All children have a right to education and in many countries education for children between certain ages (roughly between seven and eighteen years old) is a legal requirement. But not all children flourish in schools and not all parents approve of the education systems used. This makes home schooling or home-based education an attractive option.
Home schooling is typically undertaken by parents but can, in certain cases, be managed by professional tutors. Tutors only come into the picture if parents have the money, but don’t have the time to give their children the education they think they deserve. More often than not, home schooling finds mom or dad ploughing through books and poring over learning material just as studiously as their kids to ensure that they meet pre-determined learning criteria.
Parents may choose to home school their children for any number of reasons. For example:
· They might object to the subject matter being taught – as is the case with those who believe in intelligent design or creationism and not in evolution.
· They might not be happy with the level of education available. They might think that their child isn’t challenged enough or special needs are not being met.
· Their children might have social, psychological or developmental problems that aren’t suited to a formal education environment, especially when classes are too big for personal attention and bullying is a problem.
Parents who choose to home school their kids aren’t bound by any specific teaching methods or by any pre-determined curriculums, but they are bound by the laws regulating home schooling in their country. These laws differ from country to country and may even differ within a country (in the US different states have different laws). One ubiquitous law is that parents have to register with the correct authorities to legally home school their children. Usually (but not always), children are also required to pass standardised tests to ensure they are at the right stage of development. These tests are especially important if children want to go to university or attend formal tertiary education systems, or even enter high school from a primary home schooling base.Tools
These days parents have many tools in their home schooling arsenal. They no longer have to depend solely on text books, learning guides and video types. Online learning opportunities abound with various interactive, interesting and exciting ways to learn. Online learning facilities can also provide a much broader education as children have access to much more information than children who are limited to a classroom setting (although this is being addressed as many schools want to introduce iPads as essential learning tools).
An obvious disadvantage to home schooling is that it depends very much on parents’ dedication, motivation and skill. Some people are natural teachers, others are not. Some parents will make the effort to master the learning material before trying to teach it to their kids, others will not. Some will make learning a priority every day (at least five days a week), while others will not. There is always the risk that parents will neglect their duty and children will take advantage of that. Many parents also don’t register as home schoolers either because they aren’t aware of the need to do so or they can’t be bothered. This is not only illegal but places children at a disadvantage should they want to continue their education more formally.
Finally, there is the question of socialisation. Studies have shown that formal schooling provides children with important socialisation skills. But, other studies have shown that children who are home schooled have greater social skills and are more confident and outgoing than children who attend school. This is usually dependent on external exposure, so home schooled children should be encouraged to participate in sports and join clubs.