We are bringing stories from different Indian moms who homeschool their kids in the series – Homeschooling in India. The next mom who is sharing her story with us is Neha Anand who started homeschooling her two sons one year back. We ask moms about their reasons to start homeschooling in India. Let’s get to know her story and her reasons to opt for homeschooling –
When did you start homeschooling in India for your kids?
We started Homeschooling in September 2017. It’s been more than a year now.
What led to this decision of homeschooling your kids?
We were in Delhi when we decided to homeschool our kids. We now live in Gurgaon. The topmost reason being security. I felt schools in Delhi are not safe. I used to get troubled hearing news about incidents happening with children in school and such mishaps were only getting frequent. And the news about Pradyuman Thakur from Ryan international school was something that gave me quite a jolt. That was when we decided that we cannot leave our kids to strangers. Also, I was not really happy with the kind of teachers that were teaching my kids in school. The emphasis was on cramming and not learning.
What are the differences between convention schooling and homeschooling according to you?
I studied in Doon international school in Dehradun which is one amazing school but what I am today has nothing to do with what I learned in school. Schools focus on books and homeschooling on learning. We learn with what we see around us and with what life serves to us.
I am not anti-schools but schools follow the age-old traditional method of teaching which doesn’t fit all. Every child is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid. That is what schools are good at. Convention school is killing creativity and homeschooling encourages that. My kids now get individual attention in the true sense. Homeschooling gives my children the freedom to choose what they want to learn, focus on what is important and not just cram irrelevant topics a few days before the exams and vomit on the examination sheet, score grade A and feel proud for a few days. There’s no learning in that.
Your kids are in which grades now and which curriculum you chose and how did you find out about it?
Aarav is in grade 4 and Abeer is in grade 1. We have chosen CBSE curriculum for now as we are new to homeschooling. I am researching on other curricula as well and would switch to something more suitable soon.
What are the struggles in India for parents who want to homeschool? and did you face any problems initially?
The only struggle is society. In India, people have no clue about homeschooling and are just not ready to accept the fact that kids can learn and grow without going to school. We have plenty of naysayers around us. I faced a lot of criticism from the immediate family. Every now and then people around me would suggest me to send kids back to school. I know what I am doing and I am very confident about how my kids would be as an individual when they grow up. They may not be a scientist or an engineer but do we not have a lot of those already? We need more of animal lovers, artists and creative minds around.
Share the tips and tricks to keep them focussed while studying at home.
” Let them be”
Don’t force your dreams on them. Aarav is an animal lover. He wants to have a career that has anything and everything to do with/for animals. He focuses mainly on them. I encourage him and get books that interest him. We watch a lot of documentaries on animals. Learning only through books can get boring. Also, google helps with varied information. We don’t study. We learn. For the younger one, I have learning apps installed that help him with reading in a playful way. We also play rhyming word games to enhance the vocabulary.
One major concern which parents have regarding homeschooling is the social interaction with other kids. How do you take care of that aspect while homeschooling?
Do we really socialize in school? When? In that 20 minutes recess. Right? That’s not social interaction. Do teachers really let children talk in the classroom? My kids do not miss school at all. They have a lot of friends in the society that we live in. They interact with them in their free play time. Also, they go for extra classes like tennis and art and craft and have friends there as well. Kids also interact with our friends and family and that’s enough socializing for them at this age.
Any other suggestions for parents who are planning to homeschool but are sceptical.
Homeschooling might be a new concept in India but trust me this is the best gift that I have given to my boys. Freedom to live without those massive school bags, to learn without the fear of teachers in school, to choose to be themselves and not what any age-old school system wants them to be. To all those parents that are toying with the idea of homeschooling, I would say go ahead and see the difference. I love my life more since the time I decided to homeschool my kids. And my kids just love this relaxed way of school at home.
Are you planning to homeschool them in higher grades too?
My kids are quite young and I have not really thought on this on a serious note. I would want them to take their 10th and 12th exams but I will leave that decision on them when the time comes. And I believe a lot will change in India by then. I am hoping that homeschooling by then would be more acceptable in society.
Thanks, Neha for sharing your experience with other parents. Wishing you and your sons all the very best for the future.