Homeschooling In India – Is It the Right Choice for Your Child?

Homeschooling In India – Is It the Right Choice for Your Child?

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As society has progressed, the landscape of education has broadened, resulting in a fusion of traditional methods with modern innovations. One of the significant emerging trends in modern education is homeschooling, which is gaining considerable traction.

What is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling centers on delivering education within the home environment, leveraging open study materials and resources. Unlike the traditional educational framework, homeschooling places a heightened emphasis on nurturing familial bonds to facilitate learning. In this approach, the family takes the helm, focusing on foundational knowledge for the child, essentially becoming the primary driver of their educational journey. Through this method, children glean insights from hands-on experiences, interactions at home, and guidance from family members. Additionally, some families engage tutors who provide personalized, in-depth discussions.

Also Read: Barriers to physical activity in school and what is the remedy?

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Many prominent figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Woolf, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexander Graham Bell, Julian Assange, and Emma Watson, were homeschooled for varying durations during their formative years. Their successes are testament to the potential benefits of homeschooling. However, others have expressed regrets, wishing they had the experience of a comprehensive public education. To understand homeschooling better, let’s delve into its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Personalized Attention: In homeschooling, the focus is often on one child, allowing for immediate responses to any questions or concerns. If a child needs more time to grasp a particular concept, homeschooling offers the flexibility to linger on that topic as needed.
  • Flexible and Stress-Free Routine: With homeschooling, mornings can be unhurried. Both study and recreational activities can be tailored to suit the child’s pace and preferences. The absence of stringent schedules and exams typically makes the homeschooling experience more relaxed. However, to instill discipline, it’s beneficial to establish a daily routine and adhere to it, with allowances for periodic adjustments.
  • Learning for the Sake of Knowledge: Without the competitive nature often found in traditional schooling, homeschooling encourages both parent and child to value learning for its own sake, emphasizing comprehension and practical application.
  • Curriculum Control: Parents can shape the curriculum based on what they deem relevant. They also have the flexibility to cater to their child’s primary learning style, integrating online modules, book readings, or a combination of both.
  • Efficiency and Time Savings: Homeschooling eliminates the time spent on morning commutes, waiting for buses, and other school-related routines. Instead, those hours can be dedicated to productive learning, freeing up the remainder of the day for various activities.
  • Strengthened Parent-Child Bond: The frequent interactions in homeschooling foster a deeper connection between parent and child. This time together is also an ideal opportunity to teach social etiquette, public behavior, and establish personal boundaries.
  • Safe Learning Environment: Homeschooling ensures that children are not exposed to verbal or emotional abuse, peer pressure, bullying, or any other potential harm. The comfort and safety of one’s own home are irreplaceable.
  • Tailored Learning Experiences: With the freedom to incorporate creative learning approaches, field trips, and explorations centered on the child’s interests, homeschooling can ignite curiosity and encourage independent inquiry.
  • Cost-Effective: Opting to homeschool can lead to considerable savings that would otherwise be spent on school fees.

Cons

  • Potential Financial Strain: While homeschooling can save on school fees, it often requires one parent to forgo their career, potentially impacting the family’s financial inflow. This means the household may function with one less income, even as expenses remain consistent.
  • Lack of Formal Structure: Homeschooling lacks the structured environment and preset curriculum seen in traditional schools. The absence of established teaching methodologies, verified information sources, and standardized assessments can pose challenges. Parents must not only create but also consistently enforce this structure—a task that’s easier said than done.
  • Untrained Educators: Not every homeschooling parent possesses the skills or training of a professional educator. While they may excel in certain subjects, they’re typically not experts across the board. Learning alongside their children and navigating the homeschooling landscape can be a shared journey of trial and error. This might deprive the child of the quality education that a trained teacher might offer.
  • Continuous Parent-Child Interaction: While quality time with children is invaluable, homeschooling means parents and kids spend the majority of their day together. This continuous engagement, especially if managing multiple children, can be overwhelming. Moreover, homeschooling parents often forgo the typical summer breaks, instead spending that time planning for the upcoming academic year.
  • External Skepticism: Homeschooling, being non-traditional, might draw skepticism from friends and family. Such criticism, especially when voiced in front of the children, could demotivate them. There’s also a prevailing misconception that homeschooled children might be socially “different.” Constant questioning from outsiders can sow doubt in parents about their educational choices.
  • Reduced Social Interaction: Homeschooled children miss out on typical school experiences like class trips, lunchtime chats, early friendships, and more. This lack of regular social interaction may hinder the development of crucial social skills, potentially leading to introversion and reduced self-confidence.
  • Limited Sporting Opportunities: While homeschooling parents can introduce their children to various sports, consistent team sport participation is often missing. This limitation not only affects physical development but also restricts opportunities in competitive team sports, which could be a pathway to higher education or professional careers.

