Parental Involvement

Some public school teachers are offended by homeschooling. I guess I can see their point; we are basically saying that all their education and certification is irrelevant and redundant to us. We can teach our own kids.

Well, for one thing, I will not send my kids to public school just to avoid hurting the feelings of professional teachers. That's just not a good enough reason. You see, I do not need a reason to homeschool my kids, I need a reason to not homeschool them. And the fact that everyone else does it (send kids to P.S.) is also not a compelling reason.

This article is to show how home education can be a sliding scale of commitment.

Almost all school teachers will say that they appreciate parents who are involved in their children's education. How much parental involvement is appreciated?

You can send your kids to school, public or private, and still homeschool them. All you have to do is take responsibility for their education. Taking responsibility does not have to mean taking them out of school. It could be the difference in attitude. Some just dump the kids on the system, saying, "Here is my kid. Educate it." Others send their kids to school, but take personal responsibility for their development. School is one of many tools and resources that are available for parents to use. These parents make sure the kids are fed, have their books and papers ready for the day. These children are waiting in their desks, textbooks open, ready to absorb the day's lesson. These children are proven (statistically) to have good outcomes.

They are not successful because of public schooling, they are successful because the parents are responsible for their upbringing. Ask any teacher. Parental involvement is a key to success in school.

Homeschooling is just the ultimate in parental involvement. Teachers love parental involvement, (beware of a teacher who does not welcome it!), so it must be a good thing.

A few years ago, Joe Murphy, a popular and prolific local writer, said just that in his PDN column: Home schooling is simply the ultimate in parental involvement in a child's education. This was one of the first pieces of media exposure to homeschooling on Guam, and it occurred over ten years ago. Homeschooling is no longer an experiment. The jury is no longer out. Homeschool is mainstream and gaining momentum. People no longer accost us asking "How dare we?". Now they lament that they admire our choice, but just can't make it happen for their families. Thanks for the good word early in the game, Mr. Murphy.

For us, homeschool is an attitude and a lifestyle more than a program or a curriculum. This means that we can choose where we want to be in our educational journey and what resources to use.

Let's look at some points in the spectrum of "parental involvement".

* Supplement public or private education with home study and material. This could be as simple as helping them do their homework. After all, the school has your kid for six hours or more. If, after that, they have to send the kid home to do school work, you should ask what they are doing in school for so many hours. You might as well call it what it is: you are teaching your child at home. In this scenario, you still get to dump your kids on the "system" and take advantage of "free" stuff like discount federal meals, bus rides and free babysitting. You can take advantage of special education and early intervention programs. This is how we began homeschooling. We did this for a few years before we realized we already were involved in home schooling.

* Mix & Match style. We have done this, too. We homeschooled Kevin and Adam for some years, other years we put them in public or private schools. Kevin went to a Christian school to finish his last two years and ended up bumped a grade and graduating the same year. He has a diploma from Guam International Christian Academy. We periodically tried school with Adam, but it was just too hard on him. Mean PE teachers vowed to "break his spirit" and make him "come out of his shell". I will NOT support that! He is my son, not some social architect's experiment. Adam has a diploma made by my hand and presented to him on his 18th birthday.

* Homeschool exclusively, but for different reasons and with different goals. Religious homeschoolers want to protect their children and present their particular religious world-view in every aspect of their education. While the majority of religious homeschoolers are Christian, there is a significant number of of other religions represented by homeschool families. Non-religious homeschoolers have a broad range of styles, approaches, reasons and strategies. Some homeschool because they travel or live on a boat. Some are remote and homeschool using correspondence courses.

You can claim to be a homeschooler if you teach your kids at home. It's that simple.