27 April 2011

Why I Want to Home Educate: Academics

Another reason I wish to educate my children at home is because of academics.  I want their education to be tailored to their abilities, and I want to make the most of their interests.

Ideally teachers group children into smaller groups according to their abilities, but it isn't always possible to accommodate the diverse abilities and learning styles of each child, nor is it usually possible to give one-on-one tuition.  I remember when I was in 5th grade and I found the maths work to be quite easy.  My teacher, the wonderful Mrs Trunnell, pulled out a 6th grade maths book to try to have me work at a higher level; however, this didn't last for long, because she could not accommodate teaching the entire class one thing and then pulling me aside for extra tuition.  While I generally enjoyed school due to my love of learning, I was also bored for a great deal of school.  On the other end of the spectrum, there were also those subjects (namely algebra II, geometry, and pre-calc) where I would've benefitted from taking things a bit slower to ensure I really had a grasp of the subjects before moving on, but I was generally too self-conscious and/or intimidated to ask for help from the teachers.  Both of these are things I wish to avoid for my children, and which I believe can be avoided through educating at home.  After all, I will be able to give them individual instruction and can constantly assess their strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to accommodate their different learning styles (I am a visual learner, we'll see if they are visual, auditory, or tactile learners, or some combination of those things).

I also remember yearning to learn more history in school.  My freshman year of high school I was disappointed to find that there was no required history class that year.  In fact there was no required social studies class of any kind that year.  My electives tended to be whatever social studies classes I could find, therefore, though there weren't as many options as I would've liked.  Obviously there were some other opportunities to explore topics that interested me, such as writing a research paper or being involved in summer digs with a local archaeologist, but I still would've liked more.  Without being constrained either by standardised testing or the demands of working with a larger class, I should be able to accommodate my children's interests.  Of course I will also expose them to a variety of things inasmuch as possible, so they won't be limited in that regard.

Another advantage of homeschooling is that I'll be able to take them to museums and other outings during the school day, when the places won't be as crowded and they can have more time to truly investigate and explore.  In fact, we recently did that.  We'd gone to the museum, where there's a small aquarium.  Kieran had been to the London Aquarium in December, and he has often looked at his book about fish which he brought back from there.  He therefore wanted to explore the aquarium for nearly the entire time we were there, and it was perfect because a school group had just left and so very few people were there at the time.

I should also note that I do know my limitations, and will seek out help if and as needed.  I also have the benefit of having a father who is involved with educational reform, and I like to bounce ideas off of him and discuss various things with him.

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