Mar 10, 2024

Perspectives on Homeschooling


Perspectives are a person's point of view that one has gathered based on their limited understanding of the world through their beliefs, perceptions, knowledge, and experiences. What works for one person MAY NOT work for another. Whenever you gather perspectives (be it from me or any person), take them as inputs but critically evaluate them for yourself.

Pre-requisites for homeschooling:

(1) Homeschooling a child is an important decision to be made by both the father and mother together. It is NOT a decision made by one spouse because of the perspectives that he/she received from Instagram influencers.

(2) It is a long-term decision (not for the next few weeks or the next few months, but for the next 12-14 years) which involves multiple changes and uncertainties.

(3) It is a decision being made on behalf of the child, who is not yet mature enough to understand the pros and cons of it.

(4) It requires one of the parents (typically, the mother) to take full responsibility for homeschooling. This would mean that she will either have to postpone or put aside her personal career goals/ambitions.

(5) It requires the family to be financially well-established for the present as well as the future so that the mother can completely dedicate her focus to the child(or children)'s homeschooling needs without the need to share the financial responsibilities of the family.

One can say things like "homeschooling stems from LOVE for oneself, mother nature, family, etc etc". 

LOVE is available in abundance for a child irrespective of the mode of school.

One can love and care for Mother Earth even if the child goes to a regular school and learns history/geography. 

Issues to think through:

(1) Having a clear understanding of WHY you believe that traditional schools are not the best option for your child. Not because 5 people whom you follow on Instagram say so, but do a deeper dive and understand why you want to make this decision and what factors push you towards this decision.

(2) Any family emergencies (elderly care, business loss, layoffs, health issues, etc) in the future can potentially affect the child's homeschooling schedules. Such scenarios cannot be ignored completely.

(3) If this decision needs to be reverted due to unforeseeable circumstances in the future, what's your backup option?

  • Regular schools will require one to keep a copy of the curriculum followed at home, worksheets done, and concepts learned by the child.
  • Certain schools MIGHT give your child a seat IF you have the financial muscle or power strings to pull.

(4) The school environment is not just about books, exams, and marks. It gives the child varied social and emotional experiences:

  • how to wait for your turn to speak
  • how to learn from other kids
  • how to ask questions
  • how to participate in group discussions
  • how to contribute to group projects
  • how to share your tiffin box
  • how to face disappointment when you get low marks
  • how to plan your studies well ahead to avoid last-minute stress
  • how to handle pressure during exams 

and so much more.

(5) One of the common reasons being given is that the child is being overloaded with too much information in the school curriculum. But through the alternative - pull him out of regular school and enroll him in 100 different classes/workshops - aren't we doing the same thing?

People who preach homeschooling and diss regular schooling => consider their backgrounds - family business, a large inheritance, passive income for just being on the board of Directors, and on top of that, conducting workshops and earning easy/quick money (Rs.600 per person. Let's say, 400 people join. Rs.2,40,000 per month for just spending 30 min. This is just one of the many workshops and recordings. Consider the various courses they offer and compute the total earnings! Not sure how the tax gets reported in such cases).

If for some reason, they had to secure a seat for their kids in regular school in the future, they can easily grab one with their financial power.

Is this a viable option for a middle-class family? Even if the family chooses a simple lifestyle, backup options and risk mitigation plans need to be discussed.

The child is NOT going to be in school 24*7 (unless he/she goes to a boarding school). If as parents, we would like them to imbibe certain values and learn certain skills (that are not part of the traditional school curriculum), we can dedicate time for the same in the evening hours, weekends, and the numerous holidays they get throughout the academic year. As parents, we are their role models and if we demonstrate these values and lead by example, their subconscious minds automatically pick them up.

If pressure towards marks and exams is your concern, I personally believe that it is the parents who put more pressure on the kids than the school or teachers. It is up to us as parents to avoid pressurizing the child to be the top-rank holders. If the child gets enough free space and time, he/she will explore their hobbies and interests at their own pace.

In summary,

Be very clear about WHY you are making this decision.

Evaluate the feasibility of a middle path that brings the best of both worlds.

Discuss with your spouse and plan for the LONG TERM - financial sustenance, risk mitigation, and plan for extended family responsibilities if you do go ahead with homeschooling as the right choice.

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