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Homeschool Intro Packet

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New to Homeschooling?
New to Piedmont Education Services?
Want more info on how to get started?

Join our growing family of homeschoolers nationwide!

Sign up below and receive your FREE Introductory Homeschool Packet by email or a printed hard copy upon request. Here's what you get:

  • What is Education?
  • Learning Styles
  • Unit Studies
  • List of possible Curriculum Providers
  • Attendance Record Sheet
  • Achievement Testing information
  • Diploma & Transcript information
  • Homeschool Show Podcast
  • Piedmont Naturals - Products for a Healthy Home & Body
If you are among the thousands of families who are having to monitor their children's virtual schooling at home, or who have thought about starting their own homeschool this coming year, then you may want to seek the advice of an "expert." Now remember, an expert is not only someone who has experience, knowledge, and skill in a particular area, but really is someone who has already made all the mistakes and, therefore, knows what not to do!

With that qualification in mind, my wife and I certainly are experts in home education. We made all the mistakes - early on - when we began homeschooling our own four children in the fall of 1987.

Since I had previously been a classroom teacher in both public and private schools, I thought I knew exactly how to have "school at home." We maxed out buying loads of books and teaching materials, and each day had pledge to the flag, followed by 30 minutes for this subject and 45 minutes for the next, etc., throughout the entire day. Why, we even had recess and lunch period!

But that was our first mistake - i.e. having "school at home."
While we enthusiastically began in early September, we were burned out by the end of October.
That was because we were trying to make home education like the traditional classroom -
you know, sitting in chairs, lined up in rows or around a table, having a regimented schedule, dutifully following the scope and sequence for each subject, without much time for freedom to explore and make learning fun.

So what did we do?
We backed up, asked some very important questions,
and re-evaluated all that we were doing in this new journey called homeschooling.
And our striving to "light a fire" in our children for a love of learning, rather than merely "fill their academic buckets," carried us through the next 14 years of teaching at home all the way through high school.

The first question we asked was "What is Education?" That's a very logical first step, because most of us probably take for granted we know the answer. But Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, defines education as "that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and ultimately to fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give a child a good education in manners, arts, and science is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.”

In addition, wise King Solomon's book of Proverbs 9:10 says that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
and the knowledge of the Holy One is true understanding." As you can see, education is fuller, deeper and wider than just the basic subjects of Reading, Math, English, etc.

The second question we asked was "How Does Learning Take Place?" This one really intrigued us as parents, because, having been brought up in traditional classroom school settings ourselves, and having earned college degrees in secondary education, we always thought that learning mostly took place in rigid, formal settings, with the teacher lecturing and/or demonstrating the subject. But as Albert Shanker, former longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers, has said, “People become educated because of the work they do. . .you must talk, you must read, you must imagine, you must build, you must listen. Merely being present as someone else tries to pour something into you does not mean that you are learning. You must be actively engaged.”

This active engagement in one's own learning was the very thing that was missing from our home education efforts.
Just sitting at the table or staring at the computer reading and answer questions on a worksheet is not actively learning,
but actually rather boring and often deflating to the mind. Instead, we discovered that learning takes place in a variety of ways: not only instruction, reading & study, but also by personal experience, experimenting, observation, practice, repetition, and even play and recreation!

By limiting our schooling to traditional methods, we were missing out on and depriving our children of so many more learning opportunities. We found that the three keys to success in home education were family closeness, fond responses in considering every part of life a teaching moment, and giving the kids freedom to explore their own interests as we guided them down their paths of life. What a joyful and freeing experience to learn that when you school at home,
the whole world is your campus!

The third thing we learned, which really transformed our teaching as well as our family experiences, was this,
"How Does My Child Learn? What is His/Her Unique Learning Style?"
One year at the annual homeschool book fair and conference,
I came across a book written by Cynthia Tobias, called The Way They Learn.
Its premise was that all students can learn, but we cannot expect them to learn in the same way.

The book went on to show that students (and adults) perceive or take in information differently, either as CONCRETE (tangible, obvious, direct, literal, no-nonsense manner, not looking for hidden meanings) or ABSTRACT (intuitive, imaginative, looking for subtle implications). People order or use the information they perceive in different ways, either as SEQUENTIAL (linear, step-by-step, conventional) or RANDOM (impulsive, spontaneous, unconventional). We all use different ways to remember, whether VISUAL (colorful, picturesque, mental visualizations), AUDITORY (talking and hearing oneself repeat what you are learning), or KINESTHETIC (also called hands-on, physically moving and active). And we each understand and are intelligent in different ways: ANALYTIC (detailed, focused), GLOBAL (big picture), LINGUISTIC, MATHEMATICAL, VISUAL/SPATIAL, MUSICAL, PHYSICAL or RELATIONAL.
And to top it all off, each of us is a unique combination of several of these different learning style components!

When we began to apply these learning style concepts and techniques (as spelled out in Cynthia Tobias' book), we noticed a huge difference in the children's attitudes toward life in general and learning in particular. We were thus equipped to develop and direct our students' delights by alternating the daily basic subjects (Language, Grammar, Math, Bible, Art, Music) with fun projects, unit studies, Science, History, Geography, field trips, and even work, chores and serving others - all of which revolved around our students' and/or family's interests.

Finally, our greatest discovery was that the key to success in education lies outside of ourselves. It is not in expansive curriculum, expensive teaching aids, highly specialized teaching staff, ultra-modern school facilities or dynamic programs. Rather, the one component we believe that is foundational to all others in teaching children of all ages is the understanding of and the adherence to the truths of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible. For us, studying every subject through the prism of God’s Word, and making God’s truth the touchstone (the test or criterion) for measuring the quality or genuineness of things in our lives, has made a world of difference. In all our years of teaching at home, we kept focused on the fact that education is not an end in itself; it is merely a means to an end. And that end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

So sign up below for our free homeschool introductory packet.
And if you would like any help or encouragement in your family's education journey, feel free to call or email us.
We are ready to serve you in any way we can to help you survive, and thrive in your teaching at home.
We welcome you to the growing family of homeschoolers all across this great land of ours!

Greg Munger, President
Piedmont Education Services




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