Sixteen years of my life, thus far, have been dedicated to the education of my children. I have home schooled all four and can proudly say, that it continues to pay in eternal dividends. My first graduate is now a junior at Biola University studying journalism and effectively navigating the world of higher education. My younger three are in high school and junior high, and they get to expand their home schooling horizons through the Biola STAR Academics program, where they take core classes, while enjoying the benefit found only in home schooling. It has been a road less traveled and many times exhausting, but it has been worth all the late night preparations of essays and tears of “just not getting it” when faced with an algebraic equation. The dividends that are gained through the diligent side by side work with my children, not just in their academic life, but as a family are priceless and something that could not be recreated if an institution had my children for 8 to 10 hours a day. It is the best school choice we as a family ever made.
My co-worker at STAR Academics and I were discussing the following parent-teacher conference film in light of education in general. Having home schooled for so long and having been actively involved with the teaching of other home schooled students, I have found that most home schooling families have counted the cost of sending their children to the local assembly line of education and have made the choice to swim against the status quo. Those who come from the public schools, are usually shocked by the vigorous program we offer two days a week at STAR Academics, and the time and dedication that is demanded of the parents themselves. There is also the surprise that the “A” easily gained at the public school may not be as easily achieved in our home schooling program. The kinds of conversations that many times take place are, “How come Jimmy is not excelling like he was at his old high school? Why is he only getting a “B-“, when he used to get all “A”s in his A.P. classes?” To this type of question, my site administrator explains that, colleges will ultimately look at the scores of SAT or ACT tests as these compare apples to apples, and that different grading standards of the various schools in the valley, be it private, public or home schooling will be measured in that standardized test.
She gave the example of a school that takes remedial students, just trying to prepare them for the California High School Exit Exam, who end up getting “A”s as seniors while passing an eighth grade level math course. Their GPA may look good, but the comparison of strenuous academic criteria and standards found at the neighboring Christian school makes the “A” student from the remdial school not even compare to a “B” student at the private school. Therefore a standardized test for universities to weigh the student’s academic aptitude is necessary.
The goal of most home schooling families I have been privileged to work with goes deeper than just academics and involves the educating and nurturing of the whole child: body, soul and spirit. Because the parent is the teacher, he or she recognizes the areas of strength and weakness in the individual student and can make adjustments to meet those needs. Remaining diligent to the call, finding outside help when needed and realizing that the goal should be to instill a love of learning, will help when the daily grind gets rough.
Whether one chooses Private, Charter, Public or Home Schooling for their children, ultimately the training of the child rests solely on the parents and their involvement in the process. One can not enter a parent teacher conference and place all the blame on the teacher, as the closest teacher a child will ever have is the parent. Too many times, the following video, is the scene in a parent teacher conference. Watch and learn how not to be like this mother portrayed in this telling scenario.