Homeschooling is an educational method in which parents become teachers of their children and assume the responsibility of educating their offspring instead of sending them to a conventional school.The method has grown in popularity throughout the world in recent years, and it presents both advantages and disadvantages. Here, we examine the positive and negative effects of educating a child at home, for both the child and the parents.
Let Us First Examine Why People Choose To Teach Their Children:
Some parents home-school their children out of sheer necessity. They live in a remote or isolated location, which is too far from a school for the child to attend. These children may live on remote cattle stations, off-grid homes or spend their lives continually on the road. While some of these families may have access to distance education or school of the air, some others may not, while some families may choose to forego this option.
Families who have a solid religious belief system may not find adequate religious education in mainstream schools or schools close to their home, and subsequently choose to keep their child at home where they can be sure that the child will receive the religious instruction the parents desire, away from other negative influences. Conversely, some parents choose not to send their children to school because there is too much religious instruction.
3- Lack of confidence
Many parents simply do not have any confidence in the mainstream school system. They believe that it cannot provide their child with the education they deserve and that the parents themselves can more effectively prepare their children for academic success and success in life itself.
4- Special needs
Children with special needs can find themselves struggling at schools that do not have the required resources or expertise to meet the needs of that child. Parents who are dissatisfied with the services offered to their children may withdraw them from conventional schools and decide to educate the child themselves.
When Exploring The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling, It Is Necessary To Analyze Its Effect On The Child and The Parents
We Will Start By Focussing On The Child:
1- Academic Performance
In-depth studies on the comparative academic performance of home-schooled students and mainstream students are limited. Still, the studies that have been completed indicate that homeschooled children perform well in academic tests and exams.Experts point to the one-on-one teaching method as one reason for the results and contrast this with the traditional schooling setting of a class with about 30 other students, all competing for the teacher’s attention and assistance. As hard as teachers try, it is tough to provide individual instruction, daily, to 30 students in one class.
Another reason for the positive academic results may be the greater flexibility in learning available to home-schooled students. Parents can adapt the curriculum to suit the needs of their children.That is a significant advantage, and flexible learning programs are a goal of most schools, although, in reality, they can be hard to implement. When educated at home, a child can be taught in a style that suits their personality and preferred learning style. For example, children can be auditory learners, tactile learners or visual learners.Some students are quite happy to be told once how to complete a task, attempt it immediately in front of the teacher and receive immediate feedback. In contrast, others prefer to take the responsibility or skill away, work on it in their own space, and come back and demonstrate their mastery at another time.Parents can determine their child’s learning style/s and adapt lessons accordingly – without having to cater to the learning styles of another 30 students simultaneously.
Besides, parents know their children. They know their interests and hobbies, and the best teachers are those who can tap into a student’s interest and incorporate them into a lesson.
4- Less Distraction
You know what we’re talking about. You remember your school days when the class clown had to make a joke of everything, or the boisterous boys couldn’t help but make themselves heard while you were trying to concentrate (or maybe you were the class clown), These distractions detract from a child’s learning, but are much less likely to be a problem for children who are homeschooled.
5- Test, test, test
Homeschooling parents often criticize the modern obsession with testing in mainstream schools. They believe schools have been forced, or have chosen, to direct all teaching to help students achieve better results in mandated, standardized tests.Homeschooling, however, allows the parents to either ignore or shift focus away from tests and to teach the child a broader curriculum centred on learning for the sake of learning, curiosity, art, music, nature, play and personal characteristics such as physical, mental and emotional development.
6- Social Development
Of course, there are disadvantages to homeschooling, and the most cited problem is social development. Children lack the opportunity to interact with a large number of peers daily. This restricts their ability to learn how to develop friendships, deal with bullies, expose themselves to different life experiences, languages or cultures – even different food.It is said that the most valuable lessons learned at school occur in the playground. How to negotiate, choose friends, form relationships, avoid or gravitate towards certain people, create an individual persona, be assertive and other interpersonal skills. For a child who is homeschooled, these lessons can be learned only with siblings.
What About The Parents (Pros and Cons of Homeschooling)?
Homeschooling can create many pressures and advantages for parents.
Does the parent know the subject matter, or how to teach it?Teaching children everything they need to know to thrive in the world is a very demanding job. Primary school teachers require a basic mastery of every school subject, and the ability to transmit this to children, while secondary school teachers must be specialized experts in their field, and must have the skills to pass on this knowledge and skills to teenagers.Do the parents know enough about each subject, and do they have the skills and the personality to impart this learning to their children daily?
Homeschooling can be expensive. Parents need to acquire all of the necessary resources to teach their children in a way that at least aligns with a conventional curriculum.Buying resources and equipment to ensure that the child or children can be taught a wide range of subject areas can be expensive. However, many parents have found a way to home-school their children without spending a fortune.Another aspect of the cost of educating a child at home is that one parent will not be able to work full time, or maybe not at all, as they devote their time to teaching. This loss of income must be factored into the family’s budget.Furthermore, if the child is sent to sit for standardized exams, they will need to be carried out at a school or official testing center, and paying externally for these exams can be expensive.
3- Work-Life Balance
A major consideration for any parent considering homeschooling is their work-life balance. The home becomes the workplace, but it is different from someone doing another occupation (architecture) from a home office because, in that case, the children are not involved.For a parent-teacher, the children are the work, the job, and the finished product. A major challenge for a parent educating their children at home is finding ways to separate teaching at home from living at home.
4- Family Harmony
In a similar vein, care must be taken to maintain family harmony. Teaching children is stressful for teachers and students, and conflict will inevitably arise. One of the disadvantages of homeschooling is the difficulty of separating the student/teacher dynamic from the child/parent dynamic, as both are lived in the same space!In contrast, families and experts find a lot of evidence that homeschooling creates stronger family bonds, as children and parents spend more constructive time together, parents can more readily see and celebrate their child’s academic and personal milestones and can grow together.
5- Tertiary Education
Parents may not be as well equipped as schools in preparing students for tertiary education. Students who wish to continue studying after graduation are offered a lot of qualified guidance from school teachers and schools, and it may be difficult for a parent to provide the same guidance to their child.
Last but not least
Homeschooling presents advantages and disadvantages to parents and children. Learning from home can impact a child’s social development, academic performance and options after school while also creating emotional and financial stress for parents.Conversely, it can also see children and families grow together and allow the child to be taught an individualized program that will see them thrive.When the atmosphere encourages learning, learning is inevitable. ~ Elizabeth Foss