Home Schooling And Educating Children At Home

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One of the major advantages of homeschooling is that it allows parents to be deeply involved in the education of their child. Lyman (1998) and Mayberry (1988) suggest that parents are interested in homeschooling their children because of the growing perception that the school system is inadequate in developing children into high achievers and that many schools by and large deliver standardized education without regard to the individual's talent and potential. Lyman (1998) and Mayberry (1988) write that by providing their undivided attention to their children, they are in a better position to recognize their child's potential and encourage the child. In a study by Lines (1991), it was found that nearly three fourths of the parents who home schooled their children also prepared their own teaching materials. Furthermore, in a study comparing the performance of homeschooled children with the regularly schooled children, it was found that the former outperformed the latter on many measures (Ray & Wartes, 1991 as cited in Abell, 2002)

The second advantage of home schooling is that parents can avoid the disadvantages of modern day public education (Clark, 1994). Clark (1994) suggests that parents are increasingly concerned that many public schools have a lot of crime and other bad students can negatively influence their children. He suggests that parents feel that because drug use and violence is increasing in many public schools, they are better able to ensure the safety of their children by educating them at home. Therefore by homeschooling their children, parents can ensure the safety of their children.

Homeschooling is not without its disadvantages and one of the commonly quoted disadvantages is that home schooling consumes a lot of time and the parents do not have any time for other activities. For example, if a child has to be homeschooled, one of the parents has to give up work and spend a large part of the day in teaching and tutoring the child. This may place a major burden on the parent and may lead to feelings of depression, boredom etc. Furthermore, because the parent may or may not be qualified enough to teach the child, he or she may not be in a position to teach as well as the teachers in a school where there are different teachers for different subjects and are hired by the school based on their qualifications.

The second disadvantage of home schooling is that parents feel that they are paying taxes and other duties, which go into creating public schools, and if they don't send their children to these schools, it would be a waste of the money spent. A related reason is that many parents feel that schools have many facilities like laboratories and playgrounds that home schooled children do not have access to and therefore miss out on several opportunities to learn and socialize (Abell, 2002).

Another disadvantage of homeschooling is that social cost of home schooling. Diana Jenkins writes that children feel the need to socialize and a major part of their development is in their ability to interact with other children of their own age group. She suggests that children who are home schooled are not in a position to interact with other children and often feel that they are missing out on a very important experience. Furthermore, Jenkins also suggests that a major part of learning is the ability to learn while taking the views of others into consideration. She suggests that homeschooled children do not have the luxury of taking into account other students' ideas and opinions and therefore end up with knowledge that is only in one direction.

It appears from the above review that homeschooling has more disadvantages than advantages and that it may be better for the children to attend schools than stay at home and study. However, because many parents feel that public schools have many disadvantages, their concerns can be removed by creating better home school partnerships. While traditionally parents have only dropped their children at school, and participated in some student parent meets, some scholars have suggested that schools can involve the parents more by supporting them with better teaching resources which they can use at home to make home tutoring by them more interesting, and also inviting parents to school to participate in interactive activities with teachers so that teachers can also benefit from some of the knowledge that parents have. Another suggestion is that better communication channels should be created between teachers and parents so that the teachers are aware if the child is going through a difficult phase and is underperforming because of that reason, and similarly parents are aware if the child is having some interaction problems at school because of some issues at home. This way the environment at both the school and home can improve (Patrikakau, 2005).

Therefore, it is clear from the above the home schooling is popular among many parents because of the feeling among them that public schools have many problems like crime and do not pay individual attention to the students like the parents can. However it is also clear that because parents cannot provide many facilities like laboratories and playgrounds and cannot help them with social interactions with friends and classmates, homeschooling may not be a very good idea. It appears that both schools and parents can benefit from better collaboration between parents and teachers where parents feel safe about their children and teachers can benefit from knowing more about the students from the parents.

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