A Homeschooling Journey: From Indonesia

Study Tour IndonesiaStudents examine the model of Candi Jawi during a study tour at Trowulan Museum, East Java, Indonesia.
By Alifia Afflatus Zahra, 13, homeschooler from Indonesia

If an educator or observer visited Indonesia to learn about its school system, they might testify that in common public schools, there exists a system which could be a reason for shaking heads. Here, written marks are the priority or the main reason of the education system, instead of a student’s skills and moral development. Many educators have been treating students as the factory and the robots; the system demands students to be the same in passion and skills.

Instead of supporting students to have their own passions and talents, developing their skills, being creative and innovative – plenty of educators teach students to have high achievements only in several lessons, especially the academic ones like mathematics and science. In fact, by applying a system like this, education in Indonesia arduously developed.

Leaving the System

Feeling uncomfortable with this system – me and both of my parents discussed this until we reached an agreement – we decided that homeschooling would be a nice choice to continue my education journey. After we initially got stuck in a system which restricted my exploring desire, we were sure that we did not need to hesitate to be a homeschooling family.

Through many sites and books authorized by local or non-local writers, we have learnt much about homeschooling. The time we have been a homeschooling family, we have been delving further into homeschool world. The blogs and books written by experienced homeschooling families have assured us that homeschooling can change us. It might get my learning passion back after it shrinked once I could not easily enjoy learning at school, giving me way more time to ‘fix’ my habit and attitude, and learn the religion deeper as the religion schedule at school was very minor. Also, I have more time to develop my skills.

Since the first day we homeschooled, we plunged into many homeschool communities where we encountered good people who helped us enrich our knowledge and channels to reach higher education like college. Plus, we obtained more information about homeschooling programs (camp and workshops) that optimized my learning journey. What I – as a homeschooler – usually join, are nature camps where I increase my knowledge about nature and survival technic. Personally, I’m interested in outdoor adventures as a media for learning.

Therefore, we had an opportunity to scrutinise many things between homeschool and the whole education system in our country. Besides my academic lesson schedule, I spent my time learning about many education types and methods, and inspirational experiences outside the education system. So since two years ago, I became a homeschooler – and moved on from the public school I went to before.

On our first homeschool semester, we misunderstood about the homeschool world – as many people did in our country. We learned in a proper method, we also applied the appropriate system at home. But the mistake was not about it!

What is homeschooling?

Try to throw a question to many Indonesians about homeschool. And their reaction might be… “What is homeschooling?” “Homeschooling is like a flexible school where the learning duration is much shorter, like three times a week, right?” or “Wow! Homeschooling is an education for celebrities and famous people’s children, right?”, and more comments which imply that they assume how homeschool is strange.

In fact, most Indonesians do not really know what homeschool is – even the people from education governor groups. Frankly, homeschooling’s not something new in this country. Indeed, homeschooling has been legalized in our national constitution about home education.

This could be one of the reasons why there is an abundance of homeschool community – but compared to public school families, homeschooling families obviously are a minor group. Homeschooling in Indonesia has a tendency to be rare. Most of the people assume that homeschooling’s a kind of posh education fascia; only for rich or busy citizens, and kids with special needs. If not, parents only homeschool their children induced by their socialization and school marks problem.

In fact, there are numerous foundations that claim themselves as homeschooling foundations. Even though it took money to join those foundations (which is not cheap). In those foundations, students study in a mini-school in which the learning duration is shorter. Only an hour until two hours per studies, three times a week.

And what I actually did in my first homeschool semester was registering into a flexible school. This was the mistake. There, I met no difference with public school except its flexibility. After learning more about homeschooling from experienced homeschool families, I finally picked an option to unregister from this flexi-school, and turn to the ‘true’ homeschool.

“True” Homeschooling

The ‘True Homeschool’ made me feel completely independent. Me and my family did not have to pay either.

Independent homeschoolers used to claim themselves as flexible schools so that literally, what we understood as homeschool is a ‘school’ at home built by family for family. Take no charges, without any foundation, and usually without private teachers except if necessary.

To avoid children’s isolation – as what homeschoolers around the world have done – homeschooling families searched for communities to share, organizing educational activities for families, and organizing seminars for the parents. Like I have mentioned before, communities like this were just a minority amongst the public schoolers.

Unfortunately, to obtain legality, there (still) must be a great struggle and attempt exertions. When in fact, homeschooling students only need to study and join the examination (international or national examination) to have legality as a national student who is able to study in college.

What Indonesian homeschooling families deplored in these early days, was how the government seemed to be making it difficult for us to obtain official legalities. Homeschooling families were paying fees – sometimes with high cost – to join the examination, even though they were independent in many aspects. Frequently, we got news about how homeschoolers used to receive a diploma longer after regular school students receive theirs. Obviously, this way, the government did not treat us fairly.

But Indonesian homeschoolers are right now going to welcome a good news – the number of people who desire to learn about homeschool and commence to deschool (transition from public schooling into homeschooling). Homeschooling family communities are also flourishing into bigger numbers, which struggle to increase homeschooler skills and activities, and for the simplicity of our legalization. This country’s homeschooling communities expect that as homeschooling develops in Indonesia, legality could be very easily acquired by Indonesian homeschooling families.

Note: Alifia is looking for more homeschooling teen friends. You can contact her at alifia.afflatus@ gmail.com or at Alifia Afflatus Homeschooler on Facebook.

About the Author: “I’m a 13-year-old homeschooler (9th grader), been homeschooled for 2 years, from Semarang, Indonesia. I’m a blogger at www.hs-po.blogspot.com and a monthly contributor on the homeschool site www.aprinesia.com. I enjoy writing about home education, children, teens, history, nature, politics, religion, social and travel.”

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  1. Hello. You are right, this is really a great project.
    Any child, whether a student or already a student, sometimes needs the help of an adult. Since he alone can not do his job. He can help the child to call his talents, whether it’s drawing, dance, some kind of hobby or explain how to format a college essay or whatever. A good teacher is a gift, and your kids are very lucky with their teachers.

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