Updated: Aug 31
Homeschooling is the practice by which a child is educated at home or anywhere else beyond the traditional school setting by parents, tutors, or web-based educators.
A report says that as of 2012, there is an estimated 1.8 million students that are homeschooled within the US. This number represents an increase from 1.7% in 1999 to 3.4% in 2012 based among the school-aged population.
The general public's views on homeschooling are divided. This could somehow be influenced by the individualized circumstances every family is facing. Our final decision on whether to put our children in a traditional classroom setting or to enroll them in a homeschool program must be dependent upon the quality of education they will experience and receive and how well our children can adapt to the system because this will play a huge part in shaping their future.
It cannot only be what we, the parents, think is right and good for them, but it should also include how our kids could actually benefit from our choice. Consideration of the learning environment, resources, necessity of placing the child in such learning environment, our availability to supervise their learning activities, as well as the child's personality and adaptation skills should play an important role in our decision.
The following are some of possible benefits and disadvantages of homeschooling.
Advantages of Homeschooling
1. Opportunity for the child to experience religious instructions. The ability to choose one's religion is a freedom that everybody must have. It is estimated that there are about 4,200 religions in the world. This is perhaps one the primary reasons, why religion is not being preached in most public schools.
Parents who strongly believe that religion is an integral part of everyday learning and do not have access to a traditional school that offers such curriculum may opt to look for homeschool programs that teach their family's religious beliefs, cultural systems, and world views. For an instance, parents can look for Christian Homeschool Curriculum Programs to impart Christianity to their children.
2. Opportunity for the child to receive moral guidance. Moral values refer to perceptions of what is right and wrong, while social values are what people deem to be socially acceptable or unacceptable according to codes of conduct, rules, responsibilities, and/or laws. Moral and social values are inseparable in terms of maintaining a healthy and peaceful society.
Parents play a major part in preparing their children to become good members of the society-- as seen from the way they think, talk, and behave. Homeschooling allows parents to be the most influential people in teaching their kids what is right, wrong, and fair. This is made possible by the amount of time parents are willing to dedicate to their children as they teach them academics and moral values.
3. Opportunity to control the learning environment of the child. Warger, EduServe, and Dobbin (2009), as cited in a book, defined what learning environment is.
The term learning environment encompasses learning resources and technology, means of teaching, modes of learning, and connections to societal and global contexts.
Homeschooling offers an excellent opportunity to introduce and/or balance the learning environment of children based on their needs. More specific examples of this opportunity are the following:
Parents have the freedom to determine what apps (math, science, reading and comprehension, etc.) can be used by their kids to enhance their learning experience.
More educational filed trips can be arranged. Parents can directly lead their children to new learning experiences outside their home (e.g. visiting science museums, zoos, farm, fire station, animal shelter, library, beach, planetarium, etc.)
Parents have the freedom to evaluate their children's comprehension through various methods such as by directly asking them more challenging questions, encouraging in-depth discussions, giving quizzes, utilizing the show-me (return demonstration) method, and others.
Dedicated parents, even if they hire tutors or have web-based teachers, can reinforce children's learning process by incorporating the ideas of read and learn, touch and learn, see and learn, watch and learn, and quiz and learn.
4. Opportunity to meet the child's other (or special) needs . Not all students have the same learning needs. Considering the different personalities, aptitude and adaptations skills of every student, homeschooling offers a great opportunity to tailor the learning process based on the child's needs.
Furthermore, the child's learning readiness and needs can be influenced by various factors such us his/her physiological, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization needs. Because of the special relationship that exists between parents and children, parents should be able to efficiently assess what specific areas of learning does their child need additional support.
For example, some kids may have short attention span and are easily distracted or bored by too long lectures or less interactive activities; or some students may be performing better in science subjects but need extra learning resources for math.
Homeschooling can be flexible and allows parents to consider and utilize ways wherein the child learns best. Discovering ways to make students engaged in learning is of utmost importance to homeschooling success.
