QUARANTINE SCHOOLING: NEW NORMAL FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
With schools across the country closed in response to coronavirus, parents, teachers, and children are becoming subjects in an unofficial homeschooling experiment. But for experienced homeschoolers, coronavirus is a new normal, since you’re not supposed to leave your home unless necessary.
Schools have transitioned to distance learning, forcing parents to simultaneously manage their kids’ schooling and their own jobs. That part is nothing new to homeschooling parents, who have been sharing tips while they also navigate the changed realities outside. Parents have become accidental home school teachers now. Home school parents advised others to keep in mind that academics are not the most important — especially while living in a pandemic. Of course, homeschooling during quarantine is quite different from homeschooling under ordinary circumstances. For example, many parents are unexpectedly adjusting work schedules to accommodate their new child care needs.
So, if you’re worried about your kids not completing a difficult assignment, know that one of the leading figures in Indian education has your back when you throw up your hands and let them read a book for an hour instead. The worst thing you can do is create a tense environment at home because “a stressful brain is not conducive to learning”. They don’t need you standing over them with your arms folded until they finish their fractions assignment during an already tumultuous time in their lives.
The most important thing parents need to homeschool their children is to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, and passion. They have to enjoy all their talk and questions and enjoy equally trying to answer those questions. For the majority of parents who homeschool, the only prerequisite is the desire to do so, along with a dedication to the educational process.
Therefore, try to find creative ways to engage with your kids. Use gardening as an educational tool: building a garden bed could be an engineering or architecture assignment. Cooking meals together can provide plenty of lessons in science, math and reading. Turning meal times into lessons and reading aloud while cooking is a simple idea to have a long time influence.
Homeschooling was and is likely to remain, a niche approach to educating school-age children. The pandemic may convince some parents that it’s the right one for them. By taking a pluralistic approach to education and letting a thousand flowers bloom, policymakers can make homeschooling a viable alternative for parents who desire it.
HOME SCHOOLING: Rejection of the cookie-cutter approach to education
“The philosophy of Home Schooling is, you take real life and then you turn that into schooling.”
“Tota Kahani” by Rabindranath Tagore narrates the story of a free-spirited parrot who would hop, skip, fly and sing all day. A king ordered that the bird be 'civilized', and so it was put in a golden cage. In the flood of restrictions and instructions, it soon forgot to sing, and then, couldn't even squawk. When it tried to fly, its wings were clipped. Soon the parrot died, with not a sound except for the rustle of books in its stomach.
The same story is painted on the walls of Shikshantar in Udaipur, which calls itself a people's institute for rethinking education and development. In the mural, trapped in its gilded cage, this parrot, too, forgets how to sing. But unlike in Tagore's story, the narrative in Shikshantar has been tweaked to accommodate hope. Here, the parrot breaks free instead, snapping, as it were, the shackles of 'formal schooling'.
Homeschooling is home education. In many ways, homeschooling is a more organic form of education that focuses on getting out of traditional classrooms that focus on a one-to-many, generalist education. A homeschool-styled learning environment is more personalized to the student, with individual attention. If your son is struggling in reading or writing, parents can take the time necessary to make sure he masters the concepts. In fact, unlike a traditional classroom where curriculum and resources are predetermined, a homeschool program can change curriculum and tactics to ensure a successful outcome. Likewise, if your daughter is excelling in math or science, there is no need to proceed at a slow pace or continue using a curriculum that may not be challenging enough.
In short, homeschooling is about one-to-one learning.
Homeschooling has gained popularity in the new millennium with a small minority of households abandoning the rote learning and exam-obsessed mainstream school system to provide their children individualized primary-secondary education at home to develop their creative, critical thinking and problem solving cognitive capabilities.
Broadly speaking, home educators divide into three major groups: those who are motivated by religious and moral reasons; those who have philosophical or pedagogical reasons; and those who turn to home education because of problems their children experience in school, both academic and social.
Home Schooling in India lays down its root from the ancient gurukul schooling system which was based on parent/teacher-led education in home environments. Rabindranath Tagore's Visva-Bharati University, Sri Aurobindo's Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education and Mahatma Gandhi's ideal of "basic education had the element of home-schooling.
Homeschooling in India does not require any registration, recognition or regulation by any agency or authority. Most parents who choose to do so either follow the CBSE curriculum or opt for the state board syllabus. Home schooled children can appear for the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams as private candidates, or write the Class 10/12 examinations of the National Institute of Open Learning (NIOS), which gives students the option to get a degree or certificate and is conducted at centres across the country. Sahal Kaushik, the youngest pupil to not only crack IIT but also topple in Delhi with AIR 33 at the age of 14 is the gift of Home-schooling.
