The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents

Learn Coding

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Styles in Homeschooling

Structured Semi-structured Informal GOALS Promote self-discipline, good work habits,develop good memory-can’t be creative in a vacuum Integrate education with everyday learning while producing children who are self-directed, self-disciplined and who love learning. Give child joy in learning.Foster creativity.Allow the child to grow from within. CURRICULUM Tends to be textbook oriented Uses textbooks and workbooks Tends to be activity oriented, e.g. trial and error learning Purchases a complete curriculum and follows it daily Uses some curriculum but not rigidly adhered to Uses resources around the home, from the library, from the community.As the need arises might use some traditional curriculum EVALUATION Subject lines remain distinct Parent may teach basic math and language separately but allow more freedom in other areas of study There is more an incorporating of subjects around a central theme as in a unit study Regularly scheduled testing May test score subjects Evaluation on a daily basis by observing the child SCHEDULE Teacher directed according to student’s needs as identified by teacher Teacher sets boundaries within which the student works Student directed Scheduled day prepared in advance by teacher according to child’s needs Work generally planned by parent but student makes choices within parameters Parent follows child’s lead and gives help when required School begins at a certain time – determined by parent Flexible – somewhat controlled by parent Child determines when learning will occur More work done at the desk – fewer field trips Somewhere in between Less work done at the desk – learning takes place where it takes place

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Unschooling Ontario

The term “unschooling” was coined by John C. Holt, known as the “father” of the modern homeschooling movement. It refers to an approach to homeschooling in which children are allowed to continue (or return to) the natural, curiosity-driven, discovery-mediated learning that all children engage in as babies and toddlers. As such, it is child-led learning rather than teacher- or parent-imposed lessons, although it is parent-stimulated to varying degrees. The role of unschooling parents is that of facilitators of learning rather than taskmasters. Unschooling is therefore not so much a “teaching method” as it is a “learning philosophy” and a lifestyle. Actually, it might be more accurate to say it is a spectrum of learning philosophies, as different unschooling parents place greater or lesser value and emphasis on the different aspects of early childhood learning that come into play in continuing that type of learning through the school-age years. Some focus on allowing the child to lead, even if it leads to using textbooks and workbooks and other schoolish materials — unschooling as “child-led learning.” Others focus on encouraging the child to learn through real life situations and discoveries rather than textbooks — unschooling as “life learning.” Unschooling is also sometimes known as “natural learning,” “delight-driven learning,” “experience-based learning,” “independent learning,” “non-coercive parenting,” … Each of these phrases has a slightly different nuance and emphasis, confirming that there are as many ways to manifest unschooling as there are families living it. Here are some resources on unschooling that will help you explore this approach in more detail (this list is far from exhaustive; you can find more by doing an internet search for “unschooling,” “child-led learning,” or any of the other phrases mentioned above): Articles on unschooling Definitionsby the Apple Blossom Contemplative HermitageNot really about definitions of homeschooling and unschooling, it’s more like a vision of how society could evolve if we start to trust in the learning process of our children and move from schooling past homeschooling to unschooling and beyond… on other websites What is Unschooling?by Earl Stevens, 1994, reprinted on The Natural Child Project website“Unschooling isn’t a method, it is a way of looking at children and at life.” Unschooling Undefinedan article by Eric Anderson found at Jon’s Homeschool ResourcesThe author starts by saying, “Unschooling is a word coined by negating the idea of schooling; it starts off with a negative definition. What, specifically, is it about schools that unschoolers want to do without?” and then proceeds to list the aspects of school that unschoolers find problematic, under the headings of: The School Organization, The De-humanizing Aspects of Schools, Isolation from the Real World, Schedule Rigidity. After saying what unschooling is not, the author talks about what unschooling is in terms of the underlying understanding of how children learn naturally. Educationalese: the art of reframing everyday life in the jargon of educationby OFTP member Sarah Wall, on her Raising Royalty website.“If you’ve ever been worried about documenting your unschool lifestyle for nosy neighbours, ignorant family members or intimidating officials, here are some quick tips on translating your everyday life into the jargon that makes you sound like [someone they would recognize as an educator and shows that] you know exactly what you’re doing.” There are also many articles on the websites listed further down on this page. In the news A new chapter in education: unschooling — Controversial home-taught approach lets kids take the lead in learningMSNBC article by Victoria Clayton, October 6th, 2006, with reader reactions in the form of comments and a poll. No school, no books, no teacher’s dirty looksCNN article by Traci Tamura and Thelma Gutierrez, February 3rd, 2006 Magazines about natural learning Life Learning MagazinePublished 6 times a year by Wendy Priesnitz, author of Challenging Assumptions in Education and other books. Articles to inspire and provide information about self-directed learning and natural parenting. Books on unschooling Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path to EducationAuthor: John Holt.Original Publisher: Delacorte, 1981Revised and updated by Patrick Farenga asTeach Your Own – The John Holt Book of HomeschoolingPublisher: Perseus2003, Paper, 334 pages A classic in the homeschooling literature, by the “father” of modern homeschooling. John C. Holt is the one who coined the phrase “unschooling” and his writing is insightful, common-sense, and easy to understand. The chapter on Common Objections to Homeschooling can be read on the Natural Child website. Other books by John Holt: Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling OurselvesAuthor: Alison MacKee2002 As a schoolteacher, the author experienced many frustrations within the school system. She chose not to send her own children to school. In the book she shares her insights from both her homeschooling and schoolteaching experiences. John Taylor Gatto’s comment on the book: “An unusual and clear-headed examination of what children need?and why even well-meaning schools can’t supply it.” [Website manager’s note: I am including this book in the Unschooling section but am unsure whether or not it is specifically about unschooling. It may be that the word “unschooling” in the title is actually referring to what others call “deschooling”: letting go of old, school-based ways of thinking about learning. If you have read the book, please let me know if it should remain listed in the Unschooling section. Thank you!] The Unschooling HandbookAuthor: Mary Griffith1998; Paper, 230 pages. Lots of information, including resources for different subjects, real-life examples of what people do, and lots of explanations. The book can help non-unschoolers understand the idea of unschooling, and perhaps give its philosophy and practice a try for themselves, while those who are already unschooling will find tips and insights into what other unschoolers are doing, as well as information that can help them explain and defend their unschooling choices. The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and EducationAuthor: Grace Llewelyn1998; Paper, 443 pages. This book is highly recommended in unschooling circles and provides a good explanation of the unschooling approach to learning. Although written especially for teenagers, it is also helpful for anyone who has ever gone to school and wants to know how to regain

