Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Author Interview with John Evans

Today we're talking with John Evans, author of The Home School Advantage: A Public Schoolteacher’s Case for Homeschooling

FQ: After reading your book, I would love to know how Clint is doing now. What has he been up to after graduation?

Clint continues to do well, and right now he's working two jobs at the San Antonio International Airport. I think he may have found the perfect career for himself because he loves to work on machinery and be around the planes, but he also loves to interact with people. Mostly he helps to keep the conveyor belt systems running smoothly. Clint enjoys the hustle and bustle of a major airport and always seems to be excited about his work. At a time when many are struggling to find a job, I can't help but believe that Clint's homeschooling background and good work ethic have enabled him to stay employed.

FQ: What style of homeschooling best describes your personal educational philosophy?

Well, since I came from a career in the public school system, I think I tried to take the best of what I saw in the traditional education model and adapt it to Clint's special needs. If I had to give my style a name, I think I would just call it "practical teaching" or "going with what works." The home school choices we made were specifically geared to help our son in a way that traditional public schools could never match. My wife and I aimed for truly individualized learning. Clint responded well, and we were very happy with the results.

FQ: What led you to arrive at this style of homeschooling?

I was led to my style of homeschooling by observation and experience. If a teacher is conscientious and self-aware, he or she figures out what works and what doesn't. Also, you have to study the child. A parent or a good teacher can tell if the lesson is effective. You can see it in the sparkle of a child's eye or the enthusiasm of his response. Again, it gets back to trying many approaches and seeing what's effective. What works for one family may not work for another. It's not rocket science, but it does require attention, patience, and discipline. I would add that both parent and child need to keep a positive attitude.

FQ: What sort of interactions did you have with your public school colleagues after you pulled your son out of school? Were they angry with you for rejecting the system?

Well, I stopped teaching in the public schools before Clint started his home school experience, so there wasn't much direct interaction with former colleagues. Of course, many of them remained my friends, but our relationship was more casual. I think I would term their attitude toward our decision as "guardedly supportive" or "politely questioning." Also, you have to remember that many public schoolteachers leave the classroom after a few years, often from their own frustrations, so their own emotions can be somewhat mixed. I now know of several other former public schoolteachers who teach their own children at home.

FQ: At the very end of the book, you talk just a little about how homeschooling has brought your family closer together. Can you talk about that some more?

Candidly, my biggest regret is that we did not go to homeschooling sooner. Frankly, the more I think about it, and the more I observe what is happening in our public school systems, the more supportive I become of home education--provided that it's done in a thoughtful way. When I look back on my homeschooling years with Clint, I can't help but smile. We were never closer than when we were in homeschooling...and the entire family feels that way. If I could go back and change the past, I'd start homeschooling sooner and do an even better job.

FQ: Are you still working with the homeschool community?

As a full-time minister, I interact with homeschooling parents and children all of the time. I love to share experiences with them, and they remain among my warmest friends.

To learn more about The Home School Advantage: A Public Schoolteacher’s Case for Homeschooling please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

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