May 29, 2023

Value of parents praised

 Value of parents praised



Parents are just as good as teachers when it comes to educating toddlers, an early-childhood educator says. Dr Sarah Farquhar, who presented her findings at the New Zealand Playcentre Federation’s Diamond Jubilee conference in Auckland at the weekend, said teacher-led early-education services had little added value to a child’s development compared with parent-led services. Farquhar said the impact of family was consistently greater on a child’s achievements than Early Childhood Education and government policies needed to recognise the value of involving parents in children’s early education. “If we want to make more of an effective difference for our young children, we should be valuing programmes that involve parents learning much more than they are currently being valued,” she said.

New Zealand Curriculum

The NZ curriculum isonline at :

Here are some other helpful websites in preparing the exemption.

Te Whâriki is more relevant for a six year old?? since it is widely accepted that Early Childhood ranges from 0?? 6 years.

It could also be useful to take note of development documents like this one:

Home Education and Socialisation

Home Education and Socialisation
by Craig S. Smith

Without a doubt this is the one question, reservation and objection that is raised most often. It is ususlly the one raised first. It is often the one most hotly debated. And common experience among home educators is that socialisation, rather than academic achievement, is the issue over which friends, relatives and educational authorities show the most concern.

What is it, how and where does it take place?

“The earlier you institutionalise your children,
the earlier they will institutionalise you.”

–Developmental Psychologist Dr. Raymond Moore

Popular opinion assumes that children need long periods of interaction with a large group of age-segregated peers to acquire social skills. Now assuming that most of the time spent in the classroom is not spent in interacting but in paying attention to the teacher and doing the assigned work, where does most of the interaction take place? During lunch and break times, and before and after school. And who is supervising this interaction on the playground, on the school bus and on the streets to ensure that the right kind of socialisation is taking place? It is not the teachers but the children themselves. In the typical public school setting, children are being left to socialise themselves as best they can.

This fits in with today’s prevailing philosophy which holds that children are inherently good or perhaps neutral, like blank cassette tapes, and that left to themselves, they will inevitably develop and adapt toward the highest good attainable by the group as a whole. (Although it is unpopular to say so, when this is translated into practical reality it means conformity to the lowest common denominator.) This inevitable “upward” development and adaptation is an idea developed from the theories of evolution.

Unfortunately it was developed in the absense of a) other tenents of evolutionary thought, b) common experience and c) traditional Christian/Western wisdom, all of which contradict this foundational premise upon which our modern ideas of child socialisation are based.

Let us examine these three contradictions to the prevailing thoughts on socialisation:

a) Another tenent of evolution is the survival of the fittest. This is the law of the jungle, eat or be eaten, brute force prevails, might makes right. This is the tendency of children’s behaviour on the playground unless there are sufficient adults present to prevent it.

Even though children are infinitely varied, the socialisation at school causes them to conform to the codes dictated by their particular class or group. We have all witnessed the same phenomenon: There are the few at the top who are setting the pace and the codes, there are the vast numbers in the middle who quietly conform and try to keep out of harm’s way, and there are those at the bottom of the pecking order who are ostracised, victimised, bullied, teased, etc., because they do not conform in their dress, their size, their looks, their speech, their behaviour or whatever.

b) Common experience tells us this profound truth: Monkey see, monkey do. Children emulate the behaviour of those around them. If they spend most time around their friends, they copy them. If it is with the Ninja Turtles on TV, they will copy them. If they spend most time around their parents, they will emulate them.

Most parents know only too well the immediate results of this “copy cat” form of socialisation. After lengthy play with their friends, children can be “hyper” and disrespectful and try out the unacceptable speech or actions they have just picked up from their peers. How true is the ancient proverb which says, “He who walks with wise men becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (1)

c) Christian wisdom says that children are not basically good or neutral but are fallen, that is, they possess an inherent tendency toward foolishness which manifests itself in temper tantrums, disobedience, disrespect, dishonesty, destructiveness, etc. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” In other words, children do not need other children to teach them how to be children. Instead they need loving, responsive adults committed to teaching them, training them, giving them the discipline and setting them the right example in the social graces.

Children do not of themselves learn the social arts of respect, honesty, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfullness, manners, or self control; they must have consciencious adults to model, discipline, teach and train them to internalise these behaviour traits as habits.

Origins of Modern Socialisation Theories
Critics of home education claim that such children will not be the same as their conventionally schooled friends and will not fit into the peer group. The origins of this concern are somewhat sinister.

