Homeschooling in the developed countries is defined as the education of children within the home, usually conducted by the parents themselves. In many developed countries, home-schooling is a legal alternative to public and private schools.
According to the US National Centre for Education Statistics, about three percent of all children in the US were home-schooled in the 2011-2012 school year. On average, home-schoolers scored above the national average on standardized tests and home-school students have been accepted into many Ivy League universities.
In Malaysia, homeschooling is done differently; parents choose to send them to tuition centres which conduct the Cambridge IGCSE programme rather than educate their children themselves. The Cambridge IGCSC programme at these home-schools in Malaysia follow the same syllabus offered at International Schools, albeit at a very much lower cost.
The home-schools, better known as IGCSE centres, by virtue of their smaller size, are able to provide a conducive environment for learning. The relationship between teachers and students is much better with a low student teacher ratio; teachers know their students better, leading to better understanding of the subjects and an opportunity to address their problems, if any.
Homeschooling in Malaysia was introduced about 20 years ago and more and more families are into it as it’s a growing trend. Home-schools have emerged as learning centres where creativity and life-skills development are emphasised.
These centres also address the concerns of parents to ensure that their children pick up the right values for character building along with the right spiritual values. What used to be a mainly urban Chinese Malaysian concern is now gaining ground among the Malay and Indian Malaysian parents as well.
Interestingly, an increasing number of home-schooling parents, regardless of race are in the 25 to 36 age group. These parents are of the view that public or private school systems result in children being spoon fed., whereas home-schools allow the children to develop knowledge and skills according to their own abilities and personalities.
The homeschooling alternative provides an avenue to bring forth the full potential in every child, be it academic or otherwise.
There is a misguided notion that home-schooled children are poor in social skills. However, home-school families regularly get together for field trips and other educational activities and at places where the children interact.
In some countries, home-school students are offered a higher entry bar for tertiary education, like writing a paper to qualify. It is hoped that institutions of higher learning in Malaysia could be equally flexible in accepting “graduates” from home-schools to give greater acceptance to these qualifications. It would be a real help to parents who can’t afford to send their kids to study overseas.
The homeschooling environment further allows for the cultivation of innovation and creativity in human capital. Added to this, home-schooling is bringing about better integration of the various ethnic groups in Malaysia, as more and more Malaysian parents of all ethnicity are opting for this alternative.