Conversations from Russia: Homeschooling Continues to Grow

According to analysts, the number of families choosing homeschooling doubles each year in Russia

About 100 thousand Russian schoolchildren did not go to school this September because their parents opted for homeschooling.

As we have written before, homeschooling for educational and religious reasons has been steadily on the rise in Russia. Since 2013, when laws were passed to make homeschooling easier, Russia has hosted international conferences on homeschooling and the interest in alternate methods of education has especially grown amid Christian families.

According to several sources, the number of families choosing homeschooling doubles each year in Russia.

The Ministry of Education cites more modest figures, indicating that the number of children in family and self-education from year to year remains about  9-10 thousand.  They still agree that the trend is growing across the country, just much more gradually. 

Either way, the fact that family education is gaining momentum in Russia remains. Parents more often decide to willingly take full control of their children's education. But why?

The schools is overcrowded. Teachers assign huge amounts of homework, in essence shifting the task of teaching to parents. Moms and dads end up staying up late with their children doing homework. In class, teachers simply check how the students prepared "by themselves"

said Amet Volodarsky, Ombudsman for Education under the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs. In essence, when parents realise that they are still shouldering most of the burden of their child's education, many decide to at least make it truly count.

It is important to note that in Russia, the term "homeschool" is used interchangeably with "family school" specifically because the child develops within the context and according to the beliefs and character of the family.

Facts and Numbers

According to researchers at Moscow State University, one of the most common reasons why parents begin to teach a child themselves is the unsatisfactory quality of school education.

The second most popular reason parents cite is preserving the health of the student and avoiding unnecessary stress for their child.

Some more data:

  •  Among homeschoolers only 39.3% of parents have a pedagogical education (at least one parent).
  • Most children in family education (46%) spend two to four hours a day on on lessons. About a third - and even less.
  • On average, children in family education attend two to three extracurricular circles.
  • They do not experience problems in communicating with peers according to the reports of 90% of homeschooling parents.

An Opinion

Roman Golubin, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Lobachevsky University:

Homeschool offers flexibility

The power of family education lies in its variability, flexibility, and the ability to plan your own time and your child's.

Today, self-help groups for parents are being formed in social networks, and the number of schools offering educational services through correspondence is increasing.

Moscow and St. Petersburg have traditionally led the movement.However, in 2019 a "family school" or homeschool has been registered in almost every constituent entity of the Russian Federation.

Obviously, in homeschooling parents can choose which subjects to teach or not, based on their moral reasoning or financial capacities. 

Moreover, "family schools" are very diverse in terms of training and the amount of payment for services. There are many moms and dads who like online lessons. They note the interest of children in new forms of teaching, well-chosen digital materials.

 According to informal surveys of parents, many large families and middle-income families would prefer a form of "e-family school", that is similar to study by correspondence.

That is, one without the requirement for the child to attend online classes every day. For them, it would be sufficient to have the child complete tasks that are appraised on an intermittent basis. 

What claims do skeptics make against family education? One of the main problems cited is the socialization of children.

Usually, in response to this, mothers and fathers object: in modern schools, socialization also leaves much room for improvement. Often, students are so busy that they simply lack time to maintain friendships.

The second problem cited is the pedagogical incompetence of parents, who would find it difficult to build a systemic education at home. For this problem, however, online schools come to the rescue.

Source: Rossiyskaya Gazetta