- How It Started For Us
- What Is Homeschooling?
- Is Homeschooling the same thing as Online Schooling?
- Is Homeschooling The Same As Unschooling?
- Important Facts About Homeschooling
- Benefits Of Homeschooling
- My Take On Homeschooling
- Is Homeschooling legal in India?
- Which Curriculum Do Homeschoolers In India Follow?
- Can Homeschooling Students Appear For Their Class X And XII Board Exams?
- Can Homeschooling Students From India Pursue Higher Education?
How It Started For Us
My husband and I had always wanted to homeschool our little one. But he turned out to be this really shy 3-year old and hence we decided to send him to school to make him socially interactive and confident. Yes. That was the one and the only reason we opted for the traditional schooling method.
Come 2020 and the pandemic strikes which in turn totally changes the way education is imparted across the world…Hello ‘online schooling’!!
‘Social interactions’ now made way for ‘social distancing’…which meant that the only reason why we’d opted to send him to school in the first place wasn’t valid anymore!
Our homeschooling urge was back with a bang!
Our son did attend a few of his online school sessions last year (KG) in the beginning though but he didn’t seem to enjoy them at all. And honestly, we didn’t find them of much use either.
It was then that we finally decided to homeschool him. It was almost like God was leading us to this decision for a while…and in May 2020 we “officially” became homeschooling parents!!
I have researched so much about homeschooling in the last few years – read books, been part of homeschooling groups, had discussions with homeschooling parents, read up about different curriculum and teaching methods, etc that I’ve started feeling like a pro at it already!
Alright I know I’m far from being a pro just yet, but now that I do have a blissful 1-year of my homeschooling journey to look back on, I feel I’m good enough (at least I’d like to think so!) to validate that even though homeschooling is every bit challenging it isn’t half as scary as it seems.
Even though, as a homeschool educator, you may have to face some hard days, in due course, it will turn out to be the most exciting and rewarding adventure you ever experienced! I am so glad I took the plunge!
Based on my experience, research, and knowledge, I’d like to share with all of you, some important facts, information, and tips related to homeschooling in India while also busting a few myths about it along the way. This is especially for those parents who are in two minds about whether or not they should be homeschooling their children.
What Is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling, also known as ‘home education’, is a system wherein parents consciously decide to not send their children to schools and instead choose to educate them at home itself.
There is no specific curriculum for homeschooling. The main reasons behind parents opting to homeschool their children are independence, flexibility, convenience, and location.
Is Homeschooling the same thing as Online Schooling?
‘Homeschooling’ and ‘Online Schooling’ are NOT the same thing. Unlike homeschooling, ‘online schooling’ is affiliated with a public or private school. The teaching sessions are performed through an online platform that connects the student to a teacher from the school during a live class.
Homeschooling, on the other hand, is a system in which children’s education is based at home under their parents’ guidance rather than through enrollment in a public school or private school.
Online schooling, even though it is done at home, cannot be considered homeschooling since online schooling is always affiliated with some private or public school.
Is Homeschooling The Same As Unschooling?
No, it is not. Homeschooling and Unschooling are two absolutely different concepts.
Unschooling completely dismisses the traditional schooling method. In contrast to homeschooling, ‘unschooling’ does not even involve creating a school-like environment at home. Unschoolers do not even use a curriculum.
As the term suggests, unschooling allows children to follow their own interests at their own pace. Therefore, in this system of education, parents are considered to be facilitators and not teachers!
On observing and figuring out what exactly the child is interested in, parents provide the correct environment and opportunities to help the child pursue those interests.
Important Facts About Homeschooling
Here are a few important things I think you should know before you set off on your homeschooling journey.
The Entire Onus Doesn’t Always Have To Be On The Home Educator
Homeschooling does not necessarily mean that the entire responsibility of educating the child solely lies on the parents/home educators
In a homeschooling arrangement, learning doesn’t necessarily always have to involve the parents and does not have to be always restricted inside the home.
Home educators can make use of various other methods too, like appointing tutors or experts.
