August 28, 2009
Mon – Home Is Where The “School” Is
Homeschooling is defined as a “provision of compulsory education in the home as an alternative to traditional public/private schooling – often motivated by parental desire to exclude their children form the traditional school environment” (Education Research Information Center (ERIC), 1999)
Homeschooling has been an alternative in developed countries to formal education. Even though the Philippines is still a developing country and the society is accustomed to the formal education system, homeschooling can prove to be helpful and beneficial to the Filipino child.
A number of parents have already practiced homeschooling. Here are some reasons why they did. Firstly, most parents think they can give better education to their children at home because schools have a poor learning environment. In a Philippine elementary public school setting, it is not uncommon to see a class of 50 students being handled by a single teacher. It is almost impossible for the teacher to teach and supervise her entire class; how much more to make sure that each pupil understands the lecture.
What happens when a commotion starts or when students can’t understand the lesson? Teacher shouts in anger and frustration. The children’s spirits are crushed and their self-worth is diminished. Exams and grades, which should only be a measure of mastery in the subject matter, unknowingly create fear by being a means of categorizing children and labeling them with grades. Fear and punishment are being used in motivating students to learn.
Numerous studies have proven time and again that homeschooled children outperform their peers and score better than the national average of all students in aptitude and assessment tests in every subject. Homeschooling beats the most expensive, most exclusive private schools money can afford.
Other parents homeschool their children to provide better moral instruction. Parents are the best teachers when it comes to teaching their children the correct values on how to behave properly and accordingly in a society. Moreover, a child is kept safe from drugs, sexual harassment, bullying and negative pressure at home.
Some parents even object at what the school teaches. Some parents feel their children are not given the proper attention or not being challenged enough to learn in schools. A gifted child who is accelerated will feel difficult fitting in. The same is true for students who have special needs, those who have learning disabilities and illnesses. Even normal students who have different learning styles present a teaching difficulty if in large classes.
The final matter to be discussed is the impact of homeschooling in a child’s socialization. In the 1970s, a study published by Raymond and Dorothy Moore concluded that “where possible, children should be withheld from formal schooling until at least the ages eight to ten”. They stated that children are not mature enough for formal programs until their senses, coordination, neurological development and cognition are ready. Forcing children to enter in a formal schooling environment will only bring frustration and pressure to them because of unpreparedness and inability to think rationally yet. Early formal schooling demolishes the concept of “positive sociability”, encourage peer dependence and discourage self worth and respect for parents. Parents, of course, would not want to let their children learn character, morals and manners from their peers who are equally ignorant.
Yes, a child needs to interact and relate with kids of his own age. He needs two or three of them, cousins or neighbors maybe, but not necessarily an entire class of fifty; definitely not eight hours a day for five days a week.
Other factors such as saving time and money in homeschooling compared with sending your child in formal schools and the reinforced relationship between parent and child who studies at home may be included here. The ability to homeschool a child is only a question of commitment and dedication to the parents. The question on how to manage time and money for homeschooling, however, merits another article.
In the words of John Holt, an American educator and advocate of homeschooling, “I want to make it clear that I don’t see homeschooling as some kind of answer to badness of schools. I think that the home is the proper base for the exploration of the world which we call learning or education. Home would be the best base no matter how good the schools were. ”
– Raymund B. Quiambao