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Learning Styles

There is growing recognition that different people have different learning styles. While teaching methods used in schools are still mostly geared to certain styles of learning and not others, homeschooling parents can custom tailor their approach to the way each child learns best and to what each child might need to develop. To that end, it can be helpful to know how to recognize that a given learning style is at play. What are the different learning styles? How learning styles are categorized and labelled depends on what system you go by — there are a number of such systems and it’s important to remember that any categorization of learning differences between people is just a working model of human diversity in this area and a tool for choosing how to present information to a learner. The model is not the reality and it’s important not to get too hung up on labels and generalizations. Use whatever system (or combination of systems) proves useful as a guideline, but remember to discard the tool whenever it gets in the way of seeing each unique, multidimensional child for who he/she really is, working with how he/she is actually learning and processing at any given time, and recognizing what his/her capabilities really are. Here are some of the ways various systems categorize differences in learning style based on sensory modalities (some also add or replace categories based on cognitive abilities): Visual, Auditory, Tactile/Kinesthetic Visual, Auditory, Tactual, Kinesthetic Visual, Verbal, Kinesthetic Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic There are also systems that are not based on sensory modalities: Cognitive differences in perceiving (concrete or abstract) and processing information (active or reflective): Concrete Active, Concrete Reflective, Abstract Active, Abstract Reflective Brain hemisphere dominance: Left Brain (logical, analytical, sequential), Right Brain (intuitive, holistic, synthesizing), Whole Brain Gender differences: How boys tend to learn, how girls tend to learn Temperament differences according to style of communication (concrete or abstract) and style of action (utilitarian or cooperative): Artisans (Concrete Utilitarians), Guardians (Concrete Cooperators), Idealists (Abstract Cooperators), Rationals (Abstract Utilitarians) Finally, there are two systems that take into account that a learning style is a profile of both sensory modalities and cognitive processes: Multiple Intelligence profiles based on degrees of reliance on each of the following dimensions: Visual/Spatial, Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical/Rhythmic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal (the 7 original categories of Multiple Intelligences as outlined by Howard Gardner) and Naturalistic (an 8th category added by Gary Harms) Pedagogical Profiles based on “mental gestures” as outlined by Antoine de La Garanderie: Visual or Auditory modality of mental imagery, combined with the Reproductive or Transformative nature of that imagery and with an Application-oriented or an Explanation-oriented process of understanding. Learning “disabilities” and giftedness Children are often called “exceptional” when their learning differences fall outside the range of the norm (the norm being simply what is or has been statistically common). Children at one end of the bell curve are often labelled “learning disabled” while those at the other are seen as “gifted.” It’s not uncommon for a “differently abled” child to be “disabled” in some areas and “gifted” in others. The information below on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences is relevant to how any child learns, but can be particularly helpful in understanding the learning process of “exceptional” children. We also have a page of resources for Learning Differences and Special Needs (includes resources for the gifted). Online resources LD Pride has a page on Learning styles and multiple intelligences that includes explanations on what the different styles and intelligences are, using the Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic categorization and Howard Gardner’s MI categorization. The site also has tips on how to use your style in learning. For a fee, they offer a Learning Styles Test to Discover How You Learn. VARK has an online questionnaire to help you determine your learning preference from among its 4 categories: Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinesthetic. The test indicates a person’s preferences but not necessarily their strengths. Books Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, by Howard Gardner In Their Own Way, by Thomas Armstrong Comprendre et Imaginer, par Antoine de La Garanderie