Right now my son is quite young. He’s 5.5 years old and so I feel like I will be able to homeschool him all by myself for at least the next few years.
As he grows up, if at any point, I feel the need to outsource certain subjects, I will do that too. This means I may appoint tutors for him in the future if the need arises.
I know of many homeschooling parents of older kids who utilize online classes, appoint tutors, send their children to field trips, camps, or workshops. It not only gives these parents a breather but also provides the kids with a whole lot of exposure and knowledge. What I mean to put across is that, in this arrangement, learning does not just have to happen inside the confines of home and facilitated by parents.
Every Homeschooling Family Has A Unique Schedule
I’d like to tell all the future homeschooling families to be prepared for a whole lot of questions coming their way!
I say that because, as homeschooling parents, my husband and I often get asked a lot of questions, not just about the concept of homeschooling but also about our daily routine like how many hours of study, how we manage other work, etc.
The fact is, that every homeschooling family’s day will look different. Each family will structure its day according to its own convenience. And that’s the beauty of it.
But just for those who are curious, our homeschooling schedule is planned for a 6-day week with 2 hours of studying each day from Monday to Friday whereas Saturdays are for weekly tests.
There Is No Standardized Curriculum For Homeschooling
There’s just unlimited study material available online these days. Any parent, who’s new at homeschooling, is bound to get carried away by the huge variety of curriculum available and may end up going overboard with buying books.
I’ve been there, done that!! But over the last few months, I’ve realized that there isn’t any ‘perfect set of books‘ or the ‘perfect curriculum‘. It all depends on what exactly your homeschooling plan is, what subjects you wish to stress on, what the strengths and weaknesses of your child are, and many other such factors.
So, the curriculum that works best for another homeschooling parent may not work for you. In the case of older kids, it’s a good idea for the home educator to partner with them and figure out what works best.
Also, I’d suggest being mindful about what you order and not order too much at a time. Start with a maximum of 1 or 2 sets of books and see how it’s working out for you for a while before ordering more.
For my son, I arranged the textbooks of Class 1 from a friend. I also researched and finally ordered a set of workbooks for him. Here’s the link to the workbooks that I’ve purchased:
Just Like Every Other Journey In Life, Homeschooling Too Has Its Share Of Ups And Downs
Yes, that’s true.
But then that’s the case with jobs, career, housework or just life in general, isn’t it? While some days in your homeschooling journey may be all bright, shiny, and happy, there may be a few such days when you might feel exhausted or maybe, a little low on patience, which is, by far, the most important requirement of homeschooling!
What I have realized is that it is okay to feel that way once in a while and this, does not in any way, mean that you aren’t a good home educator!
It just means you need a little breather. Or maybe you just need to change up your routine a little bit to suit you better.
Homeschooled kids are NOT socially awkward.
I am very excited about writing this article because it is giving me an opportunity to, finally, clear the air about one of the most clichéd statements made about ‘homeschooled’ kids i.e. ‘Homeschooled kids are socially awkward’.
A lot of people think that homeschooled kids will turn out to be socially awkward. But from what I have seen, homeschooled children are extremely well socialized!
I agree that there are some homeschooled kids who are not very social and have a tough time mixing up with people. However, there are many kids who are regular schoolgoers but are still as shy and introverted. So, whether or not a child will be comfortable in social settings, clearly, does not depend on whether he is being homeschooled or attends regular school.
It’s more about the nature of the child and his guardians and not about the method of schooling. My 5-year old can strike up pretty good conversations with his friends and never fails to amaze even the adults!
In fact, he’s always the first one to, very happily, greet people in a social setting. He did start off as a shy kid, but we’ve seen a remarkable change in his social skills over the last one year.
Not only is he extremely polite and pleasant but he can also interact with people of all ages with so much ease. It’s great to see him get along so well with children as well as adults.
Homeschooling parents get together and regularly organize a lot of field trips, workshops, storytelling sessions, and various other such interactive and educational events. My son and I didn’t get too many opportunities to be part of such events due to the covid scenario last year, but from what I know, at such events, children get to meet and interact with other children of all ages, parents, and sometimes even grandparents.
