Rationale Behind The Success of Homeschoolers

by Amos Chua

The success of a student is undeniably determined by the imperative compatibility of the student’s methodology in learning with a particular pedagogy that is employed in facilitating his educational journey. By using home education as a platform for the student to utilise his learning style, the student can be given the chance to maximise his fullest academic potential. For a long time, homeschooling has been stigmatised as an alternative option. Albeit more parents have started placing their children in homeschooling in the previous years, there are still fallacies that are embedded in the heart of some parents. Like constraints tied to an innocuous critter, these fallacies impede these parents from espousing the positive dogmas of homeschooling and putting their children in homeschooling. Some of these parents are mainly apprehensive of the fact that their children will not get a superlative educational experience by homeschooling them.[1] In other words, they are circumspect about the benefits of what home education can bestow on their children. By having such an obstinate mindset, they miss the chance to give their children an education that would allow them to discern their inner learning peculiarities and to burgeon academically. Finding one’s inner learning peculiarity is essential in the establishment of academic pre-eminence. Through this discernment, trial and error of various learning methods may perhaps develop the child’s perspective to one of nuance. With the high availability of different social clubs in our current epoch, parents rarely think of the vast array of avenues that these clubs might unfold for their children. If the participation in these social clubs are inculcated into the child’s academic curriculum, the child will inevitably be more exposed to a diversity of learning methods. Depending on the child’s current area of interest, the child has the latitude to choose what club he would like to enrol in; it may be in the humanities, sciences, or other disciplines. Moreover, there is also a high possibility that these social clubs would kindle the child’s spirit in certain fields of study. Clubs related to academic subjects may expound on various abstract concepts or theories in ways that are rather easy to comprehend or serve as places for them to discern where their true passions may lie. Because these clubs consist of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests, they are more likely to give the child a medley of perspectives to look from, engendering them to see the world in a broader spectrum.

With these supplementary components that could be augmented into the curriculum of children in homeschooling, parents still have the pre-conceived notion that their children will not be well-equipped with the academic capabilities for the future if they homeschooled their children. On contrary to that fact, homeschoolers have paradoxically been at the frontier of success in academics.[1][2] According to Romanowski (2006), “The ACT publisher reported that 1,926 students from the graduating class of 1997 scored higher than the national average in English, and overall composite of the ACT.” This inevitably evinces us the fact that homeschooling does not fall short of anything. In fact, it has been proven that homeschooling more than sufficiently provides homeschoolers with the logical thinking, critical thinking, analytical skills necessary for their post-secondary school phase. However, the success of these homeschoolers does not just transpire irrationally. It is reckoned that having the liberty to use their own learning style during the process of their educational journey might be behind the success of these homeschoolers. Everyone in this world has a preferred learning style. Through the utilisation of one’s preferred learning methodology, one would be able to process information with cognitive ease. In the case where someone uses his own learning style to effectively study for a test, it is more plausible that he would get a higher grade than if he would to use a learning style which is rather foreign to him. Over the years, researchers have used a myriad of models to categorise different types of learners. By using these models, they have been able to lucidly decipher the types of learners that are present in the world and build a deeper understanding in this subject matter. If our understanding to these learning styles can be elucidated using scientific research and more learning style models, we would be able to create a conducive environment for students to learn and use a method of approach which could inexorably render a manifestation of academic excellence in these students. Based on the ILS (Inventory of Learning Styles), there are eight disparate kinds of learners— Active, Reflective, Sensing, Intuitive, Visual, Verbal, Sequential, and Global.[3] As a matter of fact, the list of learning styles found does not stop here, but goes on. It would doubtlessly be ideal if one could devise a method of instruction which is compatible with the learning styles of each and every person. However, that method is more or less impossible to concoct.[4] In correlation, it is like manufacturing a shoe of a particular size which would be able to fit the foot of everyone in the world. As it is not physically possible to fit a shoe of a particular size to the foot of everyone, it is palpably not possible to use a specific method of instruction on students of different learning styles. In a paper written by Larkin (2003), she asserts that her results indicate that although it is impossible to devise a method of instruction that can encompass all learning styles, it does not mean that students are not able to adapt to other learning styles. Using experimental data as a basis for her argument, she contends that the only way for students to adapt to other learning styles is if they use their preferred learning style as a basis to be built upon, thus engendering diversity in their methods of learning. If a preferred learning style is not used as an underpinning for other learning styles to be built on and the student is coerced into using other learning styles but their own, profound aberrations in the psychophysiology of the individual could be elicited.

