Home Schooling FAQs
by Brenna Lorenz
We home schooled Megaera, who is now attending Penn State
University. This page is for people who are interested in the hows and
whys of homeschooling.
Why did we decide to homeschool our daughter?
1) Megaera wanted to do it. 2) Megaera was willing to cooperate.
3) The schools on Guam aren't very good, and Megaera had bad experiences
with both teachers and kids there. 4) We, the parents, enjoy spending time
with Megaera. 5) We felt that we could give her a better education than
she could receive at school and meet her needs better. 6) We didn't want
her subjected to bullying, sexual harassment and drugs. 7) The schools
here aren't set up to meet the needs of exceptionally bright children.
Why haven't we homeschooled our son?
1) Maybe we will someday, but right now he won't cooperate.
2) We found a good, small, Montessori-like school for him where bullying
and other harmful behaviors aren't tolerated. 3) Right now, he doesn't
want to do it, but he says that he might later.
Weren't you worried that she wouldn't develop appropriate social skills?
It is a common misconception that schools
promote healthy social skills. What children actually tend to learn in
school is to knuckle under to peer pressure. They learn to be cliquish.
They learn to bully. They learn to smoke, drink, have sex and indulge in
illegal drugs. They become immersed in unsavory popular American culture.
If picked on, they develop low self-esteem. They learn to conform and to
value conformity over originality. Some children manage to resist all this,
but why torture them? If they resist, they don't fit in.
Does she have any friends her own age?
She has friends of all ages. Megaera says, "If a person is
nice, I like them no matter how old they are."
How did you find time to do it?
Megaera did a lot of work on her own.
She is an avid reader and writer. We created materials and worked more
intensively with her in the evenings and on weekends. She also sat in on
classes at the University from the time she was 8.
How much time per day should one expect the child to work?
That depends on the child. Megaera worked
a lot some days and very little on others. Her schedule was variable and
planned day by day. At first she tended to concentrate on one subject at
the expense of all others. But then she would turn her attention to other
subjects later. It all worked out. Some children require a rigid schedule,
but Megaera wouldn't put up with a rigid schedule. A parent has to be flexible
and responsive to the needs and personality of the child.
What did we use for curricular materials?
It is possible to purchase materials,
but we developed our own. We emphasized reading and writing (composition
and creative writing), arithmetic and word problems (we wrote these just
for her), observation, problem solving and analysis, and classification
skills. We played a lot of thought games (like 20 questions). When possible,
we showed her real things (for example, real insects) rather than pictures
of things or flashcards (pictures of insects).
For example, I gave her a list of words
containing short vowel sounds next to similar words with long vowel sounds,
Then we instructed her to figure out the rule illustrated
by these examples.
Another example: She was asked to examine
several different kinds of insects and describe what they all had in common.
Then she was shown a spider and asked to explain why it didn't fit in with
We spent a lot of time at the zoo analyzing
why the camel had big feet, why the polar bear is white, and so on.
What about sports?
Megaera detests sports, but she took swimming
lessons. We also hiked a lot and did some snorkeling.
How does a home schooled child get a high school diploma?
Megaera got her diploma through the Asmuyao
School here on Guam, a bridge organization between homeschoolers and other
"outcasts" and the public school system. They evaluated her portfolio,
required her to write a term paper, and then awarded her the diploma based
on her work.
Other home schooled kids graduate through homeschooling
organizations or take the GED.
Don't homeschooled kids have trouble when they get to college?
Maybe, but this problem can be circumvented
by having the child sit in on college classes and gradually learn college
skills. At first, Megaera just sat in class and listened and asked questions.
Eventually she learned to take notes. Then she started doing assignments
and taking tests. By the time she actually enrolled in college, she was
already far better versed in college skills than her classmates. Learn
more about this here.
Do you have any other questions about homeschooling?
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