A home school, as the name implies, is basically an alternative form of education that allows students to receive their education at their own homes instead of going to traditional public or private schools. Students who study at home are either taught by personal tutors, their own parents, or sometimes the school sends the whole curriculum or all the lessons that need to be learned to them. Most of the time, home school students only need to go to their respective schools when they need to take an exam, for example, but in several cases, they take their quizzes or examination at home as well.
There are several reasons why parents opt to have their children study at home instead of sending them to educational institutions. These reasons may include: the parents’ belief that they can give their child better education at home, the child’s disabilities or psychological disorders which need special attention; the parents inability to afford sending their child to traditional schools, the child’s failure to learn anything in private or public schools, the desired school is too far from the child’s home, the child’s failure to pass the entrance exams in any school, problems with policies of the school, and even religious reasons.
At present home education has helped a lot of students who are unable to study in traditional schools all around the world. However, while I acknowledge that there are millions of students that are home schooled and that the trend is growing almost every year, I am not entirely in favor of the concept due to various reasons.
Although it may be true that home education provides a number of benefits for students, especially those who are impoverished, I believe that it defeats the other purposes of private and public schools, which is to ensure the child’s emotional, intellectual, and social growth and to prepare the child for the life after graduation. It is a well-known fact that a traditional school teaches not only the lessons found in textbooks but also certain aspects of life itself. In private or public schools, students get to interact with their peers.
Interaction between students facilitates the exchange of new information, new insights, and new ideas which is highly essential for intellectual growth. Moreover, interacting with peers enables a student to create his own circle or network of friends which is important for social stability and growth. In addition, making friends can also be educational especially if it involves people from different cultures or nationalities. For example, an American student can learn a lot from his or her Chinese best friend regarding the lifestyle, food, beliefs, traditions, and history of China or vice versa.
On the other hand, a home schooled student is strictly contained within the four corners of his or her house so he or she is unable to meet and interact with new people. In addition, since this student becomes isolated, he or she may develop a fear of other people or even the outside world in general. Moreover, although a home schooled student may be more intellectual than his or her traditionally educated counterparts since he or she is primarily focused on studying, he or she may not learn new information because of his or her dependence on textbooks.
In short, he or she will have a narrower perspective about a lot of things as compared to a student in a traditional classroom setting where he or she can ask questions and give their own opinions regarding certain matter about the lesson. Furthermore, since a home-educated student is basically confined in his or her house, he or she may have a tendency of slacking off because there are no school rules. Home schooled students may study and may work when they want to provided that they pass the exams given to them.
However, this defeats the purpose of having school rules and regulations which develop discipline in students. In traditional schools, students generally have to follow rules such as wearing of proper uniform, observing silence in hallways, displaying proper behavior while in the campus, and throwing of trash in the proper garbage cans, among many others. If they fail to abide by the rules and regulations of the schools they will be penalized.
This “penalty system” in traditional schools instills in students the fear of breaking a rule due to the corresponding punishments and in effect, they become disciplined and follow the law. In addition, this system also teaches students to respect the authority and the law in general, which is basically what is lacking in home schools. Although the parents may have taught their home-educated children proper manners and respect, these children may only apply this when dealing with their parents since they never got to interact with other people.
Furthermore, possibly the major disadvantage of home education is that it lacks an avenue for physical growth. Home-educated students generally have no physical activities such as sports which could lead to weight gain and possible health problems. In addition, since home education does not have extracurricular activities, students are unable to showcase the possible potentials they may have. For example, a home- schooled student may have the makings and traits of a leader, however, he or she cannot show his or her capabilities since there are no opportunities to show them.
Moreover, a home-schooled student may have amazing talent in basketball and has the potential to be granted a scholarship in a prestigious university but is unable to do so since he or she is restricted within the comforts of his or her own home. In short, what home schools also lack is the avenue for students to be recognized for their talents and skills in activities other than academics. In fact, they may not be even recognized in academics since it is already an advantage for them to be studying at home.
Basically, what I would like to point out is that there are necessary lessons in life that cannot be learned inside a home school or even inside a classroom. For a student to be well-equipped to face the real world, he or she should have experienced the little realities of life which are present in traditional schools. For me, I believe that home schools should only be applicable to students who have disabilities and psychological defects and who are too poor to afford private education. The other reasons are not justifiable since traditional schooling is basically a necessity for everyone.
Parents who force their children to receive their education at home without valid are actually impeding their personal growth. If this is the case, they should not be surprised if their children grow up with various problems in life. Over-all, I believe that while a home school can provide intellectual growth for students, it lacks an avenue for equally important aspects of personal growth such as emotional, social, and sometimes even spiritual growth, which are all important for a student to understand and face life itself.