June 2, 2023

Pros and Cons of Home Schooling

Pros–Benefits of Homeschooling

  • 1.Spend more time together as a family.
  • 2.Spend more time with children when they are rested and fresh rather than tired and cranky from school.
  • 3.Superior academic achievement through individual tutoring.
  • 4.Parents can ensure that their children master the subjects.
  • 5.Children can be daily instructed and vitally involved in the realities and responsibilities of life in the everyday real world context of the home, the community, the workplace and the marketplace.
  • 6.The world is the classroom.
  • 7.Tutoring provides vast amounts of individual attention.
  • 8.Curriculum can be tailor made to suit child’s interests, learning style, aptitudes, special needs, etc.
  • 9.Quieter, more secure, loving and committed environment of home builds stronger foundation for child’s security.
  • 10.Builds stronger family ties as everyone is involved in a 24-hour-a-day project of great importance and vast implications.
  • 11.Parents feel more fulfilled in themselves, and are continually challenged to a higher standard of excellence. Their own potentials are more fully developed.
  • 12.Parents are most committed to the child’s success. No one else will spend the blood, sweat, toil, tears, time and money parents routinely invest in their own children.
  • 13.Children receive superior socialisation through the parents’ positive role models and consistent training. Parents’ standards are not constantly contradicted as can happen in the classroom and on the playground.
  • 14.The child’s learning, rather than the teacher’s teaching, is the focus of the whole exercise.
  • 15.The child’s education will not conflict with or contradict the philosophy and world view of the parents and/or the family’s church.
  • 16.Homeschooled children generally demand a higher standard of excellence in radio and TV programming, theatre, the arts, books, magazines, movies, etc. As more and more such individuals abound, they will not only create a market for better goods in these areas, but may also signal the demise of the NZ porn and sleeze merchants for lack of patronage.
  • 17.Independent, individual, original thinkers, as homeschoolers tend to be, may develop into NZ’s own Shakespeares, Einsteins and Beethovens. Consider the South Island’s own C.W.F. Hamilton, the inventor of the jet boat and revolutionary earthmoving equipment. He declared that his two years in school interrupted his education.
  • 18.Independent homeschooling is a must if we are to preserve our civil liberties from the totalitarian tendencies of the social welfare state. As the Presbyterian scholar of Princeton and Westminster Theological Seminaries, Professor J. Gresham Machen, warned way back in 1926, “If liberty is not maintained with regard to education, there is no use trying to maintain it in any other sphere. If you give the bureaucrats the children you might just as well give them everything else.”
  • 19.Children and parents are able to form deeper friendships and more intimate relationships with each other….the family unit is thereby drawn closer together and strengthened.
  • 20.Children learn respect for their parents as teachers in all areas of life. They will look to their parents and to those adults whom the parents respect for advice and guidance rather than to whatever teachers, social workers, and peers happen to be immediately available. The Generation Gap is closed.
  • 21.Your child is removed from a peer-dominated environment in which he or she is exposed to countless potential failure situations, damaging both self esteem and love of learning.
  • 22.The parents’ commitment to and intimate knowledge of the child, the individualised attention, the increased flexibility to even follow the child’s individual preferences in study and the parents’ enthusiasm and excitement about learning themselves will more than make up for any perceived lack of a paper teaching qualification.
  • 23.Avoid having to struggle to get children to do the tedious busy work that is so often sent home as homework.
  • 24.Allow children time to learn subjects not usually taught in their school.
  • 25.Allow children to have time for more in-depth study than what is allowed in school.
  • 26.Allow children to learn at their own pace, not too slow or too fast.
    Allow children to work at a level that is appropriate to their own developmental stage. Skills and concepts can be introduced at the right time for that child.
  • 27.Provide long, uninterrupted blocks of time for writing, reading, playing, thinking, or working so that the child is able to engage in sophisticated, complex activities and thought processes.
  • 28.Encourage concentration and focus – which are discouraged in crowded classrooms with too many distractions.
  • 29.Encourage the child to develop the ability to pace her/himself – this is prevented in a classroom where the schedule is designed to keep every child busy all the time.
  • 30.Spend a lot of time out-of-doors. This is more healthy than spending most weekdays indoors in a crowded, and often over heated, classroom.
  • 31.Spending more time out-of-doors results in feeling more in touch with the changing of the seasons and with the small and often overlooked miracles of nature.
  • 32.Children learn to help more with household chores, developing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • 33.Children learn life skills, such as cooking, in a natural way, by spending time with adults who are engaged in those activities.