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Teaching Methods and Learning Philosophies

There are many different approaches to home education. An exploration of the teaching methods (and non-methods) adopted by other homeschoolers can help you decide what you’d like to try with your own family. Many homeschooling parents change their approach as they go along, adjusting where needed and experimenting until they find what works best (at any given time) for the family’s lifestyle and schedule, the parents’ own educational goals for their children, and most importantly, their children’s individual learning styles, interests and compatibility with the methods they’ve tried. This kind of flexibility and responsiveness is one of the many benefits of home based learning. Below you will find an at-a-glance look at different approaches to education, each with a brief description and relevant website links, including links to more in-depth OFTP webpages where applicable. School-at-home Parent-guided learning Unschooling Eclectic School-at-home Parents in the role of schoolteacher, instructor or tutor If you’d like to homeschool your child by replicating the school’s grade system and instructional style at home, you can follow the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum guidelines and implement them with the help of textbooks and educational materials available from the Suppliers listed in our Resources section. You will also find there (on the Suppliers page) some curriculum packages that provide an alternative to the curriculum content of the public educational system. For instance, there are several publishers of Christian materials that emphasize Christian values and perspectives. School-at-home is often the approach chosen by parents who wish to direct their children’s education in a conventional, structured, but often accelerated way, emphasizing high academic performance and strict behavioural discipline. Other homeschooling parents start out with this type of structured approach at the beginning of their homeschooling journey out of a sense of not knowing how else to approach education, and gradually relax into a more flexible approach as they discover a need for adaptability to the realities of family life at home, become more comfortable with the idea of self-directed learning, and/or begin to have more trust in the non-textbook learning that children do naturally in the course of their daily lives. On the other hand, sometimes families move from an unstructured style in the elementary years to a more structured approach in the teen years if and when the student wishes to enter the school system and wants to prepare for that passage. Often, this move to a more conventional and structured approach in the teens is through enrolling in a distance school for the purpose of obtaining an accredited high school diploma. (Please note that it is not necessary to switch to a conventional structured approach at the high school level in order to pursue post-secondary education. Many universities and colleges have special admissions policies for homeschoolers who have no conventional high school diploma, and recognize that self-directed learners are especially well suited to the kind of studying that is necessary at the university level.) Tutors Tutors can provide one-on-one instruction in the conventional school subjects like math or language (or in “extracurricular” subjects like the arts or sports). The individual attention makes this a more effective educational path than attending school, while still maintaining a conventional grade-based approach and not involving parents in direct academic (or “extracurricular”) instruction. Tutors can, of course, be hired for a single subject rather than a whole grade curriculum; for instance, for teaching a subject an otherwise homeschooling parent does not feel confident teaching him/herself (e.g. French, art, music, high-school math or physics,…). You can usually find tutors in your local newspaper classified ads. We also have a webpage for listing Tutors and Tours. Correspondence schools and online schools One way to “attend school” and yet stay at home, is to enrol in an online or correspondence school. Lessons are prepared by schoolteachers and assignments are evaluated by them. There is a certain amount of flexibility in that a student can choose his/her own hours within the timeframe of when assignments are due. Homeschoolers who want to continue studying from home but wish to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) can only do so by enrolling in an accredited distance school. We have a list of them on our page of Correspondence and Virtual Schools. The list includes distance schools for the elementary grades as well. (Please note that an OSSD is not necessary for pursuing post-secondary education. Many universities and colleges have special admissions policies for homeschoolers who have no conventional high school diploma.) Parent-guided learning The difference between school-at-home and parent-guided learning is that guided learning is done through non-textbook books and life rather than materials designed specifically for instruction. There are several different approaches under this heading: Classical Education Dorothy Sayers believes that the ability to think is sadly lacking in modern children and that a Classical Approach to learning produces students who not only think, but can use language eloquently and persuasively. The Well Trained Mind Classical Resources The Principle Approach The Principle Approach teaches that there are certain biblical principles that underlie every area of study. It also teaches the effectiveness of the “4-R” approach of having the child keep a notebook of his/her Research about a subject, of the biblical principles he/she discovers, and personal application of those principles. Living Books and Life Experiences Charlotte Mason emphasizes the importance of treating children as persons capable of learning without being “talked down to.” Children can learn through “masterly inactivity” (being able to respond to original sources in art, literature, and nature without having the meaning interpreted for them by adults), through exposure to great literature, and through being allowed to exercise their imaginations through play. Maple Tree Publications Unit Study This approach stresses the inter-relatedness of all knowledge, and that studying one topic in depth produces greater learning than fragmenting knowledge into separate, unrelated bits of information. Unit Study Adventures Delayed Academics Dorothy and Raymond Moore warn us to be sensitive to our children’s level of physical, emotional and mental readiness and to give them a broad spectrum of life experiences. Homeschooling Made Easy Waldorf Waldorf education was developed by Rudolph Steiner,

