Homeschooling has turned into a growing movement worldwide with numerous parents picking various approaches to guarantee their youngsters have the flexibility to learn at their own pace
Recently, I have met many parents, who have either started homeschooling or planning to unschool their kids. In different Homeschooler groups over social media as well, I found most of them have these 6 Doubts about homeschooling.
1st Doubt : Homeschooling means Bringing school at home
Many homeschoolers often ask these questions in our social media groups - “What curriculum are you following? How do you manage time with the kid at home? Do you buy books, sit together and study?” Homeschooling has many approaches. While some families do have a schedule and follow a prescribed curriculum like Cambridge, Waldorf or Montessori, other families have more open curriculum and follow unschooling, Let the child expore, what he wants.
A Homeed kid may spend his entire day or multiple days in coloring, or playing music or even doing science experiments. Then maybe move on to reading stories, and so on. The children are free to ask questions, which invariably lead to more questions. The quest for Why this happened? Who is doing this? When it will be over? These questions improvise his learning capabilities and to explore more.
Learning should not be scheduled for a specific subject at a specific time. It is a continuous process. Like while cooking- Maths, Physics and Chemistry blend more often. While playing football, laws of Physics are constantly applied. Sowing a seed involves Biology, Geology and Chemistry among others. While going for a walk in our neighborhood, we often explore why a certain building or tree is in a certain place, what was there before it, leading us to question History, maybe have a talk about Geography (why does the road go up and down? Why sometimes, it looks like water is there in the middle of the road and when we approach to that place, it is concrete and we feel the same mirage effect at some distance?)
Wild learning is exhilarating and children are born curious. Trusting our child to follow her own learning and facilitating the need of the hour are what we do as parents.
2nd Doubt: The Kids with special needs are homeschooled
Amir Khan in 'Taare Zamee Par' says that every child is special and has his/her own special needs. We can only strive to ensure that their needs are met right from birth. This in turn means that the child is unconditionally accepted and loved. If children are treated with respect, her/his individuality emerges.
Homeschooling gives the flexibility to every child to follow their instincts and learn what is meaningful for them. There are many other factors that do influence what they learn like the environment or the people in their lives, place where they live, but as parents we can expose them to various fields and let them decide as individuals what is best.
3rd Doubt: Homeschooled children don't know how to socialize
This is the biggest concerns people have. 1 out of every 3 homeed parents, ask these questions “Will they have friends? How will they learn to live in the real world? Will they be able to work in a team?”
Usually, formal schools make children sit silent for hours together and cross-talks are strictly prohibited, except for those small breaks and recess time. On the other hand, as homeschoolers, we spend some time traveling and meeting new people. My daughter is free to talk and spend time with whomever she wants. She is very talkative and mixes up with strangers easily. She plays with her friends from the neighborhood. She plays with friends in the park. She has no age limit in her mind about the friends that she could have.
Homeschooling does not mean staying at home in isolation. Through traveling, even within our city, we explore and get introduced to different ways of living. There is constant interaction with people from all walks of life. Our daughter accompanies us when we participate in various people’s movements, collaborate with our neighbors to clean and segregate waste, when we attend meetings related to our work or attend conferences. We try to include her in almost everything that we do as a part of our lives. She may be interested in some activities and decide not to accompany us in others.
While we go for a walk, she notices various activities and the people at work. Once we came across some women making baskets out of bamboo sticks. She was so interested that we spent some time helping them tie the sticks together. Another time, when we were going through countryside, wheat was being extracted from harvested crop with help of thresher. She learnt the complete process and we spent a good hour helping them. Which, in my opinion, is socializing and interacting with people in the real world. As, an Unschooling parent, I will say -“ All we do is socialize”.
4th Doubt: Unschooled Kids can't handle pressures & competition
Another but very obvious Doubt is since the kids are at home and deprived from the real world and their grooming is not as per the Real Environment.
Now, what is the reality of Formal School Education? They aspire our kids to be a part of the rat race to a decent job, a big house and a 4 wheeler. As parents, we need to ask ourselves, is that what we want for our future generations? If all of us were to collaborate instead of competing, wouldn’t it be beneficial for everyone? There would be no winners or losers and everybody could be themselves. The pressures at school, often force children to hide their true feelings and do what is needed to get by. Children tend to become aggressive and manipulative. Children, good at Sports are forced to target some clerical job. Again, is this what we want?
5th Doubt: One parent has to be at home with the child
This is divine that one parent is staying with the kid, a full time maid could also help. Another idea is to have a community which can co-parent children. For example, when someone may have to go away from home to work, other parents can help care for the children. Many parents adjust their office timing and have flexible schedules to ensure one parent is with the child. Another option is to take your child along to your workplace.
I know many parents who sacrificed their career when opt for their children to homeschool but ways are always there. You need to mend them.
6th Doubt: Homeschooling is only for the Rich people
One of my friends said "You can afford to homeschool because of your privileged background.
It definitely cannot be denied that we, the English-speaking middle-class Indians, are privileged by our caste, class and in various other ways, and these play an essential role in shaping the future of our kids. However, If a child were to learn skills from say a farmer, carpenter, fisherman or any artisan, why cannot we consider that to be a respectable education? Think about Eklavya, who took education by his own. He didn't go to any formal school and became one of the best archers at that time.
These are the excerpts from my upcoming book ‘The Rise of Home Schooling – Current Education System should be changed’.
Apart from these 6, If you have any other Doubt as a Homeschooler or if you are going to unschool your kid, Please write and we will try to clear that.