Homeschooling as such, has never been an option in India. It arises as an option only for those with other needs, for example for a disabled or differently-abled child, for parents who shift base too often or for those living in an area where schools are not easily accessible.
In the US on the other hand, home schooling vs school has been the number one educational question for many families over the past 30 years. It seems that since the 1980s, many families have rejected public schooling in favor of schooling their children at home.
Recent news reports claim that there has been a seventy-five percent increase in homeschooling in the past eight years. Although we do not have the actual figures, as many as 2 million American students may be being educated at home presently.
The recent news of the success of certain Indian homeschooled children going on to earn college scholarships in a wide range of subjects, sports, and performance arts has brought the question of home schooling in India to the fore. To home-school or not is the big question these days.
The reasons for children going to public or government schools is obvious. After all isn’t that what children do, go to school after a certain age? Everyone, but everyone goes to school. Duh!
In their favor it may be said, schools do have a basic structure and curriculum in place. Teachers have taken training in how to teach well and are able to focus on just teaching unlike home where there can be many distractions like cooking or a baby crying.
Children learn independence such as travelling in school buses, being responsible for their lunch, their books and satchel, being answerable to their teachers about homework among other things.
Mothers and children get space from each other which is healthy in the long run. Children realise that mother cannot forever be with them. If they fall and scrape their knee they learn to handle it on their own or realise that there are other people to fall back on.
Children get to spend time and interact with others of their same age which is very essential for them. They enjoy healthy competition and learn to get along with children from different backgrounds and races. They learn that the outside world can be very different from home.
Children get to go on fun outings in school with their peers, such as picnics, and get to participate in many other activities such as debates, exhibitions, inter-school competitions and fetes. All these and others create those great moments of school life, making memories to look back upon later on in life.
It makes sense to delegate the responsibility of education onto other shoulders instead of taking on one more responsibility as Mom, one more too many.
As far as homeschooling is concerned, it may very well be said that considering the state of lack of safety for children today in our country it may be safer for them not to be exposed to the outer world. They would be safe from catching infections, from bad weather conditions, from bullying, from peer pressures, from drug abuse, and other bad influences.
If one feels strongly about one’s religion or culture and cannot find the means to nurture it in their children in outside schools, one can school one’s children at home so that they may receive the benefits of one’s special traditions.
If a child has a strong interest or talent in something apart from academics such as music or dance or some sport, it makes sense to create the time to nurture that talent thus making homeschool the option of choice. Many great talents have been nurtured this way.
The comfort of home and being with family can give a great sense of security and ease to such kids. There is a fostering of family togetherness and family values. Spending time with the elders of the family and younger siblings makes children more emotionally aware and grounded.
The flexibility in lessons and teaching hours is a big plus. Lessons can be individualized and tailored according to the need of the child. The pace of the learning can be adjusted to the child rather than the other way around, thus imparting a child-centric education.
The teaching can turn out to be of much higher quality and richer as attention is paid individually to each child. One need not stick to a mere syllabus but can exercise the independence to add much more and some. Choice of a quality curriculum, setting higher standards for ones children and emphasis on certain subjects are great plus factors for homeschooling.
Home schooling can be ongoing, anywhere, in exciting locations such as science museums, zoos, in botanical gardens. Long periods of travel are made possible so if one is travelling a lot due to work, or by choice, the studies can keep up without break. Also travel in itself makes for great learning experiences.
More creative and imaginative tools can be used to teach stuff. Other areas of study can be incorporated, for example making children understand money from a young age by letting them use actual change, taking them to museums or nature exhibits, or places of historical interest. The education becomes very well rounded then.
Last but not the least schooling at home can cut down on the expenses of high and exorbitant public school fees, costs of uniforms and other expenses that schools tend to extract from parents on some pretext or the other.
Home-schooled children tend to take on responsibility about their studies for themselves from an early age it seems. They become self-motivated and have a greater idea of their natural aptitudes and interests and are able to give time and attention to those quarters so that they can excel in them. They can take their life to a whole new level.