Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Home Schooling

 


Many, many years ago children of the ruling classes and of the landed gentry were tutored in the home - or palace - by scholars of great repute. The rest of society, for the most part, was illiterate, since philosophers such as Aristotle, Socrates and Plato plied their craft only to the royal or the rich. The rest of society learned its letters and ciphers as best it could.

Today there exist derivations of this method of teaching in what has come to be called Home Schooling. A typical home schooling environment is that of the Sides family, where Alinda Sikes, the mother, attends to the education of her three children: Madeline 13, Abigail 17, and new to this environment, Eli 7.

The Sikes family, like original home schoolers of the past, work with the rudiments of education: such as literacy and arithmetic, and a lot more that has been added to the home schooling curriculum over the past nearly four centuries. The Sikes children are engaged in this rich learning endeavor with a vigor. Home schoolers, such as the Sikes youngsters, are studying an enriched educational offering, not because they have to, but because they want to; which is the basic purpose of home schooling.

The Sikes family is aggressive and excited in its educational pursuits, not because they have to be; but because they want to be.

Recently, the National Home Education Institute, estimated that there are more than 2 million youngsters being home schooled, and as of this writing that number may have increased exponentially. Is there is a message here?

Prior to 1635, whatever education that existed was taught in the home, but by 1642, rudimentary public schools were coming into vogue.

Gradually, public schools dominated the educational scheme, but by the 20th Century, rudimentary private schooling began to come back into vogue for a variety of reasons. And this form of private education grew vigorously. Home schooling has grown to become a popular competitor to the public schools; for those who can afford it.

The Sikes family, like original home schoolers of the past, are learning the rediments of education: such as literacy and arithmetic, and a lot more that has been added to the home school curriculum over the past nearly four centuries. They are engaged in this rich learning endeavor with a vigor. Home schoolers such as the Sikes family are studying an enriched educational offering, not because they have to, but because they want to, which is the basic purpose of home schooling; much as it was before schooling, as we know it, came about.

Home schooling made its return to the educational environment in the middle of last century when there was a mad scramble among many caucasian members of our society to avoid integration of the public schools.

Many of the private schooling attempts failed, but others prospered, such is the case of the Sikes family.

In the Sikes’ household, Abigail, 17, says that she enjoys home schooling because it “gives me the liberty to learn at my own pace, and to pursue the things I enjoy doing: such as playing the piano, attending the theatre, doing creative writing, blogging, and reading. At the end of her school year she intends to stay in Montgomery and study English at Faulkner University.

Seventh grader Madeline Anne, 13, enjoys a similar learning environment as her sister, and adds to that: horseback riding, running, crafts, swimming, hiking and, caring for animals.

And the youngest of the student body, Eli, 7, believes such planning as his sisters engage in can wait for a while. Now is the fun time of his life. But, he does look ahead to attending AUM in his future.

Unlike most of the structured traditional schools that exist today, home schools provide a totally different learning environment.

Today’s home school is much like the learning environments provided by Plato, Aristotle, and Scorates: its focus is on the student, and on providing a teaching and learning environment that will produce a learned individual who can contribute to society. This is the goal the Sikes family intends to reach.

 

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