There is looming uncertainty about when schools will reopen in India, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And even if it does reopen in the near future, how safe is it for children to go to school?
According to media reports, parents of homeschoolers are getting more and more inquiries about their way of educating children.
So, here’s breaking down some frequently asked questions about homeschooling in India. Read on.
What is homeschooling?
When parents make the conscious decision to not send their children to schools, but instead educate them in the home environment, it is called homeschooling. While a specific curriculum or pedagogy is not followed, parents and students work around a flexible syllabus based on their motivation.
This is not the same as e-learning or online learning via school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is that the same as unschooling?
Nope. Unschooling comes from the area of thought that moves entirely away from any defined curriculum. Parents of unschooling do not believe in the concept of ‘teaching’ and let students learn through life experiences and activities that the child chooses to involve in. Students who are unschooled might not be able to pursue higher education, at least in India.
Does this mean parents have to ‘school’ their children?
While parents are mostly the ones who guide homeschoolers with their education, families also hire tutors and experts to teach their student.
This can range from sending your child to a dance class, or to learn a foreign language.
In short, learning does not happen just inside the confines of home and facilitated by parents, under this arrangement.
Is homeschooling legal in India?
Yes, while India does not have a regulatory body for homeschoolers, it is very much legal in India.
Can homeschooling students pursue higher education?
Yes, they can. While the homeschoolers can take Class 10 and Class 12 of the CBSE Board as private candidates, there are also other options.
- The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) offers Open Basic Education for children up to 14 years of age. This means that students can take up exams at A, B, and C levels which is equivalent to Class 3, Class 5 and Class 7. They can also opt for Secondary Education Course – similar to Class 10 exams and Senior Secondary Course – similar to Class 12 exams
- They can also opt for International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), which is a part of Cambridge Assessment International Examination (CAIE)
- However, homeschoolers are not eligible to take ICSE and ISC exams
- Once they clear this exam, they are eligible for college admission
What are the advantages/disadvantages of homeschooling?
- Flexibility: The curriculum is flexible as per the child’s need
- Time: Pace of learning as per the child’s needs
- Opportunity to enroll in other extra-curricular activities
- Time: Homeschooling can take a considerable amount of parents’ time, between ‘teaching’ and driving them to other classes
- Financial constraints: In order for the parent to remain a homeschooler, he or she needs to be financially sufficient or be able to manage reduced family income
- If the parent is insisting on completing a set syllabus, the student might not have enough opportunities to interact with others or enroll in extra-curricular activities
How will my child interact with others their age if I opt for homeschooling?
This is a popular myth associated with homeschooling. Apart from interacting with kids in extra-curricular classes, each city has many support groups for the homeschoolers which facilitates interactions.
Is it possible to return to schooling after few years of homeschooling?
This depends on the age of the student. In India, under the Right to Education Act, no child can be denied admission.
For example, if a 10-year-old has been homeschooled all his life, he will have to take the school entrance exam for the class he wants to join in. If he clears the test, the school cannot deny him admission.
How popular is homeschooling in India?
It is difficult to put a number on the number of homeschoolers in India as there is no specific regulatory body. However, the method of teaching is found concentrated in city pockets like Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Chennai.
Is homeschooling a less expensive option?
This is subject to decisions taken by individual parents. While parents may not have to pay a fixed fee, it depends on the curriculum they follow, the online courses they enroll their children in, and the physical activities like swimming, karate, dance class, etc.
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