Essentials for Successful Homeschooling 2 – Teaching Commitment
This is article Number 2 in the Series, Essentials for Successful Homeschooling
This Essentials for Successful Homeschooling series is written for the benefit of anyone who wants guidance to implement a successful homeschooling program. These articles will be numbered, and should be read in order. The content for each article is taken from the Enrollment Application and processes for students in Family Tree Private School, a school for homeschooling families. Family Tree Private School supports a Biblical foundation for life and learning, and enrollment is open to all.
This 2nd article, Teaching Commitment lays out best practices for parents to follow. Unless it says “suggested”, families enrolled in Family Tree will be dismissed if these commitments are not kept. You must follow, and be prepared to defend these standards and understanding the boundaries and incentives described below. Your commitment in applying these standards will enable you to answer all critics intelligently and give you confidence to establish your homeschooling program.
(Video version of this article is not yet available.)
BEST PRACTICES for teachers are summarized below and include providing a quality environment and learning opportunities for your child.
- To teach a minimum of 180 days of school per year (or 170 with make-up work completed).
- To teach the minimum number of hours per day pertaining to grade level as outlined with your local school district.
- To teach the minimum subject areas of Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies & Bible. (If you do not use a Biblically based curriculum for Social Studies and Science, use a supplement for learning that presents a Biblical World View, such as Wall Builders, or Creation Science Institute.)
- To attend any meetings, or participate in guidance sessions for parental support with local homeschooling groups as necessary.
- To receive the annual educational evaluation or test as directed by the school district.
- To provide adult supervision for children up to and including the age of fifteen.
- Students may not have a full-time job or job which exceeds 26 hrs. per week, excluding the summer months.
- Only grades of “C” or above will be accepted for credits toward a diploma when transferring from or to another school.
- Annual tests are required. The student will not be promoted or permitted to graduate if a standardized test is not completed.
- Final Grades on Transcripts will be lowered to reflect low standardized test scores as follows: If standardized scores yield 61% and above = then that subject may retain an “A” on the records; for 51-60% = a “B”; for 41-50% = a “C”. An asterisk (*) will be placed by the final GPA indicating that work is not supported through standardized testing if standardized test scores average below 41%, or if a 41% or above was accomplished through accommodations, or some form of alternative testing other than a standardized test. For example, if an 18 year old is a special education student and does their given work, and makes 100%s, then they should get an “A” on the records, but have an asterisk (*) next to it with a disclaimer explaining this grade is not supported by standardized testing (testing designed for regular education students.) This way children, get rewarded for their great work without being penalized for their disabilities.
- If a final test is not submitted before a student leaves the school, an “I” for “Incomplete” will be placed next to subjects on the Transcript until scores are submitted.
- It is strongly recommended that one Master High School Goal Chart be created annually and copies made for each month, then filled out to summarize the work load for every month as the year progresses. This way the subject titles remain consistent and record keeping is more organized. Changes in the student’s courses can affect the awarding of credits, scholarship eligibility and access to programs offered by the state and other organizations, so it is important not to vary from the “Five Year Plan” you are following (after choosing one of the diploma options).
Half credits can only be earned when a student has been in attendance for a minimum of two consecutive – 9 week quarters. No quarter credits are allowed, and all grades are “un-weighted” (which means grades only go as high as 4.0).
People will say that children taught at home will miss time learning to cope with their peers, claiming that homeschooled children may eventually grow up to be social misfits. The “Socialization” argument is often used to confuse & intimidate parents of homeschooled children. This is completely unfounded. The opposite is actually true. Homeschooled students are creative, independent, personally secure, and socially very well adjusted. A documented study done at the University of Florida found that homeschooled children fair as well or better than traditionally schooled children since socialization depends more upon parental role modeling, that peer to peer interaction. In reality, it is misplaced to think that a student must
learn substantial formative social skills from a peer who generally has the same amount of experience.
Due to the nature of homeschooling, homeschooled students mingle in society a lot more than traditionally schooled children, including in the business world. Of course every family is different, and parents need to allow this interaction to occur naturally as the family lives day, by day. Students who are homeschooled with a Biblical World View are especially at an advantage when they benefit from a family atmosphere which supports strong, Biblical values. I would not only defend, but be proud to say that I deprive my children of dysfunctional social situations in a secular, government school setting! The argument against homeschooling that this type of education provides a weak social experience, is false, & illogical. The Bible gives us just the opposite conclusion in I Cor. 15.33, that “Evil company corrupts good morals”.
- FREQUENT MYTHS CONCERNING HOMESCHOOLING
Children are missing the benefits of being with their peers.
B. Children are being over sheltered.
C. Children will be unable to cope later in life.
- THE CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE, SECULAR SOCIALIZATION
Learning situational ethics. (That morality changes as the group dictates.)
B. Absolutes are disregarded.
C. Children learn to conform to the current morality by pressure from peers.
D. Children’s security comes from the approval of the group.
E. Individualism & leadership potential are stifled by “cliques” and the need to
conform to group morality – to “belong”.
F. The group psychologically disarms personal values & goals.
G. Disrespect for authority is bred as another means of pleasing the “group”.
H. The value is learned that worth is determined by peers. All those that are perceived not to possess worth from the peer group, are ridiculed, and become the butt of jokes.
I. Children can become animalistic when their morals and values are transmitted primarily by peers rather than by parents, teachers, or authorities. There is no foundation to expect youth to indoctrinate each other with good character.
- POSITIVE EFFECTS OF HOMESCHOOLING
Positive examples and reinforcement by parents. (A study done at the University of Florida concludes that parental role modeling is more valuable than peer contact to develop social skills.)
B. Consistently balanced and goal oriented discipline, chosen and maintained by parents.
C. The children’s training is daily and on-going resulting in positive self-worth, purpose and vision for life. Individuality is channeled for constructive, not destructive activities.
D. More individual time ratio between student and teacher.
E. Healthy environment in which to grow, and from which to respect diversity.
F. The majority of time spent by the children is spent with people that love him or her, and are concerned for the immediate and the future good of the children.
The points above show in part, that secular “socialization” is negative in nature and almost totally disregards Biblical principles and the Godly benefits of obedience. Though others may act contrary to sound homeschooling practices and abuses may occur, this does not invalidate the strengths of homeschooling in general.
Next Article in Series: Essentials for Successful Homeschooling 3 – Testing For help with transcripts for districtly enrolled homeschoolers, CLICK HERE. To enroll with Family Tree Private School, CLICK HERE
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Author: Nancy Moral, M.Ed. Send comments to: email@example.com