Table of Contents
- Pros of Homeschooling
- Cons of Homeschooling
- Pros of Public Schooling
- Cons of Public Schooling
Children who learn English as a second language may have difficulties learning in the traditional academic environment or struggle keeping up with the language. Home school may seem like an apt antidote to this problem, but could you be robbing your child of the chance for language immersion that they would otherwise get in a school where the predominant language spoken is English?
In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of homeschooling children who are ESL learners so you can make your own decision for your child. Factors vary in deciding what is ultimately the best choice, relevant to age, prior experience with the language, and a child’s sociability. Here are some common concerns and insights regarding the feasibility and benefits of both homeschooling and traditional public schooling for ESL learners.
Pros of Homeschooling
One of the most obvious pros of homeschooling an ESL learner is that the child gets to be in an environment that is not foreign to them. It is especially important that they have the support of a fellow speaker of their first and native language so that they feel understood and can fully understand their instructor – the parent.
Another pro to homeschooling is that, if the parent is knowledgeable enough of English and well-equipped to teach their child English, this environment may be the most rewarding to the child. There is less of an opportunity for the child to feel ashamed by their language skills or for them to become taunted for their language, which unfortunately is something that occurs often in the public school setting because of the fact that there isn’t much awareness for the struggles that ESL learners face.
Cons of Homeschooling
One of the important cons to note about homeschooling ESL learners is that, depending on how young they are when you begin teaching them English, they may be past the chronological age at which it is easiest to acquire skills and knowledge of a new language. As a homeschooling mother notes at owlhaven.net, upper elementary aged children have a hard time acquiring new vocabulary skills at the regular rate that native English speakers can.
Among the cons to homeschooling, however, is that some believe this secluded environment is not conducive to the sociocultural perks of learning via language immersion. In theory, the public school environment should be able to provide a language immersion environment for ESL learners, due to the nature of children being able to take classes taught fully in English, so long as they are provided with the proper resources to assist them in bridging the gap for what they don’t yet know.
This, of course, is an ideal theory, but a post by Grace Chen on the Public School Review notes, however, that many public schools lack sufficient funding to support and give proper resources to students who are ESL learners, thus causing them to suffer amidst the success of their English-speaking peers. This brings us to the supposed pros of public schooling, key word being “supposed”.
Pros of Public Schooling
Public schools are the places that are supposed to be equipped with resources to meet ESL learners’ needs in order to meet state and national standards. Another suggested pro of public schooling is that it provides students with an environment where they can theoretically catch up to their English-speaking peers and be included in the chance for cultural and social immersion. Public school could also be helpful if the schools are equipped with special teachers or translators who know ESL learners’ native languages and can be paired with these students accordingly.
Cons of Public Schooling
As mentioned in the “pros”, public schools technically should be equipped with the resources necessary to transition ESL learners into an English-speaking environment, given that approximately 10 percent of public school students are still learning English as their second language, according to an NPR report by Claudio Sanchez. But do they actually fulfill this expectation?
Some schools aren’t even aware of the ESL learners that attend their classrooms if they don’t collect demographic data and surveys to determine how many resources and special teachers they need to meet the students’ needs. Because of this distinction, it becomes clearer and clearer that public schools may only be good in theory to meet the needs of ESL learners. Are they just an idealized substitution for the learn at home method?
Because of the disparities and exceptions in each option presented – public versus homeschooling – it seems evident that there may not be one right or wrong solution as to how ESL learners should be taught. Before making a decision, consider the pros and cons to each system and how they will affect your child in particular. Age may play a part in their ability to thrive in either environment, while their personal social preferences may play an even larger part. Hopefully, these considerations will help you to make an informed decision.