Do you think you learnt a lot at school you went to or that the school did all that was required for you to acquire the desired skills and competencies? You might or might not agree, but these days there is an increasing number of parents who feel that their children are not picking up requisite knowledge and skills while at school in spite of spending huge sums of money and investing all their energies to drive home the point in school PTMs. But to no avail and the situation remains a grim as ever. They are a disillusioned lot. What option do they have in the light of present predicament? Let us understand what we are talking about.
Teaching a younger child is full of challenges and requires immense patience, dedication, empathy and care. A teacher knows that every child is different. There could be times when a teacher feels frustrated as none of the current methods proves helpful in enhancing a student’s understanding on a particular topic, which virtually brings a teacher to tears and on the verge of giving up. Some students might not understand a particular concept as well as the rest in spite of the fact they have no known disabilities. Probably because they are not focussed or choose to put their attention elsewhere. That’s when the teacher has to show more resilience and come out with unconventional ways of grabbing their attention and clarifying & explaining those concepts in a way that is interesting and best suits those who did not understand. The trick is to make the interactions in class so engaging that every child is attentive and devotes energy and effort in understanding what is being taught. Even before that a teacher should make herself liked and loved by her students. Only then will the students respond positively to a teacher’s engagements. You should realise that it is humanly not possible to make herculean efforts and take huge pains for every single student in a class as the number of students is large. No school or a teacher can accomplish this humongous task for paucity of time and resources.
They feel, that the school has not been sincere in discharging its responsibilities towards each and every child under its care. There is no truth in denying the fact that the schools and the education system are plagued with numerous ills and road blocks that do not let them perform to their optimum. To name a few, high student-teacher ratio in most of the schools, lack of interest in genuinely reforming students, lack of personal attention in class, issues about teacher quality, too much attention on extraneous factors and extra-curricular activities. Another parameter that adversely affects the learning outcomes of students is the formation of heterogeneous batches i.e. students are not grouped according to their learning abilities. The slow learners feel lost and fast learners dissatisfied with the slow pace of instructions. Most of you would appreciate that students with similar learning needs if clubbed together would make the group homogeneous and the teacher would be able to effectively plan and deliver her lectures. Consequently, the learning outcomes will improve and students will show marked progress.
Over time parents have realised the above facts that made them opt for the unconventional method of home schooling. It is because only a parent can devote requisite efforts because his interest in his own child is infinite. In such a scenario, the parents voluntarily choose to educate their child all by themselves at home. But it is not at all an easy way out. Often it is strenuous as well as painful for both, the parent as well as the child, more so because learning itself is painful that requires meticulous efforts at teaching as well as learning. So, one should be ready to bear the pain that accompanies the process of teaching even before starting the very first lesson. A school teacher may give up after making due efforts but a parent cannot. Therefore, a parent would have to devise his own strategy to make his child learn well. There is actually no substitute for a parent teaching his own kids because that is the best way. However, this task can be out sourced only after the initial few years when the parent has laid a strong foundation for the child through the primary or high school classes.
Regular schooling has a few clear benefits for the students that go beyond academics. First and foremost important among them is that in the school environment, a child learns to adapt in larger infrastructure and social atmosphere among other children. The child learns group dynamics including how to behave and interact among many others, picks up personality traits that are all too important to live in a society. Interaction in the school could be healthy or even unhealthy, the child learns to deal and cope with both the healthy as well as unhealthy situations. The child learns the art of adapting which he or she would not pick up at home. Therefore, a school is instrumental in imparting social skills to students. Secondly, in regular schooling the mandatory certifications like the board exams are automatically taken care of. Parents could be clueless on how to go about arranging for certificate examinations. Thirdly, for working parents, regular schooling is the only way out as they do not have the time on daily basis, day after day, to indulge in laborious activity of home schooling. Lastly, most parents cannot teach all the subjects all by themselves that puts them in a disadvantageous position even to think of home schooling.
In the end, I feel that it is not a clear, either or kind of choice that parents can safely choose one over the other. A middle path sounds like a good option. A mix of both regular and home schooling is needed for a complete and wholesome development of children. The benefits of each option are complimentary and mutually exclusive. If you choose one over the other you run the risk of neglecting the benefits of the other. Whatever the child misses out at school, not just regular syllabus but beyond as well, is made good at home. However, sermons on morality and good behavior and walking the extra as well as the last mile in all walks of life is the sole territory of the parents.