Many homeschoolers have rejected the one-size-fits-all system in public and private school classrooms and have embraced a free market education for their children. As educational facilitators for our kids, homeschool parents are able to choose from vast quantities of curriculum and educational opportunities. With the ability for such customization, I don’t know two homeschooling families who do it the same way. Every plan is unique to each child and family. Homeschooling is educational entrepreneurialism at its finest!
A recent Business Insider article titled “Homeschooling is the Smartest Way to Teach Kids in the 21st-Century” squarely stated: “While traditional schools try their best to tailor lesson plans to individual students, teachers often still end up teaching to the middle. There are simply too many kids learning at different speeds for teachers to give each of them exactly what they need. Homeschooling, meanwhile, is personal by design.”
Homeschoolers are free to customize every element of their child’s education and have so many excellent options from which to choose. Here are a few:
- Curriculum–In most classroom-based public and private schools, a one-size-fits-all curriculum is used. This is not the case for homeschoolers. There is a massive selection of curriculum. Go to a homeschool convention or visit a site like Rainbow Resource to get a taste for all that is out there. This allows families to select something that is a good fit for each of their children. If after trying a curriculum they realize it is not optimal, they are free to try something else. Their hands are not tied as they would be in a public or private school where a parent must accept their entire program.
- Activities–Homeschooling is growing rapidly and so are the opportunities. In fact, in communities across America homeschool families have so many wonderful activities to choose from that they have to make sure they carve out some time to get their school work done. For instance, we are part of a weekly kayaking and sailing program with our friends. With this same group of friends, we go on field trips each Tuesday. On another day, we take a break from school work at lunch and participate in a homeschool basketball league.
- Classes–There are so many classes available for homeschoolers. As educational facilitators, parents can select the best teachers and classes in their area. They are not stuck with the teacher assigned to their child as you find in public and private school. As many of us know, there are outstanding teachers and some not so great. This has a big impact on learning and attitude. Instead of being tethered to a poor one, the homeschool parent does her research and selects outstanding teachers. Co-ops are also popular and a great way to build community.We take part in one each Wednesday where my kids have taken so many fantastic classes and have made their best friends. To name just a few of the classes we have taken over the past several years: Physics, Chemistry, Aviation, Engineering Structures, Violin, Blogging, Lego Writing Club, Anatomy, Cooking and Art.
- Online learning–Some of the most talented teachers in the world are making their teaching free or at low cost on the internet today. Ron Paul is a great advocate of homeschooling and writes in The School Revolution: “Because of the technological revolution of the internet, the cost of educating a child today can be minimal. If the parents homeschool their children, the internet can provide access to almost everything the parents need to provide an excellent education. This is an unprecedented breakthrough.”
- Pace–Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, wrote in The One World School House: “In a conventional classroom there is a single tempo tapped out by a single person–the teacher. Bound to this lockstep beat, the students who catch on quickest will soon become bored and zone out; perversely, they may even become discipline problems just as a way of keeping occupied. The students who need the most time will still be left behind. The tempo will be perfectly suited only for some hypothetical student in the middle of the curve. It’s a case of one-size-fits-few. With self-paced learning, by contrast, the tempo is right for every student because it is set by every student.” Homeschoolers are free to go at their own pace based on not only how quickly they learn but also their interests. If a child is fascinated with Ancient Egypt, for instance, then the family can spend much more time in it than in conventional school and also integrate writing, literature, math and science.
- Values–Ron Paul argues parents should reestablish control over the content and structure of their children’s education. “Parents can select educational materials in terms of their presuppositions about what constitutes a good education and a good life. Parents can go outside the household to gain support from professional educators, who will reinforce the parent’s worldview. They will be able to transmit their beliefs and values to the children, because they can get help from educational programs that share those values and beliefs.” Our closest friends share the same values and priorities as we do. We joyfully do homeschool life together!
Only homeschooling can offer truly customized and personalized learning. Tell me how you use the free market to customize your children’s education. If you are not currently homeschooling, we’d love to have you join our educational revolution!
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