This could be the reason why most homeschooled kids are comfortable interacting with people of any age group. They do not have this preconceived notion that they could be friends only with children of the same age or grade.
Plus, through these homeschooling events, children get a chance to enhance their social skills in real-life situations. I feel this is very important and that every child, whether homeschooled or not, should be encouraged to develop his social skills through such interactive and fun events.
On the other hand, I know of quite a few kids who do go to regular school but are excessively shy and go absolutely quiet in social situations.
Also, even most of the not-so-shy ones are more comfortable interacting with children of their own age group, because that is what they are used to doing at school.
At social gatherings, it gives me immense joy to see that my boy enjoys everyone’s company and not just of children who are of his age. After 1 year of being homeschooled is my little guy still as shy as he would be?
Absolutely not! He’s a ‘social genius’ in the making!
Benefits Of Homeschooling
The top six reasons that make homeschooling a great education option are as follows:
One of the loveliest things about homeschooling is the flexibility it comes with. It can happen anywhere and anytime and it can be tailored to exactly suit the child’s needs. For example, some kids enjoy studying on their desks while some kids may be more comfortable on their beds.
Some kids perform better when they do long hours at a stretch whereas others may prefer little breaks in between. Some may prefer studying early morning while some may prefer other time periods.
Unlike regular school, homeschooling offers a fluid schedule where lessons can be structured and addressed in a way that best suits the lifestyle of the family involved.
Obviously, this makes it much easier to plan outings, activities, and even holidays!
In my case, my little one did not enjoy writing as much as he enjoyed learning new concepts verbally. So initially, I kept 4 days a week for his oral studies and just 1 day for practising his handwriting.
As a little part of his oral studies, I would make him learn an essay about different topics every day. Since he’s pretty tech-savvy, every day, after his studies, I’d ask him to email me that short essay. He’d be super happy to email and I was elated to see how this exercise remarkably improved his spellings, grammar, and punctuation. It was a win-win!
What I am trying to say here is that, as a home educator, I got the chance to mould the method of teaching in a way that my son thoroughly enjoys. This helped me save a lot of time as I never had to spend time convincing him to study.
He’s a happy little homeschooler who’s always looking forward to learning with me.
More Time In Hands
We don’t have to spend time every morning getting our son ready, taking him to school, and bringing him back home whereas our son doesn’t have to spend any time waiting in lines or changing classes, etc.
Another big plus for children is that there is no ‘homework’ involved! This saves a lot of time that allows children to conveniently pursue some of their other interests.
It is an undeniable fact that a good amount of time in schools is spent on doing nothing! With homeschooling, we can save on all of that, which means there’s more time for real life.
Every child is different and has a different set of preferences. For example, some are more practical and logical whereas some are more creative. As home educators, we have the flexibility to take into consideration the needs of our kids in crafting a learning experience for them.
We can also speed up or slow down according to the learning abilities of our children. It enables the kids to learn and comprehend things at their own pace. Unlike regular school, they are not expected to keep up with the pace of the entire class.
Apart from books and other study material, you can also include field trips, workshops, or just throw in some brain-boosting or educational games to the mix. My little one is currently learning programming and how to play Chess from his doting Dad.
We have also enrolled him in kickboxing classes. Homeschooling emphasizes ‘individualized learning’ and there’s just so much you can include in your homeschooling plan as per the interests and preferences of the child.
Clarity Of Concepts
It’s a fact that in schools, teachers are always in a rush to finish the curriculum. I am not faulting them but it is a fact and there are valid reasons behind this. Teachers have their own limitations. They are allotted a particular time period for every subject / topic.
They need to finish it off within that time frame. Each teacher has to teach 20-30 students and sometimes even more. It’s not, therefore, technically possible for the teachers to ensure that every student understands the concept clearly before they move on to the next topic. Some students grasp concepts quicker as compared to others.
Teachers do not have the time to ensure that each and every student understood the topic clearly before they move on to the next.