  • 34.More time spent on household responsibilities strengthens family bonds because people become more committed to things they have invested in (in this case, by working for the family).
  • 35.Time is available for more non-academic pursuits such as art or music. This leads to a richer, happier life.
  • 36.Children will not feel like passive recipients of subject matter selected by their teachers. They will learn to design their own education and take responsibility for it.
  • 37.Children will realize that learning can take place in a large variety of ways.
  • 38.Children will learn to seek out assistance from many alternative sources, rather than relying on a classroom teacher to provide all the answers.
  • 39.A more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle is possible when families do not feel the necessity to supplement school during after-school and week-end hours.
  • 40.Busy work can be avoided.
  • 41.Children will avoid being forced to work in “co-operative learning groups” which include children who have very unco-operative attitudes.
  • 42.Children can learn to work for internal satisfaction rather than for external rewards.
  • 43.Children will not be motivated to “take the easy way out” by doing just enough work to satisfy their teacher. They will learn to be their own judge of the quality of their own work.
  • 44.Children will be more willing to take risks and be creative since they do not have to worry about being embarrassed in front of peers.
  • 45.Children will be more confident since they are not subject to constant fear of criticism from teachers.
  • 46.Peer pressure will be reduced. There will be less pressure to grow up as quickly in terms of clothing styles, music, language, interest in the opposite sex.
  • 47.Social interactions will be by choice and based on common interests.
  • 48.Friends can be more varied, not just with the child’s chronological age peer group who happen to go to the same school.
  • 49.Field trips can be taken on a much more frequent basis.
  • 50.Field trips can be much more enjoyable and more productive when not done with a large school group which usually involves moving too quickly and dealing with too many distractions.
  • 51.Field trips can be directly tied into the child’s own curriculum.
  • 52.Volunteer service activities can be included in the family’s regular schedule. Community service can be of tremendous importance in a child’s development and can be a great learning experience.
  • 53.Scheduling can be flexible, allowing travel during less expensive and less crowded off-peak times. This can allow for more travel than otherwise, which is a wonderful learning experience.
  • 54.Children will be less likely to compare their own knowledge or intelligence with other children and will be less likely to become either conceited or feel inferior.
  • 55.Religious and special family days can be planned and celebrated.
  • 56.More time will be spent with people (friends and family) who really love and care about the children. Children will bond more with siblings and parents since they will spend more time together playing, working, and helping each other.
  • 57.Feedback on children’s work will be immediate and appropriate. They won’t have to wait for a teacher to grade and return their work later to find out if they understood it.
  • 58.Feedback can be much more useful than just marking answers incorrect or giving grades.
  • 59.Testing is optional. Time doesn’t have to be spent on testing or preparing for testing unless the parent and/or child desires it.
  • 60.Observation and discussion are ongoing at home and additional assessment methods are often redundant. Testing, if used, is best used to indicate areas for further work.
  • 61.Grading is usually unnecessary and learning is seen as motivating in and of itself. Understanding and knowledge are the rewards for studying, rather than grades (or stickers, or teacher’s approval, etc.).
  • 62.Children can be consistently guided in a family’s values and can learn them by seeing and participating in parents’ daily lives.
  • 63.Children will learn to devote their energy and time to activities that THEY think are worthwhile.
  • 64.Children will be able to learn about their ethnicities in a manner that will not demean. Children will be able to understand multiculturalism in its true sense and not from the pseudo-multicultural materials presented in schools which tend to depict others from a dominant culture perspective.
  • 65.Children will not learn to “fit into society,” but will, instead, value morality and love more than status and money.
  • 66.Children do not have to wait until they are grown to begin to seriously explore their passions; they can start living now.
  • 67.Children’s education can be more complete than what schools offer.
  • 68.Children who are “different” in any way can avoid being subjected to the constant and merciless teasing, taunting, and bullying which so often occurs in school.
  • 69.Children with special needs will be encouraged to reach their full potential and not be limited by the use of “cookie cutter” educational methods used in schools.
  • 70.Low standards or expectations of school personnel will not influence or limit children’s ability to learn and excel.
  • 71.Children will be safer from gangs, drugs, and guns.
  • 72.Parents will decide what is important for the children to learn, rather than a government bureaucracy.
  • 73.Family will not be forced to work within school’s traditional hours if it does not fit well with their job schedules and sleep needs.

