Imparting education to children at home, rather than in any educational institution, is referred to as home schooling. Before the 19th century, when schools were not considered an important medium of education, majority of the children were educated at home. It has been observed that home schooling is common with children whose parents have not had any high school or formal education and those who have single parents or families with three or more children. Laws governing the home schools in different countries are different and so is the curriculum. Parents of homeschoolers have different opinions on the methods to be used to teach their children.
Various tools and educational theories and philosophies like Classical education, Waldorf education, Charlotte Mason education and the theory of multiple intelligences or the Montessori Method maybe implemented. While some parents believe in using a single method, others use a combination of ideologies and materials to serve their purpose. According to a survey, many of the parents were found using the public library as a major source of reference and curriculum, while educating their children at home.
Others used catalogs and publishers specialized in homeschooling, books from local stores or religious institutions and established schools. Some parents use distance learning programs via the media, Internet and correspondence programs. Special tools and materials like workbooks and guides, focusing on skill building, are designed specifically to teach subjects like math and reading.
Another effective approach is the unit study method. It covers several subjects usually taught at educational institutions, like science, history, art, geography, Bible study, with reference to only one chosen theme. Gradually, as the childs age and performance progresses, the subjects broaden his scope to incorporate other topics. It has been noticed that implementation of this method helps children to retain more knowledge and information.
For families living in remote areas or abroad, those who cannot access public schools or libraries, the all-in-one curriculum has been developed. It is inclusive of books on several subjects and all the other necessary materials required. Although these educational packages are quite expensive, they are comprehensive and easy to use. Student-paced learning packages allow the learner to progress at his own convenience and pace.
Homeschoolers can also take advantage of various educational programs and workshops conducted by museums, parks and churches within the community. Some parents also favor the un-schooling techniques at times. For some, home education may seem a costly affair. Just like the reasons and methods of homeschooling vary, so do the costs. Home schooling is widely accepted and prevalent in countries like the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
These countries provide extensive programs and facilities for home education. In some places, educating children at home is not a legal practice, while in others it is not socially acceptable. Studies indicate that the performance of homeschoolers is far better than those educated in institutions.
The curriculum of the home school often includes topics and subjects that are not otherwise taught in schools, but are beneficial in molding a more skilled and educated individual. Some critics argue that home schooling deprives the child of communication with the outside world. According to them, the concept of homeschooling not only isolates the child from the rest of society, but also restricts him from forming his own views and opinions.
In most advanced nations of the world, homeschooling is an easy option available for parents who seek quality education or simply believe that a school cannot instill all the desired moral and social values in their children.
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