“The only thing interfering with my learning is my education”
I would like to recollect the story of a free-spirited parrot who would do nothing but hop, skip, fly and sing all day in Thota Kahani, written by Rabindranath Tagore almost a century ago. A king saw the bird and felt that its wild & uncivilized, thus ordered that the bird be ‘civilized’, and so it was put in a golden cage. So much instruction was forced down its throat that it soon forgot to sing, and then, couldn’t even squawk. When it tried to fly, its wings were clipped. Soon the parrot died, with not a sound except for the rustle of books in its stomach.
Home Schooling refers to the concept of educating children at home instead of sending them to a formal School. This is an age-old practice and not new. Earlier, a fair percentage of children were educated at home because some parents could not afford to send them to schools. As a parent, for someone to decide on Home Schooling their kids require a thorough and proper understanding of the pros and cons of such a decision because it’s their life. Would like to refer to some real-life case studies, wherein the kids were home schooled and later went on to be successful in the formal education system. Sahal Kaushik in 2010, as a 14-year-old, topped the IIT entrance exam and joined IIT Kanpur for a 5-year integrated course in Physics. In the year 2016, it was 17-year-old Malvika Joshi who as a product of Home Schooling and without any formal Board Certificates of 10th or 12th, got admission into MIT, to study her favourite subject Computer Science.
But let’s understand, deciding on Home Schooling is fraught with risk and needs a lot of self-discipline combined with strong commitment from both parents as well as their kids. Now let me highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of Home Schooling.
- Academic flexibility.
- Parent choice of pace and approach.
- Can prioritize a child’s mental, emotional, behavioural, and physical health.
- Warm family environment
- Community involvement.
- Efficient & Meaningful learning.
- Good balance of time management
- Focus on Life skills
- Preparing for a Vocation/ Entrepreneurship
- Getting into college/ course of choice
- Accommodating to special situations/needs.
- Encourages independence
- • Frustration due to isolation
- Pressure on Parents to ensure continuous attention on kids
- No overall knowledge of all the subjects as parents may not be good at teaching each and everything
- Irregular learning as parents may have other commitments that prevents them from daily teaching sessions
- Social scrutiny and pressure
- Lack of competition
- Limited social interaction may lead to hindered development
If parents decide for Home Schooling their kids after careful scrutiny and consideration of all relevant factors, then they need to align Home Schooling with the guidelines of National Institute of Open Schooling NIOS. In the National Education Policy 2020 recently announced by GOI, NIOS has been brought on par with the other conventional but more popular school boards in terms of pedagogy and certification process. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Programmes offered by the NIOS will be expanded and strengthened for meeting the learning needs of young people in India who are not able to attend a physical school. NIOS will offer the following programmes in addition to the present programmes: education at A, B and C levels that are equivalent to Grades 3, 5, and 8 of the formal school system; secondary education programmes that are equivalent to Grades 10 and 12; vocational education courses/programmes; and adult literacy and life-enrichment programmes. States will be encouraged to develop State analogues of these offerings in regional languages by establishing State Institutes of Open Schooling (SIOS).
Think thoroughly and choose wisely in the interest of your kid’s future. But Home Schooling is increasingly becoming popular and chosen by many instead of a more formal schooling system. I would like to conclude with a quote of Isaac Asimov “Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. The only function of a school is to make self-education easier; failing that, it does nothing.”