Homeschooling – a worthwhile alternative to the current school system in Germany? (Part 2)

What are the possibilities offered by homeschooling, which can hardly be implemented in school settings?


Child orientation and participation

Child orientation is understood as the focus on the interests and needs of children. The prerequisite for this is the participation of children in shaping the education process. This is hardly possible in the current school system, since teachers have to follow the curriculum drawn up by the KMK (Kultusministerkonferenz; education comission) and have to work on specific topics within a set time frame.


In homeschooling, child orientation and participation are an integral part. Children are involved in the implementation of the content and the teacher is able to respond to their predispositions, interests and strengths.


Focusing on strengths

Focusing on strengths means to have a positive view on the skills of students. It’s about empowering what he is good in. Things and topics he is not good at and not interested in, it will still be focused on, not as much as the subjects in which the student feels safe.

By doing that his self-esteem will be empowered.


Be free of performance pressure and constant assessment

Learning outcome monitoring is one of the most important measuring instruments in the German school system. The subject matter is assessed at regular schools in tests and class work, and at the end of the semester there is a testimony about what the student has learned.


But does a school report really show what a student is learning?


Nowadays students are subjected to a permanent assessment, they can hardly process what they have learned, as the next test is already in progress. Fear of a bad mark can paralyze the student and affect his mental health.

Nowadays, many students are no longer able to cope with the demands and the performance pressure of the school.


Flexibility of learning time

During my studies at university, I finally had the freedom to learn at the time I had always been able to concentrate on learning: In the morning between 9 am and 11am, in the afternoon from 3.30pm to max. 6pm and in the evening from 8pm. When I think back to my time in school, I remember that I was a night owl. In the morning it was often very difficult for me to learn.


Medics have confirmed that students learn best from 9:00am. In other countries, schools are organized according to the biorhythms of the students, the lesson begins much later (for example, in Canada lessons start at 8:45am).


Home teaching offers the possibility to go with the biorhythm of children. In the morning students do not have to rush off to go to school. They can sleep in and then start learning when their body is ready.


Why do we work in Germany against the biorhythm of students?


Holism and naturalness of the learning process

When I speak of holism in this context, I mean: No strict separation of subjects, but a convergence of interest, different topics and situations that are related to one another.


Example: A student would like to create a vegetable garden to cook delicious dishes. This is not just about simply cultivating vegetables, but rather about the following: Sensing your own body (perception), motor skills (fine and gross motor skills), contact with nature (health), but also imparting knowledge in the fields of biology (insects), chemistry (natural plant protection products), mathematics (measurements), language (verbalize what you are doing, written notes), an excursion to the hardware store or to the local gardener (social space orientation), collecting information in the local library (media skills) up to the preparation of meals (nutrition and body) and the invitation of friends (social skills).


Learning moments become a natural part of the everyday life.


The student is seen in his holiness in homeschooling when all the factors around him are integrated into the education process.


Students and learning companions – understanding of roles

The picture of the student is, from a classical perspective, that he is a young person who is subordinate to a teacher (or master).


But what would happen if the student-teacher-relationship took place on an equal level?


Then, teachers would become learning companions and, if necessary, provide information and knowledge when the situation requires this.

In addition, parents or private teachers do not have to know everything in advance. Educational processes are designed together on an equal level.


Individual support

“Individual support” is one of the key words that has been discussed in the education sector in the last decade. To be able to engage with each child individually is, however, hardly possible without double occupancy in the class room and the current class size (20 to 28 children).


Individual support means adapting learning moments to the child, his needs, interests and inclinations, his talents, according to the learning time and learning type of the child – all this is clearly practical in homeschooling.


Learning environment and opening up the learning space

In addition, the room is a third educator. If the teacher prepares the learning environment stimulatingly and inspiring by providing materials and tools, the children are given the opportunity to enter the education process and to ask for further information.


A learning space should not be thought of as a space in a building. Rather, it is important to understand the learning space as a social space, and this includes the neighborhood in which the family lives in. Globally, the whole world is a learning space and traveling across the country’s borders provide an excellent soil for natural learning situations.


If you had the choice, what would have been the optimal learning environment for you?


Methodology and practice orientation

Methods such as project work, self-study, etc. were introduced during the last decade as a counterbalance to classical front-line teaching. The students are given the choice, for example, which subject they are allowed to work in their own time. But the choice is only between given topics.


Homeschooling offers the possibility to switch between various methods. Particularly with respect to practice orientation, homeschooling has the clear advantage. As already mentioned above (example: cultivation of a vegetable garden), there is an unbelievable chance to immediately transfer the theoretically learned into practice, or to acquire knowledge by “learning-by-doing”.


Social skills

In her interview, Valda described that her children were less exposed to unwanted group pressure due to homeschooling. Social skills improve better across all age groups in homeschooling than in public schools, where only one age is taught in one class, and the contact with the elderly or younger is hardly possible.


In my opinion it is the responsibility of the parents to enable encounters with other children. Homeschooling does not mean that a parent or a private tutor is alone with the child at home all day.


When I worked in New Zealand for an unschooling family, there were weekly meetings with other Homeschooling families. You could participate in (science) competitions, do project work together, or go to workshops in other cities.

In addition, the usual team sports were offered (and also well attended) to which homeschooling children have gone to train their team spirit.

So social skills can be learned when children are taught at home.


So why is this aspect always brought up under the first three arguments that are against homeschooling?


Read the other side of the coin as well as the concerns and fears of Germans about homeschooling in part 3!


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