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Curriculum and Materials

Many parents contemplating homeschooling have questions about curriculum guidelines and materials: What is a curriculum? What are curriculum materials? A curriculum (plural: curricula; from the Latin meaning ‘race course’) is a course of study designed to result in a specific set of learning outcomes. Conventional curricula, such as those of the school system, are deliberately constructed in terms of curriculum content (what is to be learned), organization into subject matters (in what context it is to be learned), and organization into levels or grades (when or in what order it is to be learned). Curriculum materials are the physical resources used to support the presentation of and interaction with the curriculum content. Conventional curriculum materials include textbooks, workbooks, manipulatives, charts and posters, etc. Must I follow the same curriculum as the schools? No, homeschoolers in Ontario are not required to follow the Ontario curriculum. This is stated explicitly in the government’s home schooling policy document, Policy/Program Memorandum No. 131, which cautions school board officials to “recognize that the methodology, materials, schedules, and assessment techniques used by parents who provide home schooling may differ from those used by educators in the school system. For example, the parent may not be following the Ontario curriculum, using standard classroom practices in the home, or teaching within the standard school day or school year.” What is the Ontario curriculum and where can I find it? The Ontario government has standardized the curriculum to be followed in all public schools in the province. This is partly a logistical measure to enable students who need to transfer from one school to another (e.g. when their family moves to a new neighbourhood or a new town) to do so easily without finding their prior learning to be out of sync with the lessons being taught in their new setting. The 1997 revision of the provincial curriculum guidelines was also an attempt to impose more rigourous learning outcomes so that Ontario student scores would compare favourably with those of other provinces and countries. Homeschoolers are not required to follow the Ontario public school system’s curriculum, but may, of course, do so if they wish. It can be found on the website of the Ministry of Education, starting on this page: Links are provided according to whether you are looking for elementary or secondary school guidelines, and whether you are searching by subject or by grade. For a list of textbooks that are government approved for use in the schools, see the Trillium List at Textbooks are not always available for purchase by the public, but if you find the title or ISBN of a book you’d like to buy, do an internet search for it to find a supplier that sells it. What are the alternatives to the Ontario curriculum? The Ontario curriculum is a standardized course of study that is designed for mass education in the institutional setting of Ontario’s public schools. One alternative would be to follow the school curriculum guidelines of a different province or country. Another alternative is to follow a curriculum that is still structured in terms of grade but is faith-based rather than secular. In such a curriculum, the conventional subjects are sometimes taught using religious themes (e.g. for math word problems) and there are often additional subjects such as the study of scriptures, virtues, etc. The real alternative, however, is to take advantage of the golden opportunity afforded by homeschooling, to custom tailor the educational program to the individual child. In a parent-directed approach, this can manifest as developing unit studies or book studies based on the child’s interests, and using them to incorporate whatever new aspects of language, math, history, geography, etc., that the parent wishes to introduce at that time, based on the parent’s observation of the child’s readiness. In a child-led approach, it can manifest as creating a learning environment through the stimulation and nurturing of the child’s natural curiosity and interests, and exposing the child to information, knowledge, resources and opportunities that the parent believes will be beneficial to the child’s growth, development and learning. The curriculum, in this case, still includes such learning outcome goals as literacy and numeracy, etc., but understood from a longer-term and responsive perspective rather than being predetermined year by year. Here again, the facilitation is based on ongoing responsive observation of readiness and interest. To explore these options in more detail, please visit our page on Teaching Methods and Learning Philosophies. Which curriculum and/or curriculum materials should I use? Before you can decide which curriculum and supporting materials would best meet your individual family’s needs, you need first to decide which teaching method or learning philosophy is most aligned with your beliefs about parenting, child development, your role in facilitating your child’s learning, the relationship between the means and the ends, and what your goals and priorities are. To help you figure out what your beliefs and parenting goals are, ask yourself the questions in our blog post, “How do I decide what approach to take?“ To explore your options for an approach that matches your beliefs, values, and parenting goals, please visit our page on Teaching Methods and Learning Philosophies, which includes links to other sites where you can find out more about any given approach and which curriculum materials would best support it. Where can I find new or used curriculum materials? If you already know which types of materials you’re looking for, or if you want to find out what’s available while you’re in the process of choosing an approach, you can look through the listings in our Resource Directory. You can also find educational materials at homeschool conferences and curriculum fairs, as well as Facebook groups dedicated to the buying, selling, lending, borrowing, or donating, of homeschool resources and curriculum materials. Don’t forget to make good use of resources in the home and community, as well: Library, community centres, children’s museums, field trips with support groups, etc. Magazines, newspapers, TV shows, documentaries, films, games, sports, arts, crafts, music, etc. And, of course, your daily living resources, such as

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Socialization of Homeschooled Children

