Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Some homeschooling advice

A collection of quotes from A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling by Luanne Shackelford and Susan White:

It is wise to plan ahead, but foolish to announce what you will do in the future (cf James 4:13-14).

As I look at my life, I see that there are some things that can only be done now, if they are to be done at all, and that there are other things that can wait until later. ... Many things can wait, but kids grow up. ... In order to lead a productive life we must learn to do our work before we play. How can we tell our kids that they must get their schoolwork done before they can play if we sit in a messy house so intent on our hobbies that we forget to fix dinner?

[A] good secular textbook is better than a lousy "Christian" textbook. Truth is truth, no matter who says it, and poor teaching in still poor, even when sprinkled with Bible verses. ... "If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance." ... Buy only for your present needs. ... Buy foundational materials ('readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmetic) first. ... An item is only as valuable as the amount of use it receives.

It is very important for them to see that the external events of the history are the symptoms of spiritual and moral battles in the hearts of people living as nations. ... In the foundational areas of reading, writing, and math, we need to make sure that our kids are proficient.

After all, illiteracy is the primary cause of poverty, crime, delinquency, and disease, right? Well, no. Sin is the cause of most of that, but reading is important. ... No philosophy or method of man, no matter how wonderful, is perfect. Only the Word of God applies to every person in every situation. ... You must teach your child the multiplication tables! I know of no other way to accomplish this without rote memorisation.

Obedience involves doing the will of another whop has authority in your life. ... It is our job to make them obey us (parent control) until they learn to choose to obey us (self-control) and then learn to choose to obey the Lord (God control). ... Figure out the things that are important right now and work on those. ... It is important that [a] spanking be the consequence of the child's disobedience, not the fruit of the parents' wrath. ... [eg] RULE: OBEY YOUR MUM AND DAD. CONSEQUENCE: Loss of privilege or an added job. If defiance or rebellion is involved, swats will be given. ... If your children don't obey you, you will have a hard time teaching them. ... "Because I said so, and I'm the mother!" is a good reason for a child to do his reading assignment. ... Do not spank for picky little stuff, and don't reward for normal good behavior. ... [egs] Sloppy work must be redone. Incorrect problems must be reworked until correct. ... School doesn't have to be fun, it just has to be done! ... If this child needs external motivation, you are there to provide it. You are not a gailure if you can't make him love every minute of schoolwork, or love any of it for that matter. Your job is not to win a popularity contest, but rather to teach your kids what they need to know in order to be productive adults. If this home-taught child reaches age thirteen and he still can't read well, multiply or follow directions, you have blown it. The fact that the public schools have that kind of results often is no excuse. ... I think that often we homeschool moms make things too easy for our kids by answering too many questions. We need to make it worthwhile for the kids to think and work. ... We must be careful not to foster laziness and dependency. ... The methods you use to accomplish these tasks should be kind, reasonable, and firm. Basically, the techniques for getting children to do what they are not willing to do are the same, whether the issue is household chores or schoolwork.

Any time you set a goal that requires another individual's efforts, cooperation, participation, or enthusiasm, you are setting yourself up for problems. ... Our own obedience to God is an obtainable goal; our children's obedience is not. They are free moral agents and will stand or fall before God alone, just as we will. ... We have to do our very best, and then let God do the rest.

I hope these titbits are as helpful and encouraging to you as they are to me.

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