Home schooling refers to the concept of giving the kids a formal education without sending them to schools and teaching them within the comfort of the home. It involves making a few adjustments and the teacher in home schooling, whether it is a parent or external help must be aware of all the advancements in the field of education to ensure that the children who are being home schooled get proper education to place them well in the society. Another consideration would be the adaptability of the children to the societal norms particularly when they are confined to the comfort of the home and peer interaction may be hindered. The various pros and cons are discussed in this report.
Pros of home schooling
While the concept of home schooling is relatively new as compared to the traditional context, there are many studies which prove that homes schooled children score higher in their SATs than their counterparts from public schools. In fact, the Ivy-league colleges have started opening up their doors to these home-schooled children as they realise their value. Home schooling provides children with a flexible schedule to learn and can be tailor-made to fit the learning pace of the child. Home schooling for children with special needs is beneficial as the child can learn in a comfortable and known environment and thus the focus shifts from the anxiety of social interaction to the process of learning in the younger stage of life when the child can absorb the most knowledge. However, home schooling is not just for kids with special needs. Other children can also benefit from it.
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Home schooling allows better control over the child’s time, thus freeing them up for cultivating other hobbies like music, dance, writing and sports. It allows the child to break free of the compulsion of assignments and allows for more experiential learning. The child can have access to the learning material through all areas of the home and thus experience freedom in gaining theoretical and practical knowledge. Many schools do not make children ready for the real world, they just follow a set textbook. However, with home schooling and with the technology bringing us vast amount of information on demand at the click of a button further facilitates this process. This freely available information and the vast array of online courses designed specially for the child allows to bring down the cost of education while simultaneously increasing the quality of education. Home schooling also affords for bringing in knowledge about religion, family history and the likes to the children which may not be offered as courses in many schools.
Home schooling also caters to the parents’ wish to be able to supervise the child’s learning process more closely, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the child, and develop the child in their own specific way. Home schooling retains the natural curiosity of the child to the process of learning and gets rid of the compulsions laid down by schools.The child has freedom to choose what he likes and thus home schooling keeps the kids engaged. The control over the child’s schedule also allows the family to take travel trips together at most times of the year to complement the child’s learning about separate cultures and thus raises more tolerant and well-informed individuals. The main benefit about home schooling is the the one to one student teacher ratio ensures that the child has attention trained towards him all the time. This situation is not possible in public schools and the needs of the child often go ignored.
Home schooling also protects the children from bullies, teenage peer pressure, unhealthy competition. It is also beneficial in the case of teenage girls who are prone to worry about fitting in with the rest of the people and following trends and fashion. This takes away their attention from the main element of learning. Home schooling also benefits the families which have to keep relocating very often due to work or otherwise. The kids may face problems with moving around very often and home schooling gives them a buffer against this. This brings in more stability to the learning process of the children.
Home schooling also saves time for the children. With focused learning, the children can accomplish more in the same time while the school curriculum tends to go at a slower pace to accommodate all the children in the classroom. Also, not having to adhere to rigid timings of waking up and rushing to school is a positive. The children feel more at ease while not having to be burdened with unnecessary written work and can focus on developing their other interests. It is no surprise to know that children learn the most from the people they are surrounded with. A child may talk to his classmate in school and learn to be around people but they may pick up values which are not desirable to their parents, religion or culture. To prevent such a conflict the kids can be homeschooled. Social interaction for kids arranged through hobby classes will ensure their fast academic absorption and also satiate the need for social interaction. The kids who are homeschooled also generally interact with children from a much wider age group, thus instilling maturity and new thought processes, whereas the schoolgoing kids usually interact with people from their same age group. This leads to a holistic development of children.
Cons of home schooling:
While home schooling has a many merits it also entails certain downsides. To start with, the home schooling model of learning means that the kids are home with their parents most of the times. This may cause the parent – child relations to get strained as they are together most of the time. Also, parents may not find adequate time for teaching the child all that should be taught and the process of learning may develop gaps. The child then grows up with certain beliefs which may not be true or may be partially correct. Such a world view is damaging to the child’s psyche in the future. In many cases, when the parents are too rigid about the material they should use or the course they should follow, they may miss out on incorporating the recent trends in the field and hence limit the knowledge that the child gains from home schooling. Absence of a formal curriculum may also lead to unorganized learning. These formal curricula at schools are developed by professionals who are trained in the field and understand the child needs and psychology on a wider scale. Ignorant parents will deprive their children of the benefit they may receive when trained with such material.
Another matter of concern with home schooling may be that the child’s education may not receive the legal and societal acceptance it deserves. People tend to look at homeschooled children as lacking social skills and the kids may not get a recognition for their education while applying to college for further formal education. It may become difficult for the child to find acceptance in these cases, hurting their chances of succeeding. The homeschooled kids may also not benefit from healthy competition which inspires them to break their limits and achieve success to their maximum potential. Also, learning in schools gives them collective knowledge. The children learn from their peers and it shapes their ideas and personality. Home schooling entails being around the same set of people though the major part of their day and hence the skill of thinking from different perspectives may get minimised and opinions may become biased as the children tend to carry forward the beliefs of their parents and tutors. This can lead to a narrow mindset.
Home schooling may also mean that children can miss out on sports events with their peers. Although they may still be a part of sporting activities, they miss out on a competitive sporting events where they get to forge strong bonds with their peers. These kids may also miss out on handling high pressure situations, surprise quizzes and other such events which leads to their emotional development. Not learning to properly interact in a group can result in behavioural and social issues. They might face problems following the laid down norms as they have been exposed to an environment wherein they are free to act as they want. They may have issues with sharing, may demand personal attention from people, and may become distant. Children may even dread participating in social events and would rather stay in the comfort of their home. Parental overinvestment in the child can cause them to fret over the child’s actions, decisions and behaviours and this type of helicopter parenting may lead to the the children not becoming fully independent. The parents have to be very cautious that their kids stay free to choose for themselves in this environment.
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Children going to schools share common experiences with their peers. School gives a chance for field trips, proms, shared projects which teach the child to trust others and understand their emotions. These common experiences become a way for children to form lifelong friendships. While it may be possible to share experiences with a sibling, knowing and interacting with people from the other cultures always benefits by broadening a child’s mindset.
Experience from someone who was home schooled:
Two cousins of mine were home schooled, not just through school but also through college. The involvement of parents was also very high along with a tutor employed to formally teach them the curriculum. When they grew up, they were imparted working knowledge by their father who is a businessman. This gave them practical knowledge in the field and also exposed them to interacting with business partners. The kids were also taken to participate in various treks and went camping with other kids their age. The home schooling provided them with undivided attention and excellent theoretical knowledge which was then supplemented with occupational skills in their free time. The legal issues of their education not being recognised were overcome with correspondence examinations and online courses. These certifications further gave them a chance for organized learning and got them the recognition for their knowledge. The absence of peer learning was never felt to be too huge as they interacted with the neighbourhood children. Today, they are both very well placed in the society and doing very well in their chosen areas. Home schooling also gave them freedom to pursue unconventional subjects and not be rigid about subjects they wanted to learn. This has broadened their horizons and the vast amount of knowledge they gained about diverse topics is colouring their decisions today, which turn out to be as sound as anyone who has had a formal education through the traditional channels.
While home schooling has both pros and cons for children, it should be deliberated upon by parents whether they have the appropriate means and methods to give their children a comprehensive education at home or if the children need to go to school where they can be taught by a trained faculty. All the options available must be weighed in before jumping into any decision. Even if the children go to school, it is necessary for parents to take adequate interest in their learning and development to ensure that they are on the right path and are learning the right things in the right way.
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