First there was Horace Mann, an early leader in the public school movement. He favoured the Prussian patterns of state education because, as he put it, it was devised “more for the purpose of modifying the sentiments and opinions of the rising generation according to a certain government standard than as a mere means of diffusing elementary knowledge.”

Then there was John Dewey, the father of progressive education. He saw truth not in absolutes, but in terms of universal ideas developed and agreed to by a group. A “thesis” or proposed truism would emerge from the group. It would at some stage meet with an opposing idea, an “antithesis.” Debate and conflict would ensue until a compromise or “synthesis” was reached. This synthesis then became the thesis and the whole process would be repeated.

Truth to Dewey was derived by a distillation process within the group. To educators like him, the interaction of children with others in order to help distill these universal ideas of truth is education.

Both Horace Mann and John Dewey believed that this type of education needed to be led by an elite, those educators who had been instrumental in the formation of public education policy, who could gently lead others through this “distillation” process. To have children who did not or would not fit in with the group would be to hamper the distillation of truth, as directed by this elite.

We find, then, that this concern over home educated children not being socialised is actually a political concern that they will not be as easily manipulated by the elite as those who do fit into this all-important group.(2)

Group Socialisation
The following comments are by Dr. James C. Dobson who is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Southern California School of Medicine; President of Focus on the Family Magazine and “Focus on the Family” radio programmes which are heard daily on 1400 radio facilities around the world; and author of best-seller, Dare to Discipline.

“I have been increasingly concerned during the past 10 years about the damage done to our children by one another. The epidemic of inferiority and inadequacy seen during the teen years is rooted in the ridicule, rejection, and social competition experienced by vulnerable young children. They are simply not ready to handle the threats to the self-concept that are common in any elementary school setting.

“I have seen kids dismantle one another, while parents and teachers passively stood by and observed the “socialisation” process. I’ve then watched the recipients of this pressure begin to develop defense mechanisms and coping strategies that should never be necessary in a young child.

“Dozens of investigations have demonstrated, (at least to my satisfaction), the error of the notion that children must be exposed to other children in order to be properly socialised. I just don’t believe it. In fact, the opposite is true. They need the security and love of parental protection and guidance until their self-concepts are more stabilised and established.

“In summary, I believe the home school is the wave of the future. In addition, it provides a third alternative to a humanistic public school and an expensive or non-existent Christian school.(3)

Socialisation and the Occurance of Genius
In 1960 Harold G. McCurdy examined “The childhood pattern of genius” in a study supported by the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C. In summary, McCurdy wrote:

“The typical developmental pattern includes as important aspects:

a) a high degree of attention focused upon the child by parents and other adults, expressed in intensive educational measures and, usually, abundant love;

b) isolation from other children, especially outside the family; and

c) a rich efflorescence of fantasy as a reaction to the preceeding conditions.

“It might be remarked that the mass education of our public school system is, in its way, a vast experiment on the effect of reducing all three factors to a minimum; accordingly, it should tend to suppress the occurance of genius.”(4)

Socialisation Statistics
Another answer to those critics who argue that home educated students are deprived socially is provided by Dr. John Wesley Taylor V. He used the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale, one of the best self-concept instruments available for measuring socialisation, to evaluate 224 home schooling participants aged 9 through 18. Over half scored in the top 10% of the scale. 77.7% ranked in the top 25% of the scale. Only 10.3% scored below the norm.

Home schooled children score signifigantly higher than their conventionally schooled peers in this measurement of socialisation.(5)

Character Development
Dr. Raymond Moore, Developmental psychologist and early childhood educational specialist from the Moore Foundation of Camas, Washington, has developed a three point recipe for sound character development:

1) An academic regimen which takes into consideration the individual child’s readiness to learn as effected by the child’s physical, emotional and intellectual maturity levels; his aptitudes, special gifts and abilities, learnig style, etc.

2) An element of work in the daily programme which may range from simple routine chores to a regular income-generating cottage industry.

3) Service to others such as active membership in voluntary service organisations and visiting, baking, running errands for shut-ins, the infirm or hospitalised.

Dr. Moore maintains that the time and logistics of public schools and the need to integrate all three points into a unified lifestyle or “family corporation” indicates home-based education as the ideal setting for sound, all-round character development.(6)

Some critics of home education paint charicatures of what they say the home-educated brand of socialisation will produce: introverted whimps and social incompetents. If we ignore for a moment the other factors involved in character development such as family background and support, it must be pointed out that these charicatures are already known in society and that they are products of the public schools. So too in fact are other social blights such as irresponsible hooligans, unmotivated slobs, gang members, vandals, and all the other social misfits who have graduated from the public schools’ socialisation programme to subsequently be sent to our country’s prisons, fill them to overflowing, and are now spilling back into society producing ever increasing crime rates.

