Educating children at home has become a more spread practice due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Some families that tried with their young members a new way of learning consider not bringing them back to school. They provide persuading arguments that children stay more focused on the process of education, connect better with a teacher and that they are not facing stigma, discrimination, bullying, and biased attitudes. Moreover, the uncontrolled spread of infections can be avoided and lead to the enhancement of the current epidemiological situation.
However, one must argue that children attend school not only to study but also to develop their personal qualities, and social skills, and learn to interact with various types of people. Teenagers most likely meet some obstacles to successful learning dealing with distractions, staying up to date among peers, and performing decently in class. Such circumstances put a child into situations that he will have to solve constantly in life: balance activities, make choices, prioritize, and stay social with friends at the same time. This paper will disclose the issue of homeschooling as a successful approach to children’s education and identify the pros and cons of the method.
Positive Aspects of Homeschooling
Homeschooling was practiced widely throughout the history of the United States. It represents the way of receiving education outside the school with the help of parents or private teachers. Learning at home was even the only method for some families in the previous century when public schools had various laws and bureaucratic obstacles. Different studies estimate the academic achievement of pupils studying at home compared to those attending school. Multiple research underlines that the performance outcomes of homeschooled children are at least 15% higher than those of pupils going to public schools (Ray 87). The achievement of scores did not depend on the demographic and other variables of the children, and the only factor that impacted the quality of home education was the teacher-certification status of the parent (Ray 89). Focusing on educational outcomes indeed might be useful in forming a character of a teenager, and developing his patience, concentration, and cognitive abilities.
Children also meet less bias, discrimination, and bullying when studying at home. For some teenagers, it is a positive aspect as they might struggle to successfully adapt to a new country if they come from refugee families or meet increased unpleasant attention from classmates. Parents interviewed in one study stated that bullying and other negative pressures from peers were extremely essential factors on the way of their decision-making toward homeschooling (Smetak 7). Influence from classmates might also involve children in dangerous addictions such as smoking, drug usage, and alcohol consumption. In other words, homeschooled individuals may feel freer and more comfortable with their identity, and be more protected from pressure and the negative impact of peers.
Negative Aspects of Homeschooling
Children studying from home can still meet some issues in psychological, social, and behavioral senses. Psychologically and mentally, it is essential to state that the global COVID-19 pandemic impacted all individuals of various ages. The everyday routines changed significantly during the 2020 lockdown after the first wave of the infection. According to statistics, more than 1.5 million learners were affected worldwide by changing educational settings to online studying (Pozas et al. 35). In a study comparing two various educational systems, Germain and Mexican, the researchers identified both groups of students met similar challenges (Pozas et al. 46). Such difficulties were pedagogical challenges from parents’ side and social isolation, lack of contact with teachers, and school environment from students’ side (Pozas et al. 47). These factors led to a noticeable decrease in school performance and an increase in children’s mental health issues.
Attending public schools might be useful for proper communication and social skills development among adolescents. It is known that teenagers need special attention from their peers as social acceptance becomes more significant during this period of human life. Replacing the human environment of a child with technology constantly might negatively impact his communication skills and interaction with other people. As Bozkurt et al. concluded: “perhaps, one of the lessons we must draw from this experience is that no amount of technology can replace face-to-face interaction or the care and emotion present in a classroom” (64). For those who are afraid of the negative impact of pressure, bullying, and discrimination on teenagers, learning to cope with the influence of others is an important ability of a human. The school represents not only an educational item but also a life-learning environment where a pupil learns to manage and balance various aspects of his life.
Thus, homeschooling is an alternative approach to educating children that develop their performance, and learning outcomes, and prevents them from the negative influences of peers. However, the psychological issues humans met during the COVID-19 lockdown signalized the importance of social interaction and live communication during the process of education. Balancing school goals, social life, and avoiding negative pressures from peers is an effective school for a pupil to manage future life aims, and learn to prioritize, plan, and succeed.
Bozkurt, Aras, et al. “A Global Outlook to the Interruption of Education Due to COVID-19 Pandemic: Navigating in a Time of Uncertainty and Crisis.” Asian Journal of Distance Education, vol. 15, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1-126.
Pozas, Marcela, Verena Letzel, and Christoph Schneider. “‘Homeschooling in Times of Corona’: Exploring Mexican and German Primary School Students’ and Parents’ Chances and Challenges During Homeschooling.” European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 36, no. 1, 2021, pp. 35-50.
Ray, Brian. “A Review of Research on Homeschooling and What Might Educators Learn?” Pro-Posições, vol. 28, no. 2, 2017, pp. 85–103. Web.
Smetak, Laura R. Reasons Families Choose to Homeschool: A Study of Homeschooling Families in Minnesota. 2019. Hamline University, Doctoral dissertation.