There are many reasons why people choose to have their children home educated. Some of them are very serious such as movement disability or other health issues. However, there are people who wish to be home educated while having an option for going to school. It has become fashionable to receive education at home, especially with the advances of the Internet. The advantages of home educated were already proven since many people use this option as an additional opportunity to improve personal skills for career development. Many people in decide to get additional education while having a job. The problem appears when parents (or children) make a decision to have their child home educated. The most important question discussed in this essay is whether children who are home schooled can develop social skills, get a well rounded education, and gain all types of opportunities as those who choose traditional public education.
How are the Learning Environments Different or the Same?
Studying at home, it is important create a supportive environment. Home environment is very different from public classes. Osborne (2013) argues that different conditions create modern learning environment. On the one hand, supportive learning environment should be created under such aspects as personalized learning, socially constructed learning, differentiated learning and physical as well as authentic context. Personalized learning is possible when studying at home since each student receives personal tasks via email. It is hard to create socially constructed learning since even though a homeschooled person has an opportunity to communicate online, he or she still remains isolated. This factor may only be of partial importance, since discussion forums and work groups create some idea of socialization. Although, it is still impossible to have the complete social context like with traditional education. Home education provides differentiated studying. Creating a process of learning through physical and authentic context is impossible since this factor presupposed an actual collaboration between children in the physical world. On the other hand, modern learning environment is created with the factors of flexibility, openness, and access to resources (Osborne, 2013). Homeschooled environment corresponds to such demands. While studying at home, one can afford to be flexible. It is possible to combine the classes, and to split learning process using modern technologies. The openness factor is not fully realized, since one has to be open to others while learning, which is practically impossible while staying at home. Modern technologies can also give access to the sources necessary for studying.
Studying at home does not mean that students remain unaccounted for. The accountability measures are even more frequent since to see how well the student has mastered a subject, a teacher must create a test or develop another assessment measure. Being at school, teacher can observe whether the student has understood the material. It is harder to notice it when a student is being homeschooled. Thus, the process of accountability is present since the progress of a student studying at home is reported to the department of education (Wright, 2012). Children who study at home perceive education as a natural process. Moreau (2012) has conducted a research in this sphere and has managed to prove that people who have decided to be homeschooled perceive it as a necessary and obligatory process.
Do Children Develop the Social Skills that are so Important while Being Home Schooled?
A number of researches present different ways of homeschooled children’s’ socialization. Studying at home, children are prevented from having the fist negative social experience. Unlike at school, the socialization of a homeschooled kid takes place as a natural process involving those peers with whom this kid likes to communicate. This contrasts with the compulsory process, where tone is obliged to communicate with other people (Rothermel, 2004). Children will not miss any interaction between peers and teachers since online collaboration is one of the aspects of home education. Discussion forums, video conferences, teacher and peer-reviewed tasks are the basic options for collaboration between teachers and homeschooled students. Moreover, for children studying at home, the only possible type of bullying is online bullying. However, in many cases, parents and teachers follow the forums and discussions; therefore, cyber-bullying could be minimized. Also, many sites that facilitate cyber-bullying have age restrictions (for example, Facebook does not allow children under 13 for registration). That is why safety can be named a feature of homeschooling (The Guardian, 2011).
Home Schooled Children have the Benefit to Receive Individual Attention
Studying at home has one of the greatest advantages in the system of education. Students have an opportunity to study at the pace they are comfortable to. Homeschooled children have an opportunity to pay more attention to the aspects they do not understand and not concentrate on the material they are good at. Additionally, they have a possibility to study deeper the issues they are interested in and to leave aside optional material, which they do not find interesting. One of the students in Jackson’s (2007) study had a following on the disadvantages of going to school, “You’re restricted to the pace of the class so if they don’t understand it but you do, you’re just... meditating for ages while the rest of the class catches up” (p. 12). That is why those who study at home have an advantage of studying with at pace they like. The involvement of parents is another advantage. Modern children are deprived of parental care. More and more children remain on their own with TV and computers. Studying at home, parents are sure to pay more attention to their children as this type of education is more complicated and requires more organization and self-control (Reilly, 2004).
Do Home School Children have Access to the Same College Opportunities as Traditional Public Education?
Since the homeschooling has become popular in many countries, students who have received it have the same opportunities for admission into the colleges as those who went to traditional schools. Nowadays, there are a lot of tests and certificates which can confirm students’ knowledge. Being interested in college, one may get ready, take a test, receive a grade and have the same opportunities for being admitted to college as those who attended school. The accountability, which was discussed above, is also a reason to have the same rights as traditional students.
Will Public Education be a Thing of the Past?
There are different types of students. Some of them prefer studying at home and the absence of any pressure from the community. However, there are children who are more interested in public education. They prefer a company of peers and they study better when they have some pressure from the classmates. Public education will never become a thing of the past since a one of the basic functions of the public education is to systemize the material required for studying. All home educators base their programs and curriculums at those which are developed at public schools.
Home education has a number of advantages, but it will never substitute public classes. It is possible to create a successful learning environment while studying at home, but not all children are able to study individually. Even studying at home, children will receive the required socialization provided that the classes are arranged in a proper way.