considered central to education. Holt asserted that there is no specific body of knowledge that is, or should be, required of a child.

"Unschooling" should not be confused with "deschooling," which may be used to indicate an anti-"institutional school" philosophy, or a period or form of deprogramming for children or parents who have previously been schooled.
Both unschooling and natural learning advocates believe that children learn best by doing; a child may learn reading to further an interest about history or other cultures, or math skills by operating a small business or sharing in family finances. They may learn animal husbandry keeping dairy goats or meat rabbits, botany tending a kitchen garden, chemistry to understand the operation of firearms or the internal combustion engine, or politics and local history by following a zoning or historical-status dispute. While any type of homeschoolers may also use these methods, the unschooled child initiates these learning activities. The natural learner participates with parents and others in learning together.[citation needed]

Homeschooling families usually have to absorb the total costs of their child's education.
[edit] Homeschooling and college admissions

Parents choose to use standardized test scores to aid colleges in evaluating students. The College Board suggests that homeschooled students keep detailed records and portfolios.

In the last several decades, US colleges and universities have become increasingly open to accepting students from diverse backgrounds, including home-schooled students. According to one source, homeschoolers have now matriculated at over 900 different colleges and universities, including institutions with highly selective standards of admission such as the US military academies, Rice University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University.

A growing number of homeschooled students are choosing dual enrollment, earning college credit by taking community college classes while in high school. Others choose to earn college credits through standardized tests such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

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