Many Christians today still choose homeschooling as an educational option, but have no idea where to turn for resources. Although reasons for homeschooling vary, there are a number of key questions to consider:
1. Which curriculum are you going to use? Keep in mind that this question goes beyond a textbook. Parents can answer this question by looking to their state standards or even national standards of education. Some educational programs scoff at standards developed by secondary sources, but keep in mind that these standards have more to do with research and development and less to do with faith-based questions of morality. For example, a Christian school or homeschool can follow the National Council of Teachers of English standards or the AERO standards quite easily without finding something against their moral values. The Association for the Supervision of Curriculum and Development is an interesting research-based group that publishes key texts on curriculum development as it pertains to the neurological development of students. If we know how kids learn, then we can apply that knowledge to curriculum development. You may think you know best for your kid, but logically it is better to choose a guide that lessens the learning gaps rather than to try and “wing it” on your own.
2. What are your reasons for homeschooling? Do you want to provide your child with a classical education that includes literature, Latin, modern languages and rhetoric? Do you want your child to have a wide-ranging education focused on making them well-rounded individuals? Do you want your child to have the freedom to individually explore their own interests and meet their educational goals at the same time? Is your primary goal to preserve the doctrines of your faith? If so, what key points of doctrine do you see as most essential? Your choice of methodology and resources will depend on these objectives.
3. Who will be teaching your child? Will you be undertaking the responsibility of your child’s education? If so, what qualifications do you hold for the task? What types of professional development will you do to prepare yourself to be the best teacher possible for your child? If you are wanting your child to be more of an independent learner, what tools will help your child best reach that goal?
4. Where can you find additional resources and support? Perhaps you live in a small neighborhood where homeschooling is not the norm. Online forums such as Christian Teacher Forum can help you find fellowship, resources and help as you journey on this new and exciting path. The Internet has provided so many exciting homeschooling, technology-based tools! Just check out the links to “The Jubilee Academy” in the homeschooling category, for example. It is exciting what is taking place in our world today!
5. Where can you find extra-curricular activities that will provide your child with social interaction? One of the biggest complaints I heard from other students is that homeschooling children tended to be withdrawn in social situations. Teach your child how to capably interact with other children of the same age group by exploring outside lessons in art, music, martial arts, sports, and other community activities. Determine a school schedule that works for your child and allows him/her to explore outside interests. Send your child on missions trips offered through your church or participate in a foreign exchange program at a local school.
I hope that this article has given you some food for thought. Please feel free to share your lesson plan ideas, your stories and your reasons for choosing homeschooling. Help make Christian Teacher Forum an effective networking tool for homeschooling parents!