Cons–Drawbacks of Conventional Schooling

  • 1. Political motivation of curricula content.
  • 2.Susceptibility to radical philosophical overtones of pressure groups: relativism, feminism, mysticism, socialism, the worst of the Family Planning Association, homosexual activism.
  • 3.Bright children often bored and unchallenged.
  • 4.Slow, SPELD or handicapped children often left behind or under-attended.
  • 5.Many children subjected to bullying, teasing, victimisation, manipulation and the many negative aspects of peer pressure.
  • 6.The peer pressure often leads to peer dependency wherein a child will look to his peers for acceptance, standards, morals and guidance.
  • 7.Danger from dense traffic, kidnappers and perverts while travelling to and from school.
  • 8.Exposure to unhealthy, unrighteous and immoral lifestyles as well as infectious diseases, epidemics, head lice, etc.
  • 9.Some children suffer the insecurity of psychological rejection at being sent away from home by parents who often unwittingly give the children the impression they are glad to have the children off their hands.
  • 10.Because the children are away from home for most of the day, Mum or Dad may both tend to focus their attention and look for personal fulfillment outside of the family.
  • 11.Children often develop a split personality in order to deal with one set of authority, values and standards at school and a completely different set at home.
  • 12.The instruction tends to be like mass treatment of children on the classroom dosing strip. No time for individualised tuition.
  • 13.Classroom environment is artificial and contrived and shelters children from the reality of everyday life in the home, the community and the workplace/marketplace. The classroom is also often overcrowded, too cluttered, too noisy and unruly.
  • 14.Necessary academic subjects are skimmed over for lack of time. Unnecessary and sometimes controversial subjects are shoehorned into the programme wasting precious time.
  • 15.There is the added costs of fees, uniforms, committee meetings, transportation. There are hassles with timetables, personality conflicts with teachers, administrators, other parents. There is worry about the competency of some teachers, the influence of certain other students, and rumours of unsavoury “goings on” at school.

Cons–Drawbacks to Homeschooling

  • 1.There may be fewer opportunities for playing team sports.
  • 2.The house begins to resemble a research station rather than an immaculate showhome.
  • 3.Research and learning opportunities begin to spring up in your mind and can even dominate all other activities.
  • 4.There may be hassles in transferring back into the school system. Because you have been studying along a different stream, and even though your child may know a lot more about a lot more subjects, because he hasn’t done “Insects” and “Trains” as did his school peers, your child may be thought of as “behind” and the teachers will complain about having to spend extra time bringing your child up to speed.
  • 5.Parents may find they have less free time to themselves.
  • 6.Homeschooled students tend to miss out on the trendy and experimental educational philosophies and methodologies instigated by the MoE from time to time. They also tend to miss out on those units which are “pushed” into schools by government policies, special interest lobby groups, trustee boards, headmasters and even individual teachers.
  • 7.Homeschooled students may lack the stimulation which academic competition can provide.
  • 8.Homeschoolers tend to be less knowledgeable and sophisticated in the areas of swearing, dirty joke telling, finger signs, alcohol and drug abuse, illicit sexual activity and gang dynamics.
  • 9.Parents may face some opposition from relatives, friends, neighbours and school personnel.

National Curriculum guidelines

Here is a letter from the Ministry saying Home Educators do not need to follow the National Curriculum Guidelines, the list of subjects on the Exemption Application. Use them if you like, but you are free to change them around to quite an extent. Dennis Hughes and Derek Miller of the Ministry of Education in Wellington answered the following question for me on 15 June 2000:

Question: Are any of the National Curriculum objectives required for home educators in order to get their exemptions? My understanding is that none of them are?

Answer: You are correct. There is no requirement that homeschoolers follow the National Curriculum. The only requirement is that homeschooling students are taught ‘at least as regularly and well as in a registered school.’

The Ministry’s interpretation of this phrase is contained in the statement which forms part of the information pack that accompanies the homeschooling application form. Among other things, this says that. Ministry officers will look for some evidence of planning and balance that we would expect would be a feature of curriculum organisation in any registered school.

The National Curriculum is useful to the Ministry as a standard reference when determining whether a homeschooler’s programme is a balanced one. Homeschooling offers an opportunity for greater organisational flexibility than is possible in many schools, and Ministry staff would normally be understanding if a homeschooler adopts a holistic approach to curriculum management. But if, for example, a homeschooling programme gives free reign to a student’s interest in computer-related studies but appears to give limited time to the development of communications skills and physical skills, then a Ministry official would be right to ask for a more balanced programme.

