June 19 (CTK) – The number of children who are educated at home by their parents has been rising in the Czech Republic and this school year it amounted to 2067, while first graders prevail among them, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today.

Not only the families with an alternative lifestyle prefer homeschooling at present, LN adds.

A steep rise in the number of children who are educated at home is also caused by a new legislation that enables homeschooling even of older children, from the sixth to ninth grades of primary school. This school year, 449 children immediately used this opportunity, LN says.

The Education Ministry supported the change in view of a number of children who are not able to attend regular classes for various reasons, it adds.

However, homeschooling must be monitored carefully to prevent its abuse, Education Ministry spokeswoman Jarmila Balazova said.

All children who are educated at home must be tested twice a year at school to check whether their knowledge level corresponds to the standard curriculum.

LN also writes that most of the parents who teach their children at home or 73.3 percent say they decided so because they wanted to apply different teaching forms and methods than at regular schools, while only 12.5 percent chose homeschooling since their children suffered from a diagnosed health trouble or disability and the same share of parents because their children had problems to adapt to the collective at school.

Some of these parents recently spoke about their experience at a conference on homeschooling organised by the Scio company. It was held at the time when President Milos Zeman called homeschooling nonsense, LN writes.

Zeman argued that such parents would have to have a remarkable grasp in a number of school subjects.

“If they had such knowledge, they would be brilliant and they should have been displayed in a museum. However, most normal parents cannot do and do not know everything. Consequently, children are deprived of something as their parents give them just the knowledge they have, while a teacher is trained to convey knowledge in all fields,” LN quotes Zeman as saying.

LN writes that the highest number of children educated at home are first graders (404).

The parents who want to teach their children from the first up to the firth grade need at least a completed secondary-school education, while for teaching children from the sixth grade and older they must be university graduates.

Hana Zezulova, member of the Association of Homeschooling, says the children educated at home do not suffer from loneliness since families agree to teach their children at home together in groups and the parents alternate in teaching.

Children educated at home usually continue at secondary schools and universities without problems and they are successful there.

“We have experience that 99 percent of these children are admitted to the schools they choose, including the elite ones,” Zezulova told LN.

hol/t/rtj

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