By Alifia Afflatus, 13, homeschooler from Indonesia
I don’t have many homeschooling friends – definitely because homeschooling is – still – extra rare. Most of my friends come from formal-schooled backgrounds. People – including my friends – frequently throw questions to me. Sometimes it honestly feels exhausting to acquire so many questions which sound like they are assuming that homeschooling is a negativity, an illegal education, or strange, which is literally untrue.
Negative assumptions and curious questions about the homeschooling world obviously should be answered – to enlighten people about this education model. So on this worthy occasion, I would like to answer a bunch of questions and numerous conjectures about homeschooling. Enjoy!
Q : Are homeschoolers awkwardly socialized?
A : Absolutely not. Homeschooling has no impact on whether someone is well-socialized or awkwardly socialized. It is worse if someone is being around people where s/he is bullied or even bullying. And it is better to be in a small community where s/he socializes well, having a skill to manage and build a good a socialization. It is way, way, better when we are in a vast environment of people and we all socialize well. But in fact, most homeschoolers socialize well. From many communities and various activities, I used to socialize with people with different backgrounds, cross-ages, and it opens my knowledge about my environment and world – and so were other homeschoolers.
Q : Are homeschoolers not doing school?
A : Well, if someone has a prejudice like this, homeschoolers can prove that this prejudice is not true. Homeschoolers of course do school. I can understand that probably, this prejudice comes from how homeschoolers usually seem like they don’t do hard work, and their times are more flexible. But there is no difference with students in formal school. Homeschoolers work hard and learn, having educational projects – and what commonly makes it become different – is that – by the system, homeschoolers are allowed to pick options of what they would like to learn, when, where, and how.
Q : Alifia, how could you learn effectively? How could you shorten your middle-school studying period into just two years?
A : Well, people have their own learning type. But my favorite method of learning is by autodidact learning. I can learn easily by just reading, reviewing myself, observing, practicing or listening – with the term, I learn them myself, without a teacher. The attendance of a teacher sometimes makes me nervous, because I am the type of person who likes to learn something myself, not pressured by being monitored by the teacher. This is the way I learn effectively: I learn by my own method, and because I learn this way, I enjoy the learning process, and it automatically becomes more effective. If at school I would learn one lesson theme in two or three weeks, I can learn it in just one or three days.
Q : Could homeschoolers go to college?
A : This is a pessimistic question. Why? Because many successful people are homeschooled and they went to college. Some even went to college at a younger age than the normal age of someone who studies in the university.
Q : Could homeschoolers join the exam?
A : In Indonesia, the national examination is like a ‘god’ of students. The national examination is more crucial than professional specific skills. The national examination is the main purpose of learning instead of useful skills, creativity, and a good personality. Even though homeschoolers usually learn to achieve a good capability for doing a specific skill for their future life, homeschoolers can be legalized by exam too. The national examination legalizes a student, and its other function is to continue someone’s education to higher degree or university. If a homeschooler wants to join a scholarship, they can also join IELTS, TOEFL, IGCSE, Cambridge test and others. They have the same chance like formal school students!
Q : I think homeschoolers are in a rush to accelerate themselves to a higher class/grade in a shorter time. It is like there’s no real process. It is different with formal education where acceleration is rare. Moreover, for example, in Germany, school education is a must for thirteen years and should not be accelerated. What do you think as a homeschoolers?
A : Okay, I can accept your opinion. But my orientation is different, it is the opposite of yours about education. I consider that education has no time limit and too many terms. If there is no word “late” to learn, then there is no word “too young” learn, or “too fast” to learn. If someone can learn faster than the other people, why not? Besides being more effective, someone can obtain her professionality at a younger age. Is this having no process? Really? Hello, people are different so they need different periods, times and ways in their learning process.
To be continued with Part 2 in next issue…