By Daniela Silva
Before exploding internationally as a home-grown learning approach, modern home schooling was an educational reform movement led by teacher and writer John Holt in the 1970s.
Holt sought change for schooling to be more humane and less formal, while rich in multiple learning spaces where children could develop in accordance with their curiosity and experiences.
From this set of ideas came the idea of spontaneous learning outside of the school environment. In “unschooling,” the child would have freedom to utilize educational activities such as contact with nature, training culinary skills, going to the library or simply reading outdoors.
Holt’s arguments inspired the first modern-era home schoolers to educate their children at home, leading to rapid home school expansion across the United States.
Although modern homeschooling has its origins in the U.S., the practice is widespread around the world.
Countries that Practice Modern Home Schooling
- In Germany, some families already adhered to the home schooling approach and mandatory frequency laws are decreed by each German state.
- Japan has suffered terrible episodes of bullying in its schools. As a result, business groups have contemplated diversified strategies to deal with failure and school dropout. Faced with this reality, the country has been seeking curricular materials to be translated and spread among home schooling families.
- Low-income young students in Mexico are receiving curricular instruction at home because they do not have access to quality basic education in their country. Some institutions have crowded classrooms and teachers are unprepared for their role.
- Canada has a large number of home schoolers. The main reasons include overcrowded classrooms, inflexible school curricula, children with special needs without specialized education, ineffective evaluation system, and problems with students discipline.
- In Spain, home schooling is known as Educación en el Hogar. This educational freedom is supported by the constitution, which recognizes the natural right of parents to choose the best educational approach for their children.
- France specifies that education—not school—is compulsory from ages 6-16. This way, home schoolers can take classes or lessons by correspondence or under the guidance of the family. For children not enrolled in correspondence courses, an inspector is referred to the family´s residence.
- In Italy, the term Educazione Parentale is used for parental education—or home schooling. Parents can find educational organizations and activities for their children on websites maintained by the country. However, in order to home school, the family must submit an annual notice to the school board of its authority.
- Home schooling in Switzerland varies from district to district. Parents who want to home school their children must first check if the local district authorizes the practice. If verified, parents must complete an application for legal approval. Teaching materials and lesson plans are provided by local schools for free. In addition, families can receive visits and tutorials by members of local associations.
- Families in China chose home schooling because they are dissatisfied with traditional teaching in Chinese schools. These families also do not agree with the school evaluation system that is exhausting and stressful for students.
- In Egypt, public education students have renounced their education because they believe it does not prepare them for a professional career. In addition, the pedagogical curriculum proposed by the country does not take into account the individual needs of each student.
- Norway promotes many reasons for home schooling, including: bullying, religious reasons, inadequate pedagogical methods, closure of rural schools (which was necessary for some communities), and dissatisfaction with the quality of teaching. Another reason claimed by some parents is that home schooling provides a more natural and spontaneous learning environment for children.
- In Brazil, home schooling has emerged as a new modality of education in favor of a pedagogical curriculum that meets the values and beliefs of each family. Factors that have led to more families home schooling is violence at public schools and the flexibility of teaching in different geographical regions (if the family travels frequently).
What to Learn from International Homeschooling
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why American and international families are motivated to home school.
But, everything boils down to one main reason: the right to select what to teach and how to teach.
Overall, modern home schooling has grown exponentially around the world. And, having more than one educational option is now a global reality. This creates value in education and increases the quality of teaching in a family environment.
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About the Author
Daniela Silva is a Brazilian educator and independent writer. She holds a BA in Pedagogy from Santa Cecilia University, Brazil, with concentrations in School Management and Business Education; an MBA in Personnel Management from Monte Serrat University Center, Brazil; and a postgraduate certificate in Neuroeducation from Estácio de Sá University, Brazil. Working in collaboration with The New Heights Educational Group, Inc., Ms. Silva recently published “Unraveling Reading,” a book on literacy education and learning disabilities in reading and writing.