Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home School Off the Grid

Between 1990 and 1999 my wife and I home schooled our children at home in a 320 square foot straw bale cabin with no electricity or running water in the mountains of Montana. In a world full of technology today, it seems odd but my daughters learned how to read and write by candle light.  Of course they learned much more than that, but being without the traditional distractions like television and telephones, we were able to focus on school studies and the typical homestead chores.

We approached teaching our own children in an original but effective manner, as time has proven us out. First, we believed that education is not only math and English but in general, education should be about raising well rounded and capable young people. Therefore it is essential to include training in the outside world like having a strong work ethic and personal social skills. A matter of fact, many parents asked us as their children screamed and fought because they were tired or hungry, if we were shortchanging our children by not having them interact with other children eight hours per day. We just smiled and politely said, no. Once in a while we would park outside a public school while the public school children were on recess and watch the heathens abuse each other until the bell rang while teachers proudly looked on. Then we would drive to the library and calmly read and learn new things. And that brings me to our second key to having a successful home school off the grid. If parents took the time in the beginning to inspire their children to learn, showing them how incredibly exciting it is to learn new things, the children will value learning and as a home teacher you will almost never struggle to motivate them because they are motivated to learn.

The majority of parents that struggle teaching their children have failed to convince their children that learning is fun. Therefore, they spend much of the time frustrated and distraught. On day one, my wife and I took our two children to the library and had them sit still at the table while we went from shelf to shelf pulling books and bringing them back to the table and discussed some of the fantastic things we were discovering. We purposely ignored our children and conversed about the size of the moon and George Washington and a thousand other topics. Our children sat and felt they were being cheated by not being allowed to learn such earth shattering things. After four long hours, we set them loose and have never had to motivate them to learn since. They are now 16, 21 and 22 years old.

Oh, and our children did attend public high school and quickly discovered how far ahead they were of their peers. My children also say that attending public school was the biggest mistake they ever made in their short lives. We, their mother and I think it was great for them to see the reality of what public school produces. If you have children in high school and are home schooling them, check out our brand new high school home school classes on the radio at www.yourcustomtutor.com

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