The Benefits of Homeschooling
Prescriptive curricula and ever-increasing targets for pupils and staff are two of the leading reasons why the number of pupils withdrawn by their parents for home schooling is on the increase. While in the past many of the reasons for taking children out of mainstream school for home tutoring tended to be negative, today most parents prepared to take this extremely important decision will argue that the gains are almost totally positive.
Targets and National Curriculum
The advent of Ofsted, the National Curriculum, national testing, league tables and survival by results culture in state schools has taken its toll on pupils as well as teachers and parents. Children of all ability levels simply cannot cope with a school system that is totally target-driven from the age of five onwards. As a result, some parents of pupils with more sensitive dispositions, or those with special educational needs, find their children cope much better in an environment with a one-to-one set-up, where they are allowed more time to finish tasks and where individuality is encouraged.
This is particularly so amongst pupils who tend to enjoy arts-based subjects. Ever-increasing targets and the importance of league tables have resulted in subjects like art, music, drama and even humanities being squeezed from the timetable. State schools that specialise in the humanities are few and far between and students who wish to study these subjects are increasingly finding that home-schooling is the only way in which they are able to compete with their peers from the private sector for prized places at prestigious universities.
The rise of the internet in particular and other forms of information technology, have benefited home-schooling immeasurably. Pupils and their parents now have unrestricted, worldwide access to resources and expert opinion and can compare progress with their peers around the world. In addition, the opportunity to communicate with others, sometimes on the other side of the world, using methods that children are very familiar with, negates the argument that home-schooling leads to isolation.
A decent laptop or desktop computer can take the place of scores of textbooks, visits to libraries and even the need for specialist scientific equipment. Reliable educational furniture suppliers can provide flexible, bespoke equipment and furniture that will fit in around the domestic life of the home.
With many more parents now working from home, for at least part of the working week, home-schooling has become a viable option. As well as their academic subjects, children can learn some vital time-management skills attributes that will become more and more important in the future that would simply not be possible within a rigidly-timetabled school day.
Home-schooling also provides for far greater flexibility in terms of relevant extra curricular activities to complement academic work. For example, a trip to Flanders to experience the legacy of World War One could be tailored to coincide with Armistice Day, in a form and at a time that could well be impossible within the constrictions of the timetable of a large secondary school.
So, as targets tighten and curricula become more prescriptive within state schools, many parents are now looking to home-schooling to provide a more individualist, eclectic academic experience for their children.