Homeschoolers often refer to “socialization” as the “S” word — it’s a common concern among those who are unfamiliar with the realities of life as a homelearner, and thus the question, “But what about socialization?” has become infamous. The question sometimes takes other forms: “Are home educated children adequately socialized?” “Aren’t homeschoolers too isolated from their peers to have a normal social development?” “How will home schooled children learn to get along in the ‘real world’ if they miss out on the socialization of school?” “How will they learn social skills?” “Aren’t they lonely? How can they make friends?” All of these questions boil down to wondering, “Is socialization a problem for homeschoolers?” — to which the short answer is, “No.” On the contrary, many homeschooling families choose to homeschool for the very reason that it allows them to guide their children’s socialization in positive directions and avoid the negative socialization of the school environment (bullying, peer pressure, herding, anonymity, mindless conformity, etc.). Homeschooled children live their lives in the naturally social environment of family and community. Research studies confirm what homeschooling families observe first-hand: that homeschooled children develop good social skills through the role modeling of their parents and other adults in the community and through smaller groups of children in the context of the gathering of several families in support group outings and play groups. The topic of socialization comes up every now and then on the OFTP email lists when a new homeschooling parent asks for advice on how to respond to the “socialization” questions and comments they receive from their friends and family and even from strangers at the grocery store. “Socialization” also comes up in interviews with the media, is discussed in books on homeschooling, and is the topic of research of a few studies on home education. Below, you will find a list of some of our own webpages that will help you explore the issue of socialization in homeschooling, as well as links to other websites where the issue is addressed. OFTP web pages on socialization in homeschooling So — What About Socialization?A collection of our members’ thoughts, shared on the email list on the subject of “socialization,” was published in the June 1998 issue of the OFTP newsletter, Home Rules. Social Behaviors: Public vs. Home Educated ChildrenAn overview of the issues and research comparing the social development of homeschooled children to that of their public-schooled peers. Included in the information package OFTP delivered to social workers at the annual convention of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) in the year 2000. [A summary of the research paper entitled] Homeschooling and the Redefinition of CitizenshipThis is a summary, written by Wanetta Vader and published in the June 2000 issue of Home Rules, of the research paper by Bruce Arai on Homeschooling and the Redefinition of Citizenship. Prof. Arai’s paper was published at the Education Policy Analysis Archives which is a peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal published at Arizona State University. Research studies on the social development of homeschooled children Brady, Michael: Social Development in Traditionally Schooled and Homeschooled Children, a Case for Increased Parental Monitoring and Decreased Peer Interaction. Brady came to the following conclusion: “There seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence that children socialized in a peer-dominant environment are at higher risk for developing social maladjustment issues than those that are socialized in a parent monitored environment.” Shyers, Larry Edward: Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Students. Ph.D. thesis, University of Florida, 1992. The whole 299-page thesis is available from University Microfilms International, 1 (800) 521-3042, order number DA9304052. An abstract of the thesis appears in Dissertation Abstracts International at page 4215A of volume 53, number 12 of the humanities/social sciences series. Taylor, John Wesley: Self-Concept in Home-Schooling Children. Thesis, 1986. Available from University Microfilms International, 1 (800) 521-3042, order number DA8624219. Ray, Brian: Home Educated and Now Adults: Their Community and Civic Involvement, Views About Homeschooling, and Other Traits. For years critics and the curious have been asking about the homeschooled: But how will they do in the “real world” of adulthood? As a corollary, they have also asked: What about socialization? This study takes a look at the lives of over 7,000 adults from across the United States who were home educated during their elementary and secondary school years. The study was commissioned by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in 2003 and was carried out by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI). Arai, Bruce: Homeschooling and the Redefinition of Citizenship. In this research paper, published at the Education Policy Analysis Archives (a peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal published at Arizona State University), Professor Bruce Arai focuses on the area of citizenship: can people be good citizens without going to school? His paper shows that homeschoolers have a different but equally valid understanding of citizenship. Articles and essays on socialization and homeschooling Socialization: A Great Reason Not to Go to SchoolArticle by Karl M. Bunday (Learn in Freedom website) summarizing the research of Larry Shyers, with a passing reference to John Taylor’s study and a brief discussion of the concept of “optimism” as more helpful than that of “self-esteem,” as per Professor Martin E.P. Seligman’s book The Optimistic Child. Socialization: The “S” WordResponses to common socialization questions, compiled by Ann Zeise on the A to Z Home’s Cool website. Homeschoolers and SocializationArticle by Dan Hammes published on the Homeschool Central website. Social Skills and Homeschooling: Myths and FactsArticle by Isabel Shaw published on the Family Education website. (Unfortunately — and ironically — Ms. Shaw doesn’t have all of her facts quite straight: she cites Dr. Raymond Moore as being the author of The Hurried Child, whereas it was actually written by David Elkind.) What About SocializationArticle by Rebecca Kochenderfer, published on the website. Based on an interview with Diane Flynn Keith, which you can hear by clicking on the audio link (1 hour long). Mr. Pointy NoseFictional home visit inspection of a homeschooling family, written by Tammy D. Drennan (of the

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Academic achievement of homeschoolers

Are home educated students doing well academically? As a group, they certainly are. The articles below describe the academic successes of some individual homeschoolers and/or provide a comparison, in terms of academic achievement, between the homeschool population and the population of students attending school. In fact, many families choose to homeschool for the very reason that they have concerns about the academic level their children can achieve in a school. For some, the concern is about adequate stimulation of a bright or gifted child, for others it is on the contrary the concern that their child might struggle to keep pace with the bulk of the class and, if falling through the cracks, might not reach their full potential. The academic excellence that home education can provide is no doubt due in part to the fact that it allows homeschooling families to tailor all aspects of education to each individual child’s abilities, interests and needs. A brief look at comparisons of standardized test results for home educated students and public school students, 1998A look at the results of standardized tests indicates that children taught at home by their parents perform at a higher level on such tests than their contemporaries who receive traditional public schooling. Stanford’s Experience with Home Educated ApplicantsAn article from Stanford Magazine, November/December 2000 ~ In A Class By Themselves: A wave of homeschoolers has reached the Farm–students with unconventional training and few formal credentials. What have they got that Stanford wants? And how do admission officers spot it?

