Vox refers again to this topic, a biggie in the U.S and there are certain considerations in our country here:

The reasoning is sound, particularly if you don’t wish to have your child exposed to the socialist agenda now rife in the curriculum which, sadly, is reinforced by Ofsted who enforce the provisions which were formulated by the PCist, revisionist, C&R people.

On the other hand, though this blogger does not claim omnipotence in teaching, there are certain methodologies, largely ignored today, good methodologies such as rote learning, which have the weight of [now suppressed] research behind them and the only place you can implement these methodologies is at home or in a small group.

Unfortunately, the regulatory body then comes in with the demand that you conform to “established, tried and tested methodologies” which are, quite frankly, an utter lie, utter bunkum.  Never trust anyone who would quote Piaget at you.  So, even within your own home, thinking you’ve escaped the PC yoke, the government regulatory body forces it upon you.

If you’re not a career teacher of a certain age, how can you know what is good teaching and what is not?

Fortunately, the best methodology is not that hard for you to learn – teach one to one, review last lesson, do drills on upcoming vocab he’s going to encounter, introduce a hands-on discovery intro [esp in Science], draw the key concepts out of the kid [only one at a time], test the concepts with more examples, test the kid with a couple of exercises, set him further tasks involving both exploration and reinforcement, be half ‘at hand’ around the house while he works on those [further hometasks, completely on his own resources,  are a very important self-discipline inducer], then make a note to review these concepts next lesson.

Textbooks?  Use the old ones, e.g. Maciver [in English] and the Scottish texts of yesteryear – sound, solid, unadorned by multi-coloured, sugar-coated guff and you can make them more interesting with supplementary material.  Don’t listen to modern teachers who say children are bored by rote work, grammar, pure maths or whatever.

Don’t fall for the trap that if it doesn’t have bells and whistles attached, he won’t be interested. He’ll be interested in anything you personally introduce.

If you construct the lesson so that the kid always achieves at least something, he’ll be as happy as a lark and the best thing of all was your close attention – everyone loves personal tutoring, if the tutor is pleasant.  But that further exploration is also so important too.

Don’t be frightened of cognitive lessons, based on knowledge rather than skills.  The skills will follow anyway but knowledge for knowledge’s sake is most certainly not shoddy.

Remember – the key concept for you is personal achievement for him, built on previous personal achievement – continuity of success.  Do not allow success unless it involved at least some effort, i.e. don’t bias the material so that he can succeed without trying.

Pitch the material slightly above him at all times and let him go at his own pace.  If he’s ready for the next part and you’re not – then you get ready and do it quickly, no matter what your own current situation  There are demands on you, don’t forget, from the simple fact that he’s ready to move onwards and upwards.

That’s what homeschooling involves.

Lastly, never show impatience.  He doesn’t know – that’s why he’s the pupil and you’re the teacher.  How can you expect him to have your level of understanding?  Develop great personal patience with your child and he’ll learn to trust you, that you’re not going to jump down his throat at every error or lack of understanding.

If you do all those things and get advice from the old books about methodology, there’s no reason why your child will not come on in leaps and bounds.

Next episode – some disadvantages to watch for and some more teaching ideas. James Higham is a former Professor of English and former Prep school head before that.

6 comments for “Homeschooling

  1. Alara Kenet
    April 30, 2010 at 11:58

    I think you should make it much clearer that “…there are no subjects that a home school tutor is forced to teach: home schooling comes under the Education Act’s provision for ‘education otherwise’ – parents have to ensure their children receive an education, but the nature of that education is not specified. (

    There is therefore no requirement to ‘teach’ – when I home-educated my son, I was his facilitator, not his teacher. It worked just fine – and the LEA was okay with what we were doing, and how we were doing it.

  2. April 30, 2010 at 18:35

    James, I agree with Alara but we home-educated one child for a period but this was not a success. Home education isn’t for all parents and it isn’t for all children: the trick is realising when it is NOT working!

    There is no need to work to a curriculum, no need to have lessons; no need too have a timetable. Many will use such aids , many won’t. God, I remember writing a massively detailed response to the Scottish governments consultation paper on Home Education.

  3. ivan
    May 1, 2010 at 01:22


    A couple of blogs to look at that give a good insight to the HE movement:

    Especially their response to the Badman report and other government attempts to brainwash the young.

  4. May 1, 2010 at 11:36

    Home schooling is fine James, but I resent this attitude that anything in education over the last twenty years is useless. Sorry I studied history throughout school and university and didn’t come across one piece of socialist propaganda- at university in particular I came across people eager to allow me to think for myself, who would set ten to twenty books a week to read with different points of view and ask for an essay at the end of it.

    If you look at the blogosphere you see the problem with our education system and I’m not sure it would be resolved by home schooling. It is people doing three hours of research and believing that they now know everything about a subject and that anyone else (who may have done three years or decades) who disagrees with them is part of a conspiracy. It is people who think that because they have an opinion it must be true, not that it needs to be evidenced. Ultimately home schooling may encourage or discourage that poujadist movement- but I suspect it is yet another way for the self righteous to pontificate without evidence and to teach their children, not how to think, but what to believe.

  5. May 1, 2010 at 13:25

    1. Yes, I agree, Tiberius. The second post on HS looks at its defects and there are many.

    2. “I studied history throughout school and university and didn’t come across one piece of socialist propaganda.”

    Precisely, Tiberius – it would never seem that way to you. One needs “outside eyes” to see what is really going down.

    At university, the texts were all Marx, Sorel, Tawney, Hegel, Nietzsche and so on. Not one text, except notated or dismissed within the approved texts themselves, about alternative theories. They were there in the library but the average student never explored that far – they weren’t recommended.

    That’s how it works.

    I was doing economics/politics at one university – it was all Keynesian and the heroes were predictable. No alternative theories were offered. It’s only now, with the eyes opened, looking back and remembering that, that it can be seen for what it was.

    And it’s so incestuous – from one text come recommendations for other texts, maybe with certain variations in philosophy but sharing the same basic premise. It’s presented as choice and counterpoint which, within the constraints of the debate, it is.

    When people go away satisfied that a debate had taken place [as they did after the last Leaders’ Farce], they don’t realize they’ve been sold a giant con.

    Not once at university did any tutor introduce the Austrian School. Not once did we discuss Ayn Rand, except negatively, with students invited to defend her but lacking any knowledge on it. It is never a level playing field at university and is not intended to be.

    It is skewed. It is the three-card trick to con eager students with enquiring minds that they’ve actually explored. They have to believe they can’t be conned because they’re taught to question everything but they actually don’t question everything. They carry baggage, not only into the tutor sessions but in the further reading they decide to do.

    There was a reference I made during the Venetian posts where you said, roughly, “Well, I’ve never heard of him,” and I agreed – you wouldn’t have.

    Same with me in my years up to about 40. Convinced I’d read all there was to read because I’d fully explored the approved lists and the professors knew where they would lead and where those would lead in turn, it it was the internet which provided the first shock about seven years ago.

    Suddenly there were genuine alternatives, a wealth of literature of a different kind which had never seen the light of day until then. Reading it, it gradually became obvious that I’d been led, just as anyone else with half a reading base has.

    That’s what is meant by socialist academics. I can name you some famous bloggers right now – CD, NG for starters, who are Marxist. You wouldn’t think of them that way – you’d think of them as sensible and sound. To you, the the word Marxist is not pejorative in the least.

    You are young.

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