First of all, I would like to clarify that it’s not about abolishing school or that every family should teach their children at home.
It’s about giving parents a possibility to practice homeschooling.
In the previous parts I have described the positive and negative aspects of homeschooling. In part 2, you could read how comprehensive the listing of the benefits is to teach your children at home. Part 3 focused on the disadvantages and worries and anxieties associated with homeschooling.
A thought, which I have not phrased yet, but which is important in this context, is that the current concept of learning has to be considered.
Reconsider what is “learning”
Learning is, above all, identified as school-based learning. It is not surprising that many people assume that children will not learn when they are taught at home.
Ever since I’ve been working for a New Zealand family, who unschooled their children and did chose the special form of homeschooling, my understanding of “learning” has expanded and evolved.
When do students learn? When the teacher says, “and now we will learn!”
Does the student’s learning process begin then?
Every child learns differently, but all children want to learn. There is often the impression that “learning” is an ability to train the children. But children possess this ability from the beginning on.
It depends on the environment to further develop this ability and to identify what the best environment is for the child for a learning process to take place. This does not mean that a child will learn best in a classroom with 25 other children.
The school system strives to promote individual life, but the real individual support can only be given to children at home, by their parents, in a small framework. In addition, the (learning) focus in schools is placed on performances and these performances have to be marked. A time is determined at which the student’s performances will be reviewed, no matter if he is ready or not. He has to adapt to the learning pace of the school – or he loses.
This speeding-up of learning and the related structures have one purpose in particular: Students should enter the labor market earlier and make their contribution to the society or more specifically the economy.
Learning needs time. But schooling is now limited to a 45-minute cycle. It takes away valuable time from children. For the future, I wish that the concept of learning changes from an institutionalized to a holistic concept of learning!
A change from “only in school you will learn” to
“everything and everywhere is learning”.
In this way, homeschooling is given the appreciation it deserves: Giving children the environment in which they can perform and learn best!
More trust in parents as experts for their children!
It is time for parents to be trusted again! With the general compulsory schooling, parents are denied the status of “expert for their child” and their role as caregiver and educator is subject to immense devaluation. They don’t receive trust, even more they receive a high degree of distrust.
All parents are under the general suspicion not being able
to guarantee education for their children!
Progressive Germany? At this point probably not!
In Germany, parents are convicted and fined if they decide to teach their child at home. Where the child feels most comfortable. In this case, the state is acting on its own behalf “for the good of the child”.
But what if it is not for the child’s well-being to go to school?
Basically, parents are implied that they are not able to fulfill their parenthood and the government has to take over the role as an expert for their child’s education. Designing the education of the child is a parent’s right – not primarily the right of the government!
Structure of homeschooling – A proposal of reconciliation, a proposal for solving the problem how to overcome worries and anxieties
I am sure some of my words did upset a few people, so I would like to make a proposal for reconciliation at this point. For those who are not upset, but still skeptical, I have the following solution to reduce their worries:
In most countries, where home teaching is permitted, the topics or subjects that need to be taught are given by the state or curriculum. They MUST be taught – whether at school or at home.
But the main difference is the following:
I always imagine it like a construction kit system.
What you built with the blocks will be developed by the child and his learning companion together in the learning process. For that differently colored building blocks (subjects) are put together, reorganized, connected, some will be taken out because it was not yet the right place for the block, and later added again (learning methods).
Some towers are larger, some smaller (interest and needs of the child); for some towers the child needs one day, for others three months (learning time); there are triangular (math), quadratic (language), round (natural sciences) blocks and the child decides how and where these blocks are applied and placed. Sometimes they will build indoors, sometimes outside in the backyard, sometimes in the library, sometimes on the farm (learning environment).
At school the tower is already given.
The student gets a photo of the finished tower and
has to reproduce it in a certain time.
To prevent “abuse”, some countries have set up different control systems that give the state the power to decide who is able to teach their children at home:
In New Zealand, for example, parents have to be able to plan an entire school year, complete forms, and show that the learning conditions in the regular school are not conducive to the child.
Also, checking the learning situation (by visiting the families at home) is not uncommon.
In most countries, learning results are reviewed. At different times students have to submit their edited documents and get marks.
Why is it so important to discuss the subject of “homeschooling”?
More and more parents and children report their dissatisfaction about the current school system. In the LBS children’s barometer, school is referred to as stress factor No. 1 (Source: https://www.lbs.de/presse/p/kinderbarometer_3/kinderbarometer~2_3042950.jsp).
Sure, school was for some already annoying twenty years ago. However, it is obvious that the number of primary school children with psychosomatic illnesses (eg back pain, headaches) and mainstream diagnoses such as ADHD have increased.
This discussion is important for parents and their children who want to have a choice. They SHOULD HAVE the choice to decide which way of education is best for their child. They should be given the opportunity to help shaping and designing the educational process, to respond to the needs and interests of their children and to support them individually.
The majority of parents in Germany probably do not want to teach their children at home. But what about those who do? These parents depend on the support of all parents!
So dear Germany, start your journey! It is time!
Yes, general schooling is outdated.
And yes, homeschooling is an alternative to the current school system that we should consider!