Welcome to part 3 of this blog series where I am researching different aspects of home-schooling and whether or not it is a beneficial alternative to traditional schoolings, such as public schooling. This post is based off a study of students in high-performing high schools where many students are very actively involved in many extracurricular activities on top of keeping up their grades and staying caught up with their classes. However, it has been found that many of these students are suffering in other life aspects such as high levels of stress, anxiety over their academics and are losing sleep in order to maintain their GPA. (Conner, Miles, & Pope 2014) These high-performing high schools are causing such high levels of stress that some critics call them “pressure-cookers” causing people to really question the benefit of these kinds of learning environments.
In this study, several areas were studied with respect to various aspects of health and level of teacher support. Overall, it seems that no matter who that teacher is, if the student feels that they are well liked and supported, they are more successful and face less stress. Unfortunately, it is not enough for a teacher to just care about their student, “they must also take steps to help more of their students perceive this caring relationship.” (Connor, Miles, & Pope 2014)
Prior research has suggested that the better relationship the student has with their teachers the better the student will perform in school but it also improves their overall mental health and stress level. It is also suggested that students attending under-resourced schools, such as schools who do not have enough teachers, are often at a disadvantage. (Conner, Miles, & Pope 2014) This makes sense since from childhood until emerging adulthood, teachers are who children are spending a large portion of their day with. If a child is feeling unliked or unsupported, they are going to decline. There are studies that have proven babies need love and attention to flourish and that need does not simply disappear after a certain age. While I have not personally studied those studies fully, with this knowledge, it makes sense why a positive or negative student-teacher relationship can really determine the success of the student.
Positive student-teacher relationships are defined as a relationship where the student feels respected, valued and supported. (Conner, Miles, & Pope 2014) While I know there are many teachers out there that fit this definition, I also know there are several who are not willing or capable of developing these kinds of relationships with their students. With that being said, what better relationship is there between a mother and their child (most of the time)? I know that home-schooling is not made for every family and I know I am repeating myself, but it is not a decision that should be made lightly. It is a big commitment and I recommend really doing some research before deciding if it is right for your family and your personal situation.
I want to remind everyone that this post series is not at all to deter parents from enrolling their children in traditional schools and as we have found out, there is not a ton of difference between home-schooled children and children that go to traditional schools. So far it seems that they are very similar. My research is solely for finding out if home-schooling is at least as beneficial as traditional schooling.
Conner, J. O., Miles, S. B., & Pope, D. C. (2014). How many teachers does it take to support a student? Examining the relationship between teacher support and adverse health outcomes in high-performing, pressure-cooker high schools. The High School Journal, 98, 22-42. doi:10.1353/hsj.2014.0012