Before we commence this article, we thought we should clarify something pointed out by a reader of our last set of columns on "Learning - Family Style!" We pointed out that there are four "roots" to the "learning tree." One mom pointed out that we didn't mention the importance of a Biblical foundation in this set of criteria.  Anyone who has read our book, or heard us speak, knows that we come from a biblical worldview. We assume that this was without question as we developed the point in our recent articles. Additionally, when we address the methods of education, reading, writing, arithmetic and research all beg the question of content. 

So please recognize we are certainly advocating a Biblical source and content in the homeschool. However, for those who don't agree with our content, the homeschooling methodology still applies. In that respect, it is independent of content. And yes, our preference is that it be completely biblical! We hope this clarifies that issue. 

When we started homeschooling back in the early 1980s, the best tools we had to do the job were textbooks and curricula used by Christian schools.  There were only a handful of publishers to turn to for resources. Now it is two full decades later. Go to any curriculum fair or homeschooling conference and you will find so many options that it makes one's head spin. It's not a matter of finding good learning material; it's now a matter of potentially overwhelming yourselves and your students.

Recently we did a counseling session for a close couple with five children who needed our advice on whether or not their children were progressing at an acceptable level. Their 13-year-old daughter's portfolio included a completed novel. Their 16-year-old son had already passed a college-level CLEP test. Every one of their children were showing incredible progress. They were an exceptional example of the success of homeschooling. 

But Mom was totally exhausted!  And yet she wasn't sure in her own mind if he was doing enough!

What's wrong with this picture?

Everything.

When God designed the family, He didn't make a mistake. He knew that the very nature of the home would foster education. The last twenty years has proven this is true.  Homeschoolers are successful in spite of themselves many times. Remember, most homeschooling mothers are untrained in education. They just do "what comes naturally" as they love and care and teach and nurture their children. And yet, the results are astounding. 

We believe that a large part of the success is simply because of the home. It's a safe, natural, normal place for children to grow, learn and develop relationships. That's it's inherent design! Unhindered by negative peer pressure, contrary ideologies, or politically correct social engineering, students in the home have a clear advantage simply because they are where they are. 

Homeschooling works because it is right.  It's that simple.

Over the past few weeks we have been talking about the benefits of a "learning tree" approach to education, where the four "r's" are taught through the elementary years. Then usually between 10 and 12, a student who has been learning in the home might be ready for high school work, a number of years ahead of their institutional school counterparts. 

[And as we clarified above, whatever stage your children are at, be sure to develop your learning opportunities around God' Word and His Creation. These should be our main tools in developing the 4 "r's" in the early years, and throughout high school.]

How does Mom handle the accelerated pace of a student who is well-prepared for courses normally offered in ninth or tenth grade?  Well, there are some very simple tools available to help prepare your pre-adult in the secondary years. 

You already know about our book, The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School, that is full of ideas on how to prepare and complete secondary school. We talk in this book about many issues having to do with planning for high school. 

Now we have developed another new tool that can help parents take the concepts behind what we now call The Grand Plan, and make them available in a concise, organized way.  We call it simply the Christian Homeschool Daily Planner. It's a great way to help your child prepare for secondary school.  More next time.

David and Laurie Callihan are authors of The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parent's Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career, and the brand new Christian Homeschool Daily Planner (with their Grand Plan built right into it).  You can learn more about their ideas and products by visiting their website here. They are regular columnists on Crosswalk's High School page.