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Famous Homeschoolers

Need some proof that homeschooling is a perfectly valid form of education and won’t ruin your child’s chances at a successful future? Here are some examples of the many successes that homeschoolers can attain. (Let us know of any others we’ve missed in our list!) U.S. Presidents John Adams John Quincy Adams Grover Cleveland James Garfield William Henry Harrison Andrew Jackson Thomas Jefferson Abraham Lincoln James Madison Franklin Delano Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt John Tyler George Washington Woodrow Wilson Statesmen Konrad Adenauer Henry Fountain Ashurst William Jennings Bryan Winston Churchill Henry Clay Pierre du Pont Benjamin Franklin Alexander Hamilton Patrick Henry William Penn Daniel Webster Military Leaders Alexander the Great – Greek Ruler John Barry – Senior Navy Officer Stonewall Jackson – Civil War General John Paul Jones – Father of the American Navy Robert E. Lee – Civil War General Douglas MacArthur – U.S. General George Patton – U.S. General Matthew Perry – naval officer who opened up trade with Japan John Pershing – U.S. General David Dixon Porter – Civil War Admiral Scientists George Washington Carver Pierre Curie Albert Einstein Michael Faraday Oliver Heaviside T.H. Huxley Blaise Pascal Booker T. Washington Erik Demaine Artists William Blake John Singleton Copley Claude Monet Grandma Moses Charles Peale Leonardo da Vinci Andrew Wyeth Jamie Wyeth Inventors Alexander Graham Bell – invented the telephone John Moses Browning – firearms inventor and designer Peter Cooper – invented skyscraper, built first U.S. commercial locomotive Thomas Edison – invented the stock ticker, mimeograph, phonograph, and perfected the electric light bulb Benjamin Franklin – invented the lightning rod Elias Howe – invented sewing machine William Lear – airplane creator Cyrus McCormick – invented grain reaper Guglielmo Marconi – developed radio Eli Whitney – invented the cotton gin Sir Frank Whittle – invented turbo jet engine Orville and Wilbur Wright – built the first successful airplane Composers Irving Berlin Anton Bruckner Noel Coward Felix Mendelssohn Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Francis Poulenc John Philip Sousa Writers Hans Christian Anderson Margaret Atwood Pearl S. Buck William F. Buckley, Jr. Willa Cather Agatha Christie Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Charles Dickens Robert Frost Charlotte Perkins Gilman Alex Haley Brett Harte L. Ron Hubbard C.S. Lewis Amy Lowell Gabriela Mistral Sean O’Casey Christopher Paolini Isabel Paterson Beatrix Potter Carl Sandburg George Bernard Shaw Mattie J. T. Stepanek Mercy Warren Phillis Wheatley Walt Whitman Laura Ingalls Wilder Educators Amos Bronson Alcott – innovative teacher, father of Louisa May Alcott Catharine Beecher – co-founder of the Hartford Female Seminary Jill Ker Conway – first woman president of Smith College Timothy Dwight – President of Yale University William Samuel Johnson – President of Columbia College Horace Mann – “Father of the American Common School” Charlotte Mason – Founder of Charlotte Mason College of Education Fred Terman – President of Stanford University Frank Vandiver – President of Texas A&M University Booker T. Washington – Founder of Tuskegee Institute John Witherspoon – President of Princeton University Performing