Home-schooling: privilege or isolation?

                                           

He's been excused from the school

In Kazakhstan, today more than 7000 children with special educational needs (SEN) are enrolled in home-schooling (Sultan and Samenbetov, 2015). That is the public information available in mass media. In reality, there might be twice more children who are being taught at home conditions segregated from their peers. So, what is home-schooling? How is it defined in Kazakhstan? What are the drawbacks or benefits of it? My post reveals the insights of home-schooling and how it contradicts the idea of inclusive education (which welcomes all children to family atmosphere at school).

Home-schooling is a type of individual education received at home with the help of assigned teachers. The learning process is carried out according to an individual educational plan for learners who cannot study in mainstream schools due to health reasons (Kokhan, 2012).

Children with SEN are usually diagnosed by special organization called psychological- medical and pedagogical commission (PMPC). PMPC is a state educational institute which provides assessment and corrective support for children with diverse needs. This organization decides whether a child will be enrolled in a mainstream school or will stay at home-schooling with the parents’ agreement. The children, who are defined to receive individual education, then are attached to the special (correctional) educational organizations. In the absence of special educational institutions nearby, the schooling is carried out at home by local mainstream school teachers. Home-schooling is absolutely free of charge and monitored by PMPC and local departments of education (Decree of MoES, 2004).

At the first glance, the individual education at home may seem to have many advantages: home-schooled children receive the full attention of their teacher, home-schooling gives an opportunity for greater flexibility (a teacher can design a curriculum that addresses the specific needs of each child and a child can be taught in more convenient hours to develop her or his individual skills), and it reduces peer pressure.

However, every medal has its reverse! Keep in mind that schools do not only educate, but also serve as socialization institutes. According to psychologists, the child’s education at home often leads to the isolation from society, the segregation and the formation of the child’s pathological isolation: where the fear and unwillingness to interact with other children appear (Engel, 1991). Learning in a group promotes social learning and values of citizenship. A segregated home-schooled child is deprived of making friends, working in a team, dealing up with life’s obstacles and difficulties. Extracurricular activities such as the first and the last bell, field trips and graduation ceremony are “empty” dreams for that child.  The last but not the least, a home- schooled child is excluded from quality education.

In my concern, each child has a right to PARTICIPATE and BE INCLUDED into the general educational process, irrespective of his/her physical or mental ability.

What do YOU think about home-schooling process? Is it a privilege or an isolation?

References:

Decree of the Ministry of Education and Science (2004). Decree # 974. “Policy on the procedure to assist parents in children’s home-schooling by educational organizations”.  Retrieved February 5, 2015, from <http://tengrinews.kz/zakon/docs?ngr=V040003303>.

Engel, D. M. (1991). Law, culture, and children with disabilities: Educational rights and the construction of difference. Duke Law Journal (1), 166-205.

Kokhan, A. Y. (2012). Aktualniye problemy nadomnogo obucheniya detei s problemami v razvitiyi /Topical challenges of home-schooling of children with developmental issues/.  Retrieved February 5, 2015, from <http://enu.kz/repository/repository2012/aktualnye-problemy-nadomnogo.pdf>.

Sultan, S., & Samenbetov, A. (2015, January 15). V Kazakhstane predlagajut otkazatsja ot objazatelnogo shkolnogo obrazovanija /Parents want to abandon compulsory schooling in Kazakhstan/. Retrieved February 3, 2015, from < http://www.zakon.kz/4681550-v-kazakhstane-predlagajut -otkazatsja-ot.html>.

5 thoughts on “Home-schooling: privilege or isolation?

  1. Dear Zhadyra, you raised very interesting question. Certainly, home-schooling has its pros and cons. However, I am a proponent of institutional schooling in educational organizations. It is beneficial because of individual approach from the side of teachers, and might be more productive and informative. On the other hand, those children prepossess less social development. As a result, they tend to be more insecure and isolated from society. Children studying in classes amend their sense of competiteveness and communication with peers fosters to establish their personal world view.

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  2. Thank you for this interesting topic! From my point of view, I see here 2 issues mixed while they should be separated:

    1. Inability of the existing system to educate disabled children: the issue of isolation of disabled students happens just because our education system do not care about them. The easiest example is absence of rampants, desks, study equipment, special toilet rooms…this list is infinite. If we compare the European schools (for example the Finnisf system), it is clear that disabled children can and should study with others and be treated equally.

    2. Individual approach: unfortunately, in Kazakhstan the individual curriculum is possible only in home-schooling. That is why we mistakenly accept it as an its own exclusive feature, while in reality it should be a feature of the whole education system, not only home-schooling.

    Based on this, I would say that disabled children should study in school, not at home, but at the same time the individual approach should be accepted and allowed by the government and the corresponding changes included to the existing legislature.

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  3. Definitely, this is another issue within the system of inclusive education. If the question relates to school students, then parents or guardians are responsible (for their children) to chose whether to go to school or to stay at home. To my mind, any parent would want his/her child to stay at school. However, there are sometimes troublesome cases, when being at schools or just going to outside might lead to dangerous health consequences. Owing this fact, some parents keep homeschooling for the sake of their child (children), because of such dead-end situations.

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  4. It is controversial question whether homeschooling is a privilege or isolation. And we shouldn’t assume that any form of education is good or bad, because parents have different reasons while sending their kids to a particular form of education. However, I consider that it would be better for children to attend mainstream schooling rather than homeschooling. Home schooled children may not have as many opportunities to interact with other children in comparison to children who attend regular schools. This can stunt their development socially as they do not learn how to communicate or behave in group settings. This is obviously a vital skill in living and working as an adult. The lack of socialization may affect them in later stages of life. Another negative effect of homeschooling is the matter of motivation. Some children need to be challenged to excel in their studies. In this sense, they thrive when they are involved in some competition. Children who are homeschooled would not have this motivation because most of them are educated separately. The education of a child is one of the key responsibilities of a parent, and they should think very carefully before removing their children from the social learning environment of schools.

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  5. Zhadyra, I agree with you that EVERY CHILD should have access to schools. Equity it is one of the main principles of Kazakhstani education development. However, children with disabilities have a lot of obstacles ”on the way to school”. First of all it is transportation. Schools are welcome to have these children but, some parents cannot allow themselves to drive their children to school (sometimes even just go outside the flat). One of the solutions of this problem could be special busses, which will give a lift to children to schools and back. Even if children reach the school, whey will face with another obstacle . It is the building itself . A lot of buildings are not suitable for children with disabilities. Also being at school they fell pressure from the classmates and other students. Because we live in the society where people are not used to be together with people with any disadvantages . They do not understated that everyone is a personality and deserve to be respected! Because of absents of special education teachers also allow themselves to divide students by their abilities, showing others the example.

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