The other side of the coin
Enormous time requirement
The choice of topics, the search for suitable material, preparation, planning and execution of the teaching can take a long time if homeschooling should be structured and planned.
The high financial burden arises on one hand by foregoing a second income if a parent decides to teach the child/children at home. If a private tutor is hired, this may result in high costs.
Certainly, social contacts are less common in homeschooling than the social contact children have at school. In school it is indispensable that children are together with their peers. However, friendships are not always easy to make, and dealing with others is forced on students.
In homeschooling, parents can promote contact with other children by joining other families who also practice homeschooling. These can be projects or competitions where they participate together or simply teach two or three children at the same time. Also the registration in a sports club, music course etc. is useful.
Life beyond the home environment
An opponent of house teaching is happy to point out the lack of preparation for life beyond the protected, domestic environment. One of the reasons is, for example, that children in homeschooling do not experience the same conditions of competition as they do in school.
Homeschooling requires a high degree of self-discipline – both for parents, who teach, as well as for students to regularly do school work.
Low acceptance in society
Homeschooling is socially not accepted in Germany. Parents often have to justify themselves when they talk about that they want to teach their children at home.
When I tell people I support homeschooling, I often get frustrated glances and a violent “that does not work” reaction, which is mainly associated with worries and fears.
What concerns and fears exist with regard to home teaching?
Fear of loss of control
For the majority of Germans everything must be controllable, nothing should be left to chance. The positive aspect of the German fear of loss of control stems from the fact that we are perfectionists. We want to be the best. This can only be achieved if we keep control, since a loss of control also means the loss of stability and predictability.
In general Germans are a rather anxious nation. Although Germany is doing economically well, the concern for its own future and a weakened economy is huge. The desire for reliable factors that promise economic growth is the most important thing. One of these factors that can be influenced is education. It is mainly about the idea that education must be controllable, there must be a result that is conducive to a positive economic situation.
In order to this, it is required that learning processes and results are verifiable.
Fear that socially disadvantaged people won’t be educated
Parents and educators are worried that especially children from socially disadvantaged families would be taken out of school if homeschooling was legal in Germany.
- This concern implies that each social welfare recipient is stupid.
- In every country, homeschooling is subject to specific regulations which the applicants must adhere to. If point 1 were to be so, then not many would receive a grant for their application for teaching their children at home.
On this point, I would like to draw attention to a study by the Canadian Fraser Institute, which found out that “learning at home improves the academic performance of children from lower-educated families” (Source: www.fraserinstitute.org)
Another look beyond the horizon – prevent anxiety and worries!
How do other countries handle homeschooling?
In general, an application must be submitted. However, the application and the related conditions vary from country to country. In some cases, a completed form is sufficient to explain your reasons.
In some countries (i.e. New Zealand), a plan must be submitted which includes topics, methods, and timetables in a similar way to a curriculum, but parents should prepare it according to the interests and needs of their children.
In addition, meeting can be held with officials of the Ministry of Education in the house of the family to get to know the family and the places where homeschooling is held. In addition, further visits can be done during the year, to ensure that homeschooling is actually taking place.
For older students, regular tests are a requirement, which they have to pass monthly, semi-annually or annually.
What is also a big difference?
The view on students is in Germany in my opinion the following: The student goes to school, follows the teacher’s instructions, is an empty vase to be filled. The student is not mature enough to decide for himself, what topics are important, and in what learning pace he should learn and what learning methods are needed. These decisions must be taken by adults.
Since students are unmotivated, they should be given a clear structure, a learning environment that makes them aware that it is now time to focus on specific subjects. Above all, the student is subordinate to the teacher and should follow his instructions.
In homeschooling, we find a picture that includes more respect and appreciation: The student is seen as a competent person who wants to learn and is able to verbalize his interests. This is used in homeschooling to create a curriculum that aligns with the students interests and needs, but still consistent with the general curriculum. Also, the student is given the choice regarding learning pace and time setting.
This image of the student includes in particular a trust in his abilities!
Trust in parents
Countries, where homeschooling is allowed, trust parents and their abilities to educate the child. Governments believe that parents are able to teach their children themselves.
And the most important fact is that countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England etc. give parents the option to decide what their children’s education should look like. The status of parents as experts for their children is acknowledged and appreciated.
Homeschooling includes advantages and disadvantages and in Germany it is connected with many fears and worries. Learning from other countries can be helpful and provide insightful information.
So what about compulsory schooling in Germany? Is it overhauled and offers homeschooling a worthwhile alternative to the current school system?
This will be discussed in part 4…