Artists Christina Aguilera Louis Armstrong Barlow Girl Justin Bieber (distance schooling) Charlie Chaplin Jacob Clemente Misty Copeland Miley Cyrus Hilary Duff Billie Eilish Dakota Fanning Taylor Gladstone Selena Gomez Whoopi Goldberg Ryan Gosling Hanson Jennifer Love Hewitt Jonas Brothers Demi Lovato Yehudi Menuhin Moffatts Frankie Muniz Daniel Radcliffe (on-set tutoring) LeAnne Rimes Jaden Smith Willow Smith Britney Spears Hailee Steinfeld Taylor Swift Justin Timberlake Emma Watson (on-set tutoring) Michelle Williams Business Entrepreneurs Andrew Carnegie – wealthy steel industrialist Amadeo Giannini – Bank of America’s founder Horace Greeley – New York Tribune founder Soichiro Honda – creator of the Honda automobile company Peter Kindersley – book illustrator and publisher Ray Kroc – founder of McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain Jimmy Lai – newspaper publisher; founder of Giordano International Dr. Orison Swett Marden – founder, Success magazine Adolph Ochs – New York Times founder Joseph Pulitzer – newspaper publisher; established Pulitzer Prize Colonel Harland Sanders – started Kentucky Fried Chicken Dave Thomas – founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain Mariah Witcher – founder of Mariah’s Famous Cookies Daniel Mills – founder of Salem Ridge Press Athletes Jamie Anderson Simone Biles Lia Del Priore Blake Griffin Bethany Hamilton Sage Kotsenburg Joey Logano Tamara McKinney Bode Miller Jim Ryan Maria Sharapova Balaram Stack Jason Taylor Tim Tebow Venus and Serena Williams Shaun White Others Abigail Adams – Wife of John Adams; mother of John Quincy Adams Ansel Adams – Photographer Susan B. Anthony – reformer and women’s rights leader John James Audubon – ornithologist and artist Clara Barton – Started the Red Cross Elizabeth Blackwell – first woman in the U.S. to receive a medical degree Dietrich Bonhoeffer – anti-Nazi German theologian John Burroughs – Naturalist George Rogers Clark – Explorer Davy Crockett – frontiersman Eric Hoffer – social philosopher Sam Houston – lawyer; first president of the Republic of Texas Charles Evans Hughes – jurist; Chief Justice Mary D. Leakey – fossil hunter; wife of Richard Leakey Harriet Martineau – first woman sociologist Margaret Mead – cultural anthropologist John Stuart Mill – Free-market Economist Charles Louis Montesquieu – Philosopher John Muir – naturalist Florence Nightingale – Nurse Sandra Day O’Connor – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sam Oosterhoff – youngest elected MPP in Ontario (at age 19) Thomas Paine – political writer during the American Revolution Bill Ridell – Newspaperman Will Rogers – Humorist Bertrand Russell – Logician Albert Schweitzer – Physician Sir Ernest Shackleton – Explorer Herbert Spencer – philosopher, sociologist Gloria Steinem – founder and long-time editor of Ms. magazine Mary Walker – Civil War physician; recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor Lester Frank Ward – “Father of American Sociology” Martha Washington – wife of George Washington Frances E. C. Willard – educator, temperance leader, and suffragist Frank Lloyd Wright – Architect Elijah ben Solomon Zalman – Jewish scholar Famous Homeschooling Parents Michael Card Robert Frost Paul Overstreet Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith John Travolta and Kelly Preston Lisa Whelchel Darrell Waltrip

