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Home Schooling and Sociological Perspectives - Essay Example

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Indeed, it is the case that education is one of the many – sided process of socialization that serves a general purpose of both political and economic needs. That is why schools are established in every part of our society. Nonetheless, instead of educating individuals via the conventional type of attending the formal settings of schools, home schooling has been chosen by some parents as an alternative for their child or children’s education…
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Home Schooling and Sociological Perspectives
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Indeed, it is the case that education is one of the many – sided process of socialization that serves a general purpose of both political and economic needs. That is why schools are established in every part of our society. Nonetheless, instead of educating individuals via the conventional type of attending the formal settings of schools, home schooling has been chosen by some parents as an alternative for their child or children’s education. In fact, this education of children at home usually by parents or even by tutors continues to gain popularity among parents in both United States and Canada (Basham, Merrifield and Hepburn, 2007). Given this, the focus of this paper is to view home schooling through the perspectives of three main sociological theories namely: functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. Basically, the functionalist theory sees society at a macro – level orientation through perceiving such as a complex system whose elements are functioning together to promote harmony and stability (Macionis, 2010). In this regard, the functionalist approach mainly understands home schooling as advantageous for the society because it functions to serve its needs of conveying the knowledge, skills and core values to the generation of individuals who could not easily adapt to the environment of schools. The conventional type of education is flawed in a sense that generally, there is no special program which caters for the educational needs of children with disabilities, young athletes and actors or actresses, or children in family residing in isolated rural areas. While the current traditional sort of education caters for the needs of “normal” students, home schooling is extremely functional for those students who need special and individualized attention. Instead of not going to school which would be really a dysfunction of society, home schooling has turned out to be a popular alternative that has become a practical option for others who slip through the cracks of the conventional type of educational system. On the one hand, while it is likewise true that conflict theory perceives the society at large, it contradicts functionalism through suggesting that the social, political and material inequalities of a social group produce class conflict (Knapp, 1994). From the perspective of conflict theory, education serves a purpose of preserving the inequalities in the society. It is true that both functionalism and conflict theory perceive same purposes of education. However, the divergence comes from perceiving educational system as a means of maintaining the power of those who dominate the society while oppressing the others to accept their lower class position. In terms of home schooling, the conflict theory perceives such as only those disabled and other students who have the access to materials can resort to this alternative form of education. Such would also create social inequality. Hence, still, home schooling is still a form of education which would still serve a function of maintaining the existing inequalities in the society. Meanwhile, while the previous theories see society at a macro – level, the symbolic interactionism observes society at a micro level of analysis. On the whole, this perspective argues that the ability of human beings to communicate with other through symbols has accounted for the possibility of society. According to Blumer (1962), the behaviors of human are based on the meanings individual ascribed to things in which such meanings have stemmed from the interaction of an individual with the others and the rest of the society. As such, the world is experienced through a constructed reality because the meanings individuals ascribed to things are managed and altered via each individual’s interpretation (Blumer, 1962). Based on the interactionist approach, education is limited to what is directly observed in the realms of schools. That is to say, the interaction within the school does influence how the student would perceive, react and behave toward the other things depending on how they see meanings on them. In terms of home schooling, the social interaction is indeed, limited. It is the case that the size of the group has relevance in the influence of people’s interaction with one another. Having a set up where it is just the student child and the parent or the tutor means less social interaction. The learning is said to be limited only within the environment of home. As such, the constructions of reality are only based on this restricted sphere. Personally, I would only consider home schooling for my children under certain circumstances. That is following the functionalist approach. If my children need special and individualized attention like having disabilities or other situations, I would therefore resort to home schooling as a viable alternative. This is for the reason that such option would benefit not only my children, but the whole family and the society as well. However, if my children are considered “normal” students, I would still prefer the conventional type of education through the formal setting of school. This is because I take into consideration the significance of socialization in people’s lives. The larger the size of group, the more it influences the children’s thinking and behavior. References: Basham, P., Merrifield, J., and Hepburn, C.R. (2007). Home schooling: From the extreme to the mainstream (2nd eds). A Franser Institute Occasional Paper. Studies in Education Policy. Retrieved from http://www.rohus.nu/remissvar/bilagor/bilaga%207%20%E2%80%93%20Homeschooling%20-%20From%20the%20extreme%20to%20the%20mainstream.pdf Blumer, Herbert (1962). Society as symbolic interaction. In Arnold M. Rose. Human behavior and social process: An interactionist approach. Houghton-Mifflin.  Knapp, P. (1994). One world- many worlds: Contemporary sociological theory. Harpercollins College Div.  Macionis, G. (2010).Sociology. (7th Canadian Ed). Canada: Pearson Inc. Read More
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