Maximizing the Opportunities of Homeschooling
by Win and Bill Sweet
Your family is free to function without loss of control over a major part of
your lives when you choose homeschooling for the children.
As a result, a
whole new world opens up before you.
This freedom presents
opportunities far beyond the obvious ability to
personally manage your children's academic education. Reviewing some
of the additional options available in this amazing new frontier will help
you maximize the benefits of your homeschooling opportunity.
Respecting Individual Rhythm Patterns
Every individual has a unique life rhythm pattern which
affects daily living. One example is the sleeping rhythm. The homeschooling
way of life creates the opportunity for children to go to bed and get up
according to their own sleep clock. Doing so eliminates a common (but usually
undetected) cause of stress, thereby freeing physical, emotional, and mental
energy for more efficient, enjoyable, and productive attention elsewhere.
Preparing for Life, Not for Tests
Pouring facts and academic skills into children has become an obsession in
our culture. Average children spend much of their lives being force-taught
academics they don't need, aren't interested in, and aren't optimally ready
to learn. Families that choose homeschooling do so, in part, to lift this
insidious burden from their children's shoulders, saving them years of wasted
effort and time. An ideal principle of learning is that it be by invitation
only—the children's invitation. By following this principle, any academics
necessary to prepare for their adult lives and careers can be
learned at the right time and by using a fraction of the time and energy normally spent during childhood.
This savings allows an opportunity to develop non-academic resources
with which children can function well in life during childhood and on into
adulthood; for instance, acquiring valuable personal awareness, understanding money and
skills beneficial in handling all relationships—including their future
marriage—and pursuing interests that are enjoyable, fun, and can help
enhance natural talents.
These examples are only a small fraction of the
important preparation for life that children commonly never have an
opportunity to experience.
Accommodating Gender Differences
Men and women are different, and so are boys and girls. Yet our culture
generally gives little conscious attention to accommodating these
differences in children. The choice of homeschooling carries with it the
space, time, and opportunity for necessary flexibility and attention to
properly nurture and accommodate the gender differences.
Doing Nothing is Doing Something
When our grandson, Ryan, is sitting quietly, staring off into space, we are
very careful not to interrupt or disturb him. Important things are going on
in his consciousness and mind. Deep in our culture is the belief that in
order to be respectable people, children and adults must keep busy producing
achievements that can be visibly measured.
The many tempting field trips, group activities, and other advantages
available to homeschooling families can easily become overwhelming. Fortunately,
your own homeschooling experience provides the opportunity for you to choose how to balance some
traditional productivity with plenty of quiet
independent time and space for each child.In this freedom, many developmental
pieces will fall into place that are not visible to the observer. Although it
may seem like the children are doing nothing, in reality, day-dreaming is an
extremely valuable part of childhood. Doing nothing is doing something.
Avoiding Learning Disorders
The mounting stress in our society parallels the mounting numbers of children
being diagnosed with learning disorders. At the unique Sudbury Valley School
in Massachusetts not a single student has been diagnosed to have a learning
disorder in the thirty years of its existence. Why? The school is structured
so there is no stress in the atmosphere and the children are allowed to learn
at their own pace and within their own interests.
Learning disorders are not usually inherent in a child; they are more often
caused by the disabling effect of a stressful environment. Many children are
pushed or pulled from one stressful situation to another throughout the day. The
homeschooling lifestyle has built into it the opportunity to provide a
completely stress-free environment for your children, with time for plenty of
meaningful and playful learning experiences that enrich all of life, for life.
America is one of the most non-touching countries in the world. Touching
provides vitally important nourishment, assurance, and validation. Recent
research has shown that the mania among children (and some adults) to listen
to loud, often cacophonous "music" comes from touch deprivation. Teenagers
who suffered from touch deprivation and have later experienced a reversal of
this in their lives have then gradually turned down the volume and chosen more
soothing music. While this makes a tremendous difference in the teens, how
much better to start when the children are very young to provide a conscious
Your family's homeschooling lifestyle can provide ample
opportunity, not only for an abundance of touching, but also holding, and
hugging. Couple this physical closeness with abundant genuine attention and
then enjoy the positive results in your family living.
Every person longs to be honored and valued; however, children seldom
experience this deep longing of the heart in typical days. But you, as
a parent of homeschooled children, have a wonderful opportunity to
consciously and consistently honor your children, giving them a precious
personal experience. The children who truly feel valued for who they are, rather than
for what they do or do not do, have no self-esteem problems.
As you maximize the opportunities of the homeschooling choice, you
provide your children a unique academic education, as well as a special
non-academic wealth that will greatly enhance their todays and tomorrows.