In response to Maggie Crowley’s blog on home-schooling, a primary school in Birmingham share their views (part 1/3)

Maggie’s blog on home-schooling can be found here.

Richard (Year 5 Teacher)

The home is a less noisy and pressured environment than the school.  Being educated at home can remove a great deal of stress from the normal classroom for some children, giving rise to more emotional freedom.  There is no need to try to ‘fit in’ and give into peer pressure. There are no cases of bullying, being ostracised and all the other social pressures.  The following study is aimed at home-schooled adolescents, however, the book A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls by Susannah Sheffer does give some helpful insights.  The author has found that teenage home-schooled girls had no loss of self esteem and become happier and more emotionally mature adults.

In the home, there is a greater deal of flexibility in that the child can study at their own pace, and not have to study at the same pace as the rest of the class.   John Taylor Gatto, the controversial author of Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, has criticised the school system. He says that educating at home avoids confusion in learning as the children get individual tutoring.  The children learn autonomy in learning and are not so emotionally and intellectually dependent as those attending school.  Also, this greater flexibility should enable the parent to decide the length of lessons and also decide when to take breaks.

If children have certain, unique talents, but struggle with other subjects, the balance can be restored by parents choosing subjects which suit the child.  This home-schooling opportunity that many are facing currently, gives rise to ‘premium’ parenting because the parent is, or should be, intimately involved in the learning process.  The parent, as the teacher, knows the subject well and can share fully in the joy and excitement of learning with their child.

There is always the concern raised with home-schooling children in terms of the child’s socialisation with others.  This is a particularly apt consideration during the current situation.  TIME magazine raised the question: “Home-schooling may turn out better students, but does it create better citizens?” (“Seceding from School,” TIME, August 2001.) Empirical evidence is needed to substantiate the claim that children who are educated at home are not at a disadvantage.  Today, the first generation of home-schooled students has ‘grown up,’ and there are enough home-school graduates to begin to see how they are succeeding in their homes, in their work, and in their lives.  In 2015, Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute commissioned the largest research survey to date of adults in America who were home educated. The study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were home-schooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years.  The study found: the home-educated typically scored 23 to 42 percentile points above school educated students on standardised academic achievement tests. (The school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.); home-school students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income, and, whether home-school parents were ever qualified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.

Mary (Year 6 Teacher)

I think that from a parent perspective, this unprecedented time can not be wasted. We are directed with work from school but it also allows the opportunities for adult- child talk about the learning that they may not have the opportunity to do as much at school in a class of 30. It is especially relevant as it is in their home, with their most trusted adult in a time that is so unusual and so, in the future, there will be memory triggers about what they have learnt at home. On the other hand, maybe we should not be setting new learning (which I am doing in maths), rather recap prior learning as many parents don’t have the understanding that we do.

It’s difficult to know the right pitch to set the home learning at. We know that many of our parents will sit and let their children talk and will listen, but then again some don’t give that opportunity – not blaming, but many are working full time from home.

I am sure that there are many child psychologists out there itching to produce a research paper on this. Second year psychology students will have a wealth of quantitative analysis to use next year for their dissertation.

 

Responses part two and three can be found here:

Part two

Part three

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