Friday, March 21, 2008

Home Schooling: Too Much of a Challenge?


Why Home School?
Why do some parents consider switching from traditional school attendance to home schooling their children? For the most obvious reasons you need to keep up with the national news. In one place after another, there is increasing crime and violence in both public and private schools. Institutions of higher education don’t exactly escape the bad rap either. It seems almost every year there are more and more problems in colleges and universities with abuse of drugs and alcohol, rapes and other types of sexual misconduct and excessive acts of violence at rallies, sporting events and even seemingly for no particular cause during the normal scholastic year.

The “Problems”
Many “problems” are commonly associated with home schooling. Some of these may include:

• Quality of education
• Availability of high-level teachers and tutors for areas where parents may lack knowledge and skills
• Reduced interaction of home-schooled children with their peers
• Boredom
• Lack of motivation
• Parental fears over the home schooling process
• Difficulties with local, state and national laws and requisites
• Financial concerns
• Availability of adequate texts, resources and other materials
• Bilingual or multi-lingual education concerns

But for each of these concerns, although initially valid, has several viable solutions within the means of virtually every household. One increasingly difficult aspect of home schooling, however, deals with providing children with a bilingual or multi-lingual education.

Bilingual or Multi-Lingual Education
While in many parts of the world a bilingual or multi-lingual education is desirable or even an essential in many cases, it is quite possible to provide a quality bilingual education for home schooled children. Speaking a foreign language can be a tremendous asset in many walks or life and career paths. The same can be said concerning knowledge of a foreign culture. In a number of locations, education which includes elements of foreign languages is easily incorporated in the child’s everyday educational life, providing them with a solid basis for foreign language acquisition and practical use. A broad spectrum of foreign languages can be included incorporating languages such as:

• English (varieties from regional America, Britain, Australia, Jamaica, etc.)
• Spanish (spoken and written forms of Castellano can vary widely between the 21 countries where Spanish is spoken as a first or official language)
• French
• Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, or other forms)
Arabic
• German
• Italian
• Portuguese
• Russian
• Greek
• Turkish
• And a host of indigenous or local dialects, Creoles and patois

Help, Resources and Assistance are Available
In most countries which allow home schooling of underage children there are programs available to inform and provide parents with information, curricular requirements and other types of assistance to help make the home schooling process a much smoother, effective and rewarding one for both the parents and the children. With home schooling too, parents are able to provide focus and direction in areas of which the child may have special interest, talents and abilities. It is possible to insert an increased number of field trips or attendance at inter-cultural or related events, seminars, conferences, workshops and special activities which may be unavailable to children and learners at traditional institutions. Home schooling parents likewise have the option of integrating learning alternates into their home schooling program.

Consider the Children Too
Rather than allowing themselves to be overwhelmed by the challenge of home schooling, parents should embrace the concept. The first step is to seek out those government agencies, resources and organizations which can provide the quantity of information and guidance needed to effect an intelligent decision on whether or not to home school, why and how. Home schooling is not too much of a challenge to be considered once proper investigation has been conducted on the part of the parents in consideration of the wishes, desires and attitude of the children. Parents could also use teaching and learning techniques not only with their children but also with themselves to make themselves smarter. Now wouldn’t that be nice?



Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" or "7 Techniques to Motivate Your English Language Learners and Make Your Classes More Dynamic" by requesting the title you want at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com


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