Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Does Homeschooling Really Work

When I first began homeschooling, there were a lot of concerned friends and family. How could I teach my own child?

I set out to prove them all wrong. I'd have the children reading by 4 and reciting Shakespeare by 6.

It didn't work out that way. My oldest child was severely dyslexic. New concerns arose. How could I ever teach a special needs child without the appropriate special education degree?

He was also a reserved child. What about socialization? Surely he needed to surrounded by 25 to 30 of his age-appropriate peers to come out of his shell.

He hated to write. Despised it. How would he ever make it in college?

He had to be reminded constantly to get his work done. He wasn't exactly a self-directed learner. Who was I to think that I could motivate him without the appropriate teacher's certificate?

Well, at 10 he took off reading. At 13, he decided he loved to write after all. High school came and he suddenly took an interest in school work. Self-directed learner is now an understatement. Though he's always been a quiet, reserved person, he has many loyal friends.

And, now at 18, he'll be going off to Franciscan University in Steubenville in the fall, where he is 1 of 40 students accepted in the Honor's Program. He even managed a small academic scholarship.
Ummm, maybe homeschooling works after all.


Friar Suppliers said...

I am, right now here in my kitchen, giving you the standing ovation you richly deserve. You are my inspiration and I am grateful for all of your words of wisdom in your books and here on the blog.

Well done Maureen, take a bow!

(of course he deserves some credit too;))

Maureen said...

Oh Mary Ellen, thank you so much. Yep, he does deserve some of the credit. Well, okay, a lot of it. Please keep him and his vocation in your prayers.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an inspiring story! Congratulations to you and your son! I hope he will be very happy at university.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Maureen for this post! I have a young child in this place right now. I am so frustrated and even after 16 years of homeschooling, I am doubting myself. You have given me hope and great inspiration. Congratulations to you and your son!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Maureen....I wish I had seen this before the conference! My dd is thinking about going to FUS. Did your son attend any of the youth conferences before deciding to attend? Has he declared a major? I'll look forward to occasional updates (please?)!

Anonymous said...

Good for him- that's awesome! My oldest dd will be a senior this year, and her heart's desire is to go to Steubenville (my dh and I are both alumni). Financially, I don't know how we'd do it, but I keep reminding myself that if God wants her there He will provide. Could you tell a little about the honors program? I don't recall anything like that from when we went there.

Maureen said...

Hi Maureen! Yes, he did attend the youth conference -- 2 or 3 summers. Boy, I highly recommend those conferences to every teen! They are awesome! My kids come back changed -- they are so full of the Holy Spirit and ready to do the Lord's work.

Sharon, the Honor's Program is basically a Great Books program. Pretty hefty stuff. Do a search at Steuby's website -- and you should find info on it. Or drop them an email.

I don't have the pamphlet handy, but they do list the books. If you're reading the Greeks and classics, your daughter will be ready for it. The Learning Company has a course or two that I think would be helpful -- I'm looking into it.

Anonymous said...

Homeschooling has taken on a fairly large following not because it "works" but because the traditional schoolhouse model does NOT work. Further, homeschooling has risen in popularlity simply because parents have no real alternative to schools (whether public or private) but to keep their children at home.

Unfortunately, homeshooled children basically get the same teaching and learning approach in their own homes that they would be getting in formal schools and unless the homeschool "teacher" (usually a parent) is highly skilled and able to dedicate upwards of 8 hours a day to this task, the children as often as not do not emerge any better off.

What is needed is a better way to enable children to learn and provide for them to do so outside of their homes and without needing for one or more parents to make a life commitment to it. Take a look at the definitive treatment of this problem developed by Trigon-International in its recently released commission report, "Education in America -- What's to Be Done?"