In the event that someone is forced to learn with a learning style he is totally not used to, his pulse rates would have the proclivity to vary. In Holliday, T. L, & Said, S.H (2008)’s study, it was proven that there were vast differences in the pulse rates whenever the individual learned in a way he is not used to as compared to him using a preferred learning style. Results show that a higher pulse rate was evident whenever the student was learning with non dominant learning methodology and lower of that whenever the student was learning with a dominant learning methodology. It is believed that the occurrence of a higher pulse rate is essentially due to the stress induced during the time the student learns in a way he is not used to learning. As it is shown that learning with a non dominant learning style can increase stress levels, students who are not learning with their dominant learning style would not be able to take in the knowledge efficiently and thus lose the intrinsic motivation to learn new things. Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” If high levels of stress are induced in students through something as simple as learning with a non dominant learning style, how are they ever going to have the curiosity in subjects of science, humanities, and other fields of study? Because stress undermines the novelty of learning, these students would be aversive towards acquiring new skills and developing themselves in the intellectual aspect. The main benefit of homeschooling is the ability to be under a flexible curriculum. As important as the curriculum which fits the child’s learning style is, the teacher plays a huge role in guaranteeing the child’s academic success. If the teacher has a proximate relationship with the child, the teacher would more likely be able to empathise with the child, enabling him to look past his facade and know what kind of method of instruction would be compatible to his learning style. Most teachers think that their relationships between them and their students are inconsequential.[6] They incessantly think that their student’ success is determined based solely on their inclination to learn. As much as that is true, that rule weighs heavier on the teacher than it is on the student. Rather than understanding the students’ true idiosyncrasies, most teachers misunderstand students and take them to be frivolous to the pursuits of their own academic peregrination whenever they refuse to learn. However, in the case that the parents are the teachers of the child, the likelihood of the child succeeding is exponentially higher. Because the rapport has been gradually built between the child and the parent over the years, it allows the parent to discern the child’s strong points and weaknesses; this gives the parent the benefit of rendering the child with a curriculum that is best tailored to the child’s needs.[7] This would doubtlessly give the child the upper hand to learn without being subjected to the stressors evoked when using non-preferred learning styles. Although homeschooling may be an option that is commonly veered away by a lot of parents, it would paradoxically provide their children with the abilities to thrive in the workforce or higher education. With regards to the flexibility of their curriculum, they are able to learn in a way that would best accommodate their needs and foster the ingenuity in their minds. Through this flexibility, the child is able to have a teacher which knows him best and the opportunity to be enrolled in an enumeration of social clubs which could ideally bolster his understanding in the academic subjects that he is undertaking. Furthermore, his educational experience would be one that is completely free from the “Learning-Incompatibility” stressors. Most of time, students learn for the sake of learning. They gradually develop an antipathy for learning, as they feel that their minds are assailed by these stressors. Will this then stifle their propensity to think out of the box? Given that this may be the crux of the problem of why many kids do not relish the process of learning, homeschooling might just be the right formula to that very problem.

Bibliography [1] Romanowski, M.H, “Revisiting The Common Myths About Homeschooling” (2006). Ada, Ohio: Heldref Publications, 79(3) 125-129 [2] Chang, S. M, Gould, O. N, & Meuse, R. E, “The Impact of Schooling on Academic Achievement: Evidence From Homeschooled and Traditionally Schooled Students”(2011). Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science: 43(3), 195-202 [3] Perna, Jennifer, “Learning Styles and Their Effect on Student Learning” (2011). Senior Honors Theses. 270. h p://commons.emich.edu/honors/270 [4] Felder, R.M, & Brent. R, “Understanding Student Differences”(2005). Journal Of Engineering Education: 94(1), 52-72 [5] Holliday, T. L, & Said, S.H, “Psychophysiological Measures of Learning Comfort: Study Groups’ Learning Styles and Pulse Changes”(2008). Rockville, Maryland: Science Learning Center, 13(1), 9-15 [6] Hattie, J. A.C, “ Visible Learning: A Synthesis Of Over 800 Meta-Analysis Relating To Achievement” (2009). Milton, Oxfordshire: Routledge, 3-6 [7] Clements, A. D, “ Variety Of Teaching Methodologies Used By Homeschoolers: Case Studies Of Three Homeschooling Families”(2002). Johnson City, Tennessee: Education Resources Information Center, 2-6

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