As much as I understand the limitations of the school teachers, I did not want my son to get affected by this. It is of utmost importance to me and my husband that our son clearly understands every new concept that is introduced to him. How quickly he can memorize a math table is far less important to us than knowing that he’s understood the logic and the concept.
I see the topics from the workbooks we ordered for him (link mentioned above) and then teach him every concept in a detailed manner until he becomes absolutely comfortable with it. I do not rush him at all. Sometimes it does take a few days and sometimes more than a week for him to grasp the concepts clearly so yes, this requires a whole lot of patience and persistence. But when it’s done, I feel so content to see that the concept is 100% clear inside his head and that he can now easily solve all the exercises related to it by himself.
From experience, I can say that homeschooling definitely helps in improving the performance in difficult subjects like maths and science.
No Peer Pressure
We keep hearing of many instances in schools where children get stressed and lose confidence because of bullying and social pressure. In contrast to this, homeschooling provides children with a relaxed environment which in turn impacts their learning skills very positively.
Children can learn at their own pace freely without having to worry about being judged. Homeschooling totally eliminates the stress related to competition or peer pressure.
But yes, just for our son to get an idea about exams and how it is to solve questions within a time limit, we do give him proper tests every Saturday.
Strengthening The Parent-Child Bond
It is believed that homeschooling strengthens the bond between parent and children, as more time is spent together during the formative years. Couples can also become closer as a result of the decision, as more time is spent together for a common goal.
Homeschooling Is A Whole Lot More Economical
There is no denying that schools these days are quite expensive. The tuition fees, the books, the uniforms, the frequent events happening at school…it all adds up to an exorbitant amount.
Homeschooling, on the other hand, is so much easier on the pockets. The money saved can be put to much better use.
My Take On Homeschooling
After being a ‘homeschooling parent’ for a year now, here is my take on this method of imparting education:
Homeschooling requires a whole lot of patience and persistence. Also, you need to devote a good amount of time to it. So, in cases where both the parents are working, homeschooling may not be a feasible choice. In my case, I had the time and am known for having endless amounts of patience! Plus, my husband and I were both on the same page about it so there were absolutely no conflicts in arriving at our ‘homeschooling’ decision.
Also, the whole homeschooling process may seem a little overwhelming and chaotic in the beginning but that is quite normal. Very soon all of that gets worked out and there’ll be a nice schedule and homeschooling plan in place that works perfectly for you and your child.
So, do I rate ‘homeschooling’ a 10 on 10? Well, not really! Our messy rooms and the perpetually chock-full kitchen sink are proof enough. But keeping those tiny flaws aside, my homeschooling journey so far has been incredibly enjoyable, exciting, and gratifying. Seeing my happy little kid and all of the learning that happened in leaps and bounds last year just makes all the effort that my husband and I put into this totally worth it!
Please note that these are just my views and thoughts based on my personal experiences. This article does not, in any way, try to look down upon the traditional method of schooling.
Is Homeschooling legal in India?
Absolutely yes. Even though there isn’t a regulatory body for homeschooling yet in India, it IS absolutely legal.
Which Curriculum Do Homeschoolers In India Follow?
Homeschoolers usually follow the CBSE curriculum or the curriculum of their respective states.
Can Homeschooling Students Appear For Their Class X And XII Board Exams?
Children who are homeschooled can appear for board examination conducted by NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) after the age of 14 years, or for the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) examination, which is an internationally recognized qualification for secondary students.
Can Homeschooling Students From India Pursue Higher Education?
Yes, they can. While the homeschoolers can take Class 10 and Class 12 of the CBSE Board as private candidates, there are also other options available for them to choose from:
- The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) offers Open Basic Education for children up to 14 years of age. This means that students can take up exams at A, B, and C levels which are equivalent to Class 3, Class 5, and Class 7. They can also opt for Secondary Education Course – similar to Class 10 exams and Senior Secondary Course – similar to Class 12 exams
- They can also opt for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), which is a part of the Cambridge Assessment International Examination (CAIE)
- Once they clear this exam, they are eligible for college admission
Hopefully, my article will provide some encouragement and insight to all those parents who have been considering homeschooling their children for a while now but are nervous to take the first step.