5. Opportunity for the child to learn with consideration to his/her physical or mental limitations. A sad but true reality is that not all kids are physically or mentally capable of attending traditional school settings. Individualized circumstances and medical advice from a healthcare professional may influence parents' decision to choose homeschooling for kids with chronic health issues.
6. Homeschooling can be safer for children. Generally, one's home is the safest place for him/her to be. When talking about homeschooling, children (especially the younger ones) can be physically safer when they learn within the premises of their home or when they are directly supervised by their parents.
However, safety isn't only pertaining to the physical aspect. Bullying among kids at school is something that many parents worry about. Homeschooling somehow ensures that children are protected against such socially unacceptable behaviors which may result to more significant health and academic problems.
7. Homeschooling can offer a flexible schedule. One of the major advantages of homeschooling which benefits both parents and students is the flexibility of schedule/ time. At times, there could be business or medical appointments, family vacations, or other circumstances which may require you to adjust the learning schedule.
In addition, the homeschooled student (as supervised by the parent/s) may start working on the learning activities for the day at 8 am or the child can be allowed to sleep a little bit more then just adjust the learning time further out into that day.
Starting early allows parents and students (children) to have more time later in the day to get out and have more extra time for extracurricular activities. It could also be a great time to do something which could promote socialization among other kids such as going to the park or indoor playgrounds.
8. Opportunity for parents and children to create a stronger bond. Parents should also take homeschooling as an opportunity to create wonderful and lasting memories with their children.
Giving praises and words of encouragement can surely build up a child's emotional intelligence which can help him/her face the challenges in the world and live a happy life. This is one of the greatest gifts that parents can give to their child-- their love and time.
Disadvantages of Homeschooling
1. Homeschooled students and/or parents may need to take the responsibility in keeping academic records as evidence prior to admission in a traditional school/ college or university. This is especially true if the homeschool provider does not keep records of students who enrolled to them in the past. Others may require additional fee for record keeping. Be sure to ask about this prior to enrolling your child in a particular homeschool program.
Parents of homeschooled children, nonetheless, should be prepared to show academic records of the students if requested in the future.
2. Parents, in most cases, should take a big part in managing the child's learning activities and should be efficient teachers to their child. Parents who decide to place their child in a homeschool program takes big and crucial responsibilities on their child's future. Dedication must be constant because tasks can be overwhelming especially if the child is not showing engagement in the program.
Parents must be able to regularly supervise the child's activities and ensure that the child understands the lessons well. Furthermore, parents becomes managers and coordinators to fulfill the learning needs of the homeschooled child. Activities must be creative and innovative to avoid boredom and to encourage interest in learning.
Hence, the decision to homeschool a child should never be just out of parents' convenience.
3. Engaging a child to sports and music can be more challenging. Lack of resources can put the homeschooled child at risk for less opportunity to learn sports and music. Parents must actively look for ways to ensure that the child experience rich and varied learning and that includes sports and music.
At times, the parents may need to pay (e.g. music class, swimming lessons, soccer lessons) so that these learning needs are met. There could be community resources which offer free or discounted rates for their residents who want to learn arts, music, or sports. In some states within the US (Equal Access States), homeschoolers can attend public schools (class programs, activities or sports) part-time.
4. Homeschooled students are at risk for less social opportunities. Children who attend the traditional school settings are in constant social interaction with their teachers and classmates. This allows the children to build skills necessary to maintain healthy relationship with others. It also offers them the opportunity to build their assertiveness, empathy, and communication and problem solving coping skills.
On the other hand, homeschooled children might have less social interaction with others. This could further be influenced if the supervising parent has an introvert personality. Parents are strongly urged to make consistent effort to provide socialization opportunities for homeschooled kids because it is an indispensable part of learning.
Deciding on whether to place your child in a traditional school setting or homeschool can be daunting task especially if you're doing a transition. Careful planning prior to decision making cannot be overemphasized because our children's formal education and future is at stake.
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