Home schooling as an option to mainstream education
Have you ever considered home schooling as an option for educating your children? As the competition for places in top schools and the best universities increases, more parents are turning to homeschooling.
You only have to search on Google or take a walk in the park on a school day to see that home schooling is on the rise.
Home education (known as ‘homeschooling’ in the United States) is increasingly popular in the UK. It means that parents take responsibility for their children’s education rather than delegating it to a school.
It’s estimated that more than 50,000 children are home educated in the UK and the figure is rising by 80% per year!
Home education is legal throughout the UK; however the laws in the four countries (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) can take a variety of different forms.
As the law requires that education should suit each individual child or teenager, there is no need to follow any system or curriculum.
Visit home education in the UK for further great information.
The numbers of home schooled children all over Europe and the United States have surged dramatically in the last three years.
Home Schooling in Europe
France was a country where home schooling (legal since 1998) was more popular than anywhere else in Europe and there was a great outcry when the state tried to reassert control greater control in 2015.
Home schoolers banded together and protested: “It is not the role of a democratic state to educate children against our will,” they wrote in a letter to the government “That’s the privilege of a totalitarian regime.”
Homeschooling in USA
Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, but requirements vary from state to state. In some states, parents may homeschool under a homeschool statute while in other states they homeschool under the private laws.
A few states require homeschool parents to meet basic educational qualifications such as having a high school diploma or GED, but the vast majority of states have no educational qualifications for homeschool parents.
Coalition for Responsible Home Education is an excellent source of information for homeschooling in the USA.
In countries such as South Africa, India, Pakistan (where the nearest school may be many miles from home) distance learning is well established and the digital age has transformed educational horizons.
Homeschooling in Africa
South African parents are turning to home schooling, says the Pretoria News. Elsewhere on the continent UK based organizations offer guidance and distance tutoring to families throughout the continent.
Swaziland has a thriving community of home schooling families. “I’ve been teaching my grandson for two years now,” reports one lady. “I felt the local schools left much to be desired. He is seven now.”
Homeschooling in India
Reports in Indian newspapers about Sahal Kaushik highlighted how homeschooled children in India could also enter mainstream education fields. Sahal has been homeschooled by his mother. At the age of 14, he passed the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Exam (IIT-JEE) and is now pursuing an MSc in physics from IIT Kanpur.
20 year-old Sahya Samson who has been completely unschooled has self-published her first book based on her thoughts and musings from the time she was 14 to 16 years.
An article in the Times of India highlights the experience of homeschooling parents in Pune.
More and more parents are teachers now, taking advantage of the country’s astonishing range of museums, libraries, galleries and wildlife sanctuaries.
Why has Home Schooling Increased in Popularity?
Without doubt there is a link to the widespread access of the internet, the availability of resources and the rise in the numbers of parents who now choose home education for their children.
You don’t have to be qualified to home school your children. There are fantastic online teaching materials from a huge range of education authorities and private websites.
Who Home Schools?
There are many reasons why parents may decide to home school. Here are some examples:
Parents with specific views.
They may feel that their child will get a better start in home-based education. They want their family manners, morals, religion and the knowledge they value unchallenged.
Parents with children who have a specific learning difficulty
This is especially true if their learning difficulty has led to disruptive classroom behaviour. Life is miserable when you are constantly called from school and summoned to meetings about today’s Incident. The incentive to make a break can become overwhelming.
Parents with Gifted Children.
Much the same applies! If you have a budding prodigy on your hands, whether it’s the violin, sport or other fields, mainstream school can struggle to meet his or her needs. “Disruptive behaviour” and anxiety can set in.
Parents of a child who is being bullied.
Being bullied at school can be the most traumatic experience a child will face. By electing to home school, in one stroke they achieve respite from the whole horrible world of verbal, physical and social media abuse
If getting your son or daughter into a top flight school is almost impossible, a bespoke package of home schooling and private tuition can cost little more than a good independent school AND offer a better likelihood of excellent grades.
Super Rich Parents
They probably travel a great deal, and in any case they like to be in the driving seat of life.
Parents with Limited Resources
In many countries the cost of a formal school based education can be costly and out of the range of people on low income. Home schooling offers a way to educate your child within your budget.
Perceived Disadvantages of Home Schooling
For many people considering home schooling, the main concern is socialisation. A fundamental part of mainstream education is the social interaction children experience.
School is the place where most children get to meet people outside their family peer group. It is where they have to learn the social skills that are required to be a part of a wider community. If a child is denied this it may lead to them not being able to cope in real-life situations.
“I know a family that home schooled all three children. They flourished academically, but they have no social skills whatsoever.”
“From the 24 year-old to the four year-old they can’t negotiate, or see why they’re getting a negative reaction from others.”
While some schools will accept children who attend part-time, and blend home schooling with mainstream, others worry that home-schooled youngsters miss out on sport, life skills and the whole culture of their generation.
However; these issues can easily be overcome by including relevant activities that will provide social interaction, such as enrolling in clubs, joining sports or special interest groups.
Keris Stainton wrote an excellent article entitled Why I Am Home Schooling My Child that explains why she chose to home educate her son.