Unlike mainstream schools today, homeschooling is led by the child's interest. "It allows us to go on tangents, exploring interconnections among subjects rather than artificial segregation. It facilitates deep, far reaching conversations among family members and embraces diversity, allows original thinking, different answers from the usual.
Frustrated with the traditional education scenario, some parents are taking matters into their own homes. Many are now breaking away from the mainstream education system and choosing instead homeschooling' or 'unschooling'. Many news reports state that the quality of education in a regular school is inferior as a whole and this has lead to dissatisfaction of the experience. "The slowing economy has made parents question the considerable expense of good schooling as an essential.
Most commonly it is parents who choose to educate their children at home using customised methods that suit the child's passion and parent's ability. "It takes out all irrelevant clutter and allows the child's learning space to be filled with opportunities s/he can use, rather than stuff they must learn because some 50 year old with 40 degrees thought it is a good idea that all children learn some subject.
But is learning enough?
What happens when they go into the real world? How are they tested?
One of the most common questions that many homeschooler encounter is: what about exams?
What about the syllabus?
There seems to be a whole spectrum of methods that homeschoolers use to educate their children. "There is no separate syllabus. Some parents follow prescribed textbooks. However, some don't follow and others design their own curriculum by referring to syllabi of different boards. The beauty of homeschooling is that the parents, being the teachers of the child, know exactly what their children are learning and have understood. They give them informal tests all the time. So for them there is really no need to do any formal testing at all! "We as parents often go beyond testing too, to find out the heart of the child, something that cannot be measured by any test as said by a Doctor.
So the simple answer to parents who doubt this is, "Of course we as parents test them regularly and informally. There is no need to do formal testing, as the homeschooled child grows older, h/she can take formal tests as deemed fit by the parents, if they wish to prepare him or her for entry into colleges. However, for those who wish to follow a particular syllabi, "There are different options to take formal exams at different levels, like the Macmillan International Assessment for Indian Students, The NIOS and the IGCSE etc," he adds.
The lack of ranking and peer pressure in homeschooling gives children a greater strength to be unique, true to their own ideals and less influenced by their peers. "This system recognises the value of learning from mistakes and encourages the mixing of generations and age groups..
However, it's not all too easy for homeschoolers. In fact it can be quite challenging and challenges differ from family to family. "For families that count on two parent incomes, it can get tough to manage expenses as well as time to devote to the child. Homeschooling is a 24/7 attention job. "You simply start living with your child as priority one, so it can get tough making time for your own interests or needs or work.
It's not an easy path, and sometimes parents may even second-guess themselves about whether they're doing this right. But then their children surprise them with unique learning moments, growth, and progress. Life poses hundreds of challenges, but for a homeschooler these are learning opportunities.
Once Mahatma Gandhi said
“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parents”
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