family life and homeschooling

How Home Schooling Became the Fastest Growing Form of Education

“Schooling operates out of an assumption that ordinary people are biologically or psychologically or politically inferior; education assumes that individuals are sovereign spirits. “

–John Taylor Gatto

Family Life and Homeschooling—A Growing Educational Trend

Home schooling has been steadily becoming a more popular option for parents around the world. According to one article, it’s the fastest growing form of education, increasing at an annual rate of between 7% and 15% per year. While information isn’t available for all countries, countries in which home schooling is on the rise include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, and the U.K. Those statistics don’t include parents who homeschool just one of their children or those that homeschool part time or only for a year or two.

There are a number of reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children. Some choose homeschooling for religious reasons. Others believe that school environments aren’t conducive to learning or don’t foster independent thinking. Still others are concerned about perceived deterioration of the academic quality of public schools as a result of overcrowded classrooms. Parents of children with special needs often choose to homeschool their children because their homes provide better accommodation for those needs. The majority of parents who choose to homeschool do so for the best of reasons. However, sadly, there are some parents who choose this option as a way to hide child abuse.

Benefits of Family Life and Homeschooling

Whatever their reasons for choosing to home school their children, most parents report that one of the benefits of family life and home schooling is a sense of togetherness. Family life and home schooling advocate and educational reformer John Taylor Gatto believes that rigid school routines discourage children from the process of self-discovery. He describes self-discovery as a process of making choices, noticing patterns within those choices and using that self-knowledge to make future choices. Further, he believes that if the personal growth that accompanies this process is interfered with, it can result in creating adults who are easily manipulated. He says that his 30 years of teaching left him with the realization that “Institutionalized schooling… is about obedience in exchange for favors and advantages.”

One of the benefits of home schooling is gaining valuable experiences that cannot be created within the confines of a classroom. For example, the ability to take far more field trips allows both parents and their children to experience, rather than read about, the changing of the seasons. Family life and home schooling also become inseparable as children gain hands-on experience. For example, a nutrition class can include shopping for and cooking a meal, which could also include a valuable lesson in hosting a social event, as well as the sanitary importance of cleaning up afterwards. One mother’s personal experience with family life and homeschooling lists some additional benefits.

The Challenges Presented by Family Life and Homeschooling

One of the challenges of family life and homeschooling is that the parents must often reeducate themselves. This is especially true in the age of technology, in which new information is being discovered and disseminated more quickly than at any other time in human history. Because it is rare for any person to have a passion for every subject, many parents that homeschool form support groups in order to utilize one another’s interests, talents and abilities. For example, a parent who enjoys and excels in teaching science but dreads teaching grammar might arrange to have their child attend another parent’s grammar lesson in exchange for their child attending a science lesson. Another benefit of this approach is that it provides an avenue for supervised socializing since home schooled children often have fewer opportunities to socialize.

One of the most common challenges of family life and homeschooling is that of sibling rivalry. Maintaining an emotional atmosphere that promotes optimum learning can be difficult. All families experience occasional conflict among siblings, and some parents report that teaching children respectful conflict resolution skills can be the most difficult aspect of family life and homeschooling. Another is the potential for parental burnout, since parents who home school are often on duty 24 hours a day. That’s why scheduling time away to relax on a regular basis is extremely important.

In 1909, President Woodrow Wilson, who was then the president of Princeton University, said “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity to forgo the privilege of a liberal education.” For many parents who want their children to receive a first class education, but are unable to pay expensive tuition, homeschooling can reduce the effects of income inequality.

There is no shortage of examples of successful people who learned to be such independent thinkers at a young age that they found it unnecessary to earn a college degree. That list includes computer whizzes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell, creator of the CNN news network Ted Turner. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, and Warren Avis of Avis Rent-a-Car. It’s hard to argue with success like that.

family life and homeschooling

February 17,2016  |

family life and adoption

Family Life and Adoption: Humanity’s Capacity for Care

For many couples unable to have children, and increasingly, couples who choose to adopt rather than, or in addition, having children of their own, experience the joys of parenthood. Increasingly, single people are also choosing family life and adoption rather than foregoing parenthood because they haven’t found a suitable partner. Adoption also benefits children by providing them with the stable loving environment that young, economically challenged, or inexperienced birth parents are unable to provide.

According to the most recent statistics, global child adoption rates have declined significantly in the past decade, from 22,991 in 1994 to 7092 in 2013. When most people think of adoption, they picture newborn infants, but surprisingly, children under one year of age represented only 541 of adoptions, with the greatest percentage of adopted children, at 2,682, being children aged 1-2 years old, followed by children aged 5-12 at 2,031. Of the children adopted in 2013, 54.6% were female and 45.4% were male.

Family Life and Adoption: A Global Perspective

The countries in which the most adoptions occurred in 2013 were China, Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and South Korea. While it may appear that the need may be greatest in those countries, statistics often don’t tell the whole story. For example, in 2011, of the 423,000 children in the U.S. without a permanent family, only 115,000 were eligible for adoption. This is partly the result of family life and adoption laws that grant birth parents suffering from addiction the opportunity to obtain treatment before severing their parental rights.

According to a 2009 U.N. report, 20 countries still did not have legal procedures in place for the adoption of children. Each country’s laws, restrictions and requirements are different. For example, at the time of the report, single people were only allowed to adopt in 15 countries.
 As late as the 19th century, many adoptions were for the benefit of adults rather than children. Common reasons for adoption included preserving inheritances, the continuation of family names, and expanding political power and influence by forging family alliances. It was only in the late 19th century that the welfare of children began to become the primary focus of adoption.

Questions, Benefits and Challenges Surrounding Family Life and Adoption

One site addresses many of the questions as well as myths surrounding adoption. One of those questions is whether it is possible for a parent to love an adoptive child as much as a biological one. If we spend time as well as money on that which we love, the fact that almost 75% of adopted children are read or sung to every day answers that question with a resounding yes.

The financial costs of adopting a child in the U.S. range from $5000 to $40,000, depending upon the type of agency and whether it is an inter-country adoption.

There are many benefits of adopting a child, for parents, children, and even birth mothers. One of the clearest benefits to the child is knowing they were wanted. Unlike pregnancies, an unplanned family life and adoption doesn’t exist.
Current adoption trends are also less traumatic for birth mothers than in the past, when they were not given any information about the adoptive parents and often never saw the child again. Today, open adoptions in which birth mothers continue to play a limited role in the child’s life are becoming far more common. In fact, currently, 67 percent of private adoptions in the U.S. are open to varying degrees according to agreements reached by the birth mother and the adoptive parents.
There are also some unique challenges associated with family life and adoption. Several studies conducted with adoptive parents revealed that many of those challenges are dependent upon the age of the child when the adoption took place. Older children often face psychological concerns such as abandonment issues and attachment disorders. The degree of psychological counseling necessary to successfully address these issues can also depend to a large extent on the number of moves the child experienced before being adopted. Shockingly, some children have experienced as many as 58 moves. Older adopted children may also experience more difficulty during social transitions, such as attending a new school.
However, there are not many difficulties associated with family life and adoption that can’t be overcome with love and commitment, two things that adoptive parents have in abundance. There is no other explanation for the existence of so many adopted people who went on to become successful.
A few of the most famous and successful people who began life as an adopted child include inventor and business mogul Steve Jobs, singers and musicians Faith Hill and John Lennon, and former U.S. President Gerald Ford.
family life and adoption
Mother Berthe Holding Her Child, Mary Cassatt, 1889 CC by 4.0

December 2,2015  |