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Many assume that home schooling was a new education anomaly in America, but this is only an idea that is filled with biasness due to the current education system that seemed to overlook the idea of home-based schooling in the past. Until now, most American communities have lived a family-centered lifestyle and home-based education took an important role in shaping an individuals life as a child up to an age one was entrusted to take care of himself or herself. Education took place at home in one way or another and this occurred through their participation in the daily life’s activities. Children therefore gathered knowledge that was crucial to making them good readers, writers as well as acquiring other moral values and skills that were efficient enough to deal with their individual affairs developing them into responsible adults.
This was made possible by parents, older members of the respective families or individuals who were hired by the family to offer the basics (Russel, 2010). It is only now that people are viewing it on the context of the long period of time in history of the government-facilitated mandatory schooling that the idea of home schooling is being taken as a new concept. The present idea of home schooling only seems as a new concept because it came about following the mandatory laws relating to school attendance and has grown to a great extent enough to be noticed.
The origin of home schooling is however not known, with claims to its existence being in the sixties and seventies when education reformers and authors were questioning both the methods and outcomes employed in schooling. It was however during the late seventies and eighties that home schooling spread .The number of home scholars as well as those of the support groups grew. The support group was interested in giving support to those parents who had an interest starting the home schooling programs. The supporting groups thereafter worked to advise legislators who eventually changed state laws that were against the practice (Lines, 1997). The grassroots movement kept growing and these gestures was boosted by home schooling’s greater look as an educational option by the locals, state , national home schooling support groups, easy networking and information sharing through the Internet and continuing government-school problems, such as the dwindling curriculum, substance use, violence, bullying and more. The status of America’s home schooled children has been growing steadily in the recent past five years and researches have recommended the reasons as why it has been possible.
The number of home-schooled kids rose to 1.5 million in 2007, up 74% from when the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics started keeping track in 1999, and up 36% since 2003. The percentage number of the school going population that was home-schooled rose from 2.2% in 2003 to 2.9% in 2007. The 2007 estimates were based on data from the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey of the National Household Education Surveys (Loyd, 2009). These forces have brought up the number of home schooled children in the United States to an estimated 15 to 20% each year for the last 15 years. The general figure now stands at two million and even growing. This number has grown due to a number of several benefits brought as a result of home schooling. Home schooling gives an option to traditional education ways. Whether it is done by their own parents at their respective homes, hired teachers or done online, they always have an option to make their own decisions. They are at liberty to create an education method that best suits their educational needs hence providing them with several choices.
There is a lot of flexibility involved working in a home environment. This brings out one of the fundamental benefits of home schooling as compared to the traditional classroom education. The students here are not bind by timetables that provide guidelines or dictate various schedules that are to be undertaken within particular time durations. They are in this case free to come up with their own time schedules and can for instance decide whether to take on an examination during the day or night. The possibilities here seem to be even more limitless and families are also at liberty to take breaks in the course of the week perhaps to make time for holidays.
Home schooling is customized and allows students to choose on an education system that best fit and one that is designed to meet their individual requirements. Those with additional needs or face extraordinary challenges are always free to involve themselves into a home school curriculum that concentrates on a particular problematic area of interest. A customized home school curriculum also allows students to learn at their own speeds as well as maneuver through a lesson at either a fast or slow speed depending on their learning capabilities.
Unlike in a traditional classroom situation where the ratio of students to teachers per classroom is high, home schooled students have an advantage over these. The low number of teachers to students’ ratio enables teachers to give them undivided attention. Teachers are therefore able to focus on an individual student a time and even to identify their respective areas of difficulties. They are also able to identify how each student is coping up with different subjects as well as those that are being problematic. This provides the teachers with an opportunity to concentrate on students depending on the degree of their problems in the respective subjects. Apart from this, teachers can identify students’ talents and abilities and assist them on how to develop such talents.
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There are also no limits on hours allocated to learning a subject specifically to weaker students. This gives them an advantage since the teachers give them much concentration. The student can also be assigned more hours per subject depending on the seriousness of his or her problem. The amount of time taken to learn a subject in this case depends on the students’ ability to learn here.
When students participate in a home schooling program, they are also able to get immediate feedback in relation to their assignments, classroom quizzes and examinations. Likewise, they can let their teachers know if they do not understand a given concept or need extra assistance. There is therefore a room for a two-way communication.
Home schooling programs can also be associated with fewer distractions as it provides students with an opportunity to fully concentrate on their classroom tasks. There is therefore a possibility of hundred percent concentrations since the environment is free from social distractions that may come from friends. The students are also free from other distractions associated with worries that may be as a result of pressures commonly associated with the normal school situation. Apart from the fewer distractions, students too have the freedom to manipulate their schedules to suit their classes.
Time management is also another beneficial aspect as far as home schooling is concerned. Students adopting this program are able to manage their time wisely as compared to the traditional classroom situation. There are no time wasting situations in this case compared to the normal classroom situation where teachers have to make roll calls, attend to student indiscipline cases or attend to individual students work in class. These processes consume a lot of time that could otherwise be used in finding out the progress of each and every student. Home schooled students are also able to save on time since they do not have the after school home works that normal schools are often associated with. They thus have an advantage over this due to the fact that they are able to finish this during their home classes devoid of any kind of distractions.
