The other day, I was speaking with an acquaintance about this and that when he revealed something absolutely remarkable: his wife and he were homeschooling their three children—two sons and a daughter! Given the awful experience I had at school (such a waste of many precious years, almost half a century ago), this news came as a really nice surprise!
Not only in the West, but also in nations like India, homeschooling is becoming a more popular alternative for parents. For a variety of reasons, including skyrocketing school fees, aggressive competition, rote-learning, culturally alienating curricula, and, last but not least, a lack of sufficient focus on ethics, spiritual values, and character-building, many people are becoming disenchanted with ‘mainstream schooling.
Many parents are finding that homeschooling offers various advantages that make it a more tempting alternative. Homeschooling can be a tremendous aid for families where one spouse (typically the wife) feels forced to work outside the home simply to augment the primary breadwinner’s income and help pay for their children’s exorbitantly high school fees. The spouse does not have to work outside the home and deal with the monotony that comes with it if their children are homeschooled. Instead, they may stay at home and spend quality time with their children, helping them with their studies. Not only will this relieve these parents of the stress of working long hours only to pay for their children’s school expenses, but it will also assist to foster stronger and healthier parent-child relationships (rather than relying on a school instructor to do so). Homeschooling allows parents to become more active in their children’s lives rather than expecting schoolteachers to shoulder a major portion of the responsibility for how their children turn out.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful relief for families that are unable or unwilling to pay large sums of money for apparently “excellent” schools’ tuition (and other costs). Homeschooling can be a big money saver when compared to traditional schools.
Homeschooling can also be beneficial to youngsters. It has the potential to be more beneficial to a child’s inner growth than traditional schools, which are frequently marked by intense competition, authoritarianism, control, hierarchy, and a lack of concern for morals and spiritual ideals. Children who are homeschooled may have a higher chance of pursuing their aspirations. Instead of being limited to a very narrow selection of subjects offered in many ‘mainstream schools, they may be allowed to choose from a wider choice of things to study. Homeschooled children may be able to study seemingly unrelated disciplines such as Home Science, Biology, Accountancy, Painting, and Sociology, a combination that would be difficult in most traditional schools. When you study at home, you may be considerably more flexible with your schedule. Instead of being controlled by schools, the speed of learning can be set by parents and their children. As a result, learning can become a more leisurely process rather than something that must be rushed through. If parents who choose to home school their children are innovative and creative, they can help them cover the prescribed curriculum in a much more enjoyable way than is often the case in ‘traditional’ schools, where fear of teacher reprimands or exam failure can sometimes cause havoc with children’s lives.
However, the number of parents who choose to teach their children at home is still small, which is why I was surprised (but delighted!) to learn that one of my acquaintance’s children was homeschooling. One reason for this could be that institutionalized ‘mainstream’ education has become so prevalent that many people now believe it is as natural and vital as marrying, eating, and breathing! (To see how erroneous this notion is, consider that from the beginning of human life on this planet until perhaps half a dozen or so generations ago, the vast majority of the world’s population had never visited a school or ever heard of the concept!)Some parents may recognize how much better homeschooling may be for their children than institutionalized “normal” school, but they are hesitant to educate their children for fear that they would become misfits if they do not attend traditional schools. This is an issue that supporters of homeschooling must confront. The best way to do so is to have parents who are homeschooling their children, as well as their children, share their experiences with others.
For parents who want to homeschool their children in India, the National Institute of Open Schooling is a helpful resource. For details, see their website: www.nios.ac.in