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What is deschooling? For parents, deschooling is a deconditioning of one’s way of thinking about education. It involves reevaluating what education is really about, what the learning process looks like in real life as opposed to just the institutional setting of school, what knowledge and skills are important to learn as opposed to just assigned by the standardized curriculum of the school system of mass instruction. For children, deschooling is a time of decompression (sometimes de-tox or recovery) from the school environment they’ve been in, so that they can relax out of their school-related stress and re-discover their natural curiosity and love of learning. When used as a transition to homeschooling, it’s also a time of adjustment as they move into new ways of doing things. Note: The term “deschooling” was probably first used by Ivan Illich, a critic of the institutions of modern Western culture. Wikipedia describes his 1971 book, Deschooling Society, as “a groundbreaking critique of compulsory mass education. He argued that the oppressive structure of the school system could not be reformed but must be dismantled in order to free humanity from the crippling effects of the institutionalization of all of life.” (quote retrieved on March 25, 2020, from Articles on deschooling (by OFTP member Sarah Wall) (by OFTP member Sarah Wall) (by former OFTP member Pam Laricchia) Homeschool blogger Jeanne Faulconer has a number of posts about deschooling: — This post lists a number of behaviours you might encounter during “the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling.” — This post offers some suggestions about how to guide your child’s activities during the deschooling phase. — This post is the first of 5 in the Parental Deschooling series intended to help parents get out of the school mindset to homeschool instead.

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