Does Homeschooling Really Protect Your Child from Bullying and Bad Influences?
When you put 30-40 kids of the same age in one room, there are things that are bound to happen. There will be people who will find good and lasting friendships while others compete, irritate, and upset one another. These are all part of growing and being together in a confined space of a typical classroom, five times a week. Each student carries with them unique gifts and talents and with it comes their own insecurities, issues, and problems. On top of these, each student comes from families with different backgrounds, diverse values, beliefs, and culture. They are forced to live together from 7:00AM to 3:00PM, do activities, eat, and play in the same school environment for years.
These students are under the supervision of only one teacher per subject, a teacher who is often overwhelmed with lessons that has to be covered for the day, papers to check, class records to update, on top of managing the behavior of students in an overpopulated classroom. In an age when children are always online, learning foul language that they never heard from home; and students learn to play violent games and capture a lot of angst and anger online, there is a higher risk that bullying and discrimination will take place in classrooms.
Can you imagine a classroom of highly energetic Grade 1 students running around and can barely contain sitting in one spot for three minutes, let alone five? The temperament, attitude, and unruly behavior that come with a certain age group? They can’t wait for their turn to speak so they end up talking all at the same time while their teacher tries to attend to all of them. Some students may come from a family who values discipline and have trained their kids to know their place and quietly sit, waiting for instruction. Many of them, however, will push to have their own way, and if another student will get in the way, bullying as we know it, happens even at a young age.
The more aggressive ones will push and bend whoever they can to get what they want. Over the years, these students will find themselves with a group of like-minded people, with the same temperament, attitude, and interests. In a typical school, there will be the group of strong-minded students who dominate the class for the good or bad, those that are steady and go with the flow.
There are also those like me, who belonged to the ‘target’ group, the ones picked and bullied whenever bigger kids get bored with their teachers and want to have some form of entertainment. In this chaotic world we call classroom, there will be those who are blessed with genuine friendships. However, we will also find among them students who are emotionally and mentally broken because of negative experiences brought about by rejection, bullying, and discrimination.
Homeschool setting changes the game plan for learning. Students are not forced to stay six to eight hours a day in a typical classroom with 30 to 40 other students, with only one teacher trying to teach and manage the classroom. Now, imagine a home where there are only one to four students, depending on the family size. Their parents, who also serve as teachers know their kids, their temperaments and attitude, well like the back of their hands. Groups of families can choose to homeschool together, allowing children to interact with the same age group. Their group size can also get as high as that of a regular classroom school setting.
The parents, being the primary teachers and authority when it comes to learning, can choose what kind of influence they will let their children have. Unlike in conventional school where bullies would only be forced to after several investigated violations of their student handbooks, and transfer to another institution, homeschooling parents can choose not to let children with unruly behavior come into their homes and learn together with their kids. They have the authority to filter the influence and the environment where their children will learn.
While we cannot control everything and there will be instances when homeschooling children still experience unpleasant things as they interact with different people, homeschooling gives parents the opportunity to filter and choose what happens in their homes, the kind of learning environment and the exposure students will have both online and their actual interaction with friends and peers. Homeschooling will demand careful planning and hard work from parents. It takes a lot of preparation, hard work, and strength to actually enforce every good plan to ensure that quality learning takes place, but will surely be well worth it.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22: 6).” The hardship, commitment and dedication that homeschooling requires from parents to train their children in the way they should go is a small price to pay compared to the benefits of providing a safe, healthy, and conducive learning environment for your children.