Home Schooling and the Millennium

Home Schooling and the Millennium

Posted in Theologically Speaking

What we believe about the future, about the meaning of the word, “millennium”, will affect how we organise and direct our home schooling time and how we perceive what we are trying to accomplish.

The term “millennium” comes from one place in the Scriptures, Revelation 20:2-7. Among evangelical or born again Christians, it is probably safe to say that the most popular belief is that there will be a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ which He will institute upon His physical return to earth. He needs to return because the Gospel message will ultimately face defeat, save only a few and the world will continue its downward spiral without supernatural intervention. This view is known as Premillennialism, because Jesus comes before (or pre) His millennial reign.

There are actually two other views of the millennium. Amillennialism does not go along with the idea of a future literal 1,000-year reign of Christ on the throne. These “a-mils” (or no-1,000) see the 1,000 as a symbolic figure meaning a long time, that Christ reigns and has reigned and will always reign. His reign has become progressively stronger since the resurrection, but will only reach its zenith once Christ returns to judge the world and create the new heavens and the new earth.

Postmillennialists may believe that we are in the millennium now, again an indefinite long period of time which can be said to have begun in power with the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost, or that the Gospel rnessage will ultimately usher in a 1,000 year period of peace and prosperity, after which (post) Christ will return.

Premillennialists are eagerly awaiting the Lord’s return which most of the popularists tell us could happen at any moment, maybe this afternoon. Therefore we must be focusing our attention on evangelising the unreached millions and not get too involved in the more mundane chores and responsibilities of everyday life. With this time constraint, some Christian groups have been tempted to take short cuts with the Gospel and do all they can to attract people in while downplaying the sin bit which tends to put people off. We’ve all seen those churches which seem to be into the entertainment business these days. It comes fsom this desire to get people in at all costs, because the time is short. With the year 2,000 right around the corner, it is almost irresistable not to lean heavily toward the idea that a week of 1,000’s, from 4,000 BC when many believe God created the world, to AD 2,000 (6,000 years) is to be capped by the final Sabbath 1,000 years, or the Millennium of Christ’ s reign on earth.

But if this is the case, many of us will be right in the middle of our home schooling years when the year 2,000 arrives, with our children still living in our homes. So why are we slogging our guts out to give them the best academic, social, spiritual and character training we can if they will hardly ever get to use any of it if at all? We should get them saved and then pack up and get ourselves off to the mission field to save a few more souls from the coming fire.

Both the Amillennialist and the Postmillennialist see a lot of work to be done to bring the Gospel to bear on this sin-cursed world, not only to bring sinners into the Kingdom, but also to bring every thought and authority and power captive to obey tbe Lordship of Christ on the earth now before His physical return. They are not under the same time constraint as are most Premills. They see more to a life of service to Christ than just evangelism.

Now I would love to go into a deep comparison of Biblical passages and theological histories concerning the millennia1 views. I would love to show how our sinful natures exploit each of the views to our own selfish ends, bringing disrepute to Christ’s Name . Maybe another time. But let us look at how this affects our home schooling. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, let us look at our home schooling and see what is revealed about what we really truly believe regarding the millennium.

Most of us believe there is quite a future before us. We are training our children up to be men and women of God, who know the Scriptures and are not afraid to wield the sword of the Spirit, when faced with the enemy’s lies. In fact, we get quite excited when we think about the careers they are likely to have, the pioneering Christian work they are likely to do in so many areas of endeavour since they have been reared with a more consistent Biblical worldview than we have ourselves, the spouses they are likely to marry, the even more Godly and Christlike grandchildren they are likely to rear for us since their home schooling programme will be so much more advanced than ours. We are training them up to not just cope with this evil world, but to take a hold of it with both hands and with God’s help to change it round the way it should be, to turn the world upside down as did the early apostles. Isn’t this what the early church fathers did? The Reformers? The Puritans? The many revivalists of the 1700’s and 1800’s?

Hasn’t revival been our prayer for NZ and the world for many seasons now? Don’t we in fact see home schooling and Christian schools as a foundational step in this direction ? Don’t we envision our children being able to articulate the Faith and demonstrating to a crooked and perverse generation how the Word of God has the only right principles for individual, family, church, community, and civil behaviour? Maybe the home schooling movement is the revival we have been praying for.

