Benefits And Challenges Of Homeschooling Your Child
Opting to homeschool your child can be a life-changing decision for you and your child. So, we give you all the information you may need before you take that crucial step.
By Moina Memon
When it comes to education today, parents have various options to choose from. Apart from traditional schooling, there are other recognised methods of education available to parents and their wards. Homeschooling, while still at a nascent stage, is being opted by many parents in urban India. Such parents have even formed online communities to share resources and feedback, and support each other through the process. According to NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling). 0.5 million students take admission every year for homeschooling through Open Schooling of Indian Govt.
So what is homeschooling?
As the term implies, homeschooling is the process of teaching one’s children at home instead of sending them to a formal school. In this method, learning happens outside of a public or private school environment and more with the resources available in the community of homeschoolers.
Homeschooling in India is a grey area because the subject has been debated by educators, parents and law makers frequently. However, as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which India is a signatory “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”. India today has many support groups which handhold and guide the parents, like Alternative Education India, Pune Homeschoolers, Swashikshan - Indian Association of Homeschoolers and Cascade Family Learning Society - A Society for Home Schooled Children (Chennai). There are conferences, apprenticeships, and knowledge sharing sessions taking place all over the country constantly.
Of the many education boards available in India, the most popular option available for homeschoolers is National Institute of Open Schooling. NIOS is an open learning institution which supports open and distance learning. It is authorised to conduct exams and provide certifications – just like other national boards. Additionally, students can also opt for Cambridge exams. British Council in India conducts these exams from Kolkata. Parents who want to explore homeschooling for their child can connect with other parents and experts involved in homeschooling through initiatives such as Swashikshan – a not-for-profit association for homeschoolers in India.
But, before you make the decision, read the pros and cons to homeschooling your child.
Benefits of homeschooling in India
- Cost-effective: When families invest their own time and build lesson plans on their own, they don’t have to pay hefty annual or term fees to schools for the learning to happen. The curriculum can be build or sought from various homeschooling forums and can be applied and practised.
- Flexible schedule: The flexibility and unstructured way of learning helps the child learn as per his needs and liking. It makes learning a fun activity for him.
- More quality time: Homeschooling allows the parent to spend more time with their child and understand her educational needs better. This helps the parent to bond with the child better.
- No peer pressure: Since the child does not go to a structured school, the chances of her facing peer pressure or being bullied is relatively less.
- Self-motivation: Homeschoolers grow into self-motivated adults and don’t tie performance to rewards or awards.
Challenges of homeschooling in India
- Juggling several roles: Parenting is a full-time job. And the parent who takes on the task of homeschooling their child also takes the role of being an educator. Planning the lessons, tasks and finishing the syllabus requires a lot of patience and commitment from the parent. It might lead to exhaustion, which could later manifest in negative ways.
- No structure: The routine of going to school and having a structured day is not part of a homeschooler’s life. Apart from this, the experience of going to a school, making friends, adjusting to the school environment and understanding other people’s needs helps a child learn new life skills and a homeschooler misses out on that learning. Additionally, children who are homeschooled have lesser interaction with children of their own age group.
- Implementing the lesson plan: A school’s curriculum, activity plan and lesson plan is made through a combined effort of a team of educationists. A parent is a one-person army and may face certain limitations while executing comprehensive lesson plans. Also, in case the parent falls sick, the child’s homeschooling is impacted.
- Limited resources: Some lessons need lab equipment to be properly explained. Arranging these resources at home can be a bit tedious.
Alternative education has tremendous benefits and can be of great help to a child, when supported by his parents. If you are looking to homeschool your child, look at all the available options and resources and take a call based on his educational and developmental needs.
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