Home school or regular school?
My friend Mark and his wife Rose are contemplating about where to enroll their daughter who is entering pre-school on January next year. There are many good pre-schools in Singapore to choose from but they are also considering having their daughter home-schooled. But how effective is home schooling?
They have noticed that home-schooling in Singapore is currently becoming popular. But how effective is home schooling? Since when did it start in Singapore and how is it done? Is it a better option compared to a regular school? What are its advantages and disadvantages? These are questions that they would like to be answered.
In Singapore, home school is a program which has been acknowledged by the Ministry of Education (MoE) since 1996. This came into existence in Singapore due to some parents' desire that their children's education be focused on appropriate character building and development. There were only a few families who advocated this as it started and this group of parents have grown into more or less two hundred families today. These parents who home-schooled their children belong to the middle class Christians. Some are expatriates and others are Singaporeans. They have patterned their curriculum in other countries which are already having home-school curriculum like the United States of America. They also have the so-called annual curriculum fair which happens sometime in April to upgrade and update developments. This activity is open for those who are interested in homeschooling and the like. However, the home school program is still highly regulated by the MoE which makes sure that quality education is provided for all students even those who are home-schooled. Parents who want their children to be home-schooled are required to obtain approval from the MoE and are obligated to meet certain standards set by the ministry.
Home Education gained its popularity because of the following advantages:
- The method of teaching is crafted to meet the childen's needs in their integral development and their readiness are considerably taken. The parent can adjust the curriculum based on what the child needs and is ready for at the moment. The child is not forced to learn concepts he or she is still unable to grasp.
- Parent-teachers are given the privilige to infuse values which they believe could be of great help for the total development of their kids. Children are being developed not just in their cognitive but also in their moral and spiritual aspect as the parents find it necessary.
- There is a flexibility of time. Parent-teachers can spend quality time with their children as they also teach their child. This is a luxury of home-schooled children which are not readily available to regular school-children.
- Children are given the opportunity to learn based on their pacing and readiness which entails free from pressure. This is what makes homeschooling unique and worth-adopting. Thus, effective learning for students are guaranteed when then nature of learning process is free from pressure. It is there that the true learning happens.
Parents who advocate this program for learning understand that education is the total and integral development of the mental, physical, moral, and spiritual dimensions of children. This entails that in educating children balance with all these given dimensions are to be achieved. Thus the curriculum is centered on the child's interest and readiness to engage on the learning process. A parent has to consider the interest and aptitudes of chidren and allow them to express their ideas, to be creative, to explore, to solve problems and to discover many things which most of us have had in regular schooling. What is essential here is to facilitate an effective learning process that the parent-teacher is able to monitor, to guide their children and to keep things under control to achieve the balance.
Many parents depend on online learning resources for the materials. But there are educational activities that home-school students engage into. These are field trips to the zoo, hiking, park outing, swimming, and a lot more. Aside from that, they can also join some extra curricular activities like speech contests and sports engagement activities along with regular school students.
However, there are the disadvantages that have been observed by other parents. These are:
- The child cannot interact with other children which can be crucial in his or her social and emotional development. Since there are no other children at home except for siblings, the child will not be able to interact with children of hir or her age. Other parents fear that this may affect the child’s social and emotional development.
- The child may receive a biased point of view as to the interpretation or understanding of concepts because only the parents are teaching him or her. Only the parents teach the child so the explanations may be one-sided or may be limited.
Although, these downsides are not all proven true because there are home-schooled students who can interact very well with others when they go to a regular school. And they are also perform better academically than other students.
Whether you as parents decide to educate your child in a home school or a regular school what is important is that you are dedicated to giving your child the best education and you are willing to sacrifice for your child’s future.