Homeschooling, in its most straightforward definition, is an old practice that entails the education of children at home. Rather than being sent to a school or other similar educational body, children who are homeschooled are educated in the confines of their home environments. In some capacity and across cultures, homeschooling by members of the family is a fairly common practice, as is the use of tutors (though for the longest time, private tutors were a luxury affordable only to the wealthy). In a homeschooling environment, the teacher need not be certified, but the child must LEARN.
The Homeschooling system began to decline in the 19th and 20th century onwards, due to the enactment of compulsory schooling laws, but was still carried on into the present day and experienced a significant resurgence in the 1960s-70s due to growing dissatisfaction with “industrialised education” (Distefano, Rudestam & Silverman, 2005). However, the sole reliance on this system as a means of education for children is a hotly debated topic and one that is subject to many differing opinions.
The reasons for choosing to homeschool children are numerous and complicated, but two reasonably common reasons often come up: a certain amount of dissatisfaction with local educational institutes and parents’ desire to take an active part in their children’s educational development.
In the 1960s and 70s, Raymond and Dorothy Moore conducted extensive research into early childhood education as well as the physical and mental development of children. Their published views were that formal schooling was damaging children on several levels, and drew links for how problems like juvenile delinquency and other issues were directly rooted to children being enrolled into formal schooling at an early age. In addition to this, the Moores stated that the bonds of emotional development provided by homes and parents produced critical long-term growth processes. That could not be easily corrected in following institutional settings maintaining that, “the vast majority of children were far better situated at home, even with mediocre parents, than with the most gifted and motivated teachers in a school setting” (Moore & Moore, 1975). Their extrapolation of the situation is as follows: “This is like saying, if you can help a child by taking him off the cold street and housing him in a warm tent, then warm tents should be provided for all children – when most children already have even more secure housing” (Moore & Moore, 1975)
There are however several issues with the homeschooling model. Legally, most countries have instituted compulsory school attendance laws which are enforced quite strictly and are mandated with the individual and specific need to guarantee children a complete and structured education; though many teachers’ associations consider the homeschooling model to lack on multiple counts. There is also the issue of social conditioning: a home-schooled education fails to inculcate proper social skills or interactions in children which leaves them ill-prepared to deal with the sheer scale of human interaction that is out there in the world. This also potentially brings with it fears of bias and prejudice being absorbed into the learning process, as children are exposed to only one specific line of educational thought: namely that of their parents, and the tutors they assign to their children. This significant lack of diversity in educational awareness and exposure is rightfully seen as being severely harmful to the educational development of children. (Holt, 1981)
In the end, homeschooling will always be a method of education that will remain hotly debated and contested while its application and endorsement will vary from community to community and family to family. Whether the outright dismissal of the homeschooling model or acceptance of it is a question that has no straightforward answer, it remains another critical aspect of the educational experience that educators and the public will be having discourses on for many years to come.
To sum up the purpose of education, it can be rightly quoted:
“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” ~ Anatole France
References • Distefano, A.; Rudestam, K.E. & Silverman, R.J. Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning. 2005 • Holt, John Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education. Delacorte Press. New York. 1981 • Moore, Raymond S. & Moore, Dorothy, N. Better Late Than Early. 1975
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~Article by Siddharth Sinha, Logolepsy Blogger
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