Is home­school­ing bet­ter than in­ter­na­tional pri­vate schools’ ed­u­ca­tion?

Oi Vietnam - - Contents -

MANY PAR­ENTS TRY TO FIND the best pos­si­ble ed­u­ca­tion for their child by com­par­ing learn­ing in a home­school­ing set­ting or at a pri­vate in­ter­na­tional school. It is im­por­tant to be well in­formed about what the best op­tion is for your child. Be­low I will out­line the pros and cons of home­school­ing and of pri­vate schools.

Home­school­ing will pro­vide your child with in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion, a cur­ricu­lum suited to the child’s in­ter­ests and the pace of learn­ing ad­justed to your child’s need. Par­ents can fo­cus the ed­u­ca­tion on their be­liefs, their val­ues and their vi­sion of aca­demic suc­cess for their child. The child will feel the spe­cial­ized at­ten­tion he/she gets from his/her par­ents and fam­ily. Likely your child will be­come much more in­de­pen­dent as he/she will have to learn to be self-di­rected. It can be very cost ef­fec­tive. Lastly, learn­ing at home avoids the trav­el­ing to and from a school.

How­ever, as a con­trast, home­school­ing makes it more dif­fi­cult to build friend­ships with peers; there is less op­por­tu­nity for so­cial con­nec­tions out­side the fam­ily. Par­ents need knowl­edge and skills to re­search and de­liver the best school­ing for their child. They need the time to in­vest in their child’s ed­u­ca­tion, tak­ing time away from their own po­ten­tial aca­demic and ca­reer pro­gres­sion. As home­school­ing is done by one or two par­ents, the child is not ex­posed to a range of dif­fer­ent teach­ing styles, learn­ing styles and skilled teach­ers in dif­fer­ent sub­ject ar­eas. Schools have li­braries, science labs, com­puter rooms, sports fields that home­school­ing can­not pro­vide. Schools also have a va­ri­ety of af­ter­school pro­grams and clubs that will be dif­fi­cult to du­pli­cate at home. Some chil­dren might find it smoth­er­ing to be with fam­ily 24 hours a day and they may feel they are miss­ing out on ex­pe­ri­ences that oth­ers have. Lastly, ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion providers might have lim­ited un­der­stand­ing of the cur­ricu­lum and type of learn­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by home­schooled ap­pli­cants.

In­ter­na­tional pri­vate schools of­fer cur­ricu­lums such as the IB, IGCSE, A-level and AP; they pro­vide choice in the pro­grams par­ents want their chil­dren to re­ceive. These pro­grams are well rec­og­nized by most uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges all over the world. Of­ten, in­ter­na­tional schools have small class sizes with highly qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced teach­ers. The schools wel­come par­ent in­put and in­volve­ment.

Many schools of­fer val­ues ed­u­ca­tion through pro­files, phi­los­o­phy, the type of dis­ci­pline they of­fer and spe­cial pro­grams like Round Square. Schools can pro­vide huge va­ri­ety in the re­sources, fa­cil­i­ties, sub­ject choices and ex­per­tise of the staff em­ployed. In­ter­na­tional pri­vate schools have op­tions in their sub­jects, es­pe­cially at Sec­ondary level, pro­vid­ing a more in­di­vid­ual type of ed­u­ca­tion. They also pro­vide ser­vices for stu­dents who need more time, for very fast learn­ers, for gifted and tal­ented stu­dents and for stu­dents with learn­ing chal­lenges. In­ter­na­tional schools pro­vide global cit­i­zen­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple from other na­tion­al­i­ties and cul­tures. Learn­ing in­ter­ac­tions with peers may en­able your child to de­velop so­cially, make aca­demic con­nec­tions and reach con­cep­tual un­der­stand­ing bet­ter than through home­schooled ex­pla­na­tions.

How­ever, as a con­trast, pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion is ex­pen­sive. Of­ten the fees are not the end of the costs ei­ther; field trips, res­i­den­tials, ex­ams, re­sources like lap­tops and graph­i­cal cal­cu­la­tors will need to be paid for as well. Pri­vate schools seek par­ent in­volve­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween par­ents—teacher—stu­dents. This is time that many par­ents do not have. Ev­ery school has rules and reg­u­la­tions that your child will have to ad­here to, even if you do not agree to one or more of those. Aca­demic learn­ing might not be as fast as home­school­ing as lessons are pitched at mid-learn­ing level with dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion for more ad­vanced learn­ers. Lastly, your child will have to learn sub­jects he or she might not have any in­ter­est in.

As an ed­u­ca­tor in an in­ter­na­tional school, I be­lieve that it is im­por­tant for chil­dren to be with their peers. Par­ents can ‘buy’ ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tion at an in­ter­na­tional school, that will pro­vide an out­stand­ing cur­ricu­lum with highly qual­i­fied teach­ers, the re­sources needed, in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion, val­ues ed­u­ca­tion and a va­ri­ety of choices in and out­side the writ­ten cur­ricu­lum. This avoids the huge investment par­ents would need to make in time, ex­per­tise, at­ten­tion and or­ga­ni­za­tion in a home­school­ing sit­u­a­tion.

Cur­rently Deputy Head of School at Re­nais­sance In­ter­na­tional School Saigon, Richard Fluit has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence teach­ingin and lead­ing and man­ag­ing in­ter­na­tional schools. He joined RISS 3 years ago as their Head of Sec­ondary af­ter years work­ingat a Bri­tish in­ter­na­tional school in Cuba. Orig­i­nally from the Nether­lands, Richard is well-known in the in­ter­na­tional me­dia for con­tribut­ing poignant, thought pro­vok­ing ar­ti­cles on dif­fer­entcon­tem­po­rary is­sues in ed­u­ca­tion.

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