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A Word About Home Schooling

A WORD ABOUT HOME SCHOOLING

SPECIAL TO VIRTUEONLINE

The Rev. Canon Jeff Williams
www.virtueonline.org
June 14, 2018

The only answers to low-performing, leftist-indoctrinating, frequently dangerous and drug-infested public schools is either home schooling or good private schools. In terms of hours per week, most children are influenced far more by the time they spend in public schools and with whatever companions (from whatever kind of home) they are thrown in with, than by the limited time they spend with their parents and church. I never cease to be amazed that Christian parents gladly put up with public schools to save a buck, then wonder why their kids often turn out as they do.

Since private schools are often expensive (but not really, considering the difference they can make in a child's future), those parents who can make the time to home school are extra blessed, as are their children.

It is now much easier to home school than ever before. There are new all-online curricula available which do virtually everything -- present good material, administer & grade tests, and keep and print out grade books and transcripts. This minimizes the busywork time an overworked parent has to spend supervising, and you can add whatever extras you want.

Schedules are totally flexible, and typically a kid can get the equivalent learning hours done much faster when they do not have to conform to a public school schedule with all the time wasted on study hall, lunch, passing out and collecting papers for the whole class, hanging out waiting for the bus, etc...

Actual learning time in a typical public school is maybe 20 to 25 hours/week, subtracting the wasted time. Since the online materials are available 24/7, families can set whatever times to work fits their household schedule- for example, do classwork for 5 hours/day 5 days a week, or 12 hours/day two days a week, or two three-hour sessions four days a week, or 3 1/2 hours/day seven days a week, or whatever fits the child's work habits and attention span-- all while getting a full typical week's worth of instructional time. And, bright, motivated students can easily complete extra hours and work in more electives, work well ahead of their grade level, etc. (Here in Georgia, even the public school system offers an all-online alternative.)

When I was headmaster of a brick-and-mortar private Christian school in New York, we primarily used two curricula: A Beka Book in elementary to produce excellent readers, and Alpha Omega Publications in secondary for its academic excellence. (We used other materials too depending on the subject.) In standardized testing using such tests as the Stanford Achievement Test and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, our class averages in most subjects and grades was into the 90th percentile (50 is average), sometimes 97th percentile. And this was in a school where the average IQ tested at 103! Truly, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10, Pr. 9:10) and "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Pr. 1:7).

I was intrigued to learn that Alpha Omega Publications has now joined the all-online movement with their new Monarch curriculum (https://www.aop.com/ ). (A Beka Book has a form of this too. See https://www.abeka.com/homeschool/ )

One of the best things about Alpha Omega is that at the beginning of a student's experience, they test what the student's REAL achievement level is in each subject. This is invaluable. In public school, they just put you in a one-size-fits-all grade level. The result may be (for example) that a student in 6th grade may be sixth grade in Language Arts and Social Science, but fourth grade (and hence getting farther behind every year) in math, and eighth grade (and totally bored in class) in science. In fact, in our school we found it was more common than not for new entering students to have such grade-level discrepancies. Alpha Omega (online or in Christian schools) puts children in the grade level they are really at in each subject, so they can catch up where they're behind (and spend less time where they're ahead, if necessary) until they are caught up in the formerly deficient area(s).

Home school students do much better than average on college-entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT. To those who worry about their socialization, I say two things: (1) Do you want them under constant negative peer pressure, surrounded by drugs, violence, or kids you might not want them bonding with (remember, one evil or stupid companion for one year can possibly ruin their life)? Not to mention that home schooling can be a permanent solution for problems many children experience with bullying, hazing, discrimination, sexual exploitation pressure, etc.. (2) There are many Christian peer groups, co-ops, and activities popping up organized by home school parent's groups, or recommended by nationwide groups like Home School Legal Defense Association ( https://hslda.org/content/) (See their site for info on each state's home school laws.)

Christian parents who truly want to do their best for their children, and can not afford a good local Christian school, should seriously look into home schooling.

BTW, when our nation was younger, there was no such thing as a universal public school system. The Founding Fathers were mostly home schooled, tutored, self-taught, or educated by Church schools. But that's a subject for another time . . .

Jeff Williams is with the Williams Law Office LLC based in Duluth, Georgia

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