Homeschooling, also called home education or home learning, is the education of children at home, rather than in formal settings of public or private schools. In a typical homeschooling situation, parents assume the responsibility for educating their children. Although traditionally, before the introduction of compulsory schooling systems, children were educated at home or within a community, homeschooling in its modern sense is an alternative to private or public educational institutions.
The reasons, for which parents choose home education, are numerous. Many parents are dissatisfied with the standards of education in local schools, the expenses of the private institutions or have objections to the social environment within schools. Others feel their children will achieve better academic results and will develop better morals and character by being taught at home. Yet others opt for homeschooling due to religious or parenting style reasons. Home education can also be a choice when living abroad or in isolated areas.
Just like the reasons for choosing home education, the methods of homeschooling are many and in some countries even defined by the local laws. Parents may choose to use a correspondence school, which provides them with a complete curriculum and books/supplies to be used. Such approach is often called school-at-home and stands on the stricter end in the spectrum of education philosophy parents can adopt.
On the other side of the same spectrum are those families, which opt for unschooling or natural learning – an approach that focuses on learning-on-demand, where children pursue knowledge based on their own interests and parents take active part in facilitating their learning. Natural learning philosophy does not rely heavily on textbooks; instead, it focuses on experiences conductive to learning that children naturally encounter throughout their daily activities. Between the two mentioned approaches is a wide range of others, some of which are: classical education, Charlotte Mason education, Montessori method, Waldorf education, a Thomas Jefferson education, theory of multiple intelligences and unit studies.
It is not uncommon for families, depending on the needs of their children, to merge several methods of homeschooling. For example, a family may follow a local school-based curriculum in math and English, opt for classical approach in history studies and use unit studies for science, merging in the learning process of chosen topics the scientific with the religious knowledge.
Home education in Pakistan
Although in the West home education has been around for several decades and is nowadays steadily gaining popularity, in Pakistan, it is relatively new and unheard of. Over the past few years, the number of homeschooling families in Pakistan has grown to a few handfuls, which are mainly concentrated in Karachi. If you would like to know more about home education, join the on-line community of home educating families in Pakistan by joining our Yahoo Group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pakistan-home-education/