Today’s post is a guest post by CaptiousNut whose blog Marginalizing Morons has as its tagline: “An Online Homeschool Curriculum, for Adults!” I don’t actually remember how I first “met” Cnut but he has been a regular commenter on my posts – which I very much appreciate – AND he has a distinctive perspective on home education. First of all, he is a home-school dad who actually does most of the home-schooling of his two young children. In addition, he employs what I would call an “accelerated education” model (which veteran home-schoolers may remember was first popularized by the Swann family in the 80’s and 90’s) His five-year old son, for example, is already working on algebra! He has his own home-schooling blog in the works but in the meantime he has numerous home-schooling articles that I would encourage you to check out. So here it is – one dad’s home-schooling philosophy:
My homeschooling philosophy is simple: work, work, work.
More times than I can count I’ve endured, “Oh, they’re kids….let them enjoy their childhood.”
And to that I’ve always retorted that kids are awake for 14 hours a day and that devoting merely 1-2 hours of that time toward reading, math, writing, art, music, computers, etc. hardly qualifies as child abuse. They still retain 10 hours of *playtime* each day! Exactly what fantasy world ought we to prepare them for???
Seriously, that is ALL that we set aside, a mere fraction of each day. We don’t take weekends, holidays, or the summer off.
While everyone else spends a collective 2 hours a day getting their kids ready for, and to and from, pre-school/school….we are using that same alloted time productively, and at the very cusp of their individual learning curves.
I know well from experience that if my kids, for whatever reason, end up going say 4-5 days away from their workbooks, they put up quite a fight the day *work* resumes. I’ve learned to see the resultant commotion as a *test*, if you will, for the parents.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m fanatical about them doing at least something – no matter how easy or short – every single day. When they push back I ask them, “Where’s Mom today?” – “What’s Grandpa doing today?” – “What’s Uncle Vinny doing right now?”
“Work” is the murmured, conditioned response.
The other reason concerns educational momentum. I do hate to quote studies, but I read somewhere that when given the exact same tests in September that they took in June….students suffer a marked decline in their scores. That’s why the first quarter(?) or so of each AND EVERY school year is wasted on review. And I really took note of this phenomena as my son was blowing through the Kumon math books. Every time he jumped a grade level – say from *3rd grade multiplication* to *4th grade multiplication* – we ended up skipping a solid one quarter of the new workbook. We didn’t need to review anything because my son’s education was and is continuous.
Remember, summer vacation is an artifact of yore. And back in the agricultural economy, those kids only paused academics so they could WORK the family farm, harvest and peddle. They most certainly weren’t putting down their books so they could swim everyday, play video games, go to sports camps, and essentially morph into wastoids for two full months!
Okay. Not only do my wife and I believe in work, work, work….we also believe in starting very early. Kids should start tracing their numbers and letters between the ages of 2.5 and 3.5. And before they can even do this, put them on your lap and have them TYPE their ABCs and 123s out on the computer (in a large font). Don’t allow the physical burden of handwriting to hold them back! We set up e-mail accounts for our toddlers and they typed out and sent the alphabet and numerals to their grandmothers and aunts and uncles – then, before long, *at cat hat bat rat* and *it bit sit kit hit*.
Start out at 10 minutes a day and push incrementally longer as they get accustomed to the habit of daily work. And, as I hinted at above, do call it *work*. Children invariably like the grown-up idea of having a job to do – if marketed deftly. Everything in our family has been branded work – from my two-year old referring to her *puzzle work* to Dad asserting he has to go to the driving range for his *golf work*.
None of what I’m describing is daunting at all in terms of time, know-how, or cost. We used the Kumon books ($6.95 apiece) which start with simple tracing and then progress into letters, numbers, words, arithmetic, time, and money.
A lot of wondrous things are going to happen when a parent dips a toe into homeschooling waters. I submit, first and foremost, they will see a marked behavioral change in children who learn not only the rudiments of literacy and numeracy, but who also learn how to SIT DOWN and CONCENTRATE.
Other revelations could very well include: genuine enjoyment from teaching their own child, confidence that they actually CAN teach…and ultimately the startling realization that the kindergarten curriculum is an insult to their child’s capabilities.
Think about it. My approach is really an investment of the no-risk/all-reward category. Arbitrageurs on Wall Street (where my wife and I have spent our careers) devote every minute of their grind looking for these; and when discovered, they are trained to place these bets as often and as large as possible.Print This Post