One of our Facebook friends recently shared that her son finished the first day of Core A in 45 minutes. Most schools would barely have made it past roll call and an "ice breaker" game in that time. This radical disparity in efficiency is one reason why I find state requirements to spend a certain number of hours "in school" so strange. So how do homeschoolers accomplish so much in so little time?
Here are six things not available to most teachers that benefit you as a homeschooler:
- You can get to work right away. When you're ready to start school, you just start. You don't have to wait for passing periods or a particular time. You just get going.
- You don't have to wait for others. If your student "gets it" right away, you can move on. In class, you may have to wait while the teacher explains an idea again for someone who didn't catch it the first time. Conversely, if you need extra time to understand an idea, you don't have to hold up 30 other kids while you wrestle with the concept.
- "Containment" is not one of your goals. Paul Graham states that "Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done." The primary purpose of homeschooling is to educate our kids. After we'd done some of that each day, my parents let me run free.
- You can make it fit your needs. Is your child having a meltdown? Are you about to have one? You can take a break and come back to this later. You can read school books as bedtime stories--of the many reasons Sonlight's literature-based approach to homeschooling is such a beautiful thing. You don't always have to just try to push through.
- You love learning and teaching. Most of the teachers I know absolutely love teaching. They love their students. But the students, stuck in an inefficient and often uninspiring scenario, may not be so energized. And your children won't be all the time either. But with Sonlight, we guarantee that you will love to teach and your kids will love to learn. As a homeschooler, you can pick the resources that work for your family.
- You don't have to lecture. Homeschooling demonstrates that lectures are not always the most effective way to teach people stuff. Lectures have their place and can be interesting, but by homeschooling you can take advantage of highly efficient and effective teaching models.
Put simply, homeschooling is efficient because of the low student to teacher ratio and freedom from forces that have interests other than educating children. That's how homeschooling works! Homeschooling is, I think, an example of what Seth Godin calls appropriate cheating. Homeschooling is not limited the way schools and classrooms are. And we can focus on productivity over being busy.
You may be thinking, 'That's nice, Luke. But you haven't been to my house. I can't seem to motivate my children and we're anything but efficient. I'm often still cajoling my kids to do some work at dinner time!'
I, personally, don't know anything about that <grin>. But I did have a sibling who made it hard on my poor mother <cough>. If you're struggling to get it all done each day, you're not alone. Here are six ways to fit all the subjects into your homeschool day. And Judy has four excellent reminders for when your kids break down. And maybe it's time to consider ways to help your children learn to concentrate.
Do you find homeschooling to be efficient? Or was this last year filled with long days of pulling those proverbial teeth? A little bit of both?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester