Posted: August 12th, 2013
Home schooling children
Home schooling refers to conducting education activities of children at home by parents or tutors rather than taking them to public and private schools. Parents mention various reasons that justify home schooling such as weaning premature babies, as a parenting style and concern for the formal school environment. Households living in far-flung areas also consider home schooling. Although it has its advantages such as increased supervision of children and special treatment for disabled students, the principle of home schooling should be considered a secondary option to public schooling. Children should therefore attend public schooling for at least two years after graduating from home schooling.
Home schooling may be an option but not the best when it comes to education for young children. There are various versions of home school programs and curriculums that are well designed, but none of them can match a nationally acknowledged school curriculum having accreditation and examinations. Public schools may not seem significant and efficient, but public institutions possess certain qualities which when combined give students a wholesome learning experience that is lacking in home school programs. Any parent that may wish to see a bright future for their children will provide the best education for them to succeed in life.
Opposition to the principle of home schooling children originates from different sources, teachers, parent associations and school districts. The main cause of disagreement regards the quality of education that children get from their parents or private tutors. Most parents and tutors lack the basic skills to teach their children different aspects of formal education by themselves. They lack teaching skills such as setting goals and expectations for their students. Parents and tutors may be lenient in giving the children achievable targets in their studies. Such students end up attending home school the whole year but learning very little.
Organizing a typical lesson for a home school is quite similar to that of a public school. The lesson plans for each subject have to be prepared beforehand to ensure the learning is systematic. The teacher also needs to do a background research into the topic to increase their knowledge in the event that a student asks a random question. The method of presenting the lessons, administering the evaluation tools and overseeing the examination process are other pertinent aspects of a basic class. For home schooling, these professional standards may be difficult or sometimes impossible to achieve.
Most parents are not skilled in the teaching practice, and even if they were, the whole task is truly daunting and may interfere with the household chores and day jobs. Children who fail to understand a lesson or topic may blame the parent thereby creating animosity. Home schooling therefore requires physical and human resource contributions that are best provided by state-run public institutions (Suzanne 32). It is for this reason that it is more advisable to enroll children into public schools rather than start them off with home schooling. On the other hand, all teachers in public schools meet the minimum standards of qualification, for example, in certain states, primary or elementary school teachers need to posses a degree in education for them to teach in public schools.
Home schooling also lacks the standard preparation and organization common among teachers in formal public schools that involve materials such as charts, demonstrations and class resources. Lastly, home schooling makes it difficult to create a mood that is conducive for learning. Far too many distractions disrupt the learning process. Children who go through the home schooling process may have quality academic tutoring, but they still lack the convenience of school facilities, for example, science labs, gymnasiums and playing fields. Children in home schools also experience less extracurricular and group activities such as field trips. Home schooling may therefore have a negative effect on the children’s social lives.
Home school focuses on academics and extra effort should be taken by parents to ensure that children grow socially. Social interactions with other children are essential for the intellectual and physical growth. This social interaction is specifically significant if it is with children of the same age group. The lack of contact with other age mates that is perpetuated by home schooling results in poor development of communication and interpersonal skills. It has been noticed that children who are home schooled have a higher tendency to be passive, lethargic, secluded and poor in communicating with people. Children who grew up on home schooling and did not experience strict, unproductive and incompetent teachers would not know how to handle such people when they enter working environment
While home schooling may be the only option for certain families, the disadvantages that accompany it can be mitigated or avoided by taking children to public schools. Issues and complaints such as low standards of teaching are uncommon rather than the norm in most public schools (Ramidden 28). However, the benefits that children gain from public schools are worth the time, effort and consideration of most parents. In public schools, children can overcome their problems with shyness, discrimination, communication and loneliness. Public schools also have more facilities such as gyms and playgrounds that contribute to significant physical development.
Children can also develop people skills that will shape how they relate with their colleagues up to their adulthood. Public school teachers are also more experienced and competent in dealing with children than private tutors or parents. In addition, research revealed that home schooling would hardly be sufficient for the children’s social, perceptual and cognitive development. Public schools still posses a higher number of advantages for the learning child than home schooling do. Therefore, comprehensive methods of learning such as public schooling are inevitable.
Children should be introduced to public schools instead of attending home school because, in most of the home school choices, parents make the decision to school the children themselves to shield them from different realities in the world. These realities may include other religions or belief systems, for example, Christian families afraid of their son learning aspects of Islam in school or sexuality concerns, for example, young children discovering gender issues. Whatever the case, parents feel better when they control what the child is exposed to hence, the home schooling idea.
While this might seem protective and practical, the child develops without basic skills for handling challenges that may come up during his growth period. For instance, children that are home schooled lack the competitive spirit present among public school children who learn, play and co-exist together (Mur 17). Consequently, public school goers are strong enough to overcome challenges, compete, and accept rejection whenever they face defeat. Children that are secluded in the name of home schooling find it difficult to mingle with their peers in their youth. Parents also have to contribute a lot financially to ensure that the home schooling process is successful. Parents therefore lose out financially when they opt for home schooling.
Related to the former point, a small section of parents also exploits home schooling as a channel through which they can realize their own goals and ambitions. In doing so, parents put their children through the home schooling process. This means that they missed the opportunity to intermingle with other children. Such children are always in danger of looking back with regret at times when they missed significant school experiences, such as high school promenade or sport tournaments. Putting aside the school environment, the idea that they do not attend school with their peers in the area will segregate them making it even harder to strike up friendships.
On conclusion, it can be argued that public schools offer more diversity in terms of the programs and services they give children. In most public schools, the staff to student ratio is about 6:1 meaning that the expertise on each subject is higher in public schools than in home schools where there might be one or two tutors for all subjects. No matter how skilled such teachers are, children in home schools do not enjoy the same level of teacher diversity as their peers in public schools.
Argument supporting home schooling
Proponents of the home schooling program argue that home schooling contribute toward tighter family relationships. At the younger years, children require optimum contact with their parents. Personal attention given by parents or tutors allows the children to learn more efficiently than their counterparts in public schooling system that have more distractions and less supervision. Home schooling is also accredited with instilling different cultural values within a child. When a child is home schooled, the parent can teach them about their own religion, traditions, norms and culture in general.
These children grow up having a strong sense of belonging and individualism. Within public schools, the curriculum and teachers are forced to impart a uniform culture that may be secular in nature (Martinez 56). They do not necessarily foster cultural uniqueness and development of aspects such as religion or traditions. The formal technique of learning exhibited across most public schools may not necessarily result in improved grades, higher learning ability and increased level of education for the children. Home schooling has been found to have more relevant curriculums and examinations than their public counterparts do.
A study done between the two schooling methods administered similar math tests yielded higher results for the home-schoolers. These results were also replicated in the Progress Report of 2009: Home school Academic Achievement and Demographics that was compiled by the National Home Education Research Institute that showed that home schooled children scored 34% higher than their peers score (Marshall & Yaacov 12). This study brought up new questions such as whether the tests in public schools measure the creativity, skill and intelligence of children or were they merely yardsticks to eliminate children from attaining higher education. The results indicated that home schooling was less flawed and not exam-centered such that students did not study to pass their tests only.
The argument as to whether to enroll a child into a public school or provide them with home schooling at a tender age boils down to the rationale behind the whole education process. The purpose of passing children through the schools is to ensure that they have the academic and extracurricular means to survive and thrive off their different skills when they become adults. Other minor goals of schooling may include exposing children to the realities of the world and building up talents. If these are the objectives of schooling, parents need to acknowledge that public schools provide the best opportunities for the realization of these goals (Lips & Feinberg 78).
Apart from the reasons provided in the essay that reinforce the supremacy of public schools as the best schooling options, home schooling has been misused by most parents for religious reasons. Parents can teach children about their faith without necessarily subjecting them to home school. There are however cases where inappropriate cultural content that might be discriminatory reaches a child. In such situations, various channels can be addressed rather than pulling out the child from public school or avoiding public schools altogether.
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