A couple of good friends, Indian nationals living abroad, have opted to homeschool their kids. One of them had actually tried regular schooling for her daughter, and seemed to hate it from the beginning. The other didn’t even bother trying a traditional schooling environment. Her kids have never experienced going to school. Both of them are very happy with their choice.
I have spent the last year pondering on the pros and cons of homeschooling – would it work for our family? Was I doing my kids a disservice by putting them through the daily grind of regimental schooling? Was I killing their creativity in the process? I think this academic year-end is a good time to bring this topic up for discussion on Parentous.
Why do parents feel the need to homeschool?
The reasons are many. I won’t list all of them, but the most common are – parents didn’t really love going to school themselves – growing up, they experienced the pain of always competing, peer pressure, teachers who spent more time killing dreams than nurturing them, etc. Then there are those parents who feel that traditional schooling doesn’t do too much moral nurturing; the other side of this coin is religion. Many parents keep their kids home to “nurture” their faith better. Parents also feel that school-life, one governed by time tables, school bells and extreme discipline – can kill creativity in a big way. The high cost of education vs the low quality of teaching (perceived or otherwise) is another reason for parents to opt for homeschooling.
What are the misconceptions about home-schooling?
The main false notion is that home schoolers lack social skills. I have been keeping track of homeschooling parents’ Facebook updates, and I feel that this is the biggest myth about home schooling. Most homeschooling families belong to home schoolers’ groups. They schedule regular playdates and outings. The fact that homeschooling is an unconventional (presently) form of schooling makes home-schooling parents an interesting mix of religions, races, nationalities and ideas. When they meet, the kids are naturally introduced to a global culture.
On the downside, home-schooling is known to inadequately prepare kids for competitive exams. When home-schooling kids grow up, and choose to join professions that need them to answer exams to get into professional colleges (or after they join a professional course), they can’t cope with the pressure of regimental studies, and a system of education totally alien to the one they have experienced growing up. These are just opinions, and I do not have concrete evidence about the truth of these statements.
Would I homeschool my kids?
No. Not because I am against the concept of homeschooling, but because this decision is right for my family at this point in our kids’ lives. Remember, to home-school or not, is a decision unique to each family. Here are my reasons for not choosing to home-school.
- As a parent of two kids, who are hmm I won’t call them clingy (parents of homeschoolers would certainly object to the label), but I’ll call them mom-loving..:) Traditional schooling is a welcome break for me, their mother. I get the time off to concentrate on my work, to feel my own “worth” and to be refreshed enough to greet them warmly and spend time with them when they are back.
- Then there is the fact that we live away from the general close coterie of family members. If we didn’t send them to school, they would certainly be living in a cocoon of their own. At school they learn and experience different cultures (I remember the day my daughter came to know that there are so many other deities and religions – she had so many questions!) School is where they learn the principle of respect for all religions, unity in diversity, democracy, etc. Of course, a lot depends on the teacher who handles the kids – and my kids have been lucky enough to have outstanding teachers this far.
- As the stay-at-home parent, most of the education-giving would become my responsibility. Let’s say I am just not ready for these challenges (especially since Math and Science are not my strong subjects).
- I am happy to see my daughter’s faith nourished so well in school. It helps when the school re-inforces aspects of spirituality that the child learns at home.
- I am quite pleased with the education standards. There is no pressure to mug up, there is plenty of opportunity to channel a child’s creative leanings – art, music, song, dance, sports and extra-curricular activities make schooling so much fun for my daughter!
- I am also so thankful for the lovely teachers who are so obviously in love with their profession – a rarity these days!
Would I home-school and take all this away from my daughter? No! Are any of you home-schooling parents? It would be great to hear from you!
Sharon Colaco D’Souza is a mother of two kids, a girl and a boy. She is a business management post graduate, and works as a content strategist for a living. She is passionate about home decor and design, and blogs at The Keybunch. Parenting is ‘that continuously-unravelling mystery’ for her and she views Parentous as a great place for parenting information, as well as a place to share her own parenting discoveries. She is currently working on a book idea on indigenous architecture and hopes to see it to fruition!