Done At Sixteen: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 6)

How long does it take to get a basic education? If you answered twelve years, you are thinking school. What I would like to do today, is show you how home educated students can complete a formal program by the time they are sixteen.

School may say it takes twelve years to get an education, but we need to ask where that idea came from. Furthermore, pretty well every private school and nearly every curriculum follows the pattern of needing twelve years to acquire a basic education.

Most jurisdictions in the world have sixteen as the legal school leaving age, including the Province of Alberta. Yet, the peer pressure is to go the additional two to three years.

The standard claim is that it takes six years to learn the basics in elementary. Students are then subjected to three years of academic purgatory in junior high, where few new concepts are learned as children negotiate puberty.

Finally, students are required to do three additional years of high school before being “approved” as ready for the post-secondary world.

Most students starting high school are already tired of going to school. They are not likely thinking, “Oh boy, now we’re in high school where we will be treated as adults!” Rather, what most have in their mind is, “Three more stinking years and we are out of here.”

I know this! I spent a lot of years watching students go through this process, as I taught high school. Most students either didn’t have enough gumption to care or cared just enough to buckle down and do whatever was necessary to put this experience behind them.

One thing for sure, if students were not coerced into believing that it was necessary to go, most would just skip high school and get on with life.

Once school students have put in their time and if they have followed directives, they will get a diploma that nobody will ever ask for.

While celebrating their accomplishments at the graduation party, they will often chant about how they have made it! They will congratulate each other on being academically proficient and prepared to take on the world!

Actually, this is not true. The reason for the big party is much the same as one finds when someone has gotten out of jail. It’s more a celebration of parole, of having served the required time, rather than of being accredited for the next phase of their lives. I exaggerate, maybe, but not by much!

How long does it actually take to educate a child? Does it really take twelve years? It actually only takes about a hundred hours to learn the basics or primary skills. Why six years of elementary?

Junior high is where students go through puberty while teachers go through mental issues. Well, maybe not all teachers, but it is fair to say that this is a very difficult group to work with. No wonder that few new concepts are introduced!

Ever think that God, in His wisdom, may not have allowed parents to have litters of children at a time, in order to avoid the “junior high school pubescent circus” we see in school?

By the time school advances to the “completion of the student’s formal education” in high school, most students are actually more ready for life than three more years of learning things they will likely never use will make them.

If we take those twelve years and throw out the three years of junior high, we are left with nine years of formal education.

If we really exaggerate and say that the children are actually learning and advancing academically during half of their school time, it means there are only about four and a half years of actual learning time during a twelve year school term, or shall we call it, a twelve year school “sentence”?

Seriously, we could start teaching our children at home at ten and send them to university by fifteen. In the meantime they would still have a life. This is not a joke! My wife and I have seen it happen time and time again.

We have observed that if children have been home educated from the start, they are usually done with their formal education by sixteen. That is, they are working at a similar skill level to “school graduates,” completing their secondary level of training by this time.

Home educating parents making their children do “school” beyond sixteen, will likely run into difficulty convincing them they need what really amounts to additional busy work, keeping them from engaging in more meaningful activities. Even the government believes they are old enough to drive a potentially lethal vehicle at age sixteen, so it’s okay to set them free.

Parents may be guilty of asking their children to retreat in order to advance when employing the “you’re not finished until you are eighteen,” school thinking. This is especially the case when the students are sent to high school.

We do not want to waste their time. Home educated children are more likely ready to start post-secondary studies by now than regressively chasing that elusive goal of an accredited grade twelve.

I encourage you to trust God and not put your confidence in man, who no doubt knows enough math to be able to see that extending a short process into one longer than necessary, also extends the potential of the education industry to both indoctrinate the children and increase its income!

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