Homeschooling in India

The concept of educating children outside of formal systems has been practiced for years globally. However, the term “homeschooling” gained traction in the 1980s. In India, homeschooling initially catered to children with special needs who required increased familial support. Over time, concerns about rigorous educational systems prompted more parents to explore this method. The COVID-19 pandemic further elevated interest in homeschooling.

Like many parts of the world, homeschooling in India is evolving to become more structured and competitive. Edtech companies and readily available resources have contributed to its surge in popularity.

“Over our four-year operation, we’ve found homeschoolers excel in securing seats in top-tier global colleges. Their upbringing, rooted in curiosity and creativity, contrasts the rigid exam systems, aligning better with global higher education,” observes Akshay Chaturvedi, CEO of Leverage Edu, in Forbes India.

According to the HSLDA, a global organization supporting homeschoolers, there are 500-1000 homeschooled children in India. Predominantly, these families are based in urban areas like Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai.

Homeschooling opportunities in India

Major national and international educational boards recognize this alternative form of education in India. 

Two key institutions are:

  • National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS): An open learning board catering to homeschooling students.
  • International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE): An internationally recognized qualification for homeschoolers.

In 2010, after persistent advocacy, the Indian government legally recognized homeschooling. While there isn’t a dedicated governing body for homeschooling in India, students can appear for exams under boards like NIOS and IGCSE.

Homeschooling vs Unschooling

It’s essential to distinguish homeschooling from unschooling. While homeschooling might follow a loose structure or curriculum, unschooling deviates entirely. Unschooling parents emphasize learning through experiences and chosen activities, avoiding a set curriculum. This approach might limit unschooled children’s prospects for higher education in India.

A Contemporary Shift 

Many parents are leaning towards homeschooling over traditional education due to dissatisfaction with the current system, concerns about technology, and a desire to stay close to their children. Still, homeschooling demands dedication, especially if parents must forgo their careers. Financial constraints and the absence of a robust infrastructure may also hinder homeschooling’s effectiveness.

Also Read: Admissions on the Rise: 10 Winning Strategies for Schools in 2023

Conclusion

True education fosters holistic student development. While formal schools offer a structured environment promoting discipline, punctuality, and socialization, homeschooling offers flexibility and caters to individual needs. Regardless of the method, the objective remains the same: nurturing well-rounded, informed individuals prepared for the future. While homeschooling holds its advantages, it remains a matter of personal preference and situational convenience.

FAQs

1. Is homeschooling a good option in India?

Homeschooling can be an ideal option in India, offering flexibility, personalized learning, and tailored education to individual needs. However, it requires careful planning, dedication, and dedication to legal requirements. Families considering homeschooling should weigh factors such as curriculum, socialization, and support networks to determine its suitability for their circumstances. However, giving a high-quality education requires a major commitment from parents, therefore it might not be the best alternative for every family.

2. Do Indian schools accept homeschoolers?

In Indian schools, homeschoolers are accepted. However, depending on the institution, eligibility requirements and admissions procedures can vary. Homeschooled students have two options: they can take the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exam, which is an internationally recognised qualification for secondary students that makes them eligible for college in India, or they can apply for board exams offered by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), after turning 14 years old.

3. What are the rules for homeschooling in India?

In India, Homeschooling is not regulated by law, therefore parents can legally homeschool their children. However, homeschooling regulations may vary by state. Generally, parents must obtain permission from the state education department, follow an approved curriculum, and ensure periodic assessments. Some states require parents to be certified teachers. It’s essential to research and comply with specific legal requirements governing homeschooling in your state.

4. How many children in India are homeschooled?

In India, around 72,000 students will get home-based education in 2023–2024, according to the education ministry. Out of the 72,186 students receiving home-based education, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of students with 11,400 followed by Uttar Pradesh with 10,935 students receiving home schooling. More than 5,000 students in Andhra Pradesh (5,878), Kerala (6,733), and Maharashtra (6,247) also receive home-based education. (source)

5. Which board allows homeschooling in India?

Homeschooling in India allows students to appear for board examinations conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) after the age of 14 years, or for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examination, which is an internationally recognized qualification for secondary students. While homeschooling is not regulated by any government authorities in India, it has gained importance in metropolitan areas such as Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai.

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