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Home-Schooling: Is it right for you? - Introduction

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

It's officially been two years since schools have been closed in Trinidad and Tobago due to the pandemic and I think that we have all been anxiously awaiting the return of physical schooling. For some of us, we realised that our precious, little angels can transform into naughty, impossible rugrats when school work is concerned. So after all this time, (in some cases) it wasn’t actually the teacher, now was it? LOL. On behalf of all teachers, I accept the humble apology. But let’s not worry about that too much, this is why we went through at least 4 years of training, learning about pedagogy and psychology of education. We teachers are built for this. The question is, Are you?

As the founder of T. Garcia Education, a virtual learning platform that provides home-schooling services, you would expect that I would try to promote our services right? But you guys know that’s not how I roll. I am here to give you the most unbiased opinion that I can, based on the collective experience of all of us at T. Garcia Education as well as being in a family who chose that option for our last sibling. So here I am, coming to you both as a passionate, experienced teacher and a loving, frustrated older sister.

Do not get me wrong, I think that home-schooling is an incredible option; one that I may strongly consider for my own children. However, home-schooling needs to be thoroughly explored before running head on into what can be an extremely frustrating endeavour for all parties involved. Many parents have opted to home-school their children from time immemorial, so it is nothing new to us. What is new, is the ease with which it can now be facilitated through virtual learning. Previously, parents would have to either conduct classes on their own or hire professional help from private tutors to home-school their children. It was something that was really only an option for families within a certain income bracket. However, virtual education platforms, such as T. Garcia Education, offer individual tutoring at incredibly affordable rates which allow more people to consider homeschooling a viable option.

See what I did there?

Moving on....

Before we continue about home-schooling, let’s talk about what regular school provides just for some context. Let’s start with the most obvious that we don’t say out loud but lowkey we ALL know:

  • School is free babysitting. School, whether private or public, provides a safe place for our children for at least 8 hours a day where they are under the care of trained professionals who educate them as well. Sounds like a steal of a deal right?

  • Additionally, school ensures that our children meet their social needs by also providing opportunities to interact with children their age from many different backgrounds.

  • It creates the socio-cultural framework within which students form sometimes lifelong bonds with peers.

  • In regular school, students benefit from peer learning and engage in many curricular and co-curricular activities that allow them to develop their identities and strong interpersonal skills.

On the flip side, regular school is not always the best experience for a great number of children and parents alike. Since teachers have to manage so many children, it is unrealistic to cater to every single child’s unique needs. It is no secret that many of our children fall through the cracks and sadly get left behind. Social diseases such as bullying and negative peer pressure also plague our school systems. For these reasons, many parents may opt to have their children homeschooled.

Okay Let's take a moment to breathe:

Let's talk about homeschooling now:

Just like regular school, homeschooling also has unique advantages.

  • Firstly, there is much flexibility in terms of schedules and location. For example, for parents who travel across countries for work, homeschooling would be best.

  • Lessons are totally Individualised - the curriculum is delivered specifically to cater to individual learner needs. Students are also able to benefit from the full-attention of their educators. There is no false competition to be better than anyone else. The primary concern is self-improvement.

  • Learning occurs in controlled, comfortable and familiar settings that make it easy and enjoyable. Parents can work with educators to always keep work at a level that does not arouse unnecessary stress in students. This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on academic achievement and overall well-being.

  • Homeschooling gives parents the ability to control the timeline of education; they can slow down or speed up the timeline for their children’s education which otherwise is not allowed in traditional schooling. With homeschooling, children do not spend the majority of their days in school learning through traditional means. Thus, they can explore learning in real world contexts such as apprenticeships or internships. This allows students to have a more realistic view of what life is like outside of school. Furthermore students can have more time to focus on their unique gifts and talents such as sports or other interests that have the potential to turn into a life’s career.

However, homeschooling typically takes much less time than regular school. This means that there is a much greater need for parental/adult supervision and involvement in students’ lives. Homeschooling programmes without a great level of commitment from parents may not be the most ideal option for students’ overall development. Parents are now largely charged with the responsibility of providing their children with their social needs so that they can develop sound interpersonal skills. For a little more on what parents should think about when considering homeschooling, please check out this other article

Students make friends and are able to interact with people their age in traditional school. Without school, parents are tasked with trying to immerse their children in environments that allow them to socialise with other young people.

Additionally, students do not benefit from peer-to-peer learning. Although the possibility exists for small group classes, the majority of home-schooling will be done on an individual basis. This means that although students benefit from the full attention and access to their educators during instruction, they will not benefit from helping one another- a major facilitator of learning. Typically, when children are in school, they are in the care of their teachers. Parents really only need to supervise learning activities at home. With less hours of school, parents will need to ensure that there is adequate adult supervision when students are not in virtual sessions with their educators. This may not be feasible for parents whose jobs are very demanding of their time. Finally, home-schooling is more expensive than free public schooling.

I can go on and on about homeschooling which I do intend to do but not in a way that will bore you to death. Stay tuned for the other parts of this discussion as I help you to determine whether homeschooling is a feasible option for you and your child. Please feel free to leave any thoughts, questions and comments below and let’s talk! Let's figure it out together.

Thank you for reading!

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