Learning from Homeschool Success

Good school teachers could only be envious of the advantages homeschoolers have in the art of education.  We have a cozy view of our children's interests, strengths and weaknesses.  Solutions to any learning problems can be directly applied in day to day practices.  If a child balks at learning science one way, we can stroll to the great outdoors exercising a little hand-on science and biology. Park, pond and beach trips suit those goals perfectly.  So does road kill.

Home education has recently been referenced as a model for educators/education.

In the Spirit of Jefferson blog, Elliot Simon pointed out former West Virginia State Superintendent Jorea Marple's homeschool misconceptions, while offering reasons her focus was wrong.  Mr. Simon also noted despite West Virginia's low per capita income, homeschoolers succeed. Homeschoolers are often one-income and not rich, despite the media clamor stating otherwise. Check out Laura Grace Weldon's column response – Moneybags.

I should also note West Virginia homeschoolers suffered a bit of a fright in 2011 with the appointment of Ms. Marple.  She was quoted in her very first address to the WV Legislature's Joint Committee on Education with this:

“West Virginia homeschoolers need more oversight, better standards, better evidence of progress; homeschoolers have too much flexibility.”

She’s moving on.

From Mr. Simon’s article:

It is pretty clear that homeschoolers are doing something right. On the other hand, it is equally clear that something has gone wrong with public schools here in West Virginia. For my part, I don’t blame public school teachers. The system is broken and has let them down. Homeschooling parents are not burdened by the same regulations and constraints as professional teachers. They are free to innovate and the results speak for themselves.

The website Edudemic says this about homeschooling:
5 Lessons We Can All Learn From Homeschooling – Katie Lepi

Homeschooling has probably as many supporters as it does people who are strongly against it, and while those who homeschool often have a variety of reasons for it (a concern for the school environment and the quality of instruction available top the list), most who oppose it don’t necessarily consider homeschooling a place to look for teaching and learning advice. But if we take a quick look at in the infographic below, there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between various ‘methods’ of homeschooling and many of the tactics teachers are using to try to get away from a lecture based classroom (and often, to integrate technology, too).

The article lays out commonly used homeschooling styles.

More homeschoolers are using technology based materials to either drive or supplement their learning.

“Independent Study” style homeschooling uses the parent (teacher) as a guide to help the student on their learning journey rather than to teach (sounds a lot like Challenge Based Learning, no?)

“Unschooling” style homeschooling lets the student set the direction and pace of learning based on their needs and interest. There has been a lot of press recently on integrating this style of learning into the classroom.

A focus on one-on-one attention is obvious in homeschooling, but many parents and teachers are pushing for lower teacher to student ratios in classrooms to take advantage of more personalized attention, too.

Lepi also points out Clark Aldrich's refreshing book –  Unschooling Rules55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education.  Aldrich notes a practical fact many homeschoolers understood when they stepped out of the education grid(lock) in his post –Still think PhD's and Educators should be in charge of reforming schools?

From Katherine Mangan's article in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Educators were much more upbeat than either college graduates or employers about graduates' preparation for the work force. Seventy-two percent of educators felt the graduates were ready for entry-level jobs, while only 45 percent of the graduates and 42 percent of the employers shared their optimism.

Could we dream the notion the newest 'cutting edge' federal government endorsed idea of more school time in the classroom will disappear?  Homeschoolers demonstrate quality learning time does not mean quantities of structured time.

Maybe these observations will continue and help nudge the school system into a more useful condition.  Obviously, our home educated families have an intimacy schools cannot share, but there surely could be educational movement proving beneficial for our communities as a whole.

Cross posted at Home Education Magazine's News & Commentary


Learning from Homeschool Success — 3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Our Curious Home » Blog Archive » The Carnival of Homeschooling; How’d it get to be December?

  2. It is important to remember that public school's goal was not necessarily to education the individual, but to allow for literate masses.  Homeschooling can be customized for each student, each family, and each situation.  We use a variety of books, as well as online sources (Like Vocabulary and Spelling City, and Leaning Game for Kids) which help make the most of my daughter's strengths and weaknesses.  Those strenghts and weaknesses are individually her own, and have to be taken into account if she is to get the best education possible.  Public school cannot recreate that model of education for various reasons.  Maybe homeschoolers are a threat to the system?  It is more than ok to be an individual, and to excel.  To homeschooling!