Home Schooling is Popular
Home schooling is becoming increasingly popular. Why? Because in some areas schools are too dangerous to consider. Parents want to have more control over their children’s learning environment. Schools in some districts lack essential quality in resources and staff to effectively educate children for the challenges of today’s global society. With home schooling, parents are able to expand the learning platform of their children to an almost infinite degree. School districts provide the required curriculum for children so that parents don’t go off on a non-productive tangent. This also helps to ensure that home-schooled children are on track with their peers of the same age and grade level.
What about those cases in which children have a first language other than English? Though not yet in supremely large numbers, the growing discovery of alarming numbers of children with illegal immigrant status raises the question of English as a Second Language (ESL) home-schooling and literacy. The task of developing fluency in English stretches from the children through the parents and even the grandparents in many cases. Immigrant families are cash-strapped. Often due to low levels of educational achievement, lack of marketable skills or even illiteracy, parents feel they are “trapped”. To earn more they must learn more, but how can this be accomplished without English language fluency?
Using A TBL Approach
One of many possible scenarios is home schooling using a TBL (Tasked-Based Learning) approach. In this approach, learners are taught useable, marketable skills using English as the language of instruction. In-demand skills such as Nursing Aids, Home Health Care Aides, Auto Mechanics, Electrician Helpers, Carpentry and construction trade workers, Cooks and even Teacher Aides could be brought up to marketable standards rather quickly. Certainly most would require less than a year of preparation to begin “giving back” to the economy that many now only abuse to the detriment of tax-payers and home owners who currently carry an over-burdened share of the economy.
Using a TBL approach, several problems would be addressed at the same time.
-Immigrants would learn a marketable skill
-Immigrants would learn English
-Immigrants would regain their personal pride and dignity
-Parents could set a valuable example for their children
-Children could be eased more into mainstream American society
-Children could more easily acquire useable English language skills
There are already quantities of online and low-residency English language and other programs available for both adults and children.
Certainly English taught as a second or foreign language is practical for home schooling. Teachers and tutors must make classes interesting, lively and on occasion even fun if they are to maintain the interest and attendance of these LEP (Limited English Proficiency) learners. In so doing, the problem of non-English speaking or LEP learners of all ages can begin to be addressed in earnest. Over-crowded, cash and resource-strapped schools need our help. This is one way that we, as concerned TEFL professionals, can give it to them.