HOMESCHOOLING, CAN I DO IT?
By Joel Turtel
August 19, 2006
Many parents would like to homeschool their children but are afraid they don't have the training or ability to be their children's teacher. This is certainly understandable, because most parents never had any formal training to be a teacher. However, most parents don't have to worry about this issue.
There is literally a supermarket of education resources available for parents to choose from to help them homeschool their children. These include low-cost Internet private schools that take most of the homeschooling responsibility off parents' backs. There are also hundreds of low-cost instruction books on how to teach your child reading, math, and many other subjects. These are available from homeschool curriculum companies on the Internet, in most libraries, office-supply stores like Staples, and great book stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders.
There are thousands of easy-to-learn computer-software programs that can help you teach your child reading, math, and many other subjects. Also, the Internet is a vast source of information both for you and your children. The Internet even has dozens of online libraries that lets your child have fun studying any subject under the sun. All these education resources are geared towards average parents and children.
Remember also that over a million parents like yourself already successfully homeschool their kids. One study has shown that almost half of homeschooling parents today only have high-school diplomas. Also, millions of parents in this country taught their kids reading, writing, and "ciphering" (arithmetic) at home for over 200 years before we ever had public schools, which first started in the 1850's. Also, these parents did not have bookstores, Internet private schools, computer software, or all the other education resources you have available today.
If you research and use the many free-market education resources described in my book, "Public Schools, Public Menace," it will be hard for you to fail. You can choose from a wide variety of quality Internet private schools, learn-to-read (and math) books and computer learning software, and home-schooling resources to teach your children. Also, Internet education sites are always there, always ready to coach your child, twenty-four hours a day.
These education alternatives are relatively inexpensive, yet offer high-quality instruction. Your job as a parent is to commit some time and energy to find the right education resources for your children, then help and encourage your kids and oversee your children's learning experience.
Also, like most kids, your children want to learn when they study subjects that interest them. When learning becomes fun (instead of a drudge in public school), your kids can become your best homeschooling partner and help you succeed. Your kids may enjoy homeschooling so much that you may soon have to drag them away from their books or the computer for lunch. But isn't that great? Wouldn't you like to see your kids totally engrossed with their studies, improving their reading skills rapidly, and finding joy in learning?
Here's the beauty of homeschooling---if one math or reading book, software program, or Internet school doesn't excite your children or provide satisfactory results, there are many more to choose from. If you find homeschooling difficult in the beginning, use all the resources described in "Public Schools, Public Menace" to find books, Internet schools and tutors, teaching materials, homeschooling organizations, and other homeschooling parents you can network with.
Also, you don't have to plunge into homeschooling before you gain some confidence that you can do it. You can keep your child in public school while you start homeschooling. Try a few learn-to-read, math, or science books and computer software programs with your kids. Get your child involved. Your confidence will grow as you and your child work together and see that you do have the ability to teach your kids, and your kids see that learning at home can be fun. Then, when you and your child feel comfortable with homeschooling, you can take your child out of public school permanently and do homeschooling full time.
Another worry parents have, especially working parents, is finding the time to homeschool their kids once they make the commitment. This problem can also be solved fairly easily. The average homeschooling parent homeschools their children about four hours a day or 20 hours a week. You can arrange these 20 hours a week by teaching your kids two to three hours a night after getting home from work, or on the weekend, or a combination of the two. If you are tired coming home from work, you can do most of the homeschooling in concentrated sessions during the weekend.
Another suggestion is to talk to other parents where you live to form a neighborhood parent-homeschooling group. Each parent can take turns teaching the five to ten children in the group in her home. That way, no one parent takes all the responsibility or spends all her time homeschooling. This set-up allows each parent in the group to have much more time and flexibility for her job.
Or, all the parents in your parent-homeschooling group can chip in to pay for reading, math, or science tutors. Doing this lowers the cost for tutors dramatically for each parent. Parent homeschooling groups can also do double-duty in watching over young children while you are at work. In "Public Schools, Public Menace," I give 20 other suggestions for busy, working parents on how they can homeschool their kids and still keep their job.
While no one can guarantee you success in homeschooling, like anything else in life, if you keep trying, you will probably succeed in giving your kids a great education at home. If you say to yourself, "I will make this work, for my child's sake," you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Tell yourself what Gene Kranz, actor Ed Harris's character in the movie Apollo 13, said to his Houston crew about rescuing the astronauts in trouble: "Failure is not an option." If you say this and mean it, you're halfway to success for yourself and your child.
© 2006 Joel Turtel - All Rights
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Joel Turtel, author of Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children, holds a degree in Psychology. For the last ten years he has served as an Education Policy Analyst, studying the climate of today's public schools and its effect on children and parents.
Mr. Turtel has written two books, published over fifty articles, and has been interviewed in both print and broadcast media on the subject. His latest book, Public Schools, Public Menace has garnered national media attention – recently, for example, Dr. Laura Schlessinger featured the book on her nationally syndicated radio show.
Joel Turtel is available to discuss his book Public Schools, Public Menace in the media, at conferences, or with individual groups. Be warned though, you may be shocked by the revelations he has uncovered in America's public-school system.
There is literally a supermarket of education resources available for parents to choose from to help them homeschool their children. These include low-cost Internet private schools that take most of the homeschooling responsibility off parents' backs.