Updated: September 4, 2019 3:33:42 pm
Bangalore-based homeschooling parent Supriya Narang tells us how a child can thrive in the absence of a formal school structure.
My child is six years old and has never gone to a school. We decided to homeschool based on observing our child’s personality and learning style. He is a visual and kinesthetic learner. By the time Samarth was two, we faced the pressure from everyone around to enroll him in a school, but it just didn’t seem required as he was learning everything he wanted to learn at his own pace, happily I must add. There was no pressure of a commute and sticking to a schedule decided by someone else. He could eat when his body told him to, play when he wanted to and sleep as per his needs. It was such a liberating feeling.
Homeschooling is a way of life
Each family has different ways and styles of homeschooling. In our home, we follow our child’s lead and learn the topics we are interested in, together. No two days are the same in our household but we do follow a rough routine focusing on practical life work, reading, nature exploration and physical play every day. Homeschooling is the only way of life we have lived so honestly we do not know anything different. It has surely been a positive experience which is why we are continuing with it. Our child is thriving and looks forward to each day, which is what matters to us more than academic learning. Recently, he wished to buy a particular toy so we encouraged him to earn that money. I saw that he got a lot of ideas to earn money by himself, such as baking cookies to sell, and has been able to buy that toy from his own earnings.
Joys of homeschooling
You get to relive your childhood, unlearn and relearn a lot of things. It does get overwhelming sometimes, but so is parenting in today’s world. Nuclear families, lack of a support system have already put so much pressure on the family unit that a modern parent is doing a lot more by themselves for their child than any of the earlier generations. Life is not any more stressful for us personally than it would have been to constantly maintain a strict schedule, homework, exams all while trying to juggle our child’s non-academic interests. However, as for the future, we are happy for him to take the lead for his education. We will homeschool, till whenever he wishes to continue.
Being social in the absence of school
I can only speak for myself that my homeschooled child has enough opportunities to socialise with other human beings. It is only social conditioning that has led us to believe that socialisation happens only in a classroom with peers who are exactly the same age. Socialisation can happen anywhere – a well planned field trip or an impromptu visit to the park.
When kids are asked which class they’re in
They say they are homeschooled. It is as much a factual answer as ‘My name is X’. We have never tested our kid on a grade level or made him sit for any exams. So we do not know what class he is in. As for teaching subjects, I would like to clarify that I am not my child’s teacher, I am his co-learner. If we find a question we do not know an answer to, we resort to external resources to find it out. Thanks to books, libraries, internet information is at our fingertips these days. It is not hard to learn something you want to with these many resources. Kids can appear for NIOS, IGCSE level exams to enter the mainstream.
Resources for homeschooling
We are relaxed in our homeschooling approach and do not really follow a fixed curriculum. A lot of my inspiration comes from John Holt, Maria Montessori and ‘Happiness is Here’ blog.
My professional qualifications are BE in Computer Science and MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM) Pune. My husband Samir Gupta is from Kolkata. His professional qualifications are BTech from NIT Trichy and MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur.
Advice for parents
Any parent, considering homeschooling, whose kids are currently in school could maybe try and use summer vacations as a trial period. They could see if they are able to live a life without school, if it works for them and if it feels right and then take a decision. It is okay to take time and not be able to decide immediately too.
(A homeschooling parent, Supriya writes a blog This Mum Life. Prior to becoming a parent, she worked in the corporate sector in Human Resources.)
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