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Thursday, November 19, 2009

When School Starts

...and other reasons to homeschool

I attended a small Christian school for kindergarten.

But I started late.

I was "held back" a year because of my September birthday. And from what I've been reading over the past week, I'm really glad my parents kept me back.

Since I had some downtime while out in California, I picked up Outliers. I've wanted to read it for a while now. Malcolm Gladwell has some pretty brilliant insights into the world. In this book, Gladwell points to--among other things--the inherent flaw in cut-off dates for school. Students who are on the young side of the early grades tend not to fare as well as those who have almost a year advantage. That's why some parents hold their children back for a year, so as to not handicap them from life. And, yes, Gladwell insists, the disadvantage does not go away with time.

I had an advantage, I guess, because when I finally started school, I was older than many of my classmates.

But then I had an even greater advantage: I got to start homeschooling.

Gladwell has his own solution to the problem. It involves starting school in three month shifts so that no student is too far behind developmentally than the others. And while I think his suggestion should be adopted in the school system, I have an even better idea: Start homeschooling.

Homeschooling overcomes just about every single potential barrier to success that Gladwell has covered thus far in his book.

In fact, while reading I jumped up from the couch and said, "Everything I read points to the benefits of homeschooling! This is crazy!"

So, for those of you already homeschooling: You're helping your children start off on the right foot toward success.

For those of you not yet homschooling, you should really consider it. Sonlight has prepared all the materials for you. Just check out our customizable complete programs. And if you need help figuring out which program will be best for you and your family, be sure to chat with a Sonlight Advisor on our website.

Homeschooling doesn't guarantee success. But from what I've been reading in Outliers, teaching your children at home provides many opportunities that make success possible.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father


The Reader said...

This is so very true. We started hs'ing (w/Sonlight) when my oldest son started reading at age 4. My 2nd son didn't read until 6, and struggles with mild dyslexia. My 3rd son didn't talk well until after age 3 and at 4.5 still won't count in order and has zero interest in the sounds letters make. He has sensory issues (is a "sensory seeker") and craves and NEEDS movement.

None of the 3 would do well in a traditional school setting, but all 3 of them, though very different from each other, are thriving in homeschool, because we can tailor their school to their needs. And Sonlight works for each of them! Such a wonderful investment for our children!!

Luke Holzmann said...

Absolutely, Heather! Totally. I was one of those really slow to learn to read children, and homeschooling helped me succeed <smile>.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I liked Outliers, though I felt he did a bit too much simplifying. In a lot of ways I felt he was actually talking about the typical for each type rather than outliers. To me an outlier is Chris Gardner or that hockey player born later in the year than the others. What makes them so different and truly an outlier of an outlier. Figuring that stuff out is much more important IMO because the message I got in general from Outliers was not to even try because if you are in some special category, you won't ever be an outlier (which of course is not true).

Esther Plaster said...

my husband and i read outliers - loved it. thought he was completely right on about holding kids back. my husband's mom held him back - to which she is so glad that she did. we are holding back our summer-born babes back and also homeschooling with sonlight.

Luke Holzmann said...

Heather, I felt that Outliers ended far too abruptly. There certainly was a vibe of: If you're not super lucky as well as crazy driven, tough luck. But I think Gladwell's point is more one of musing: What if we could give everyone these opportunities? Of course, he doesn't really offer many practical ideas of how to do that. But I have one: Homeschool <smile>.

I think waiting a year to start school really helped me as well, Esther <smile>. Sounds like you are well on your way to helping give those extra benefits to your children <smile>.


Henry Cate said...

I think the answer to a lot of problems is to homeschool. It is so much better for children.

Outliers has been on my list for awhile. I like Gladwell. Currently I'm working my way through "Made to Stick." I've also been skimming "The Black Swan."

Luke Holzmann said...

Sounds like you've got some very interesting reading, Henry <smile>. Good stuff. I really need to start using audio books while I drive. I don't have much time to read and I could totally use the time in the car to get at least a little "reading" in <smile>.



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