We are actually people of victory, not defeat, are we not? We filled in the Certificate of Exemption form confident that we would win the Exemption. We took on home schooling confident that we could overcome all the hurdles and do a really good job. We stick at home schooling confident that it will provide spiritual and academic and social and character building benefits far superior to those represented by a School Certificate or Bursury. We write to MP’s confident that we will not allow them to intimidate us nor force unwanted restrictions upon us. We are willing, for the sake of our children’s futures, to do things we never would have dreamed ourselves doing a few years ago. We forget what lies behind and we strain forward to what lies ahead. In short, we too are concerned about serving God in more ways than just evangelism.

Brothers and Sisters, people of God: I get the sneaking suspicion that if an outsider were to study our lifestyles and then to categorize our views on the millennium according to what has been observed, none of us would qualify as Premillennialists!! Well, as for me, if the Lord comes this afternoon, I want to be found doing His will. If He doesn’t come for another 700 years, I want to do all I can to ensure my descendants then are found doing His will and living in a world that reflects His standards more than does the present one.

From Keystone Magazine
May 1995 , Vol. 1 No. 2
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig

“Home schooling” or “Home education”?

“Home schooling” or “Home education”?

Posted in Over a Cuppa

The term “home schooling” will virtually always conjure up an image of children at the kitchen table or at desks awkwardly arranged around the living room with Mum-turned-teacher standing in front lecturing from a book or trying to illustrate something on a jury-rigged white board-on-easel arrangement. In other words, a home school is just conventional schooling taking place in the home. This is how we started out nine years ago. At their desks with assignments before them and me prowling behind them, my children’s attention span would hover around the 12 minute mark. One day it was more like a 4 to 5 minute attention span, and I got so frustrated with it all, that I just flopped on the sofa, told the kids to come sit on my knee and I’d read some history to them. An hour and a half later I was running out of breath and suffering a parched tongue when it dawned on me that the once fidgety brats were quiet and attentive angels. When I would stop reading they would call for more. I wondered….

For several months we were driving up and down the country with our business, dragging the entire family along every time. At 3am barrelling down the Desert Road, the children couldn’t sleep, so asked for a story. I began to tell about the drive I had done through another desert years ago in Afghanistan and from there talked about the Russian invasion and from there into an outline of Communist political history all perfectly designed to cause 9 and 10 year olds to drop off pretty quickly. But after a good hour of that, when I paused for breath, they chorused as one for me not to stop just as it was getting interesting , but to tell them more.

Many little events like these caused me to come to the conclusion that “home schooling” is the wrong word. We should be talking about “home education” since we are educating our children in everything we do, 24 hours a day, not just schooling them for a set period five days a week.

The old saying that much more is “caught” than is actually “taught” is so true as your children are able to observe you for so many hours and in so many situations.

But there is something special about a parent speaking with his or her children. They’ve known that voice since before they were born. It is a voice so intimately connected with comfort and security and all things good, they just naturally love to hear it. This is a special bond that we parents as educators should exploit to the max: Read the children’s text books with them.. ..go over their assignments with them a little more than you need to….do the work with them whenever you can so that you are doing it together rather than you making them do it on their own….make the learning situation less formal by lying on the sofa or sitting outside or being a bit unorthodox. One whole year our main teaching method was for all of us to sit around the table and I would read and explain the subject matter to three different age groups (7, 10 & 11) with a fourth listening in while they drew and painted and played with toys. The subject we spent longest on was atomic structure and basic chemistry. To this day we all remember that period as the most enjoyable.. . .and they can all still remember the difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.

Having said that, my four have also always enjoyed having their own desk and private space and set times and set assigmnents. … as long as they clearly understood what was expected and could see that they could manage it. There is a certain amount of basic skills that must be imparted, and the practice that goes with it needs set times: things like learning to read, handwriting and composition skills and basic maths computations. But for the rest you can capitalise on those “teachable moments” when they ask a question about something out of the blue, or you are so excited about a subject they are quite happy to listen to you go on and on way over time, or you are watching the cat have her kittens, or there is a particularly brilliant sunset, or one of them asks you to show how the ironing is done. One of the great advantages of home education is being flexible to exploit–or even to engineer–those “teachable moments”.

From Keystone Magazine
March 1995 , Vol. 1 No. 1
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig