Homeschooling and the family And Homeschooling hours

Homeschooling and the family

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, almost
1.1 million children underwent homeschooling in 2005 alone. That's
a lot of children. Once upon a time, homeschooling used to be a
radical statement - something like a declaration of independence.
It was the conservative Christians who advocated homeschooling in
the '80s and legalized it in every State. But the typical
homeschooler of the day is not religiously motivated.

Recent surveys indicate that parents are actually quite fed up of
the public school systems where much of the learning is
superficial and compulsory. They are also concerned about negative
school environment ranging from drugs and abuse to negative peer
pressure. As a result, we have a surprising mix of people who form
the homeschooling world of today. They cut across all religious
and regional borders. Their main aim is providing meaningful and
productive learning through a method that strengthens the bond
between the various members of the family.

All these families have one thing in common - a long enduring
commitment to the sanctity of childhood. The children in these
families are accorded a primary position. Many believe, and
rightly so, that homeschooling allows parents to bring up children
in a more natural and nurturing environment. Public schools can
make one nervous, diffident and downright mean. Children who get
schooled at home are protected from these damaging negative
influences till they reach an age where they can handle it.

Homeschooling draws the whole family into the almost religious
task of schooling. Everyone is put to work. The parents together
form a bond with the children. Any experience can be turned into
an educational experience. Both the parents are aware of exactly
what is going into their child's head. Parents also have greater
control on the kind of religious and moral values that the child
imbibes. Even watching a movie together can become a learning
experience. Trips to the libraries and other places become
educational as well as recreational.

A homeschooling family is primarily dependent on the income of one
earning member. That means that often spending has to be curtailed
and proper planning of expenditure is a must. This helps to bring
the family members together and everybody gets involved in the
process of saving money.

Having a parent at home to supervise, to nurture and care for the
children brings with it a lot of love and caring. Even your
husband chips in and there just is no room for boredom. Yes,
problems do crop up, and there are a lot of misgivings in your
mind. But when you know that your kids can always count on you,
and your kids know it too, then homeschooling becomes a richly
rewarding experience.

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Homeschooling hours

How many, how often and when? These are some oft-repeated 
questions when it comes to homeschooling hours. Flexibility is of 
course one of the key underlying principles behind homeschooling. 
This flexibility applies not only to the curriculum but also to 
the number of hours. It is only natural that parents, especially 
if they have just started out on homeschooling should feel that 
their children should be at their books all the time when regular 
school-goers are at school. This is not only fallacious but can 
also be damaging and counter-productive.

One of the most ignored but glaring drawbacks of the public 
schooling system is the sheer waste of time and energy that it 
causes. Many periods are simply wasted away and the child 
effectively derives only 1-3 hours of study everyday. Then, there 
are days when the studies become too intensive and other days when 
it's only games and no work at all. There is a lot of 'invisible 
wastage' involved here.

Early on in your homeschooling practice, work out a schedule. It 
is advisable to stick to the same hours everyday. A routine makes 
it easier to learn and gives structure to the learning experience. 
It also tells the students that parents are strict about their 
learning. A routine also allows your child to free his mind from 
other activities and concentrate on studies. He knows that a 
particular time is strictly set aside for learning. 

The actual number of hours that you need depends on the curriculum 
you have chosen and the learning style that suits your child. If 
you are dealing with a subject that seems to be more complex, you 
may need to sit with the child for a longer period. Using various 
techniques, it may be necessary to demonstrate what you are trying 
to teach. For instance, a lesson in Algebra may take more time 
than a lesson in English. 

Homeschooling does not refer to the practice of sitting in front 
of the books and learning the printed matter. Field trips, 
watching documentaries, visiting factories and libraries also make 
up an important slice of the homeschooling process. It makes sense 
to intersperse these activities so that learning becomes fun. 
You may want to finish off the few hours of textbook learning 
in the morning and dedicate the afternoons to these kinds 
of activities. 

Given the fact that too many public school hours are wasted in 
meaningless activities ranging from talking to extra-curricular 
activities, do not allow public school hours to dictate the time 
you should spend teaching your child at home. Remember that at 
home, he is getting a high-quality one-to-one time that is highly 
productive. About 1-3 hours of study is enough in the primary 
level. It is of course true that the more number of hours you put 
in, the more learning takes place. This is also the reason why 
homeschooling children are much smarter and more balanced than 
regular school going children. 

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