Home-schooling turns a corner in alternative edu

PUBLISH DATE 26th April 2017

Sneh Erande felt school was only about reading and studying with little room for other activities and he soon grew disinterested. So his parents decided to homeschool him and let him follow his interests.

Sneh, 9, follows a routine where he dedicates two hours a day for studies and spends the remaining time in origami, drawing and painting, constructing buildings out of hard boards, reading books and poems and travelling to nearby places. His mother refers to NCERT and state board textbooks to teach him.

Sneh's father, Chetan, who is part of a homeschoolers group, said they have received queries from at least 15 parents who want to homeschool their children and are willing to take support from the group. Two of them withdrew their kids from school and took a conscious decision to homeschool them.

An informal group of parents who have opted for home-schooling in the city has at least 150 members. Co-founder of Swashikshan-Association of Indian Homeschoolers, (the Indian Association of Homeschoolers,) Urmila Samson, estimated that there are possibly over 600 homeschooling families with over 1,000 parents and the number is rising.

Erande said parents are now accepting 'unschooling' where they want to free their children from the stress that schools put. “Parents feel the heat and they are teaching their children at home keeping their interests in mind rather than sending their child to school for eight hours.“

There are no set rules to home-schooling and parents follow their own method and share ideas with other parents through associations.

Sandesh Joshi, parent of 12-year-old Sia, said they mu tually decide what she wants to learn and plan the week.They depend on the internet for reading and writing, learn maths and science concepts spread over two hours a day .

“Sia likes to explore places so every week there is at least one field trip to museums, libraries, markets, parks and science centres in the city. She collects information from these places and puts down her understan ding in an essay . That's how she has developed writing and language,“ Joshi said.

Samson said parents are now Googling to get in touch with others who have opted for home-schooling for their children. “After a conversation, some take this courageous step for their children. More families are withdrawing admissions of their children from a formal education and taking up the homeschool challenge,“