Do you feel your child is under pressure at school? Do you see your child as an under achiever within the current schooling system? How do you feel about the education system in South Africa? Can you see yourself as a parent as well as a teacher? How does your child socialize at school? Does your child participate in team sports at school? Do you see home schooling as an alternative to conventional mainstream education?
These are the questions that many parents find themselves wrestling with. There is a growing trend towards home schooling in South Africa. Although students have been home schooled in South Africa for approximately 20 years, it only became legal in 1996. Homeschooling is not encouraged by the SA Government; permission has to be obtained and various requirements have to be met. Home schooling refers to any system that takes place within the home but if a parent hires a tutor to educate the child; this is also regarded as home schooling despite the fact that the parent is not necessarily involved in the learning process.
Some of the reasons parents have given for choosing home schooling include undue pressure to perform, removing the influences of peer pressure, exposing them to effective and appropriate disciplinary measures, encouraging them to face the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for themselves; building family unity and raising family values as well as seeing advantages in educating in a small group.
However those who are opposed to home schooling will point out the fact that a child who is home schooled misses out on socialization within a large group. The child also misses out on participating in team sports. There are obviously many advantages for learners who are exposed to this.
In the book,Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner, the parents that were interviewed concluded that the following are myths with regard to home schooling: “I don’t have the patience”; home schooled children are isolated and do not learn how to socialize with others; “I can’t home school; I’m not a teacher”; a special needs child should have a special education teacher.
Homeschooling can be seen as a viable option for educating a child who has special needs. It isn’t for everyone, however, and special consideration needs to be taken before embarking on this adventure. Do what you feel is right for you, your family and primarily for your child.
Below are some pros and cons to home schooling your child:
- Homeschooling offers a one on one tutorial approach which benefits your child academically
- Home schooled children receive individualized instruction tailored to fit their learning styles as well as their distinctive needs and gifts, or strengths and areas of development.
- These children can move through their course work at their own pace
- Parents can teach their religious values to their home schooled students and can choose academic materials written from their own philosophical and religious point of view.
- Home schooling allows for more flexibility in a student’s schedule, in the teaching methods used, in the time spent with individual courses, with the materials used for course work, and for students to be involved in real life activities.
- Home schooling can cut out unnecessary time-wasting activities (e.g., standing in line) and students generally can get all of their work done within several hours each day.
- Since there is less wasted time, students have time left over in the day to explore other interests or pursue the development of special talents or skills.
- Because schooling at home is more flexible and relaxed, the educational experience is less stressful for the student.
- Home schooling strengthens family relationships because it gives parents more time with their children.
- Parents know their children on a personal level and can devote more quality and quantity time to their children individually.
- Home schooled children are exposed to socialisation within their own communities.
- Home schooled children do not have as much exposure to the harmful influences of peer pressure, such as the bad language, bad attitudes and violence that are usually present in an institutional public school.
- Individuality is encouraged; home schoolers learn how to think for themselves, and how to think critically.
- Home schooling is hard work for the parent(s).
- It takes commitment, perseverance and organization.
- Rather than relying on someone else to determine the family’s schedule, the home schooling parent(s) must have the self-discipline to determine their own daily schedule.
- Home schooling takes time that the parent might have used for another purpose.
- The teaching parent has less time for him or herself.
- It takes time to plan the course of instruction, to spend instructing, and to assess the child’s progress.
- Home schooling can cause financial stress.
- Typically, one parent has to set aside a career or bringing in a second income in order to be available to be home with the children being homeschooled.
- Additionally, parents must pay for the curriculum materials they use and for the activities in which they place their home schooled children.
- The home schooled student may lack the opportunity to participate in organized sports activities. Generally for home schoolers to play team sports, parents must schedule and arrange the activities, causing them additional work.
- Parents may not be successful with home schooling, if they have negative attitudes about home schooling and are home schooling due to pressure from family or friends or if they do not have control over their household; if they are not able to discipline their children and set appropriate boundaries.
Some books to read:
- Homeschooling your struggling learner by Kathy Kuhl
- Inclusive education in action in South Africa by Petra Engelbrecht