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THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD KEYA Padalkar doesn’t go to school anymore. Instead of attending classes, Keya practices tabla everyday and reads up Marathi textbooks. Keya would have been in Class VIII now but it’s been three years since she pulled out of school to be homeschooled by her parents.
Like Keya’s parents, the option of homeschooling children has struck a chord with parents who are now looking at vocational training.
Last month when NGO Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE) held two workshops for parents on homeschooling, around 180 parents participated in total.
“With arbitrary hikes in school fees and school campuses becoming unsafe, parents are opting for grooming their children at home,” said Jayant Jain, president of FFE.
While there is no fixed approach in homeschooling, parents feel it relieves the child of the academic pressure.
“We don’t follow a fixed curriculum. Most of our teaching is experimental and is focused on nature and skills. She enjoys playing the tabla so we let her focus,” said Keya’s mother Jyoti, an agricultural engineer.
“More parents now want to homeschool their kids. This takes off the academic pressure and the children can focus on their creative inclinations,” said Hemali Gada, a member of Swashikshan, an association of parents who have chosen to homeschool their children. Hemali’s daughter had dropped out in the sixth standard.
“When my daughter began homeschooling, she became more creative and intuitive. I could immediately see the difference,” said Hemali.
After completing her boards from the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), she has now gone into junior college. Hemali said NIOS was more flexible and offered a plethora of courses to choose from.