New to Home Education? Step Five – How to Fail!

Categories: Léo’s Insights 2021-2022, New to Home Education


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How to fail!  Now, that’s a title bound to discourage rather than help new home education families!  However, we need to discuss the pitfalls that could trick or trap you into questioning your decision to home educate, and point out what we have learned to be truly detrimental to this commitment.

To start, you need a firm foundation upon which to establish your children’s lives.  This comes in two forms.

Whether or not one believes in or realizes this fundamental fact, everyone has a worldview they adhere to and follow in their lives.  This is passed on to the children and it is a critically important factor in your home education plan.  Like it or not, admit it or not, parents are in a position of leadership.  Leadership requires a direction.  It is important that the leader of any agency, especially the family, know where they are leading.  One cannot get to an undefined destination.  Think about where you are going to lead or take your children before embarking on “the trip”.

The second foundational premise is a must, also.  I have seen many home education programs fall off the rails as a consequence of dad’s lack of engagement.  It is not a secret that dad was involved in the creation of the child.  That is not the end of it but actually a beginning that has no end.  When dads are not involved, moms lose their resolve and purpose.  Dad has to set the standard and expectations.  He has to direct toward a well defined and established goal.  He has to be the disciplinarian and expect nothing less than respect from the children toward their mother.  And, he MUST daily encourage Mom in her valuable and major contribution to the spiritual, intellectual and social growth and well being of the children.  If dad is negligent in any of these responsibilities, failure is inevitable and he will have no one other than himself to blame.

Once the spiritual and parental foundations have been laid, parents must remain in control of the children until the transition to adulthood is completed.  When I say in control, I do not in any way encourage the use of coercion, manipulation, guilt or fear.  Those are counter-productive measures used to reduce freedom.  What I mean is that someone with life experience has to be the major decision-maker and leader.  That would be the parents, not the children.

One of my biggest frustrations is being unsuccessful in convincing the world of the fallacy that the government knows better than parents how best to educate their children.  Face it.  You took your children out of school because you knew something was wrong.  How can emulating something that did not work be an improvement?  Stay away from school ideology.  Put away the idea of having to answer to government regarding your children’s education.  Take authority.  Replace grades with levels, marks with accomplishments, subjects with life applicable skills, average with excellence, and potential with purpose.

Do not play school at any level and you will have a much better chance of succeeding.  And, by the way, by the time you are no longer able to teach your child math, science or social, your child will be old enough to teach him/herself and seek whatever help s/he needs without having to do online or accredited programs. Your child will be able accomplish much more in less time than his/her school counterparts.

The final potential pitfall I want to discuss is a bit more sinister than the others in that it comes from people with the best of intentions.  Be wary of listening to and following “experts” who believe they have your formula for success.  Every child and every family is unique.  What works for one may not work for another.  Listen to the advice being given, but only use it if it fits.

There are no doubt other reasons home education fails.  The ones mentioned above are the most critical ones.  Determine to succeed, come what may.  Pray as though it depends on God and dedicate yourself as though success depends on you.

Enjoy the journey.

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