What IS the point? What’s the point of school? Why do we (society in general) send our kids off to an institution of learning for the better part of five days a week for thirteen years of their childhood? I think the answers to these questions are central to understanding a parents purpose in home schooling. Many parents fear home schooling just because they didn’t do well in school themselves or they don’t think they know enough about science, math, or literature to be able to teach their kids. These are understandable concerns, but are not barriers that should prohibit them from home schooling.
Consider these points:
- We don’t expect that our children will retain 100% of the information they are taught in school. It is estimated that students will retain only about 10% of what they learn after three weeks. If there IS something we forget or are not able to teach them, it’s not the end of the world.
- There is little consistency in the content being taught from school to school, city to city, and state to state. Depending on where your children attend school, the content they learn in school can be quite different from their peers in another school, another city, or another state.
- There are three basic learning styles: auditory, visual, kinesthetic/tactile. Kids have different learning styles and teachers have different teaching styles. What are the chances that your child’s learning style meshes with the teacher’s teaching style? It’s likely that the teacher generally only appeals to one of those learning styles because they themselves fall into one of the three learning styles. There’s a good chance your child’s experience is less than adequate BECAUSE he attends a traditional school.
This leads me to the understanding that it is not necessarily the curriculum taught that is most important. It is the PROCESS of learning that we should focus on. The most important thing in a kids education is that they are taught HOW to learn and are encouraged to pursue their interests in a meaningful way. School is most importantly a way to foster their natural curiosity and teach them how to love and pursue learning. And that is something any parent can do, if they have the time and interest. A child’s natural curiosity will draw them through a whole gamut of different learning opportunities that, if guided and encouraged by a willing and interested parent, will result in a superior and wholly satisfying educational experience.
Since there are endless resources available with nothing more than a computer and the internet, who needs traditional school anyway?! (And if you don’t have a computer, never fear, most libraries have computer terminals with free internet access!)