If we now return to what are probably the major factors in character development, namely family background and support, and assert that increased hooliganism and crime is a result of disintegrating families, then we also have to assert that the schools are not able to correct this trend. Home-based education, however, is an ideal situation for correcting this downward trend as families are of necessity drawn together to strive in unison toward the goal of educating and training each other for the whole of life.

Negative Peer Pressure
Cornell University’s Urie Bronfenfrenner points out the negative socialising effects of the peer group. The knuckling under of children to their agemates in habits, manners, finger signs, obscenities, rivalry and ridicule almost certainly infects all children who spend more of their waking days with their peers than their parents, as is usually the case with conventionally schooled children.

They will become dependent upon their age-segregated peer group, and tend to be alienated from adults and others not in their age group. He says that this robs children of 1) self worth, 2) optimism, 3) respect for parents and 4) even trust in their peers.

Furthermore, this does not happen because peers are so attractive, but because the children perceive they are to some degree rejected by their parents.(7)

Early Childhood Schooling
Martin Engle, who then headed the National Early Childhood Demonstration Centre, vowed that parents who insist on early schooling, for all its claimed advantages to their children, are either deceived or deceiving their children; and that in fact, the children feel rejected.(8)

He is supported by the late John Bowlby, London psychiatrist who headed the World Health Organisation early childhood programme. This rejection, suggests Dr. Bowlby, often amounts to a serious form of child abuse. We are depriving them of the security they need when we institutionalise them before they are ready. (Dr. Moore adds that the earlier you institutionalise your children, the earlier they will institutionalise you.) Says Dr. Bowlby, “…mothers who care for their children well are providing an irreplaceable service and one that society should hold in highest regard and be thankful for.”(9)

Boys and Girls Mature at Different Rates
The negative socialsing effects of age-segregating youngsters into classes, putting all boys and girls of the same age into the same class, is especially damaging to the boys. We require boys to enter school at the same age as girls although we know that boys trail girls in mental and emotional maturity by about a year at school’s start. Boys tend to be more likely than girls to fail, become delinquent or aqutely hyperactive.

Michigan State University family ecologist Anne Soderman says, “Our failure to apply in the classroom what we have learned through research is evident in the secondary schools–boys outnumber girls 13 to 1 in remedial classes and by as much as 8 to 1 in classes for the emotionally impaired.”(10)

Basically, the socialisation argument against home education is one big myth. What statistics are available indicate that socialisation at home is in fact signifigantly superior to that proffered in public schools (Dr. John Taylor’s use of Piers-Harris scale.) And the results of the schools’ socialisation efforts observable in society today are bemoaned by just about everybody involved.

(1) Proverbs 13:20

(2) Theresa Rodman. The Teaching Home, Portland, Oregon: Vol. II, No. 4, Aug/Sep 1984.

(3) Abstracted from a personal letter to a professional collegue who had questioned Dr. Dobson’s stance on homeschooling, quoted in The Teaching Home , Portland, Oregon: Vol. I, No. 2, June 1983.

(4) Quoted in Doctoral thesis of Brian D. Ray, President, National Home Education Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, 29 July 1986.

(5) John Wesley Taylor V. “Self Concept in Home Schooling Children”, Doctoral dissertation, Andrews University, Michigan, May 1986.

(6) Raymond S. Moore. “The Educated Beautiful”, Kappa Delta Pi RECORD, summer 1987.

(7) Urie Bronfenbrenner. Two Worlds of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R., New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1970.

(8) Martin Engle. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Golden Hair: Some Thoughts on early Childhood Education.” Unpublished manuscript, National Demonstration Center in Early Childhood Education, U.S. Office of Education, Washington, D.C.

(9) John Bowlby. Maternal Care and Mental Health , Geneva World Health Organisation, 1952.

(10) Ann Soderman. Article in Education Week, 14 March 1984.

