Home Education Magazine
May-June 2002 - Articles and Columns
H is for Homeschooling - Scott Stevens
A is for the Adults that can share their talents with children and help them discover the joy of learning. They are parents, neighbors, friends, grandparents, teachers, aunts, uncles, and anyone else willing to share their gifts with children.
B is for the thousands of Books that we can read and learn from. Quot libros, quam breve tempus! (So many books, so little time!)
C is for College. Yes, homeschoolers can go to college without a diploma from a public or private school. If it is your goal to attend college, it is possible. Many colleges actively seek homeschool applicants.
D is for the Dictionary that is always available to help us learn how to spell a word or understand the meaning of a new word that we find in The thousands of books that we read as homeschoolers.
E is for Experiences. Education as a homeschooler is full of real learning experiences like swimming with manatees, banding wood ducks, turning your garage into a puppet theater, starting your own business, writing things that are important to you in your journal, creating a chemistry lab in your kitchen, using a dictionary to spell words with, and reading books for fun.
F is for Family. Homeschool families have a closer relationship with each other. They enjoy spending time together. They do many things together. They read together. They play games together. They go hiking together. They do puzzles together. They play music together. They cook dinner together.
G is for the Grades that homeschoolers do not have to worry about. You do not have to learn to spell to get a passing grade. You learn to spell because you ask your parent how do you spell "chocolate". You can make a mistake on a math problem, learn from it and not worry about failing the test. You do not have to memorize and regurgitate facts for a history test grade, but you can study and learn about any topic in history that interests you.
H is for Homeschoolers, from those who have been teaching their children from before there were school institutions to modern day homeschoolers who have eased the way for new parents to regain the freedom of choice for the education of their children.
I is for Independence. Homeschoolers are independent learners and have the freedom to learn without the artificial constraints of an institutional school. You can learn to read at four years old or ten years old without fear of being labeled "gifted and talented" or an "at-risk student".
J is for Journals. Journals are a great way to learn how to write. You are writing about the subject you know the best, yourself! Write, write, write! Believe it or not, you are on an adventure called Life!
K is for the Kitchen. The most important room in your home where most of life's true lessons are learned, from cooperation to reading, from cleanliness to division, from togetherness to chemical reactions. All classrooms should look like a big friendly kitchen with a warm glowing hearth!
L is for Libraries. Visit your local library often! Check out books on tape or old movies on video, research a favorite subject, read the newspaper, ask the librarian questions. Read, read, read... and then read some more!
M is for Music. Music teaches many life skills that go beyond playing an instrument, like patience, persistence, and joy! Learning to play a musical instrument should be fun. Practice should be something that students look forward to and don't dread. Turn your home into a recital hall. Practice for a performance. Invite friends to share your music with and invite them to share their talents with you! Listen to music when you do math. Listen to a variety of music. Attend concerts and musicals as a family! There are many good bargains available for musical entertainment that are less expensive than the price of movie tickets and popcorn for a family night out!
N is for New Ideas. Homeschoolers have the freedom to try new ideas. Their schedule is flexible enough that if the opportunity arises to work with a wildlife biologist banding wood ducks, they can do it. Spur of the moment learning is always an option. Try a new recipe, read a new book, play outside when the sun is shining in the middle of winter, experiment with a new business idea. The possibilities for new ideas are endless.
O is for Outdoor Activities. Outdoors is where life and learning are happening. A spelling game can be played walking to the mailbox. Hiking and camping trips are not limited to weekends. A sailboat can be a classroom. A bike ride can be a biology field trip. Bird watching can lead to a lifetime of learning.
P is for Parents who chose to give their children a chance to learn differently: Parents who go against the conventional wisdom of family and friends, parents who make professional sacrifices to spend the short years of childhood with their children, parents who take responsibility for educating their children without the financial support of government institutions. Parents have the right to choose how their children are educated without the interference of the government. Homeschooling parents devote much energy and time to allow their children to learn in freedom from constraints of artificial standards and environments. Being a homeschooling parent is not the easiest path to take, but it can be a very rewarding journey.
Q is for all the Questions that children ask. Asking questions and searching for the answers is the true art of learning. A simple question from a child like "How do joey kangaroos get into the mother's pouch?" can lead to a learning adventure of finding books at the library, videos, internet searches, kangaroo craft projects, and more.
R is for Reading, reading, reading! How can children be successful in life? By reading, reading, reading! How do children learn to read? They have parents that read, read, read to them. They read books, newspapers, magazines, comic strips, dictionaries, encyclopedias, children's books and more. There is no magic formula to learn how to read, but children who are read to daily for as little as fifteen minutes from the time that they are born will develop reading skills quite naturally.
S is for Simple Science Experiments that you can do in your kitchen or your garage that can provide more opportunities for young minds to learn than the most advanced science labs in any school building. Science is about trial and error, making observations, learning from mistakes. Some experiments may be quick and easy, but many require time, and homeschoolers, fortunately, have control over how they to choose to spend their time.
T is for the Time that families can spend living and learning together. Homeschoolers have control over their schedules, and their lives are not dependent on class schedules, school holidays, bells, bus routes, bells, standing in lines, scheduled field trips, bells, snow days, grading periods, bells, standardized testing, or whatever restrictions schools put on your time that should be time spent enjoying learning.
U is for Umbrella Schools that allow students to "rise out" of school systems and develop the potential that is in every student, but is often forced down by schools. Umbrella schools can help ease the transition from public school life to homeschool life by handling the legal and paperwork for new homeschooling parents.
V is for Volunteering. Volunteering and learning go together perfectly. If you choose to volunteer to work, you are interested in what you are doing. Volunteering is real experiential learning that cannot be duplicated in a classroom. Volunteering in a job will develop knowledge that will last your entire life, not just until the next test.
W is for Writing. Write about yourself, your family, things you like to do, your interests. Write a letter to the editor. Write a poem. Write a song. Write in a daily journal. Write an article for a magazine. Write a book. Write, write, write! Do not worry to much about grammar and rules when you are first putting your ideas down on paper, there will be time to come back and edit and correct your mistakes later.
X is for eXtraordinary people who are really no different from you or me, but they were willing to take a risk, think differently from the crowd, take their children out of the public school system, go against the grain, believe in themselves, and make a difference in the world!
Y is for Young Minds that are so willing and ready to learn, with guidance from caring adults. They will develop and grow into independent and responsible adults who will pass on the gift of learning to the next generation.
Z is for Zygodactyl which is a type of bird's foot that has two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backwards, like on a parrot or a woodpecker. I would have never discovered this word, but fortunately I am a homeschooling parent, so my learning, like my children's, is unlimited. And learning new things, such as the meaning of words like zygodactyl, are challenges that homeschoolers thrive on!
© 2002 Scott Stevens
May-June 2002 - Articles and Columns
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