In the United States — inevitably the pioneer of homeschooling — an estimated 2.3 million children are being educated at home with this number growing by 7-12 percent annually. According to Brian D. Ray, president of the Salem (Oregon)-based National Home Education Research Institute, homeschooling “may be the fastest growing form of education in the United States”.
Expansion of the notion of learning
The truth is, children are born learning; it’s a survival skill that comes naturally to them. Genuine learning can go beyond core educational topics. The proponents of Home Schooling argue that school is a monoculture which limits the learning process of children and formal schooling forces to study only specified subjects, play prescribed sports, and mingle with children in their own age groups in strictly controlled environments. Such regimentation is contrary to the natural growth cycle of children. Home Schooling children learn socialization skills by interacting with people of all age groups and elements of nature such as animals and plant life.
So, if your kid loves video games, play with them. Read a graphic novel on Minecraft. If they’re interested in knights and superheroes, read books on the subject. Draw them on construction paper, or in sidewalk chalk outside. Talk about what it means to be a hero.
If your child is struggling with a subject or a specific concept, you do not need to skip it and move on. Instead, you can work with your child until she/ he has mastered the material. Homeschooling allows you to take all the time you need to ensure learning is taking place. Likewise, if your child is ready to move on, you do not need to waste time on redundant or repetitive lessons. Homeschooling children can move through educational materials at a faster pace than their peers.
Kids who are homeschooled also may get out in their communities more than other kids. They might get to experience hands-on education at museums, libraries, businesses, marinas, and other community resources. They also might volunteer or participate in "service learning" where they take on local projects.
The pathway to unlocking your child’s potential.
Teach for India fellow Harshad Tathed, who worked on a documentary film titled Project Nomad about alternative education including homeschooling in India, believes this alternative schooling system is becoming increasingly popular because of its mix of basic elementary education and propensity to develop the special intelligence of children. “Children learn best when they are encouraged to question, investigate and research. This transforms them into creative and innovative problem solvers. According to a study conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA, in 2017, at age three, 98 percent of children are creative, but by the time they reach the age of 15, only 2 percent remain creative. This shocking revelation prompted me to work on the documentary film to educate parents about the benefits of homeschooling and other alternative education options,” says Tathed, chief executive of Swayam Bodh Gurukul, a learning centre in Pune which tutors children who fail in school or “don’t like going to school at all”.
Parents of children who have learning disabilities are another set who opt for homeschooling because they feel schools are unable to cater to the special needs of their kids.
Lack of Socialization
The standard notions that home-based education leads to socially ill-adjusted children and limited career opportunities for them. Effects on social life can be another possible disadvantage for homeschooled kids. All kids need to have friends and be around other children. Some homeschoolers may feel cut off from kids their age or feel like they spend too much time with their families.
Lack of Infrastructures
A kid who's homeschooled doesn't have the convenience of school facilities, such as a gymnasium, science lab, or art studio. The child may be taught at the kitchen table or at a "school" area in the home. He or she might do science experiments in the kitchen or go outside to work on an art project. Some parents who homeschool their kids form groups so their kids can go together to take art classes and take part in other group learning activities, like field trips.
With home education gaining momentum and respectability worldwide, suspicion about the academic proficiency of homeschooled children is waning.
Some of the disadvantages of homeschooling include, homeschooled children tend to be pampered mother’s darlings who can’t take the heat of competition in adult life. There’s also a good chance of their transforming into self-indulgent and undisciplined spoiled brats grown fat on extravagant meals.
Home Schooling has washed up on Indian shores, it’s a tiny minority movement because it requires extraordinary investment in terms of time, dedication, patience and relearning capabilities on the part of one or increasingly, both parents — a difficult proposition for two-income households.
At least one parent has to sacrifice her career ambitions or place them on hold. Therefore, despite widespread dissatisfaction with factory-style exam-oriented primary-secondary education, the overwhelming majority of the country’s 60 million middle-class households can’t afford to homeschool their children.
How is homeschool socialization different?
For one thing, homeschoolers do not have the same exposure to peer pressure and bullying, both of which are tied to poorer academic performance and lower self-esteem.
Homeschooling also means less daily interaction with large numbers of kids in a child’s age group. And homeschoolers can end up spending less time each day participating in organized sports and activities with their peers.
However, this does not mean that homeschoolers have no access to their peers, or have no ability to play sports or socially interact with others outside their family. In fact, on average, homeschoolers participate more in their community, are less sedentary, and socialize with a wider mix of adults (especially professionals) than their public school counterparts. As part of its flexible nature and focus on one-on-one / personalized learning, homeschooling involves more field trips, real-life experiences, and hands-on learning. When it comes to sports, homeschoolers often participate in recreational leagues or homeschool sports classes offered in their community. Some students are homeschooled because their athletic or artistic talents have them engaged in sports and activities at a higher level.