Sajjal S Rakhecha
“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”
Homeschooling is the option of not sending your child to a regular school but to educate them using the resources available to him/her and also through first- hand experiences. It’s a well thought out plan adopted by parents after study of the education system from different perspectives.
Homeschooling has been an accepted western phenomenon for a long time. However, this has also created a small breed in India amidst parents who are on the constant lookout for better school options. Not much data is available to support or reject the perspective.
However, Bangalore as a city has always been welcoming to new ideas and cultures and has been no different in absorbing this new culture of homeschooling as well.
Has this mindset of homeschooling children managed to grow into an infectious plague? If yes why more in Bangalore? If it has, then are the parents on the lookout for any accreditation from the government? Is this an influence of the western culture that will soon find its way out, or is it here to stay? Are Bangalore residents willing to change their outlook and work towards this revolution in the education sector or will oppose this?
Bangalore being among the most sort after cosmopolitan city in India, is home to all races, religions, and cultures. It is the IT capital and mostly has the workforce that caters to Multi National Corporations (MNC’s). It’s a city where the opportunities are endless and so are the expenses. Balancing the same may be a challenge for many and hence the idea of homeschooling may have seeded into the minds of many.
Parents are now on the constant lookout for methods to bring about the overall development of the child, removed from the education system rat race. This has become obvious from the increase in the number of international schools making Bangalore their home and the increase in the number of home-schooled children. This trend is also catching up, as the children can allot more time to sports and other extracurricular activities. Children do have a timetable at home but not a regimented one. There could be flexibility in terms of the time they spend on studies. This gives them ample time to pursue areas of their interest which are not possible with school pressures.
The easy access to libraries across the city, internet access at various public places and informal learning centers are also making way for this culture to stay. Many parents are becoming wary of the pressure they and their children undergo in a formal schooling system. They are already burdened by the work culture they are a part of. The value of their kids learning through experiences is gaining a lot of favor.
These parents are adopting homeschooling as the best option for their children. This is spreading by word of mouth and experiences of parents who are homeschooling their children. Social media is a boon for those wanting to share the same. Various meet-ups of parents with such an approach is on the rise. They meet to discuss experiences and learn from one another.
The increasing violence in schools could also add to the decision of parents wanting to choose homes for their children. The crimes happening at a school premise has almost doubled in Bangalore in the last decade or so. The exam pressures, parent pressures, peer pressures are all part and parcel of the school circus which is not what the working parents want to put on their children. Owing to all the above reasons, homeschooling is often rated above international schools.
While the pros are aplenty the cons, however, comes into the picture too. The parents don’t have an accredited body that could give the formal structure to homeschooling. Nor do they have a pathway that they follow. This could result in making the line of learning vague for their children which is not in the case of a formal structure. All parents don’t make good teachers, it also adds to the worry of those promoting this culture. Another black spot is the lack of socializing, since they don’t have friends around doing the same things and therefore no common topics to talk about. In short, lack of accreditation, no peer interaction, and lack of training for parents is a disadvantage in Bangalore as it is in any other part of the world.
But are we ready to upscale the advantages and work on eradicating the cons is the question arising here? Are Bangalore residents willing to adapt to a new education system slowly and steadily?
Steps have already been made in the form of petitions to legalize the option of choosing homeschooling for their children. Many agencies are working towards promoting this mindset within parents by giving them adequate statistics of the advantages of homeschooling, by inviting them to awareness programs and counseling them if required. Training parents to become good teachers is also one of the objectives of these agencies.
Informal educational Institutions like Cilre are giving home-schooled kids a chance to socialize even as they get the benefit of some interesting programs, that the parents may not be able to create. They also provide programs in the area of the child’s interest which are a blend of structure and free learning.
They can become a backbone to parents supporting such an education culture. Many MNC’s are also partnering with counselors to give talks in offices and make the workforce aware of these options. This in itself is a good start to the phenomenon that is here to stay-HOMESCHOOLING.
*Image Reference: Homeschooling and Alternative Education in India, 13 June, 2018, https://www.vidyalai.com/blog/on-home-schooling/
Sajjal is an enthusiastic individual who believes in making education simple, practical and fun. She believes in the idea that an experience is something that can never be forgotten. Bringing the same in use, she has conducted more than 70 workshops for kids and corporates across Bangalore on themes ranging from art and craft to storytelling, science, drama, public speaking, and even customized workshops. She has worked for brands like- US Polo, The Children’s place, Iqvia, HDFC, Bloom and grow, AMD, BCG, Cilre, etc.