For a growing community belonging to the young urban parent population of India, sending their child to a school is not good enough anymore. With parents turning into teachers and homes into learning spaces, home schooling is fast catching up as hundreds of Indian parents across the country have ‘unschooled’ their kids with city not staying far behind with at least 50 such couples doubling up as teachers for their kids at home. Homeschooling has taken off in a big way in the USA with number of children who are studying at home increasing by a whopping 75% over the past 15 years, according to a just-concluded survey by US-based National Home Education Research Institute. Closer home in Hyderabad, parents are confident of making their decision work.
“Every child is unique and needs special attention which cannot happen in a class with 60 other children. In his ninth grade, my son said that he was not agreeing to the teaching methods in his school. Since then, i have been homeschooling him,” said Shailaja Karanam, founder and mentor at Sveccha, a homeschooling resource centre in Hyderabad. A home-based education typically involves everything that a regular schooling doesn’t; flexible learning hours, games, videos, music and no additional homework. For many parents, the choice to teach their child at home is a rebellion against the conventional system. Homeschooled kids can appear for the 10th and 12th grade exams through the National Institute of Open Schooling or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
Teaching methods at home are commonly influenced by the Cambridge or Waldorf systems, which rely largely on application based learning rather than rote memorization of
matter. Nationally, homeschooling in groups such as Roots forum in Mumbai and Swashikshan- Indian Association of Homeschoolers are confident of making their decision work. In Vadodara, a co-operative system recently kicked off whereby a group of parents come together and ‘school’ their kids on a common platform. Nationally, homeschooling in groups such as Roots forum in Mumbai and Swashikshan- Indian Association of Homeschoolers are confident of making their decision work. In Vadodara, a co-operative system recently kicked off whereby a group of parents come together and ‘school’ their kids on a common platform.”I see other children going through academic stress the day they enter school and I know that is not what I want for my child. Kids need to know that they have a choice to not go through a pigeon holed system of learning,” said Subbu Parmeshwaran, an entrepreneur in the education system, who has been homeschooling his five-year-old son for the past few months.Parmeshwaran gives an example of how he took his car-crazy son to a showroom where he was allowed to roam around endlessly and ask any questions pertaining to his passion.
“There are many things that a textbook cannot teach and we must look beyond books. By homeschooling him, my child can learn when he is at his productive best,” he said. Dola Dasgupta, a single mother who has homeschooled both her daughter,11, and son,7, said that spending all day with a growing up child has its natural challenges. “Teaching resources must be built specific to the child. In addition, several other emotions come into play while schooling your own child which needs to be tackled. It is like creating a new path everyday,” she said. The seemingly laid back system however is not fool-proof. Some educationists say that if a child misses out the school going experience, there is a possibility that he stands to become a recluse with poor social skills. “Last year, we had a homeschooled child appear for the IGSCE exams. Though intelligent, he was very reticent and refused to make eye contact with any of the staff members. At home, schooling environment will obviously lack in providing the necessary set-up for a child to become socially adept,” said Maya Sukumaran, principal of Gitanjali School, Begumpet.