Do It Yourself Education

In considering homeschooling, a kind of do-it-yourself education, one of the first questions to ask is: Who is the ‘you’ in ‘yourself’? Parents have busy lives, earning a living and pursuing other important values that benefit them and their children. Making time for giving a proper education at home, especially for single parents, can be difficult. What to do?

Fortunately, parents have many options for providing homeschooling to their children. Over a million are homeschooled every year, so clearly many parents have discovered ways to make it work for them. Those ways are as diverse as the parents themselves.

In many cases, a traditional, two-parent arrangement makes the choice straightforward. One parent works outside the home, the other works in the home, including assuming primary responsibility for homeschooling the children. Many of those couples chose homeschooling because of dissatisfaction with the values being taught, implicitly or otherwise, in public schools.

But that traditional arrangement – male breadwinner, female caring for the home – is far from the only choice made today. Since the 1960s, the spectrum has broadened. Role reversals, extended families and much more are in the mix today. Those alternatives can represent a benefit to the homeschooled child, since it makes possible choosing the person best capable of providing the education.

Many families, whether single-parent, traditional or otherwise, have invited an older relative or friend into the home. An arrangement that, in fact, harkens back to a much older tradition. History repeats itself. Whether an older aunt or uncle, a grandparent or a friend needing housing, that person often has a lifetime of valuable experience. Such individuals can make excellent homeschool education providers.

Today, the homeschooling movement has reached an age that makes possible second generation education. Those who were homeschooled themselves are often the best persons to provide a homeschool education to another.

Those who endured a public school education can have valuable life lessons to convey, since they know what not to do. But that’s only half the solution. It’s necessary to have a positive to offer. Those who had only a public school education may fall back on the only methods they know.

Neighbors can provide homeschooling. Many ‘stay-at-home’ Moms provide childcare services, since they can supervise more than one child. Those services can go beyond simply ‘babysitting’, however. They incorporate homeschooling, as well, in some instances.

A busy parent can also choose something that is even newer in homeschooling, yet goes back centuries in fact: a tutor. Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great. But it isn’t necessary to be wealthy  to be able to afford a tutor.

Other countries, and other periods of history, have used tutors as the primary education giver. In fact, the public school system which is modeled after the Prussian system of the 1800s, is a relatively recent experiment, one that has largely failed.

Tutors come in all ages, shapes and backgrounds. Some are specialists in a particular area, such as music or languages. Others have a broad background. Some are ex-public or private school teachers who grew dissatisfied with the system, yet retain a love for teaching.

Parents often believe, initially, that they can’t afford a private tutor for homeschooling their children. But many times they find, after researching the hours required and evaluating their own abilities and personality, that their time is better spent elsewhere. That time could be used to run a home-based business, so they’re still involved with the child at home, while the primary education is provided by a tutor.

Some parents find, in the case of fairly motivated, independent children, that homeschooling takes less time than they thought. Students are provided with guidance and resources and largely teach themselves. That makes tutoring a less expensive proposition, or one that may not be needed at all. Such students often become those at the top of any class in college since their love for learning is self-generated.


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