It was a very typical Sunday evening but for the heavy rains lashing out – we were waiting after the music class hoping that the rains will stop. Children started talking and playing. I started a polite conversation with another mom who was also waiting for the rain to stop. When I inquired about how long it takes for her to reach home from the class, she said around 1.30 hours. As it was already 7.15 pm, I was calculating that it will be almost 9 pm for her to reach home. So, I made a comment “oh, it will be late for the kids…what time they need to leave home in the morning for school?” (am I being too obsessed with others problems or am I having OCD when it comes to punctuality?). Without getting touched by my unwarranted concern, she very calmly answered “they are home-schooling”. It took me a minute to orient and understand what she meant – while I have heard the concept of home-schooling, I have heard it very infrequently in India – few cases I knew of were from the perspective of specific reasons – security reasons for the royal kids, special children who need additional attention, etc.
Now I became even more curious and my mind was bubbling up with more and more questions….considering the rain gods were at mercy with me, I got into an interviewing mode with her
Why did you decide to do homeschooling?
It was more of an experiment – we wanted our children to be out of the rat race – we wanted them to learn for the sake of knowledge – we can only experiment with our own children
So, how is the schedule of a week day look?
Children get up early and spend time on yoga and pranayama. Then they help me in household chores – after breakfast, they spend around 3 hours per day on studies. As they are now on their own, they study other reference books or research on the internet. In the evening they go for basketball classes and play with the neighbourhood children.
Will they able to manage the board exams when they come to the senior classes (10th grade and 12th grade in India are board exams)?
Yes, ofcourse. The elder one is at 11th grade now and she did pretty well in her 10th classes.
Is homeschooling difficult?
Yes, it is difficult at the initial stages. I spent lot of time with the kids initially . I stopped working full time as homeschooling is possible only if an adult is at home guiding the children..
When I came back home, the conversation was going on replay mode in the back of my mind – made me log into the net and read more about home-schooling. I also happened to hit on this news article where the mom I spoke to and her kids were interviewed already – http://woman.intoday.in/woman/story.jsp?sid=6749
For me, home-schooling sounded like a great concept – making children learn for the sake of knowledge at their own pace and pulling them out of the rat race. While I still have reservations about the children’s view of it (my kids love the fun time they have with their classmates at school and they relate so much to school) and the impact of homeschooling on children’s social skills, I think it needs lots of dedication from the parent (invariably I read only about women supporting homeschooling of their kids full time).
Also, it takes lot of courage and the ability to take a risk if you try any thing which is out of ordinary – definetly the women who are handling the home-schooling for their children seem to be more courageous and is out of the ordinary here in India!!………..
All the best, folks!!!