Enrollment in "homeschool is growing seven times faster than students enrolling in K-12 schools every year"

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Easton's picture

I have no problem with homeschooling, but, if parents are going to do it correctly, how in the world does anyone find the time?  Or am I mistaken in assuming homeschooling requires a substantial amount of one-on-one-parent-child involvement?

Susan R's picture

Some homeschoolers use different approaches/methods. Many homeschooled students are self-directed, using curriculum that supports the self-directed method - often in the form of DVD or online programs. Other parents are very hands-on and involved.

A significant number of homeschooled families are one income, with the mother staying at home to supervise. However, 'where there's a will, there's a way', and I know several one parent homes and two income homes who manage to homeschool quite well. 

The problem most people have imagining homeschooling is that they think the traditional classroom must be duplicated. This is not true, and homeschooling offers flexibility that can't be matched by a traditional school situation. 

PaulF's picture

What an experience homeschooling has been!  I still remember the first homeschool convention we attended in California before my son, Stephen was even ready for pre-school work.  He graduated with 64 other homeschoolers on Tuesday evening at a ceremony hosted by a local church.  I got to present him with his diploma -- what a treat.

Regarding time -- two comments on time issue:

1) Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NASB) These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. That's a lot of time...And that's just Bible class!  (ha, ha)

2) Seriously, it takes far less time than non-homeschoolers can imagine.  

a) Gym class AND extracurricular sports is redundant to a lot of homeschoolers -- for us, Mixed Martial Arts, Skating lessons, Swimming Lessons, camping/hiking with scouts ARE the gym class.

b) Take "study halls, lunch, in-between classroom transit via locker" out of the traditional school calendar and you've probably opened up at least a third of a day on each day.  

c) Not all classes meet five days a week in traditional school, but we have the flexibility of cycling through shorter lessons each day, five days a week (or longer lessons three days a week, or what ever works best for our students).  That tailorability goes a LONG way to being efficient and effective.

d) Most of the time spent in classrooms is in managing the group, herding them through group activities.  Oh, there's the bell, now we need to clean up, (bell) now we need to find our math book, (bell) now we need to open to page 73, now we need to....and so on wasting more time than you'd think.  With efficient focus on prep and familiarity with curriculum, we get done closer to 100% of the curriculum in less time than a traditional group environment.  

Consider tutoring versus classroom -- in high school I'd tutor students in the summer who failed science classes.  In 15-20 hours of tutoring I'd get them to pass a fresh final exam with a B+ or A- in most cases.  Had they been exposed to the curriculum before?  Sure, but they managed to fail enough of the exams that they functionally missed the whole point of the class.  Individual instruction always trumps group instruction for clarity, focus, and understanding (most of these students "heard" the teacher, but didn't understand, wouldn't ask for help, didn't get help and failed each exam until they had to chose between summer school or tutoring).  Imagine if they had been tutored all along, the tutor is there to explain, guide, redirect, offer alternative explanations, etc.  Familiarity with the books being used by the student (and access to a computer with web capability) is more than enough to fulfill that role -- don't need a PhD to teach high school math, just courage.

e) When you really examine scope and sequence issues between HS and traditional school it gets even clearer that we often cover more ground with our students and do it in far less time.  Additionally, if you compare HS curriculum versus traditional school curriculums, the traditional programs often have a lot of overlap between "grade levels" and if you understand scope and sequencing you can often end up skipping over that redundant review material without losing any core curriculum focus.  The overlap is there to compensate for summer vacation and to help get the "group" onto common ground within the first six to eight weeks of the new school season before they start trudging through new material.  Some, not all, HS families go "year round" and take more breaks during the calendar year or go to a relaxed summer schedule to keep the mind running while enjoying the summer, etc.

f) By high school age, much of the HS curriculum is self-study or online (as mentioned by Susan R, above).  I covered Biology labs with my son on weekends on the back porch and administered his exams as he read through the book.  We'd meet periodically to review questions/concerns along the way.  He'd pass most exams in the 95% to 100% range since he was going at his own pace -- faster for some chapters, slower for others.  If a traditional student had that luxury of selecting his/her own pace, and was proficient at reading the entire text, not just depending on lecture notes, they'd master the material, too.


I think the most important consideration for any family considering homeschooling is "why" they are doing this.  It can be done to get a "better" education, but is that the best reason?  We wanted our sons to become godly men who genuinely desire an ongoing relationship with God and live a life that is a blessing to other people.

Doug Flynn's picture

Easton wrote:

I have no problem with homeschooling, but, if parents are going to do it correctly, how in the world does anyone find the time?  Or am I mistaken in assuming homeschooling requires a substantial amount of one-on-one-parent-child involvement?

Similar questions could be raised for any schooling model. There are many options to help limit the time requirement and make up for the inability to teach certain subjects (www.libertytutorials.com, www.gbt.org, the potters school, local co-ops, etc.). Historically, with one room schoolhouses, the ability to teach large groups with differing ages, and do it well, has been proven. Character and discipline alleviate a lot of problems. Success starts well before Kindergarten.