The world of education can be a tricky sphere to navigate for both children and parents. The school day is constructed to ensure that your child is educated so that they are morphed into knowledgeable, tolerant and capable citizens ready to take on the world. From the age of four or five, your little darling will be learning maths, English, and science, whether this is through a formal lesson or learning through guided play.
Teaching is seen as a noble profession by many, but others view it as nothing more than a role that can be easily slipped into if you don’t know what else to do with your degree. As such, the caliber of teaching professionals varies greatly. Many are exceptional at getting their messages across, enthusing the youth of today and making them passionate learners. Others are there to get through each day with the minimal interaction with students and have little or no interest in pastoral care.
The emergence of homeschooling in the sixties and seventies was once viewed as a hippy style commune-esque entity, where laid-back individuals would see educating their children at home as an extension of the Free Love ethic of the 1960s. The anti-establishment feelings of the decade extended to the education system. However, these parents were thinking about their right to rebel rather than the quality learning of their offspring.
Fast forward fifty years and homeschooling is seeing a resurgence. There are many reasons why educating your child at home yourself might be an appropriate alternative to the regimented national school system.
Children are not robots. They develop physically, mentally and emotionally at different rates. A child born in September is going to be ahead of his or her peer that was born in June. As such, many parents are keen on holding back their summer born cherubs so that they don’t feel inferior or develop self-esteem worries while in the classroom.
Personalized learning means that you can craft a syllabus and curriculum around the needs, wants, and talents of your child. A school has to cater to a classful of kids and will always utilize a best-fit approach. If you want to hone a more bespoke way of learning for your child, you will have to develop this yourself.
Rather than learning through textbooks to understand the stages of photosynthesis, you can get out into the forest and go for a walk, collecting leaves to carry out experiments back at home. For younger children, art and music may be more appealing than sitting down to write a recount. By playing to your little darling’s strengths, you can harness a love of learning early on. Boredom doesn’t have any chance of settling in, because you are crafting the education to fit the child and not the other way around like in the state school system.
You may feel that teaching your child at home might be too difficult a task to undertake. However, there are plenty of tools online to help guide you through creating a curriculum, national benchmarks for educational development and online math tools such as CalcuNation to aid conceptual understanding. While it may take some getting used to, teaching your child at home can be the ultimate fulfilling experience.
You will be able to learn through play, put more emphasis on the arts, undertake educational trips as and when you want, and develop a love of learning through experience rather than discrete book work. You will be able to make learning more fun and relevant.
Sometimes children simply aren’t ready for a formalized education, and some may never be. Those children who struggle with social anxiety, have autism or have struggled with bullying incidents in the past may need a more familiar and comfortable space in which to be educated. The home environment could not be any more settling.
With their parent as their teacher, they can feel wholly comfortable and able to learn in a freer and more tolerant environment. If your child does have autism, you will understand their yearning for routine, patterns and the familiar. Your home, style of learning and environment can provide just that. This will enable your child to gain so much more from their learning experience than if they were forced into a more formalized setting.
For those children that have anxiety or aren’t comfortable in social situations, they may not require homeschooling for their entire educational experience. They may simply need to be eased into social situations more gradually. By educating them at home initially and then introducing them to school slowly, you can ease their transition into mainstream education.
This isn’t to say that homeschooling is for everyone. If this was the case, there would be no need for schools, all teachers would be out of a job and parents would not be able to contribute to any sort of economy. Most children thrive in a formal education setting. They enjoy the competition amongst their peers, they love having the opportunity to make friends, learn social norms and excel academically. Being at school can allow them to harness their skills, learn tolerance and enhance their soft skills such as leadership, listening, and teamwork. Being amongst other children can be a help and not a hindrance for many. As children grow older and friendship groups grow stronger, they can then choose to specialize and really focus their studies on their future career and life goals.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but neither is the formalized school setting. Every child is different. The one size fits all approach to education is quickly becoming redundant in the twenty-first century. Technology is opening up the world, making homeschooling a more viable option for many, and helping parents see that there is an alternative to the traditional educational settings of the past. Children are now seen as individuals with different learning styles and needs. As such, consider homeschooling as a real option for your child. It could be the answer.
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About the Author
This article is writing by a contributing author.