Click on your child's age & literacy:
(For young students who do very little reading.)
(For students of any age who are developing literacy.)
(For 9 & 10 year-olds who are literate for their age.)
(For older students who are literate.)
An open letter to home educators from Steven Horwich:
Hi, friends. As you know, the current political situation in the U.S. (and indeed around the world) is volatile and, to put it mildly, distracting. Religious belief (or non) is a contentious issue at this time. We are all of us surrounded on a daily basis by dozens of significant "issues" we want to do something about, from gun control (yea nay) to the economy to the protection of our election process to you name it. None of this will relax much in the near future, times are complicated and are likely to become more so.
I just wanted to invite you to put a little more energy into one key idea at this time - that your children are far more important than any of these “public” issues. Every one of these issues is made to sound all-important by all sides and by media, as if that issue portends the end of the world. These issues are not the end of anything. The world will spin on, and your children will grow up to inhabit and run it.
As home educators, you have the power to make certain that your children develop critical thinking skills, including the ability to look at issues, accumulate information and make sane and constructive decisions for themselves and for others. This is not a freedom generally available to publicly schooled children, or even most children in private schools, locked as they are into testing, grades, national standards and the rest of the deadening fluff of a failed educational system.
As home educators, you can make certain that your children are highly literate, so that they can read about and understand the world around them. Given the ruinous literacy numbers coming out of schools for decades, the importance of your homeschooled child’s advanced literacy cannot be overstated.
As home educators, you can work to truly and deeply inform your children about key areas of knowledge that will allow them to better understand the complex world they are about to inherit. These include history, science and civics, so that your children can cope with and control the world around them with understanding and authority.
As home educators, you can expose your students to a vast array of ideas, unlimited by national or locally mandated “standards”, and in doing so remove the fear of the unknown from your children's emotional vocabulary. This could include providing your children information on any of the contentious subjects mentioned above. It would certainly entail showing your child every side of every issue presented them, in as unbiased a manner as possible, and then allowing your child to decide for him or herself. After all, they will have to make such decisions wisely and with success, as adults.
As home educators, you can actively encourage and support your children's own ideas and creativity, the inner qualities they will need to have confidence in, qualities which must be honed to sharpness to help them face the world we are dumping in their laps.
In short, as home educators, you have a freedom and responsibility, a gift and a joy. You have the opportunity to shape a better future for your children, and for those who will come after them. This is, in the long and short run, far more important than the din of our day, no matter how urgent it all sounds.
For the few of you ready to point out that this open letter contains a self-interested element as I am a homeschool advocate and the author of a home curriculum, I say it sure does! I became a homeschool advocate, and spent 16 years writing curriculum, BECAUSE I had two children (now ages 30 and 26). I did not want them ending up like so many schooled children that I had taught and known, who had become so much grist for our horribly destructive current educational system. I am extremely self-interested here. I want my own children – including my new-born son (three months old, and yes, I’m 61 year’s old) to HAVE a future. And certainly, my newborn will homeschool.
I ask that you remain focused on your children. (I’m sure you are, or you wouldn’t take the time to read this.) Provide them a broad, open-handed education which will empower rather than bias or limit them. (All biases are limitations that prevent us from seeing other options.)
What request could be more gratifying to fulfill than that you empower your children?
I am here at this group each day, and am happy to discuss the best ways to homeschool. I suspect that most of you already have great ideas in that direction. One thing I’d suggest you try, however. Please turn the TV and the news and noise off for a few minutes every day, push it out the door, and then spend that time watching your children as they work and play and live. Consider deciding (if you have not already) that you have the future of the whole world right there in your house - it isn't found in its entirety (if at all) in the news, on TV, or in the issues and noise of our time.
The future is your child. The future lives with you. The future looks up to you and depends on you. So the future is entirely in your hands.
For those of you who have included Steps (or Connect The Thoughts, the earlier incarnation of my curriculum) in your child’s education, I cannot thank you enough. I consider it a blessing and a mark of remarkable trust, and I hope that you have found the studies which I created for my children, and for you and yours, of real use.
March 14, 2018