Another interesting thing about home schooling is that one gets to see the best parts of his children as they grow up and learn particularly incases where the parent is the teacher. The parent involved gets to see the good works they come up with. This may be in terms of drawings or other form of art works. One is also delighted to hear them read new words for the first time and enjoys especially when they grasp a new concept or are able to solve a difficult problem. With schooling your children at home and in this case taking the role of a teacher you are able to go through a number of years and through the subjects with your children.
This gives one an opportunity to understand his or her children’s learning style and provide an unchanging environment for his or her children to learn in. The child too does not require having a new teacher each and every year and adapting to how they teach. The same applies to a home schooling situation where it’s not the parent taking the role of a teacher. They are too able to identify well with their students’ progresses and even more gain the thrill of seeing them do well.
Home schooling also enables parents to have complete control over their children. In this case they are able to take charge of what their children are exposed to as well as what they learn. This is very important especially in the current society where children’s innocence is being destroyed at an early age due to the exposure to several social influences at school or other institutions. Children today are also faced with increasing level of negative influences such as substance use, peer pressure, violence and even bad influence resulting from the media. As a home schooling parent, one therefore has more direct control over when to expose their children to certain issues as well as more time to discuss situations and reinforce your family’s beliefs and values in a safe and non-threatening atmosphere .Not only does one focuses on his or her child's educational needs but also encompasses their character. Developing character takes time and home schooling offers the ability to develop a well rounded child, which not only excels academically, but has moral character too.
Home schooling also enables parents to take charge of their children’s morals and religious learning. In this case they are able to incorporate their personal values and ideologies into the child’s mind. The children will find this much easier as there will be no difference between whatever they are being taught as well as practiced. In this case the parents act as their closest role models. They are therefore able to grow as well as develop into the people God intended them to be. The schooling of the child becomes an all family issue. All the parents get involved in every step of the child’s learning procedure. Activities such as field trips and experiments become part of the family activities. Thus, the child receives more quality time with his parents. The entire family shares games, duties as well as family projects. They also learn other skills such as cooking, laundry, woodwork, gardening and many more which are part of the activities they get involved in while home schooling.
Family closeness becomes the main focus here. The child is also free of any negative and unnecessary peer pressure while making wise choices and decisions through their parents’ directions and guidance. Other than developing strong ties between parents and children, children are also able to develop strong ties with their other siblings as well. In the process of knowing one another, strong bonds and family relations are shared between parents and siblings leading to stronger lifetime bonds. This is very important in the process of a healthy family growth as it enhances family unity.
Another advantage associated with home schooling is that the level of competition between the children is often reduced or brought to a limited level. The child in this case does not need to show off his abilities to other children. His confidence level is thus maintained. The parents get an opportunity to fully understand their child and are able to go as far as designing their child’s learning program that best suit their learning needs and capabilities. They are also able to involve difficult assignments with fun-associated activities that make learning enjoyable to the children. Parents too have the freedom to design the curriculum to suit their children style of learning. Some children prefer to learn through reading, while others need to write, and still others need to see objects in action.
The social life experiences of the home-schooled children or students also tend to be more positively influenced. This is because they always have an opportunity to interact with children as well as adults of different ages. There is however a misconception that the home-schooled children are socially isolated due to the belief that they are always at home and have no time to interact with the outside world. Through their interactions with adults most of their time they have an advantage of picking up important and crucial values that shape their future lives as they grow into adults. In the process of socialization, the children are also learn how to develop courage, faith and even more dealing with difficult situations that they may encounter as they grow into adults. They find it free to share out their inadequacies with their older siblings or parents and do not shy away from them.
This is different from the case in traditional schooling systems where children or students are only confined to their age mates. In home schooling they are handled by people whose behaviors are proved as appropriate and they are thus able to propagate these to younger siblings than them. Parents and older siblings on the other hand benefit from them as they are able to laugh and be shown love by their children throughout the socialization process. The home-schooled children and students’ chances to socialize have also gone up so rapidly in the recent past even as home-based schooling becomes more popular in America. Studies conducted by Dr.Shyers and Raymond Moore have showed that those who participate in home schooling are more socially mature and capable.
The difference between socialization in home schooling and the traditional schooling system is that it is more real on the latter. They are socialized with people who deeply know them. People who are able to show them real love. This means they are dealing with people they trust most and find free to share whatever kind of problem they may be facing. They are able to share both academic and other real life schedules together meaning everything seems a reality to them unlike in the traditional American classroom situation. Learning at home does not stop in the home school environment. The parents are not just teachers or observers. They are active players who expand, elaborate and encourage their children to be inquisitive and explore the particular areas that they feel interested in devoid of any other constraints of arbitrary rules set up by an outside source.
There is no doubt that the home schooling concept has grown in the recent past and has now occupied an integral part of the American societies. Its benefits of molding up children into mature and responsible adults cannot be overlooked. The public had a different notion before concerning the idea of home schooling and this was viewed as a foreign thing which was in any way not better than the public schools (Lyon, 1994). Its proved benefits has however changed the many misconceptions about it hence its current popularity. In fact, many recent news stories confirm that over one million young people in America are now being home schooled. And these reports suggest that home schooling has increased its appeal among many Americans. It is therefore now incorporated alongside the traditional schooling system and offers diverse benefits ranging from academic and other morals crucial to their personal growth.
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