Learning without school. Pros and cons of home education

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Already several thousand Polish students benefit from home education. Instead of sitting in desks - they sit at their own desk or wherever they feel comfortable. Instead of teachers, they have parents, books and the Internet. However, they are invariably assessed and their knowledge verified at school. Is it worth choosing this form of learning?

About 13,000 students benefited from home education before the pandemic. Now there are many more, although there is no current "pandemic" data yet. Many parents saw that their children were able to learn at home with their help and decided to give up traditional school altogether.

The re-closure of schools will surely contribute to further such decisions. The quality of online lessons in Polish schools leaves much to be desired, and some families are able to plan their work in such a way as to reconcile their own professional duties with helping children learn. Especially that today the reality in many places looks as if practically everyone has gone to home education.

This is not a system workaround

Home education is more of a lifestyle than a way to learn. It requires planning, responsibility and regularity. Children must stick to the set rules, and the exam dates agreed with the school must be respected. If someone is under the illusion that home education is a way to bypass school compulsory education, it is during the course of the exams that they will find out how wrong they were. Verification of knowledge in due course will happen anyway.

Formally, it is "fulfilling compulsory education outside school". Students study at home (or wherever they like or can), pass the exams in all compulsory subjects and receive a certificate on this basis.

The reasons why parents choose home education vary, sometimes extreme. This may be a situation where the child is very gifted and learns much faster than his peers. So he prefers to learn what you need at home, and the remaining time is devoted to development in other areas - artistic, scientific or simply enjoying the freedom.

On the other hand, home education is also chosen by parents of children who feel bad at school. They learn well, but the institution of the school itself - lessons, tests, grades or even peers - does not suit them at all.

Friends? More than at school

An often pointed out, but rather only apparent, disadvantage of home education is the lack of contact with peers. Apparent, because the child has no classmates, but he is not at home. There are extracurricular activities, language courses, friends from the backyard, and finally - the Internet, the role of which in education and social contacts in general has grown significantly since the spring lockdown. It is both a platform for learning and communication with peers from around the world.

It is also not without significance that home education greatly strengthens family ties. And it is not only about learning together with your parents, but also just spending time together.

Submit when you want

You have to remember that home education and distance education are completely different things. The "school" student works according to teachers' instructions, receives grades, and walks at the pace imposed by the class and the curriculum. It doesn't matter if it's in the classroom or online, it's just a technical matter.

In home education, students work at their own pace, learn as they plan, and do not receive current grades. The grade is only one of each year-end compulsory subject and depends on the result of the exam. Interestingly, the exams do not have to be held in June. There are those who take some subjects at the end of September or October, because they feel great in a given subject. And after passing the exam, they do not have to deal with this subject anymore. You can also pass everything earlier and have a vacation in May, for example.

Home education requires school

To go to home education, you have to find ... a school. Each student must be enrolled in some institution, there he / she fulfills formal schooling obligations, passes exams there and receives certificates from there, has a school ID with the stamp of the school.

Not every school offers such opportunities, so it sometimes takes a bit of effort to find such a place. Those who live in smaller towns have a harder time, it happens that they have to take exams to quite distant schools.

Contrary to appearances, sometimes it is a better solution than a nearby school, because in larger cities there are places that specialize in home education and such should be sought first. The school experience will translate into support for parents and greater learning comfort for the student.

Don't leave your child alone on the internet

Certain difficulties are also associated with home education. Apart from the organization of cooperation with the school, there are problems with motivation (an exam in a few months is a distant prospect) and, of course, childcare. In practice, it is usually the case that parents usually decide to take home education, at least one of whom works from home or does not work at all. Or those who hire a teacher for the child to help - if they can afford it. Another problem may be to ensure that the child does not spend too much time in front of the screen or - under the guise of learning - does not browse the Internet harmful content. Here, for example, applications that give the parent discreet control over where he is and what he is doing online and outside of it are helpful.

Particularly noteworthy is, for example, the Play proposal - the Safe Family application. It allows you to geolocate your child's phone and set time limits for using the Internet or individual applications. You can also check the history of websites visited and what the child watched on You Tube. All this the parent sees on his phone. The cost of such a service is PLN 9.99 for the standard option and PLN 19.99 for the premium version.

Learning conditions and materials

A student in home education must know the core curriculum. Such children usually learn from books that their peers in schools "rewrite". But they also use many other sources - mostly on the Internet. It is online where parents exchange materials, links and videos. This is why an efficient computer and access to fast, stable Internet are so important in home education.

Until recently, access to the Internet was able to exclude children living outside large cities from home education. Today it is easier, because you can use the radio Internet, such as NET BOX in the Play network. This is home internet, but the modem is installed outside, e.g. on the roof of the building, and the internet is connected via cable to the router at home. Access of home devices to the network is provided by Wi-Fi.

Play offers such a solution for 35 out of a month for a 70 GB package. Additionally, the operator offers unlimited GB Internet with 100, 200 or 500 GB at full speed. Prices start from PLN 500.

Is home education for everyone?

Definitely not. It has its undoubted advantages, but for most children (and their parents) school is the better option. There are teachers who have not so much substantive knowledge (this is widely available today and so), but above all - pedagogical education, that is - they know how to teach in order to teach effectively. If in a given school such educators are in the minority - it is worth considering changing the school for a better one, and then turning to home education.

It is also worth getting the opinion of the pedagogical counseling center about the child - before the pandemic, it was required for the transition to home education. The point is not to base your choice on it, but information from specialists about the child's predisposition, difficulties or talents can help you make the best decision for him.

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