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Homeschooling: Impact and Efficiency

Homeschooling is a much heard and practiced concept. Helen Keller, Selena Gomez, Agatha Christie, and The Jonas Brothers are just a few well-known names who have been homeschooled instead of enrolling into traditional schools like everybody else. It is a widely spread notion and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are preferring to homeschool their kids to have a more personalized way of learning which their kids won’t get in traditional schools. Are a few questions popping up in your mind? like, what is it? How is it practiced? Why do some parents prefer it? Is it good enough or not? Well! hang in there! We have answers to all your questions. 

What is homeschooling?

Homeschooling is referred to as the education of school-aged kids at home or in places other than school. It is usually supervised by a parent, any tutor, or an online teacher. Well! Several families who homeschool their kids use less conventional and more personalized strategies of learning and teaching that are not often found in schools.

History of homeschooling

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, homeschooling commenced a rejuvenation with educational reformists of that time disappointed with industrialized schooling. 

Most of the Native American tribal communities traditionally utilized homeschooling to impart knowledge to their children. Relatives and tribal leaders used to support parents in the education of their kids. They actively opposed mandatory schooling in the United States.

Rousas John Rushdoony in the 1960s began to support homeschooling which was according to him a secular nature of the public school system in the US. He was considered an expert observed by the Home School Legal Defense Association in court cases. Rushdoony actively denounced advanced school reformers like Horace Mann and John Dewey and also argued for the disassembling of the state’s impact on education in three of his works viz “Intellectual Schizophrenia”, “The Messianic Character of American Education” and “The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum”.

Apart from this, during the 1960s itself, two American educational professionals Raymond and Dorothy started their research on the academic reality of the hastily rising early childhood education movement. Their research comprised independent surveys by other researchers and also an analysis of over 8,000 researches bearing on early childhood education and the physical and mental development and advancement of children. The Moores affirmed that formal schooling before 8-12 years of age lacked foreseen effectiveness and also distressed kids. They published their perspective that conventional schooling was worsening young minds academically, mentally, socially, and physiologically. 

With the help of evidence, the Moores showed that as a consequence of early enrollment of students was leading to childhood problems like juvenile negligence, increased admissions of kids in special education classes and behavioral issues, and nearsightedness. Raymond and Dorothy also referred to a few studies revealing that orphans who were assigned surrogate mothers were comparatively more competent, with special long-term effects even though mothers were “mentally retarded teenagers”. Well! After the publication of their first work, “Better Late Than Early”(1975) the Moores embraced homeschooling. And with the publication of books like “Home Grown Kids” (1981), and “Homeschool Burnout” they became significant homeschool advisers and consultants.

What are the teaching methods used in homeschooling?

  • Informal Learning- This happens outside of the classroom but it has no conventional limitations on education. It is a daily aspect of learning through participation and innovation, contrary to the formal belief of teacher-centered learning. 
 
  • Structured and unstructured homeschooling- Structured homeschooling encompasses any technique of homeschooling that obeys a fundamental curriculum with proper objectives and outcomes. Whereas in unstructured homeschooling parents are not supposed to construct a curriculum. 
 
  • Unit Studies- In this approach, numerous subjects like history, science, maths, geography, etc are studied in association with a single topic. It is beneficial for instructing multiple grades simultaneously as the difficulty level can be modified for every learner. 
 
  • All in one curriculum- These are instructional teaching strategies for teaching in which the curriculum and homework of the student are identical to those used in public schools. This is bought as a grade-level package or individually by subject, the package may consist of all required books, tests, answer keys, and teacher guides. This enables a manageable shift into the school system. 
 
  • Unschooling and Natural learning- Coined by John Holt, the term “Unschooling” refers to a method in which parents do not forcefully direct a child’s education, but rather interact with their child by pursuing his/her interests and allowing them to explore and learn. This doesn’t mean that a child is not being educated, instead, it means that child is not being “schooled” in a formal school-type way. On the other hand, natural learning refers to learning on desire where children seek insight based on their interests and parents take an active part to stimulate activities and experiences favorable to understanding and do not depend extensively on textbooks throughout their everyday activities.

  • Autonomous Learning- It is a school of education that considers learners as individuals who should be accountable for their learning environment. This helps students develop their practicality, freedom, conception, and self-consciousness which would enable students in their independent learning. However, this doesn’t mean that students should start their autonomous learning entirely on their own, they are advised to reach out to someone more knowledgeable at first. 

  • Hybrid Homeschooling- Also known as flex-school, is a form of homeschooling wherein students divide their time between homeschool and a more conventional school setting like a school. 
 

Why do some mothers prefer homeschooling their kids?

  • To improve their child’s social interactions- Some mothers homeschool their kids so that their children get less exposure to bullying and peer pressure which is prevalent in the public school system. They rather prefer to provide more custom-made interactions that promote their values. This is often achieved by taking the curriculum and making the world around them the classroom. With this flexible homeschool system, families can visit museums, parks, and even historical sites and also participate in community service as a part of daily learning in a much better way. This enhances emotional and psychological growth in children.

 

  • To aid a learning disabled child- Children who have learning disabilities or any physical handicaps are more likely to not prosper in public schools. Due to limited time and resources, it becomes quite difficult for such students to get the specialized instruction that they require to learn and understand. However, because of homeschooling mothers can use a specialized curriculum to educate their kids. This method gives them specialized tools to assist their child gain the required knowledge. On top of that, in most cases, any of the public school services available are also accessible in most of the cases. For instance, speech therapy, remedial classes, dyslexia, physical handicaps, music, art, etc. are always options that further give greater flexibility as a parent to ensure that the child has the best of all probable domains. 
 
  • To educate their child during relocation to another city or country- Families who have to deal with periodic relocating face various challenges in maintaining the consistency of their child’s education. Homeschooling comes to the rescue for the same as the lessons can be done from any location which ensures that there are no unwanted interruptions in learning. So some mothers prefer homeschooling to make sure their child is not lagging while they relocate time and again.
 

How effective homeschooling has proven to be?

Studies suggest that on average homeschoolers score at or above the national average on standardized tests. They have been accepted into many Ivy League universities too. In 1990 there was a study by the National Home Education Research Institute found that at least 33% of students who were homeschooled attended a four-year college and 17% attended a two-year college. However, this same survey assessed students after one year and found that 17% pursued higher education. 

Talking about recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of schools across the world, because of which approximately more than 300 million students had to study from home. The material was primarily deployed at home and reviewed by virtual schools, it can be said that this was mainly executed in the form of distance schooling rather than conventional homeschooling in which parents educate their children self-sufficient from school. This shift to homeschooling which occurred overnight without any possibility of trials for parents, teachers, and students, caused educational, psychological, economic, and political distress. However, still, COVID-19 managed to strengthen some parents’ minds about homeschooling. Parents realized that remote learning was feasible means that they have extra options to ponder if their child would face any difficulties at school.

Conclusion

Homeschooled children receive more individualized and personalized attention, contrary to students enrolled in formal public schools, a structured environment plays a key role in homeschooler academic accomplishment. Although many teachers and schools oppose the idea of homeschooling, nonetheless research has proved that homeschooled children are more likely to excel in many different areas. Apart from this, Richard G. Medellin’s Ph.D. research discovered that homeschooled children have much better social skills rather than children studying in conventional schools. Nevertheless, homeschooling your kid is a personal choice. The homeschooling material does get expensive and parents have to be available for their children all the time.


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