This year has seen parents have no choice but to have a more active role in the learning of their children. Some have enjoyed every minute of it. However, if you look at forums, social media and speak to many parents, it’s clear that not everyone has enjoyed homeschooling – parents and children alike!
If you watch the news and read reports, you’ll know that there is still some uncertainty about schooling; while schools have resumed, children are still being asked to quarantine if another child in their class or ‘bubble’ at school has contracted coronavirus.
If you travel to a country that is a Covid hotspot, you will also need to quarantine. So, while homeschooling is not going to be like during the lockdown in march 2020 (we pray!), it’s still worth having a contingency plan in place – just in case!
But there are some benefits of homeschooling over traditional schooling – let’s take a look at them.
1. Flexible Schedule
Homeschooling enables a flexible schedule – once the military operation known as ‘the school run’ is put on pause, families have a bit more control over their schedules. Your child will no longer need to wake up at 6.30am every morning, for example. Instead, homeschooling means that your child can start homeschooling at 9am or later, depending on your preferred schedule. You can schedule your child’s homeschooling education to meet their needs, focusing on subjects that may be not available in a traditional school; and revising their areas of weakness in a way that school won’t be able to.
You can also tailor your child’s homeschool curriculum to suit their needs and interests. This is one way to bring about a balance, and keep tensions at a happy medium.
2. Individual attention
In a traditional school setting, thirty-odd students are assigned to a teacher in class and (and possibly a teaching assistant). It’s unfeasible to expect one teacher to devote 100 per cent attention to your child, as there are several other children in the class; this is one of the reasons why so many children fall behind in their studies; they lack that attention.
With homeschooling, your child can get all the individual attention he or she needs (subject to your work schedule, as well, and if there are other siblings. Whatever the family dynamic, you can plan it in such a way that, if your child is weak in mathematics, for example, you could devote more time and energy into teaching mathematics during the homeschooling day. If your child is better at science than at mathematics, it is simple to devote more homeschooling hours to working on maths and cut back on English. You can also get the help of a tutor to work on key areas of weakness with your child while you work.
At Geek School Tutoring, we have had many requests such as this, where parents have requested that we manage a specific area of work with their child, to great success. With homeschooling, the choice is yours. Traditional schools can’t do that.
3. Family Activity
The schooling of a child can become an extended family activity. Examples are field trips and experiments – even during the lockdown. Plus, the child also receives more quality time with parents and the rest of the family. There is more time for family bonding, which is often impacted by busy work schedules and a jam-packed extra-curricular calendar on many children’s’ parts.
4. No peer pressure
With homeschooling, the child does not need to prove hi or her abilities to other children or compete. Parents can get a deep understanding of their child’s level of understanding across all subjects with homeschooling and therefore are able to plan the learning programme according to these strengths and weakness – or use a tuition provider to do so.
Parents can also change the curriculum to suit the learning style of the child when homeschooling. For example, some children learn better from reading, while others need to write notes to help them assimilate the information.
Some children learn better from experiencing or seeing things in action with the use of interactive videos, or practically. While learning styles are considered in schools, time on each subject is limited, and the learning style used for the lesson, many not always suit your child.
5. Religion and Faith Learning
Religion is a sensitive topic these days, even when children attend faith schools. For this reason, most state schools have shunned going into too much detail about religion. However, through homeschooling, parents can take control over the daily moral and religious learning of their child, which is important to many – now more than ever.
Clearly, homeschooling has many benefits, while challenges do arise. One positive outcome is that parents across the country now have a clear picture of their child’s attainment and the type of work that schools have been giving them. We have created the Free Key Stage 2 (and SATS) English Checklist for Homeschooling and Free Key Stage 2 (and SATS) Maths Topics Checklist to support parents in this area.