With a push to dumbed-down homeschooling by the corporate-funded charter schools, it helps to keep in mind some essential truths when you're deciding how you want to homeschool.
Here are a few maxims that successful homeschoolers understand.
1. Smart Homeschoolers know that no child is an average
Tests and comparison charts show you how your child ranks in relation to the rest of his or her classmates. While your child may be above average or below average, most children are slotted somewhere in the average range.
Yet, no child is an average any more than a rose in bloom can be considered an average. Each child is a unique individual with a particular combination of gifts.
Help your child to grow up to discover his originality, his authenticity, but don't let him grow up to think of himself as above average, below average, or average.
He is an original piece of work. His rank is singular.
2. Smart Homeschoolers know that character development matters more than the training of the mind
This isn’t to say that one has to be sacrificed for the other, though you could argue that's exactly what's happening in public schools.
The quality of your child’s character is being compromised in the name of education, because the focus in public school is on the training of the mind.
There is no training in moral development!
Yet, your child's character will be measured by his adherence to moral principles.
Your child could be a genius, but if he grows up with a cruel heart then what will his genius be worth?
On the other hand, let's say you raise your child to know the difference between good and bad character, and he develops good character because you were a competent parent.
You've now raised a child who can make this world a better place just because he's in it.
The quality of our world is the sum of its parts.
3. Smart homeschoolers know that the words “homework” and “homeschool” are interchangeable
This is not usually the reason why parents homeschool, but it could be. If a child is bringing you home two to three hours of homework every night, and you're helping him with his homework, you may as well be homeschooling.
And what about your child? An eight hour school day plus two to three hours of homework makes for a very long day for your child. When will he find the time to develop a sense of self, his interests, or his talents and skills?
Aren’t the latter important too?
On the bright side, if you homeschool:
you avoid the stress of getting your children up and out the door at a god-forsaken hour every morning
you avoid the stress of making sure they have lunches packed
you avoid the stress of interrupting your day to pick your children up from school
you avoid the stress of having to build your family's life around the state's school schedule
you avoid the homework battle that’s destroying family time
Homeschooled families relax at home, and the children learn at their own pace. They go on field trips when they want, and homeschoolers take vacations when they want.
Homeschooled children also have plenty of time for discovering and pursuing their own interests in life, which is what will help bring meaning and fulfillment to their lives when they’re all grown up.
4. Smart Homeschoolers know they don't need to test their children, ever
Testing is for the classroom. A teacher has 30 students, and she cannot possibly keep track of what each child knows or doesn't know, so she administers periodic tests to evaluate each child's comprehension of whatever it is she's been teaching.
When you're teaching your children one-on-one, you know exactly where they're at in each subject you teach. If they fail to understand a concept, you work with them until they do understand.
If you're homeschooling using sound principles, you don't need to subject your children to the stress of standardized tests or any tests for that matter.
5. Smart Homeschoolers know that lots of books in a home inspire children to read
If you have a lot of bookshelves in your house, and if you have interesting books for your children to read, they are more likely to read than children with out.
If you want your children to be good readers, provide them with excellent literature and keep the books where your children can see them and touch them.
6. Smart Homeschoolers know that children whose parents read are more likely to grow up to be good readers too
Let your children see you reading, and they'll naturally do what you do. Let them witness your love of books, and they'll love books too.
Your children will learn to value what you value as long as you're the primary influence in their lives.
And if you don't love books, you've got to discover the beauty in a written piece of art if you’re going to homeschool successfully. There are ways you can do this.
7. Smart Homeschoolers know that sometimes children need to learn things they may not want to learn, but that's okay.
Life is not always a bowl of cherries, and it's better not to raise your children to think it is. Sometime your children will have to do things because it's the right thing to do and not because they want to.
You may have a child that doesn't like grammar, but he will be illiterate without a knowledge of how his language works. Maybe he doesn't like math, but he needs to learn math if he's going to become financially competent.
Instead of catering to what your children want to learn and don't want to learn, teach them to stop whining. They should learn to respect the fact that you know what they need better than they do.
That's why you're their parent, and they're your children.
It's not that your children can't learn things they want to learn; of course, they can. But they understand that sometimes they have to learn things because you told them to.
When this happens, your children know that they do their work anyway, and they do it gracefully.
You can’t force your child to learn anything, but you can be a loving parent whose children respect and obey you.
If you would like to become a smart homeschooler, please join the waiting list for my upcoming course: How to Homeschool the Smart Way.
If you enjoyed this, you might like my free download Ten Books Every Well-Educated Child Should Read.
If you need help with your homeschooling, please schedule a one-hour consultation with me at http://bit.ly/2GJAZEr