How Kenyans are slowly adopting the Concept of Home Schooling.

PHOTO COURTESY.

With the numerous challenges facing the education sector in this country and especially in public institutions, parents are slowly seeking alternatives for their school going children.

The current curriculum, some argue, limits ability and potential of learners because it is geared towards passing exams rather than impacting life skills for the learners. And with the frequent teacher’s strikes, the issue of schooling has become a hot topic in many circles.

Home schooling is providing parents with the perfect opportunity for their children to get the education they need to become productive citizens and benefit their community.

Home schooling entails education of children in a home setup as opposed to schooling in a traditional public or private school. It is a customised and personalised teaching that is unique for individual development.

In Kenya, home schooling is recognised under the Alternative Education Policy which has provisions for non-formal education. In African traditional society, the concept of educating children at home was common. However, with colonisation and subsequent introduction of Western lifestyle and philosophy, the concept was lost.

How does home schooling work?

Each family decides on the curriculum they will use and the pace at which they will educate their children. Most of the tuition takes place in the family home around the child’s current commitments. Other families may choose to follow a formal school curriculum with guidance from a tutor(s) or an individual student may opt to study on their own (home-based) and book a summative examination once ready. 

Several home schooling groups may opt to form support systems called co-ops to support systems for parents pursuing similar goals. The co-ops occasionally get together and engage in activities that require a group setting such as field trips, sports and arts and crafts. In doing so, the home-schooled children acquire socialisation skills from being among their peers, while their parents enjoy being part of a network that encourages them.

Why this shift?

The main reason why the concept of home schooling is slowly gaining momentum in Kenya can be attributed to a number of reasons including a failing education system (8-4-4), wanting parental economic background, parental future educational plans, distance to and from school, past educational experiences of the child, child’s interests and temperament. Such reasons are likely to prompt parents to choose different educational methods, which represent a variety of educational philosophies and paradigms.

The programme endeavours to focus on curricula which nurtures the child’s natural skills and talents rather than bother them with subjects that don’t fit their interests.

Instead of grades as a measure of performance, tutors basically compile a portfolio which is a record that shows the learner’s achievements and milestones. It illustrates their talents and strengths, dreams and future ambitions.

Growth.

Contrary to what most people think, homeschooling continues to grow in popularity and now more families are working to graduate their students at various levels.

Currently, there are a number of home schooling platforms in Kenya that support parents and individual learners as they go through the home schooling programme. This form of tuition is very popular with foreigners and parents who wish to prepare their children for a new /different international education system.

Shortcomings.

Local public universities do not recognise this concept and parents whose children go through this system are forced to seek international schools that accept it. To overcome this, some students decide to sit the local national exams privately and then proceed to regular schooling at university.

As a parent, tremendous time and energy is required to prepare for the lessons thus they end up having less time or no time for themselves to engage in other activities.

The children are less exposed to the social life found in schools on a daily basis thus losing some social interaction with peers.
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