Hold Your Family Together

Hold Your Family Together

Posted in The Faith of Us Fathers

The Industrial Revolution took dad away from the home where he traditionally worked with the entire family on the family business. Community Schools and then State funded Compulsory Schooling took the children away from home for longer and longer periods of time each day and for more and more weeks each year. Social pressure, increased mobility and erratic economic opportunities separated the nuclear family from the extended family, especially the grandparents. State subsidised Early Childhood Educational institutions supported by aggressive promotional campaigns drew the little ones out of the home. At last it was Feminism and the pressures of the economy that took even mum away from her home. I was a door to door salesman, wholly dependent on commission sales for an income, for 13 years until 1995. I can tell you honestly that I didn’t bother to start knocking on doors until 3:30pm each day, for prior to that time there simply was no one at home. Our cities have many streets lined with lovely houses — but all of them empty for much of the day.

It is rare to find a family unit where each member draws strength and purpose from being part of that larger entity (the family) perceived by each member to be of more worth than him or her self. The politically correct propaganda of egalitarianism has transformed the definition of “family” in some quarters to a mere ad hoc collection of individuals — such as flatmates even, with no legal or blood ties at all — wherein each demands his or her own rights and autonomy.

Christian families composed of Mum and Dad (who are legally and happily married) and their natural and/or adopted and/or fostered children are becoming increasingly uncommon. Then to find such an entity living in the same town as both sets of grandparents and any other relatives, all of whom are on more than just speaking terms, where the grandparents would never dream of sporting the bumper sticker that reads, “We’re spending our grandchildren’s inheritance”, is most unusual indeed. And should a Christian family actually find itself in such an advantageous position, what is most likely to be its lifestyle? The children are at school and after school activities, and Mum and Dad are run ragged each week with various church and community commitments on top of their regular jobs. Even on Sunday the children are often off to creche, children’s church or Sunday school, or sitting with their friends in the back pews and then off to join the youth outreach. Hands up those who remember seeing an entire family sitting all together for an entire worship service?

Such separation is demonstrably unhealthy for the family unit. Many of us have difficulty seeing exactly why this is so, for we have very little idea of the forceful powerhouse an integrated family unit could be, since few of us have ever seen one in action. I’ve only seen wee glimpses….but enough to whet my desire to see more.

If our family experience is anything to go by, there is a direct relationship between time spent with the family as a whole and family harmony and happiness. My mother is 77 years old. She has lived and travelled extensively on every continent except Antarctica. Yet those 14 months she spent on the road, being recently widowed, with every thing that meant anything to her — us five children and those possessions we could carry in the VW Combi — were the happiest and most carefree of her whole life. We five siblings developed from a pack of squabbling brats who fought each other at every opportunity into a well-organised team who could find directions, secure lodgings and buy groceries in four different languages and tote our own considerable volume of belongings (while holding the 2-year-old’s hand) from vehicle to hotel room in one trip!

Our 9-year-old is a particularly good barometer of family unity. When we are too busy to spend a good amount of focussed time with him, he acts up. Oh, he is great at absorbing the “I’m too busy right now” line without causing a problem, for he understands the pressure of deadlines. But he also knows a fob-off when he gets one, and he then becomes a right royal pain. It is usually then we notice that those daily rituals of all being present at meals, not answering the phone during the devotions, washing dishes together, reading aloud together, having some daily formal and/or informal instruction time, etc., have been either totally abandoned or compromised beyond recognition. Re-establishing them also re-establishes sanity and harmony and security and happiness.

One ritual we established a few years ago was to have devotions after every meal, not just once a day, and to include the singing of Psalms & hymns. This has at times, when I have been sharp enough and with it enough to capitalise on the opportunity, allowed for our family as a unit to discuss eternal truths, debate current events, face and weep over personal shortcomings, evaluate Biblical ways of dealing with conflicts, etc.

Another ritual we took up with great gusto was for me to read to the children in the evenings. Let me tell you, it is very exciting to see a 20 year old daughter and an 18 year old son getting out sewing or model kits in eager preparation for an extended time of listening to their “old man’s” voice. It puts the battle over the “tyranny of the urgent” (“I’ve really got too many deadlines facing me to spend an evening reading”), and over the conflict between “the one and the many” (“I was looking forward to spending some time alone, not entertaining a crowd”) into perspective…..especially now that those two older ones are gone overseas. What happened to all those plans I had of things I was going to do with them but never had time for?

Make time for your children, dads. Cultivate an attitude as in Longfellow’s poem below. Plan in the time, guard it jealously, so that, as it says in Psalm 127:5, you will not be put to shame when you speak with your enemies in the gate, for your children will all be standing shoulder to shoulder there with you.

From Keystone Magazine
May 2001 , Vol. VII No. 3
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig