This is a topic that never fails to whip up passions….as we found out when we asked for views and thoughts from parents –
those who homeschool their children and those who do not. Read on and make up your mind as to which side of the debate
you are on!
Not so long ago (until the late 17th century to be precise), homeschooling was the norm, rather than the exception. Children were coached by private tutors if the families could afford it, or by the parents themselves. When the children attained suitable age, they learnt the family trade as apprentices. The current connotation of homeschooling, however – as an alternative to institutional schooling by the government or private enterprises – dates back to midtwentieth century.
Today’s parents turn to homeschooling for a variety of reasons. While some are concerned about the environment in schools, others are worried about the lack or scarcity of religious or moral instruction. Dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at schools is another common reason. (The Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Homeschooling carries an interesting table of reasons cited by US homeschooling parents). While many gifted children (who excel in academics or sport) and children with special needs are homeschooled, these are by no means the largest profiles among homeschooled children.
Of course, there are parents who are still staunch believers in organised structured learning – parents who think homeschooling is not appropriate for their own children. These parents are apprehensive about the downsides of homeschooling – loneliness, inability to cope with the real world. They also see merit in learning from peers and the social interaction that comes with regular schooling. The ParentEdge team decided to investigate whether the concept of homeschooling had really caught on in India. And if it has, what are the triggers? For those who are on the other side, why do they still repose faith in the system? Wetook the views of the key players – groups on either side of the fence.
Yes to homeschooling
These are the views of Surekha Sridhar, Nithya Dorairaj(Bangalore), Vasanthi Emmanuel (Chennai).
What led you to homeschooling?
“Watching my child going from being free in thinking and learning on his own, to trying to conform and please peers and teachers.”
“We were unhappy with the standard of teaching in schools, and the impossible competitive pressure children face today.”
“Commuting to school in a chaotic city left the children with no time for extracurricular activities.”
What benefits do you think your children have got from homeschooling, which they would not have obtained if they had gone to school instead?
“The freedom to explore and learn in an unstructured and undefined way, leading to self-learning, self-awareness and a deeper understanding and connectedness to the world around. I also see a difference in the quality of learning when it is without pressure or an agenda of any sort.”