Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Berlitz Language Book Proves Homeschooling is Best!

I recently bought a book by Berlitz Kids called "Help Your Child with a Foreign Language."  Imagine my surprise when the first chapter lists all the reasons that a family environment is the optimum when it comes to how a child learns.

"Personal relationships --
the keystone of language learning"
Here's the book's argument about why the parent is the best teacher for a child when learning a foreign language.  I find it so easy to translate this to homeschooling, so if you're a newbie out there, wondering whether or not you can really hack it, or whether it's a good idea to teach your children at home, or perhaps needing some ammunition to all those naysayers who are getting you down, then here it is straight from a trusted source with no axe to grind.

(I have chosen to remove those comments which are specifically about learning a foreign language)
Why the parent?

  • The parent knows his own child better than a teacher does.
  • The parent knows through experience and intuition how to judge his child's temperament and moods.
  • The parent is more sensitive to his own child's individual:
    1. needs and interests;
    2. level of working;
    3. ability to do things;
    4. ways of learning.
  • The parent knows how to gain and maintain his own child's interest.
  • The parent generally has time for more one-to-one sessions than a teacher in a classroom situation.
  • The parent can plan follow-up and continuity more accurately and on a day-to-day basis.
  • The parent is often a more patient listener.
  • The parent can influence the child's attitudes.
Is a child happy learning from the parent?
  • A child is used to learning from his parents and does so without being conscious that he is actually learning.
  • A child feels secure learning with his parent at home.
  • A child knows that the family is interested in what he is doing and wants him to succeed.  This gives him confidence and helps him to cope when, as sometimes happens, schoolmates make fun of [...] learning.
  • Learning can be tailored to fit the child's needs.  He can learn when he most feels like it.
  • Learning together may give a child an added opportunity to confirm his parents' love, and to appreciate their interest, encouragement, and praise.
After home-educating my four children for nearly eight years, all these reasons ring so true.  It's about relationship, about trust, about being your child's best champion and having time for him.  Very few of these can really happen in a classroom of thirty-plus children, with a teacher who is around for only nine months of a child's life.

Homeschooling really is the best way for a child to learn.  After all, you probably did it for the first three or more years of his life, and look at all the walking and talking and counting and coordination skills that have happened under your tutelage.

Good on ya, Mom and Dad.  Keep up the good work!

(PS The photo above includes my son "Busy Timmy", but the woman isn't me.  We've found a native Spanish speaker who comes to our house and works with the children, and though it seems to go against the whole argument about the parent teaching a child, it's still ticking all the boxes about relationship and environment.  Remember, I was standing behind the camera to take the picture, and I was sitting across the table, learning my "azul oscura" right along with him).

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