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Education begins at home. Nowadays, home-schooling become a trend among the parents in most developed countries. Some parents believe that home environment grants many opportunities for their children to become engaged with effective learning atmosphere and builds social relationships among the family member particularly between parents and children. Many countries including New Zealand and South Africa support home-schooling and it is legal in those countries. Meanwhile, the idea of homeschooling in Malaysia becomes a major debate among the educators and parents where homeschooling is not preferred by the government. New Zealand, South Africa and Malaysia all have very concrete perspectives on the matter. In this essay I will discuss their viewpoints and consecutively decides for myself what I believe about home-schooling in the future.
Some parents choose homeschooling in New Zealand and South Africa because of numerous reasons such as religious purpose, morality development, parenting style and also an option for families in isolated areas. They believe that the flexibility of home education triggers children cognitive development and creates supportive learning environment. Other countries for instance the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Canada and Germany encourage the parents to homeschool their children. On the other hand, Malaysia opposes the values of home-schooling and all the children should be registered at the government or private schools.
For New Zealand the home education is absolutely legal and become one of parenting styles among the families. There are several motives why parents today choosing to educate their children at home. Firstly, family philosophy becomes a major reason for the parents to homeschool their children. The parents strongly believe home-schooling can insulate children from negative influences that caused by their peers in the school. The children behaviour should be determined by families and the parents play a crucial role to imply a good morality in shaping their behaviours. Many middle class and well-educated parents choose to school the children at home because of their objection towards the subjects that have been taught in public schools. The percentage of children who are being educated at home increased 22.8% from 1998 to 2007 in New Zealand, (Varnham,2008,p5). Furthermore, some families in New Zealand want to homeschool their children because of religious purpose. The parents intend to educate their children in the Christianity's atmosphere where they claim the Christianity values are lacking in the secular government education system, (Varnham,2008,p4). Therefore, some families in New Zealand believe that the social development of the children starts at the home and different learning styles cultivate their intelligence, talents and abilities in schooling process.
Meanwhile, the home-schooling in South Africa acts as an alternative to institutionalized education and become a consequential part in educating the children. The South African School Act 1996 states that the parents may apply to the Head of Department for the registration of their children to receive education at home and thus home learning is acknowledged as a legitimate schooling option in South Africa. In 1997 The National Coalition of Home Scholars which is known as the largest South African homeschooling association estimates that there are approximately 2000 children being home schooled. The reasons why most of parents in South Africa choose to practice home learning are the declining standards of education, increasing cost of schooling and lack of classroom disciplines among the students, (Moore,2002,p5). The religious purpose also becomes one of causes that contribute to the home education. The Homeschooling Legal Defence Association claims the parents decide to educate their children because of the government is rapidly moving to secularise the public schools which is opposed to the values of Christianity. Besides that, the idea of home-schooling is relevant with the education atmosphere in South Africa because the population is accumulating at the remote areas. The parents are unable to send their children to the school because most of educational institutions have been centralized in the cities. Other factors such as sexual harassment, physical attack and denigration of child's personality drive the parents to prefer home education rather than sending their children to government schools.
On the other perspective, the home-schooling in Malaysia creates a debate between the government and some parents. Malaysia opposes home education while New Zealand and South Africa acknowledge this matter. Parents in Malaysia do not have a place where they can consult with the professional in helping them to practice home learning among their children, (The Star: My Home My School, 2009). The senior lecturer from Education Faculty at Malaysia National University Dr Hasnah Toran claims that the idea of home-schooling does not attains a proper status in the Education forefront where The Ministry of Education prescribes that primary education become compulsory education. Every parent who is a Malaysian citizen should register the child at the age of six years on the first day of January at private or government schools and remains as a pupil in a primary school for the period of the compulsory education. Meanwhile, in countries like the United States the local advisers help the parents how to manage the home learning and the schools are more flexible to accept part-time students where some of them have been registered in school for the extra-curricular activities or take certain subjects in school. Some professional educators in Malaysia state that the children require formal environment learning and need to be exposed to the world by attending school. Although there is a possibility for them to be influenced by their peers but the school environment provides a good atmosphere to learn and screen out the bad thing. The parents should not be over-protective, let the children discover their own world and trust them to be more independent individual.
Following this matter, there are some clash between the home-schooling and the formal schooling and how to determine which type of schooling should be implemented in the most countries. The major conflict is Malaysia government view the official schooling is better than home learning. According to Christine Chiu the Head of Sri Garden Secondary School in Malaysia claims that a school is the best place to develop children learning skills and abilities. Only for those who are not able to attend school because of certain reasons should be given the right to homeschooling. Another perspective said that a child able to gain a complete and holistic education if they are registered in official school system. The parents need to introduce their children about the heritage of Malaysian values, races and cultures. All these matter have been taught in school to ensure that the children know about their country and its history.
However, Malaysia's argument about the formal schooling is valuable compared to home education seems to be weak one. There are lot of researches that show the home-schooling is more relevant in educating the children nowadays. For example, the research about the home learning that has been done in European American families context where the children in these families engaged in a great deal of verbal interaction with their parents usually appear more advanced linguistic skills. Family's communication gives a great impact towards academic achievement and creates an effective home learning environment. Children build their knowledge through manipulation, adaptation and interpretation in home education environment, (Guofang,2009,p157). Their great development of literacy and numeracy reflect that home-schooling is more relevant to be implied in education. Other than that, home learning has also been practiced among the Chinese families where they claim that the influence of family environment on children's learning is more effective and able to lead the children to gain a great educational attainment. Literacy learning in home education gives a lot of opportunities for the children to observe others such as their parents' reading and writing activities and thus improving their skills in literacy, (Guofang,2002,p135).
Both New Zealand and South Africa viewpoints about home-schooling seem justified and it should be practiced in many countries as it shows more advantages toward the parents and children. Homeschooling is the best way of nurturing children and triggers them to engage in a constructive learning process. Individual solitary exploration about knowledge in the presence of the parents able to foster learners' motivation to learn and parental involvement with children affects children success, (Guofang,2002,p139). Literacy and numeracy learning in home reflects an interactive process among the children and more responsive compared to formal school education. In order to create a successful learning environment the parents play a vital part in influencing children's literacy and language achievement as their function as educating agents in home.
In conclusion, while Malaysia is opposing the values of home-schooling and states that formal education is better, in my opinion the claim is wrong and home education should be practiced in many countries. Both New Zealand and South Africa standpoints about the home-schooling become a superlative way to educate the children are concrete and valid. Malaysia fails to create an argument to dispute the claim that home learning is more effective than formal schooling education. Therefore, it is clearly shown that home-schooling is a trend among the parents in most developed countries. I strongly believe that home education is becoming an increasingly acceptable education and it should be applied in the education system nowadays.