In modern countries homeschooling has become an option for parents to provide education for their children. In Indonesia, homeschooling is still a controversial issue yet this new trend of schooling has potential to be an educational breakthrough for parents seeking both flexibility and curricula-based outcomes.
Homeschooling is basically a learning process that can be conducted everywhere, particularly at home, with their family or children in the communities. Parents can creatively build a teaching-learning model that can cater to the needs of their children in order to achieve optimum learning results.
Aulia R. Sungkar spoke with renowned child psychologist Seto Mulyadi, or Kak Seto as colleagues affectionately call him, about the issue.
The following are excerpts from the interview:
Q: How effective is the homeschooling program?
A: Homeschooling is a natural learning activity that does not depend much on teaching, like in formal schools, but more on following the children’s interests. Every child is different and has the potential to unveil his or her talent Take a look at some noted figures such as scientist Albert Einstein, artist Vincent Van Gogh or poet Rendra, where each has different talents and skills. Therefore, it will be easier to dig up a child’s potential through a closer individual approach. How could a teacher be able to know every of his or her student’s talent during a class, which is packed with 30 to 40 students?
Q: Who is the teacher during the homeschooling program?
A: Parents, as their children’s role model, can help discover their children’s talent and build the skills and knowledge their children have learned. However, other educators’ participation should be taken into consideration. Parents may not know how to teach English, for example. Having a good English instructor involved in the program will benefit the child’s progress as the teacher can have a better individual approach.
Q: How much value can children gain through a homeschooling program compared to regular schooling?
A: Even though there is interactive learning and teaching at school, many parents feel that schools do not really address the values that parents want their children to have. In advanced countries like the US and the UK, some parents prefer homeschooling because they want the children to feel that home is not just a place to stay but to study as well. In addition to having a flexible learning schedule, homeschooling provides a comfortable environment that can positively support the child learning target. Schools teach moral values, but the outcome often falls beyond what parents expect. For example, it is quite common to see children nowadays come home from school with negative feelings: angry, depressed or isolated.
Q: What causes such negative impacts?
A: While some children do great at school, more than a few do terribly. It is an irony to see many children who do not feel good about themselves as they are told by their fellow students that they are not smart. This sad phenomenon can lead students to having inferior characters. It is so unfortunate that many teachers choose to use strict discipline methods during class. Such rigid structure can actually discourage children’s creativity and independent thinking. Every child has an intuitive learning process, but can be deterred if a teacher uses such rigid instructions. The father of Indonesian education, Ki Hajar Dewantara had said that the Indonesia’s education system was lying dormant. His well-known educational philosophy, ‘tut wuri handayani’ (in the back ready to give assistance) has become our national education motto. It is sad, though, that many teachers have instead been giving strictly rigid discipline to their students.
Published in Tatler Bambini, special edition, January 2009.
Photos by Tony.