Home Schooling

Home-schooling for many is the panacea to these conund-rums of robbing children of their cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor abilities

Conventional schooling has been failing to meet the aspirations of most parents who are perplexed at the thought of leaving their kids in an environ­ment which not only kills the curiosity of children but also shapes them into a person that does not have any skill to build relationships, communicate confi­dently or even secure a job.

A recent meeting with parents of primary school­ers this week was an eye-opener to the pain these parents go through in the process of selecting schools for their kids. Most of these parents were American graduates so they were in an uneasy po­sition to compare American school education with ed­ucation at home. For many the local schools, even the ones catering to the elite in Pakistan fail to serve their commit­ment to the students in particular and education in general. The emphasis is majorly on maximizing profits and making themselves into a status symbol where the children are giv­en no real training for their upcoming lives.

“My daughter’s behaviour changed totally when she start­ed going to a local school in Lahore. Previously in Bangkok, Thailand she was not used to even taking a bag to school and was not subjected to any exams; however, when she arrived here, she was under constant pressure to do homework and appear in exams,” said Noreen a mother of three working as an assistant registrar in a university. Continuous competi­tion in school and pressure from parents and teachers are making many students buckle under the immense perfor­mance pressure forcing the students to focus on cramming their subjects rather than developing the concepts. Under too much burden in the name of education, these students are left with no time to self-reflect about their life course, socialize or read books outside their syllabus.

“My children have hardly learnt anything from school this year. We have to get them extra coaching for their exams. The school charges so much fees but still the learning for the kids is not satisfactory at all,” added Amir who does two jobs to be able to afford the education of his two sons at an upscale schooling chain.

Unfortunately, the buck does not stop here. As more and more parents are becoming aware of the global standard of education and can compare it with the local education their kids are getting at home their anxiety is increasing. Many conventional schools now act as mere socializing clubs for the students where they spend most of the days with­out learning any skills that are going to help them in practi­cal life. Besides, the teachers hired are not equipped to im­pact the essential moral and ethical values of their students. Homeschooling for many is the panacea to these conun­drums of robbing children of their cognitive, affective, and psychomotor abilities transforming them into a person who is never ready to take initiative and decisions.

“My children never learnt about the importance of getting grades until they privately applied for taking O levels exam­inations, they are very confidently because they were nev­er bashed in the class,” said Dr. Badar who got his three chil­dren homeschooled and is now preparing to homeschool his grandchildren. The best available evidence, which is strong­ly positive about home school student learning, is based on a large sample of children whose parents use the Bob Jones Uni­versity Testing Service for home schoolers. Rudner’s (1999) analysis, based on test scores of more than 20,000 students, is highly positive: Almost 25% of home school students are en­rolled one or more grades above their age-level peers in pub­lic and private schools. Home school student achievement test scores are exceptionally high. For many home schools are a radical change and their lifestyles opine that the kids should be sent to government schools where they spend time with other peers and “actual” learning happens at home, sav­ing the kids from the pressure of not going to the school and their parents from managing them all day.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to schooling. However, it is encouraging to see parents explor­ing more options for enabling their children to have an in­ternational standard of education at an affordable price.

Muhammad Ali Falak
The writer is a Fulbright alumnus. He can be reached at mafalak@yahoo.com

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