Bernie Sanders and the radical-left all support public schools and oppose vouchers, charter schools, and homeschooling. But often, homeschooling is a parent’s only option to escape the local public school that is failing to educate her kids.
That is why almost 1.8 million children are homeschooled today. That may sound like a lot of kids, but consider that almost 50 million children attend government-run public schools every day. So why are there so few parents who homeschool their kids? One reason is that many parents think it would take too much time to homeschool, or that homeschooling would be too difficult to do because mom works at an outside job to supplement the family’s income.
However, the time a parent would need to teach her children the essentials — reading, writing, and arithmetic — is much less than you think. Let me quote author and former public-school teacher John Gatto from his wonderful book, “Dumbing Us Down”:
“Were the colonists geniuses? [i.e., why did our colonial forefathers have literacy rates close to 90 percent?]. No, the truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about 100 hours to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. . . . Millions of people teach themselves these things. It really isn’t very hard. . .”
To be conservative, let’s assume that because you’re not an experienced teacher it takes you 300 hours to teach your child these skills with the help of learn-to-read phonics workbooks and computer software. 300 hours, divided by the average six-hour public-school day, comes out to fifty school days, which is about ten weeks or three months.
Let me emphasize this point — it could take you, or a tutor you pay, as little as three months to teach your child to read, write, and do simple arithmetic. Again, to be even more conservative, most children can easily learn these skills in less than one year if you (or a tutor) concentrated your instruction on these basics. Public schools take eight to twelve years of children’s lives, yet they turn out millions of high-school graduates who can barely read their own diploma or multiply 12 x15 without a calculator.
David Colfax and his wife Micki were public-school teachers turned ranchers who taught their four sons at home in the 1970s and 1980s, and three of their sons eventually went to Harvard. They co-authored a book titled Homeschooling For Excellence, which describes their home-schooling experience. In their book, they compared the time a child wastes in public school to the time average home-schooling parents need to teach their children the basics. Here’s what they wrote:
“The numbers are straightforward and irrefutable. The child who attends public school typically spends approximately 1100 hours a year there, but only twenty percent of these, 220 hours, are spent, as the educators say, ‘on task.’ Nearly 900 hours, or 80 percent, are squandered on what are essentially organizational matters.” [or today on sex-education or political indoctrination classes – my insertion]
“In contrast, the homeschooled child who spends only two hours per day, seven days a week, year-round, on basics alone, logs over three times as many hours ‘on task’ in a given year than does his public school counterpart. Moreover, unlike the public-school child, whose day is largely taken up by non-task activities, the homeschooled child has ample time left each day to take part in other activities — athletics, art, history, etc…”
So, according to the authors, if home-schooled children study for only two hours a day, year-round, they will get three times more educational hours on academic basics like reading, writing, and arithmetic than public-school students get.
Not only does teaching your child the basics at home take far less time than you thought, but teaching these skills is even easier today because parents now have the Internet, homeschooling- curriculum software, learning-to-read and learning-math books, and low-cost K-12 internet private schools to help them. Also, book resources like Amazon.com/Books and Barnes and Noble stores have whole sections full of books about teaching your child to read, write, and do basic math, as well as books that will interest and challenge young readers.
Once your children learn to read well, the whole world of learning opens to them. They can explore any subject that interests them, and read ever more difficult material by themselves in books or on the computer. For a small subscription fee, your children can study the entire Encyclopedia Britannica on the Internet. They can access almost every major library in the world through the Internet, including the Library of Congress. If your kids love to read and learn, the Internet provides unlimited resources.
Once your children read fluently, you can point them towards your local library or bookstore, supervise their studies, and see where their interests lie. Your job is to introduce your kids to as many different subjects and resources as possible. Have them take art classes at the local YMCA, library, or through an arts and crafts store. Introduce them to different kinds of music. See if they enjoy a music lesson on the piano, guitar, or drums. Give them classic novels by great authors to read. Have them join a local children’s soccer or baseball team to give them good socialization skills and physical exercise.
Most home-schooling parents today spend about three to four hours a day homeschooling their kids. The key point to remember is that you have many options and a vast amount of educational resource material available to help you homeschool your children and quickly teach them the basics. When you take advantage of this material, home-schooling can be fairly easy and take much less time than you think.