Homeschooling, the processes of educating children at home is not a new concept. For centuries, children were educated by private tutors or at home. Before compulsory education was declared mandatory, the goal of educating a child was to make him or her autodidact. The main goal in educating a child was to teach them to read, write and do basic math so that they could have the ability to function as an adult and to research and learn any subject, or trade that interested them.
Few children today are equipped or enabled to further their education on their own. In fact, they are discouraged from doing so. They are held in public or traditional schools well past the age of curiosity (which is generally around 12 or 13) and forced to learn subjects at a survey level that neither interests them or gives them enough in-depth information to keep them interested. When they are finally freed to follow their own course, they are usually sick of “learning” or barely remember what inspired them in the first place. They are then set on a recommended course based on some ability assessment, and earning potential. Many are discouraged from doing anything too challenging or told their interests will not yield a decent living. Had they studied the subject from a young age, and become the best in their fields, their earning potential would have in fact, been very high.
My purpose here is not to trash schools. There is value in giving many children an education in areas they may not be naturally inclined to visit on their own. However, parents must consider allowing time for children to explore their interests and passions while they are still young and curious.
Just as I have no intention of putting down schools, I have even less intention of dissuading parents from putting their kids in public schools. Just as homeschoolers do not take all day to educate their children. Parents of public school children do not have to take all day to offer their children enrichment courses and make information available to them. Taking just two to four hours a week to “homeschool” a child in an area that excites them will be two to four hours well spent.
Even as homeschoolers, we must remember the reason we are homeschooling in the first place. In an effort to ensure my child had all the required academic courses covered last year, I put off his desire to learn html. Fortunately, he did not. As soon as I called a break for summer, he buried himself in to pursuit to learn what he could of the subject that intrigued him. I shared with him all of the knowledge I had of the subject I had. Then I showed him how and where to find more information. I eventually turned him over to other adults who had more knowledge, books and research material than I did. Now that summer is coming to an end, his efforts have yielded great benefits. He can not only write html pages, but can pull together a decent website all before his twelfth birthday. Had his thirst to learn this subject been brushed aside, he would have missed the opportunity to develop in an area that he was not only passionate about, but that was natural for him.
This coming year I am setting aside a couple of hours a day for my children’s independent studies. Yes, I have the ability to adjust schedules so that they do not study late into the night, but there is no reason children who go to school cannot find time to study subjects not allowed in school. “Homeschooling” your public schooled child can be done on Saturday mornings, one evening a week, or for a half hour before bedtime every night. While your child may hate doing homework, if they are passionate about learning Spanish, computer programming, sewing, or astronomy, they will be gladly devour this information, not to mention the one-on-one time you spend to educate them on your own.