Homeschooling is a system of study where a parent carefully designs a curriculum to equip, guide and support a child’s educational process. We believe it is a God-centered system that will build the family relationships by enabling the parent to be directly involved in the teaching process. Education of a child is a great responsibility.
Whether to homeschool or not, it all depends on you as a parent, on how much are you willing to give your child. Home schooling involves a lot of love, patience and encouragement.
The curriculum is set for high academic standards. It is attractively produced and has user-friendly textbooks so that the parent will have confidence knowing that the required work for that age-group is adequately covered.
God’s character qualities are studied within the context of each subject, thus ensuring that the child grows up understanding God is in control of every area of life, and must be honored and obeyed in everything.
There is clear guidance on how to scheme out work and it makes provision for keeping record of all the work done. Evaluation is also programmed very meticulously. There are continuous assessments as well as exams that are set twice a year from Grade 4 upwards. Reports are maintained and include both the continuous assessments and the exam mark in each subject.
Pupils have a choice of two final school leaving certificate options. They may choose to do the Cambridge HIGCSE program (Higher International General Certificate of Secondary Education) or the Cambridge A Levels. Both these exams are set and marked at Cambridge University, England. Pupils make their final decision as to which one they choose to do at the end of Grade 11.
In this life, there are always problems of one kind or another. We cannot find a problem-free way of raising our families or educating our children. We simply need to decide which set of problems we would rather have: the problems associated with home-schooling, or the problems associated with some other way of educating our children. However, here are some of the main problems:
1. Lack of commitment on the part of the parent
This is not a self-study program, but rather a parent is involved in the teaching process. If not, it generally makes the children resent the whole process, as too much responsibility has been placed on them. A parent is expected to spend time sitting with the children and going through their work with them on an individual basis. This, more than anything else, tells the child that you love him and are genuinely interested in his welfare. If the child is left alone with his books, much of the benefit of homeschooling will be lost.
2. Lack of commitment on the part of the child
Some children are simply unmotivated and have to be forced almost every step of the way. This is obviously very difficult for the parents, and needs to be dealt with. Sometimes the reason is that they have had such a bad time at school that they just hate anything that resembles it in any way. Often it is good to sit down and point out some of the advantages they are enjoying – being able to get up later, being able to discuss problems they have with their schoolwork with their mother instead of some unsympathetic or over-busy teacher, etc. Sometimes a good spanking is all that is required from time to time. Often it is a good idea to have some sort of incentive program going: so many points for finishing your work on time, so many for doing it neatly, etc. One important thing needs to be taught to all children: the fact that work is meant to be a blessing, not a curse, and that hard work always brings a profit. Our “profit” in schoolwork is that we learn to enjoy learning new things, and that we find life so much more interesting.
3. Academic problems
Children who come into a homeschooling situation after having been in a regular school for some years frequently find that the work is difficult. This is because they have missed some of their grounding, and the problem would have shown up sooner or later had they stayed at school.
The key to all these problems is patience – let the child see that you are not worried about his mistakes, and that you are prepared to help him to do better. Let him see that you have the confidence that once you have straightened out the problem, he will do better. This gives the child confidence and encourages him to work through his problems, rather than giving up.
4. Academic subjects which are beyond the parent’s ability or knowledge
In the higher standards it sometimes happens that a child is doing work that his mother cannot help him with at all (especially when the child has just come into a homeschooling situation). In this case it is wise for the parents to find someone who can give extra lessons in that subject.
There are situations where a child is lonely because there are no suitable friends nearby, and the child is an only child, or maybe the youngest in a grown-up family. The first thing we must do is make this a matter of prayer. We know that the Lord is concerned about this problem, and in His own good time He will provide the right friend or friends. Secondly, we need to introduce the child to good books.
A love of reading is a powerful defense against loneliness, and one which can be used always – because we cannot be sure that our child will never have periods of loneliness in his life. Thirdly, we should use the situation to encourage the child to find ways of occupying himself which do not involve other people. A child who can amuse himself will never be bored or lonely. Sometimes the Lord allows periods of loneliness in our lives so that we can learn to know Him better.
6. Sport and other “school” activities
If your child is interested in sports, there are various ways of providing this opportunity. There are sports clubs and gyms available which children can join. This really is not a problem and is supplemented by taking the kids out to play in the park, attend lessons in ballet, instruments etc. Other activities, such as drama, choir, etc. can often be accommodated in church choirs, drama groups, etc.
Homeschooling is a challenge. It is a hard road, but an exciting and rewarding one for the family. It provides for more precious time for bonding. It is not necessary for parents to be geniuses to become homeschooling teachers. All they need to have is resourcefulness to find ways to answer their children’s questions. Most of those who have embarked on this journey have only one regret – that they didn’t start sooner!
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St. James Hall, Holy Trinity
St. Paul's Hall,
Holy Trinity Church, Dubai
Community Hall, St. Andrew's
Church, Abu Dhabi