As a company that operates in the field of education providing K12 learning resources for in excess of 15 years, Zane works with schools, teachers and homeschooling families as well as students.
During that time we have watched the incredible and continuing growth in the number of families that prefer to home educate. Certainly sometimes it can be for reasons of religious belief, in others it is because those parents are committed to doing the best they can for their children. Often they are parents that have lost faith in the standard education system.
Our experience has been that some homeschooling families blame a teacher or school when in fact it is the fault of an education system that attempts to mass-produce the learning process by having anywhere between 20 and 40 students in the classroom. We believe that it is unreasonable to blame a teacher when it is often a high-stress occupation particularly when there are more students in a class than one teacher can adequately look after.
Nevertheless homeschooling does generally benefit those students that learn best at their own speed, rather than at the same speed as all the other students in the class.
We also meet teachers that dislike or disapprove of homeschooling. Sometimes it is because they feel undervalued because they see a parent that feels they can do a better job, despite the fact the parent has had no formal training as a teacher. And this is understandable.
So is Homeschooling really a threat …. or is it indeed a blessing?
In fairness to both parties, it is important to understand that few people choose a career in teaching simply because it is a job. The vast majority don’t. They have chosen teaching as a career because they like and enjoy working with children and students, and because they care and want to make a difference. And they should be more appreciated by the homeschool community for that reason. At the same time it is important for the school or teacher to understand that a parent that decides to homeschool their children, is doing so because they care too …. and it does take a sacrifice to make that decision. In fact, there are many reasons to support the argument that homeschooling is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children …. often because it means they become a single-income family. This argument is also supported by the fact that there are teachers that also go on to homeschool their own children
However, as we have seen countless times over the years, it is those children and students that are provided with the ability to learn at their own speed that have the greatest opportunity to achieve their greatest individual potential. In the classroom that is seldom the case simply because the student generally has to work at the same speed as their peers within their class. And with only one teacher to look after the needs of so many other students, it does restrict that teacher from spending the amount of time with each student that they would like to.
Many people that criticize homeschoolers also like to bring up the subject of socialization. But the majority of home educators are well aware of such needs and are able to address that potential issue by regularly socializing with other families and groups that are also homeschooling.
In an ideal situation, we would like to see teachers and schools work more closely with homeschool groups and homeschooling parents, so that each has the opportunity to learn from the other. Many on both sides of the table appreciate and would welcome change that offered a more individualized way of learning for all kids, however those changes and improvements will only come about if all those involved are able to work together to help give a much louder voice of support towards the need for that change and progress.
This could happen, however it would take both parties to better understand each others aims and intentions … and realize that both are actually working with a common goal.
However at the same time, we have seen homeschooling groups at times become divided amongst themselves. Sometimes it is because of either religious or philosophical reasons … and this is very disappointing to see.
The improvement of education in the 21st Century becomes more likely when all parties come together with a common understanding and share a vision of that common goal.