Why did you switch from a regular school-based system?
The reasons were varied – a combination of circumstances – we were already looking at alternate means of education for my brother (who had issues of his own at school) and my personal unhappiness with the situation I was in.
I did not enjoy what I was studying, had stopped writing and doing the things I loved and was passionate about. The immense pressure to excel academically to the complete exclusion of all else, the rote learning – based curriculum I was forced to follow, were all contributing factors.
What were the key differences in your learning?
I think one of the fundamental differences in the way the Cambridge Board (IGCSE) and our Indian ICSE boards are formulated is the attitude that they hold towards education itself. The former’s emphasis was on exploration, learning and enjoyment, and tested your skills learnt through this. While the latter concerned itself solely with an unchallenging, unimaginative theory-based syllabus that tested your memory skills rather than your knowledge and understanding of the subject. The IGCSE is by no means a perfect education, but compared to what I’d been doing before, it was a drastic change.
Clearing the Air
Homeschooling is not illegal after RTE
As the ParentEdge editorial team did the rounds among homeschooling parents and parents who send their children to regular schools, one question that frequently came up was: “Isn’t Homeschooling illegal after RTE?”
We decided to delve deep into this aspect. It turns out that homeschooling parents can continue doing so, as the HRD minister Kapil Sibal has clarified the ministry’s stance.
“The Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, wants every child to be in school, but if somebody decides not to send his/her children to school, we are not going to interfere. The compulsion is on the State, not on the parents. Parents are free not to send their children to school, but teach them at home,” Kapil Sibal told the media.
The minister said that the purpose of the Act is to make it obligatory for the Government to provide reasonable quality education to all sections of society, especially the poorest and deprived sections.
In your experience, what were the positives and negatives of homeschooling?
One of the biggest positive effects of my choice was that it made me master of my own fate. I worked jobs, did a play, travelled on shoots with my parents – exposure that I would never have had, if I been bound in by the school system.