Beberapa hari yang lalu, aku ditelpon oleh Putri Dian Prameshwari, reporter Jakarta Globe. Kami mengobrol tentang homeschooling. Berikut ini hasil tulisan Putri yang dimuat di Jakarta Globe.
Indonesian Parents Look to Advantages of Schooling in the Home
InLong hours in class, pile after pile of assignments and bullying are not on this kind of school’s curriculum. Although homeschooling may have spared many a child from problems students encounter at conventional schools, is it really the answer for everyone?
Budiarjo, a director at Homeschooling Kak Seto, a private education foundation, said that over the past year, the number of students enrolled in its home-learning program had shot up from 250 to 485.
“It surprises me how many parents are interested in this program,” he said.
But Budiarjo said interest also came from people who wanted to finish their studies, with classes for dropouts outside of regular schooling. “The classes are held twice or three times a week,” he said.
Last year, the Home Schooling and Alternative Education Association (Asah Pena), chaired by Seto Mulyadi, who is also chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak), estimated that there were more than 30,000 homeschooling cooperatives around the country that had yet to register with the association.
More parents were turning to home-based education as an alternative because it was accessible to all families, the association said.
Several homeschooling foundations, Budiarjo said, provided private tutors who visited students’ homes, although parents could also choose to send their children to classes, usually in a local community center.
He said most children taught at home were gifted in music, sports and arts because they were free to nurture their interests while at the same time benefiting from formal lessons. One of Budiarjo’s students, a professional motocross rider, turned to homeschooling because he found it difficult to split his time between regular school and the track.
Budiarjo said homeschooling allowed the student to practice motocross every day while still studying the curriculum to prepare for his national exams.
“The main point is, we want to give them life skills,” he said.
For those new to homeschooling, a raft of information is available online from Web sites that offer tutorials and forums for parents to share their experiences.
Sumardiono, a father of three who lives in Jakarta, said homeschooling meant his children were not limited by their schools and could learn about whatever interested them.
“My kids are free to explore,” he said, “and hopefully, later on, I can see them developing according to their interests.”
Sumardiono has been teaching Yudhistira, 9, Tata, 5, and Duta, 1, ever since they were born as an alternative to formal schooling, which he labeled a “mass commodity.”
“Children have different potential and formal schools cannot accommodate all those different qualities,” he said.
Together with his wife, Lala, Sumardiono said they tried to expose their children to different subjects, including mathematics, science and computers.
He records their progress on his Web site, in which Yudhistira and Tata have their own blogs. They update them regularly with what they have learned.
“It’s pretty easy if parents are committed to it,” he said.
But Satria Dharma, who heads the independent Indonesian Teachers’ Club, said there was a lack of public knowledge about how to teach children at home — a problem that the Ministry of National Education needed to address.
“The ministry must be able to help direct parents on how to go about teaching their children at home,” he said, adding that most parents relied only on online communities to share their experiences and learn more about teaching methods.
Triyadi, director of equivalency programs at the Education Ministry, said the government was trying to facilitate the needs of homeschoolers by making the basic curriculum available to parents for them to use and develop.
Although Satria said home-based education could be advantageous for some children, he was wary of the downsides.
He said parents should be particularly aware of the impact of taking their children out of the normal classroom environment, which reduces interaction with other kids.
“Clearly, it hampers the opportunity for children to socialize with their peers,” he said.
Budiarjo, however, argued that cooperatives and regular gatherings for children and parents were a way around the social isolation of homeschooling.