The challenges and benefits of home schooling for children

April 12, 2021 Lucy Burgon

Now that pupils have completely returned to the classroom, we thought we would round up some of the positives and negatives of home schooling.

The Cons:

1. Social interaction

Social interaction plays a very important role in the classroom, as it allows pupils to improve on their communication skills and build their confidence in conversations with their peers and teachers. When it comes to home learning, this can be affected.

Online calls using Microsoft Teams or Zoom can be challenging enough - even for adults working from home. Internet connection issues, talking over other pupils and other home-life distractions often disrupt communication and can therefore have a negative impact on pupils.

2. Access to resources

There is no doubt that the second lockdown meant that schools were far more prepared for the prospect of remote learning.

However, disadvantaged pupils in particular faced challenges when adapting to remote learning, mainly revolving around a lack of resources – such as laptops, desks, and internet connectivity.

Although schools provided many resources for pupils during the lockdown, including physical work packs if there was no access to IT or the internet, there were still many that struggled and will have subsequently fallen behind on their learning as a result.

3. Parental impacts

For parents, juggling the role of parent, teacher and employee proved to be massive challenge that many found difficult.

Trying to hold down a nine-to-five, support children with their learning and ‘be a parent’ meant that parents’ and guardians’ mental health was impacted, and their work life balance went out of the window.

Many parents did not have the skills that teachers possess in terms of comprehensively understanding their child’s subject or topic, as well as standard presentation and teaching techniques.

The Pros:

1. Learning at individual rates

Students who learn at faster rates than others often benefited from remote learning.

As work was assigned to them regularly, pupils who were quicker to learn were able to move onto other assignments faster than if they were in the classroom and had to wait for their peers to catch up.

Additionally, much like adults at work, some pupils found that they work better in the morning while others work better later in the day. Remote working enabled pupils to be more flexible and get the most out of their lessons.

2. Families spending more time together

One of the main benefits of remote learning for students, and home working for parents and guardians, is the ability to spend more family time together.

Before the pandemic, many families were separated for large parts of the day, with a chunk of this time spend on commuting to and spending time at workplaces and schools.

Remote learning has meant that families get to spend more time together while at home throughout most of the day. Many parents who often felt guilt for working long hours were able to reclaim some of this lost time with their children, and family bonds were subsequently strengthened.

3. Enhanced problem solving

For many pupils, remote learning encouraged them to problem-solve for themselves rather than relying on a teacher’s support.

Pupils were often required to research topics by themselves to fully understand the lesson, instead of relying on their peers or teachers to fill in the blanks.

The full impact on home schooling over the last year has yet to be fully revealed, but there are certainly some positives that came out of such a negative situation both in and out of the classroom.

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