The Perils of Home schooling

Right up front I want to declare my position on the controversial topic of home schooling – I don’t like it. One step further would be that I don’t believe it should be necessary. Wouldn’t it be great if our public school system was functioning so well that not a single parent, child or family felt the need to educate their children at home (or for them to pay for private education too).

76037252But many families feel that public education doesn’t provide them with the quality education and the desired environment so some pay an additional price to have their children go to a private school and some take the extreme measure of providing education at home.

Over the last 4 years the number of children home schooled in Victoria (Australia for my overseas readers) has almost doubled (2008 – 1829 students; 2012 – 3435).

In a recent Herald Sun article Sally-Anne McCormack felt a need to warn parents and said “I have seen home schooling work well in some cases, but not very often.”

The main reasons for home schooling seem to be:

  • Social reasons – child was bullied, less able to mix with peers, anxiety etc.
  • Philosophical reasons – predominantly based on the religion of the family and their concerns over the curriculum being taught and also, to some degree, the environment’s acceptance of their faith and their desires concerning the social interaction.
  • Specific individual needs – some children have special needs and particular learning difficulties that can fall between the services provided by the ‘special education’ system and those of mainstream school.

Whilst I fully understand the need of a parent to care for their children in the way they believe best I think that sometimes home schooling can create its own difficulties and often only delays the impact of the issue that is trying to be avoided.

For example – if the decision was made to shield the child from the influences of other faiths, religions and even the lack of faith in people’s lives – then at some point they will encounter these alternative world views and attitudes. If the primary motive is to protect them from the harshness of the playground then, at some point in their future, they will have to deal with unacceptable behaviour in society.

Sally-Anne McCormack puts it this way:

  • There is a potential for lack of routine and discipline
  • Home schooled children dont have the social interaction and immediacy of peers during the day and
  • Home schooled children were not exposed to a range of opinions from adults other than their parents.

Now I understand that home schooling parents will agree with those opinions, applaud them even, and say they are the very reason why they home school.

But I wonder how the home schooled child will behave when moving from a home environment to the university campus. The extremes of becoming the party animal or the social hermit are equally undesired.

But, as always, I am open to the debate please comment below and argue with me 🙂

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