Homeschooling: The new “back to school”
By Suraj Rao
“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.” ~Agatha Christie
The idea of homeschooling began during 1970. It was pioneered by John Holt who critiqued the conventional schooling system for its emphasis on rote learning and focus on producing docile individuals. He urged the parents to remove their kids from the school and teach their kids at home. It gained momentum in the 1980s
The unprecedented pandemic lockdown has thrown out of gear all the activities of the world including the school curriculum. Even if schools were to open, parents are skeptical of sending their children to schools. It would be difficult for the children to attend schools with the mask on the entire day. Although the virtual classes are gaining momentum, some of the parents are considering homeschooling also as a viable option.
A Parent’s Delight in Homeschooling
Rishin, a resident of Bhuvaneshwar Odisha, says that he is happy about homeschooling his daughter. According to him, playing games outdoor is vital for a child to learn effectively. He always made sure that his daughter was that aware that she has a choice in what she wants to learn and how she wants to learn it. The rigidity of the school regime has been a concern. In fact, he states that when his daughter was taken to the conventional school, she was surprised that she would be forced to sit in the classroom and could not leave it freely at her will.
According to him, homeschooling has allowed him to teach his daughter things that are specific to the age. It has also helped him improve himself and given him an opportunity to understand what has and has not worked for him over time. He opines that having a community of likeminded people with a shared goal would have given him and his daughter a diverse exposure and an opportunity for community based learning of the skills particular to that community.
Rishin rejoices his daughter’s spontaneous involvement in doodling and colouring. He is also happy that she was eventually able to discover her interest in dance. It is through this art that she was able to come across a teacher that she could deeply connect to. This connection continues to have a deep influence and impact on her life. He expressed his joy that the dance teacher has been able to strike a balance between the theoretical and the applicative aspects of the dance forms. These interests have helped his daughter to pick up the required social skills and a calling for her life.
Perks of Homeschooling
Homeschooling is a lot more interesting with good many advantages.
Strengthens the Parent-Child Bond
Homeschooling helps in building a strong bond between parents and children. The child and the parent are always learning together, which helps them understand their child better
Flexibility of Curriculum
Homeschooling is free from rigid curricula as in schools. It gives the freedom for the children to learn the subjects of their interests which enhance their learning outcome as opposed to what the schools mandate the children to learn.
Child Centric Method of Learning
While a history text book full of timelines and events on wars might be a page-turner for the elder child, the younger one would be more awed by a video on the Renaissance movement; our learning style varies. To know more about learning styles that cater to your child, you could read our blog on Learning Styles that we adopt to cater to every child’s learning.
Child as the Self Directed Learner
As homeschooling aids flexibility, it gives parents and children the freedom to choose methods in ways that they want to learn. While parents may not be available around their child It allows the child to be flexible in its learning. As the child is free, it can explore innovative ideas in its own pace which makes the learning exciting.
Given that the parent have autonomy in choosing what their child needs to learn, the only expenditure involved is books and stationery. The money that is spent on tuition fees, uniforms etc is nullified.
Justy Antony, parent of Anaika Dominic, one of our QShala children, shares her experience with homeschooling. Although the family was to move to the USA and enroll the children there, the pandemic foiled their plans. Instead of enrolling her for an online school, Anaika's parents began homeschooling. Previously, Anaika was shy to express her opinion in school and wouldn't interact as much. Asycnhronous methods of learning provided by EdTech platfroms like Khan Academy has allowed her to learn at a pace that's suited to her. Given that both parents are working, Anaika is encouraged towards more self directed learning, while her parents assist her when she needs help. Leveraging platforms like QShala and International curricula, Anaika has become more confident in interacting with her peers in the online setting
Source: Star Tribune
Agatha Christie, a famous novelist, was homeschooled at a very early age. In fact, it was thought that she would be unable to pick up reading skills. However, surprisingly at the age of 5 she picked up the skill organically. She turned out to be a voracious reader and liked Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Today her murder mystery novel expresses it all to the readers.
Source: The Kering Foundation
"Wingardium Leviosa!” Hermione Granger played by Emma Watson was homeschooled. Her stardom and fame left her little time for conventional schooling. However, according to the Insider she graduated from Brown University in 2014.
Limitations of Homeschooling
Although homeschooling has a bright side, it requires systematic planning which makes it tedious for the parents.
The Balance Ordeal
On the flip side, however, homeschooling is cumbersome to the parents. It is challenging for the parents to strike a balance between their own needs and the needs of the children. One of the parents may have to sacrifice their career for a few years. The first few years of homeschooling with the child demands a lot of attention to the child leaving little time in the career front.
High demanding in terms of energy and resources
Many parents might find teaching in itself as a challenge. It demands the parents to have the ability to learn, relearn and unlearn and provide optimal knowledge to their children. Creating curricula, preparing lesson plans, choosing the relevant pedagogy is a challenge for first time teachers. The knowledge imparted to the children may have the biases of the parents. All this leaves little time for parents to pursue their own interests.
Reduced Peer Interaction
Homeschoolers have only parents for company or their siblings. Even though parents might organise playdates for their child, homeschoolers are missing out on growth and learning opportunities with their peers. The reduced peer to peer interaction stunts their socio-emotional growth which could be challenging for students to cope with peer pressure. This also affects their ability for collaboration, which is an important future skill
Less Exposure to Opportunities
In addition to reduced many to many learning, homeschoolers miss out on a lot of group development activities and extracurricular activities like sports teams, annual concerts and other experiences which are crucial to a child's growth is compromised on. They also miss out on opportunities like Olympiads which are yardsticks that help gauge a child's performance with their peers
While homeschooling emerged as an alternative in the pre-COVID times, it is an imminent need in the pandemic. As uncertainty of what the future of schooling will be like post pandemic looms low on everyone’s head, we can be certain that homeschooling is not a make-shift school, but a parallel educational setting that parents can consider in the future.
There have been a lot of homeschooling communities and digital platforms which educate both parent and child on how to augment the child’s learning process. Furthermore, social media platforms have given rise to quite many opportunities for discussion and live interaction. As most parents are currently donning teacher hats; now, more than ever, is the time to lean in to these support groups to widen our understanding and perspectives on this school system to ensure that no matter what, the learning never stops.
What are your thoughts on homeschooling? Let us know in the comments below.