The ideal way to teach people is one at a time. There can be some synergy in a group, but to be sure that a person is learning, and to give the learner a chance to relate to the material personally, the best form of education is one-on-one tutoring. In the best case scenario, the teacher or facilitator of learning is available to the learner at all times. It is impossible to fall through the cracks when you are the only one there. There are no cracks! Individualized education is the ideal. There are other important factors that influence the effectiveness of the instruction such as the quality of the learning material, the matching of the teaching with the learning style, the attitude of the instructor toward the student and vice versa, and the level of interest of the student.
In individualized education each student is valued as an individual and is instructed in a manner that lines up with his skills and what he is interested in. To teach a student individually, you don’t need a big chalkboard or even whiteboard usually. Most things can just be written on a regular sheet of paper and explained one-on-one. It’s a tutoring situation instead of a group situation. It’s easy for the teacher to give a lot more focused attention to each student. And immediate feedback is very helpful in the learning process. The teacher can tell the student right away if something is right or wrong or can discuss a concept right at the time the student is encountering and engaging with an idea or topic of interest. Deeper, more lasting learning happens in this atmosphere than in a classroom full of people with a leader who has a lesson plan and a time limit.
Group lessons can be helpful, and some good thinking can be inspired by a good speaker. But the very best type of learning comes from what you meditate, ponder, consider, compare, and add to your own body of knowledge and beliefs on your own time and in your own way. Individualized education should allow thinking time and inspire further study of topics that interest the student.
I see homeschooling as the ideal way to individualize education. Another benefit of homeschooling is that students do less comparing of themselves to other students. Kids can build up confidence in their abilities. They aren’t constantly compared to other kids. If a brother or sister is better at something, the teacher (mother) can explain, “They’re older than you are” or “You’re really good at this other thing”. There isn’t that feeling of being not as smart or being in competition with others but the student is just doing the best that he can. He just does his personal best.
So I see the ability to individualize instruction as a major perk of homeschooling. The schools would love to be able to individualize, but it’s just not possible with the class sizes they have. We should take advantage of the wonderful opportunity we have to allow our children to specialize and go deep into subjects they love and want to explore to the fullest extent. They can learn and discover to their heart’s content. So let them!