Homeschooling and Predictable Outcomes

“Do not educate your child to be rich. Educate him to be happy, so when he grows up, he’ll know the value of things, not the price.” ~ Unknown

homeschool-dadThis quote holds two different points of view in my quest to provide my kids all they need in life. Of course, I want them to be happy. Happiness however in today’s urban lifestyle also depends on money. Moderate amounts of money satisfy physiological needs like shelter, food, security, etc.. Sure religion plays a part, but like money alone it does not guarantee happiness. Emotional or cognitive needs can be met by job satisfaction or achievement, which may be followed by a search for enlightenment. So how do parents of moderate means ensure that their children can provide for their children’s happiness as adults?

A traditional view is classic classroom-based education. We can naturally dismiss an education as a piece of paper, but we should know that the effort in attaining that qualification sets us up for success. Autopsies on the brains of educated people often show signs of advanced Alzheimer’s that never revealed itself while the person was alive. An education expands our ability to deal with complex issues without getting overwhelmed. Cognitive science shows that educated brains lead to a better quality of life. Actuarial tables predict longer, healthier lives for knowledgeable folks.

Something I am struggling with is predicting an educated outcome for my children. As a traditionalist, I can forecast success by going to public or private school, passing exams and presenting those results for university admission. A tertiary education expands our capacity and prepares one with the resilience to take on life’s challenges in the corporate world or as an entrepreneur.

I acknowledge that the non-traditional approach has also proven to be successful. I do not have the statistics, but through my biased lens, I expect success is less likely. Those who do succeed with a non-conventional education were probably smarter than the rest of us at the outset.

So why do I doubt homeschooling? Part of the reason is that teachers are college educated themselves. Can a mother with perhaps only a high school education and the happiness or her child in mind inspire a child to reach full potential? Maybe. After all, only the parents have the ultimate wellbeing of the child in mind. That said there are benevolent teachers too. The main reason I doubt homeschool is because I cannot predict the outcome.

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