Homeschooling is a serious business. When we homeschool we are responsible for our children’s future. It is not a time to experiment or try out things we would have liked to have done as a child. It is definitely not a time for excessive socialisation.
No-one worried about children socialising until the 1980”s. More women with children had entered the workforce and academic levels had dropped. Rather than advertising their academic qualifications, as they did previously, school started advertising that they provided socialisation and telling parents that socialisation was important for children’s development. “Peer interaction” and “group work” were pushed rather than individual academic achievement.
This is a half-truth. Socialisation is important, but not as important as academics. Socialisation with children’s peers is often the “blind leading the blind.” Socialisation, in moderation, with a variety of ages, is important. Children learn from those older than them and practise what they have learnt on younger children. My youngest grandchild, who is two, always sits with the older children at creche. As a result he holds his pencil properly and colours between lines even on the smallest part of a picture. His brother is 6 years old and his cousin 12, so when the family is together, he follows them and copies what they do.
English, Maths, Spelling, History, Geography and Science are all important subjects. Computers, calculators and spelling checkers are not substitutes and you can’t form your view of history from watching movies, or even many of the so-called documentaries. Being able to write a sentence and paragraph correctly, express yourself properly, have an extensive vocabulary are far more important. It is also important to be able to cover all the basic functions of arithmetic. Both of these are skills all children will need as adults. No matter what else changes in life these are the foundation of all education and all workforce skills. Forget problem solving. You can’t problem solve unless you have a good basic knowledge of arithmetic and can express yourself well.
We live in a technological age and therefore science is more important than ever. Consider the following statement made in the press last week. “Icebergs are melting and this means the sea level will rise.” In the next paragraph the writer was forced to correct himself. “Of course the sea level won’t rise, but there will be deeper water that will absorb more heat.” He corrected himself because a simple knowledge of science tells us that ice takes up more space than water, therefore the water level should be lower—just one example of why scientific knowledge is important.
The Federal Government is concerned that Australian children know little of Australian history and virtually nothing about how the Government works. They are proposing that this be added to the curriculum. It was included in the National Curriculum, but rarely taught after the first year or two. Children vote at 18 years old. It is vital they know how the system works and understand Australian history so that they can participate fully. Knowledge of Government should include teaching that the Federal Government’s power is limited by the Constitution. It is also important that they understand that money spent by the Government comes from taxes. There are limits to what they can spend. Any money borrowed is paid back through the collection of taxes.
You can not hope to provide all these things yourself. You need self-instructional curriculum with answers. I suggest the following guidelines for the amount of time children should spend on academics to those who use my material:
Kinder/Prep/Reception to grade 1—1 hour to 1 ¼ hours of academics
Grade 2-3—1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours
Grades 4-6: 2 hours
Grades 7-8—2 hours to 2 ½ hours
Grades 9-10—2 ½ hours to 3 hours.
(These times do not include breaks.)
Academic learning of this form is intense. There is a limit of academic work a child can undertake in one day. Practical tasks can be left to the afternoon.
**don’t try and save on curriculum, it generally costs more when you do.