Home is the most important informal agency of education. It is an agency which is responsible for imparting early education and lying down the basis of farther education. In the words of Ballard, “Family is the original social institution, from which all other institutions have developed”. It is an institution to which every one of us is born. There is no parallel or substitute of the home as an agency of education.
(A) Important functions of home
1. Social functions.
2. Economic functions.
3. Civic functions.
4. Moral functions.
5. Religious functions.
(B) Educational functions of home
1. Primary social organisation.
2. Teaches the basic function of living.
3. Basis of personality.
4. Vocational education.
5. Self-confidence and positive outlook.
6. Social interaction.
7. Citizenship education.
8. Moral and spiritual values.
(A) Important Functions of Home
1. Social Functions.
Home is the first social environment in the education of the child. Russell says, “Home gives the child the experience of effective and of a small community in which he is important. He has also the experience of relationship with people of both the sexes and different ages, and of the multifarious business of adult life”.
Thus it is in the family that the child gets his first social relationships, in which and through which he acquire and organizes his experience. It is in infancy that he acquires many of the social partners, habits, manners and attitudes which determine his future adjustment.
Again it is in the home that he learns how to speak, talk, eat, wear clothes, live neatly and greet others respectfully. Thus, family is the first and most important social agency which plays an important role in the socialization of the child.
2. Economic Functions.
Family is a well knit economic unit. Real economic socialism prevails in the family because the golden rule of socialism, ‘From each according to capacity and to each according to needs prevails here.
The child enjoys complete economic security and all his economic needs are fulfilled by the parents, which helps to provide a secure atmosphere for the overall development of the child. The child can study and acquire any type of training because he is not to worry about the expenses.
Thus, the family provides the children with full! Economic security and freedom from economic worries this is essential and helpful for a balanced personality of the child.
Family also acts as a medium for transmitting vocational knowledge and technical skill to children. In this way, children are prepared for) future life. This is especially true in the case of primitive and run vocations, like agriculture, carpentry etc. Thus the family helps the children in a large number of ways.
3. Civic Functions.
Home is rightly called the primary school of; civic virtues. It is in the family that the child learns the first lesson. In civilization. He receives training in discipline and self control. He learns to obey and respect the elders.
He learns the importance of mutual rights and duties. It is also in the family that ‘we feeling’ and sense of ‘belongingness’ is developed. Thus, Mizzini is quite correct when he says that “the first lessons of citizenship are learnt between the mother’s kiss and the father’s caress”.
4. Moral Functions.
The moral qualities are also imbibed by the child at home as in the family, the child acts as others act, he thinks) and feels as other members of family do. He accepts the home-code as! an essential pattern of his life.
If the parents are honest, truthful, hard’ working, courageous and disciplined, their children will also imitate them in their day to day behaviour. It is in family that the child learns to| show respect and reverence for all that is noble and to strive after purity of thought, word, and deed. Thus home is a cradle for learning and imbibing the much needed moral qualities.
5. Religious and Cultural Functions.
The basis of religious and spiritual faith is also laid down in the home. Home pays special attention | to the religious and cultural development of children. The parents! Generally impress upon the children to observe rules of religion in the home.
The religious atmosphere of the home is automatically imbibed by the children. In addition to these, the family also takes part in various types of cultural activities. The family observes a certain code of conduct
and emphasises the virtues of noble life. All such good practices are inherited by the children and preserved as traditions of the family. In this way, the continuity of culture and religion is maintained in the family.
(B) Educational Functions of Home
The functions of home as discussed above are nothing but educational. In addition to these the family performs the following educational functions as well.
1. Primary Social Organisation.
Home is the first and the primary social organisation that is available to the child. It is in the home that the child becomes aware of the world around him. There is interaction of the members of the family which provides social and socialising experience to the children. Thus, the first lessons of social living are learnt in the family.
2. Teaches the Basic Functions of Living.
It is in the home that the child learns the basic functions of living. For example, the child learns to speak, act, dress and pick up many good things or habits imitating the other members of the family. It is in this atmosphere that the child’s whole personality grows and develops. Thus if development of a balanced personality is an objective of a good system of education, then home is the most effective educational agency.
3. Basis of Personality.
The infancy and the early child-hood periods are the most impressionable years of a child’s life. The broad bases of personality are laid down during this period. The family helps the children to form sound basis of personality, which proves to be very helpful for the future education of children.
4. Vocational Education.
The family also provides vocational education to the children who wish to adopt the trade and occupation of their father. The girls, on the other hand, learn to do the role of housewives by helping their mothers at home and by learning from them. This training and education proves very useful to them in their later life.
5. Self-Confidence and Positive Outlook.
The secure atmosphere of the family provides self-confidence and develops a positive outlook on life in the children which helps to develop a confident and well-balanced personality.
Love, affection and security are the basic psychological needs of children, which are amply fulfilled by the family. A well knit family provides the right type of atmosphere for the growth and development of children, on which a sound edifice of future education of children is to be built.
6. Social Interaction.
Family is an ideal form of socia1 organisation. Through participation in social interaction in the family, the child acquires many social virtues such as co-operation, mutual understanding and fellow feeling. Family is the most important centre of social gatherings, through religious ceremonies and social festivals. Children learn good social behaviour on such occasions. As children grow and participate in bigger social units, they continue to exhibit the same behaviour pattern as was developed at home. This is itself a good education.
7. Citizenship Education.
The family is also responsible for providing citizenship education which is one of the major objectives of education in a democratic country like India. Through active participation in household activities, children are trained to shoulder responsibilities, understand their rights and duties, and learn to sacrifice their personal comforts and interests for the larger interest of their family. In this way a good basis of citizenship education is formed in the family.
8. Moral and Spiritual Values.
Moral and spiritual values are also imbibed by the children at home. Family is the only effective agency for providing education for morality and spirituality to children, which is seldom provided in schools. Members of a family generally hold the same religious faith, celebrate the same religious ceremonies and attend the same church or temple. A good deal of religious education is thus imparted to children.
The moral and religious attitudes to the parent are automatically and unconsciously imbibed by the children, which lays a good and sound basis of moral and religious education of the children.
Thus family is one of most effective agency of education. It Infact, the very basis of all social, moral, economic, aesthetic, cultural religious and spiritual inter-actions in the family and in the society but it must be noted that in the modern complex and complicated social order it is not possible for the family to impart all the requisite education t the rising generations.
Therefore, the children must be sent to which is a formal and specified agency of education, set-up for the achievement of the specific purpose of education. The home should render all co-operation and help to school for bringing about the harmonious and progressive development of the children. Home should co-operate with the school authorities with regard to their educational programmes.