In my experience there are six main reasons for failure in home education. The first one is when the husbands and the wives don’t agree on home education. That’s a sure recipe for disaster because there is division in the home itself. I don’t think I’ve ever seen things work in this kind of situation.
The second one is when parents have brought the school home. That’s also a formula for disaster. If the structured environment of the classroom didn’t work at school, it’s not going to work at home either. Here’s a good analogy: if your van breaks down five miles from home and you drag it home, it’s still broken.
Third is when children are in control of the home. I don’t see this very often, but when it happens it’s always a mess. This isn’t really a home education problem as such, it is a family problem. Parents who don’t have control of their children are not going to be able to provide a proper home education.
Fourth is when the mother lacks support and encouragement from others. As facilitators, that’s the one thing that all of the ladies we visit are so thankful for. They are thankful for the encouragement, the help and the opportunity to sit down with somebody who’s on their team. But for the mother who is all alone and lacking support, home education is a hard endeavor to maintain.
Fifth is when the mother listens to people who see themselves as experts but who have little real knowledge and experience. This is something that we find a lot. The people who are doing this are well-meaning, but everybody wants to be an “expert.” If you’ve got a six year old, and the other people have an eight year old, they think that they have more experience than you have. Do they really? No. And the reality is that they can’t apply what worked for them to you because your family is different and your children are different.
If they offer advice, accept it graciously. But don’t necessarily start questioning what you’re doing as a consequence of what somebody else is doing. Just ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing working?” And if it is, keep doing it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
And the last one is when educational decisions are based on anything other than the educational welfare of the child. I used to say “decisions based on money” because that’s the main reason that displaces the child’s best interests. This is the situation when parents start basing their decisions on money, or basing their decisions on anything other than the educational health and welfare of the child. Parents who do that have missed the point of keeping their children at home.