Before the 19th century, many children received education at home by working in a family business or running a household. It was temporary discontinued shortly after establishing the free, compulsory education system. In the 1960s, John Holt, an American educator, questioned about the education system and began to advocate the education of children at home by their parents. Some parents in America followed Holt’s suggestion several years later and it gradually spread to countries in Europe. This alternative education is generally known as home education in the United Kingdom or homeschooling in America.
There are still a lot of debates about whether children should be educated at home by their parents nowadays. In my opinion, I think that children should be home-schooled.
Homeschooling can be tailored to fit the children’s ability and learning style. Every child has his own speed in learning new knowledge, which mainly depends on the children’s ability. At school, teachers have to take care of a group of students at one time and teach according to the general learning speed of the students. They may not understand their students well because their time spending together is limited at school. Some talented students may find these lessons boring and cannot pay attention at class, while some with learning disability find it hard to catch up with normal students as they do not have sufficient support from their teachers.
For example, a gifted student in Year 9 can finish a Year 11 English reading comprehension with ease in 15 minutes because he has an excellent memory and the ability to understand complex ideas. However, a student with dyslexia can hardly get his homework done as dyslexics usually have to read a passage for more than twice before it makes sense to them. Teachers have difficulties to plan the learning schedule for the class when gifted students are making trouble and dyslexics are having problems to do an exercise in class as a result.
Homeschooling is the best measure for children to learn efficiently and thoroughly. As parents are the closest ones of their children, they understand their children’s personalities and learning ability the best. This helps their parents to have an easier time to adjust their children’s own learning schedules, which feed the needs of every child. Using the example above, the gifted child can have more advanced exercises to do to improve his reading skills and vocabularies.
Besides, there is a flexible schedule in homeschooling. As a result, better time management can be obtained. Many places, like Hong Kong, the United States and the United Kingdom, school starts at 8 o’ clock. Students, especially the ones who live far away from school, are forced to get up early and go to school with sleepy eyes. Not only do children spend too much time on travelling to school, but they also have difficulties of concentrating on their courses since they do not have enough sleep. Their learning effectiveness is hence reduced.
According to the study ‘Delaying School Starting Time by One Hour: Some Effects on Attention Levels in Adolescents’ by Dubi Lufi, Ph.D., Orna Tzischinsky, Ph.D and Stav Hadar M.A in 2011, the attention level and the rate of performance from the middle school students are affected by the time that the school starts in the morning. The study suggests that one additional hour for students to sleep can help with the biological changes during adolescence.
To avoid students having concentration problems on learning, homeschooling is a good method for the students. Unlike schools, children do not have to spend time on travelling so they can obtain more sleep at home. With better concentration on studying, children can improve the learning speed greatly. In other cases, when children unfortunately fall ill for a day, the timetable can be rescheduled to fit their children’s needs in homeschooling. However, if students are absented in schools, there is a huge chance that they may not be able to catch up with their learning due to the tight teaching schedule. The flexibility of the learning schedule in homeschooling can minimize the time wasted and provides children a better education management.
Some argue that homeschooling does not have rich resources and facilities that the school can provide. They say that there are teachers who have certain qualifications to teach pupils new knowledge and well-equipped facilities like laboratories and libraries at school. Without the equipment, children’s learning will be limited, and they may not be able to perform themselves at the fullest.
This is not the case. Nowadays, there are a lot of online learning resources readily available to aid students for their studying on the Internet. Parents can select the suitable and first-rate teaching materials and exercises for their children with only a simple search on the web, even if they do not have high qualifications to teach their children. Taking YouTube as an example, there are different types of self-studying videos for adolescents made by professionals and teachers, which talks about knowledge that students normally learn in lessons. The detailed videos give home-schooled children an insight into a particular subject, educating children through the videos instead of in a lecture. Moreover, there are homeschooling support groups for parents to share experience, resources and information to each other. Parents can have more confidence on educating their children afterwards.