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Homeschooling not new in Bengaluru

The growing community of homeschoolers haven't been affected due to the pandemic
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

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Many parents are discovering the virtues of homeschooling amid new challenges posed by the pandemic. The government is considering asking schools to reopen in October, but Covid-19 numbers are rising, and parents are apprehensive about sending their children out. Parents in Bengaluru who have switched to homeschooling say it has many advantages.

For Sandhya Viswan, parent of a 13-year-old and 20-year-old, homeschooling is not about academic learning but a way of life. Her younger son Omkar has his interest in sports and has been unschooled. “My older son, Pranavswaroop, also showed interest in music and when he started homeschool more than a decade ago, he had more time,” she says.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to go by a set of subjects, as in a conventional school.

Students can sign up to write exams under the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). The Karnataka state board also allows private candidates to take up the 10th standard exams. There are special arrangements done for that.

Self-learning

Parents also enjoy the freedom to choose what they are most comfortable with. For Sharen Paul and her three children, NCERT works.

“My oldest son, Jeremy, was studying in an alternative education centre before I started homeschooling him two years ago. I follow the NCERT books for Kristine and Christian too,” she says. The alternative school meant the children were away for just three hours a day and they would learn everything about farm animals, gardening and so on. “They would go to these farms to learn instead of being stuck within four walls,” she says.

She uses apps that teach her children specific topics. “The best part about homeschooling is that you can learn from anywhere and holidays and pandemics don’t really affect their learning,” she says.

Socially practical

Ferdinand Udaykumar’s children, Abhishai and Unnathi, have been homeschooled since February this year.

“The school my children were part of before the pandemic was meant for those between the age of zero and seven, where they don’t learn anything formally. It was just vocabulary building and artistic activities. Formal learning begins after that, till high school is complete.”

A community of homeschooled parents is active in Bengaluru. “We are part of that community and we all meet as much as possible and kids get enough socialisation through that. They aren’t missing out as much as you think they are,” he adds.

Practical knowledge

Sowmya Saraswati, mother of nine-year-old Suvan, feels practical knowledge is more essential than bookish knowledge.

She follows the Waldorf education for her son. It’s a method of learning that strives to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner.

“We’ve set a rhythm at home. The day includes everything from gardening, learning shlokas from his grandmother, a regular class with his teacher online for an hour and Telugu classes from me,” she says.

She is still happy that he gets to do things at his leisure. “Let’s see how this year goes as we ourselves are new to homeschooling,” she says.

Special needs

Remya, parent of an 11-year-old special needs child, feels conventional schools do not benefit her child much. “She would be too tired or the teachers wouldn’t be able to give her that much attention. At home, I can monitor her and teach her new things,” she says.

Is homeschooling expensive?

Yes and no. It may be more expensive if tutors are roped in to give private, personalised lessons. It also depends on the kind of activities the child is interested in. Signing up at a high-profile sports academy will mean higher monthly costs, but parents save on the donations they pay at conventional schools.

Do homeschooled children feel left out?

No, because there is a community out there with whom they can interact. Depending on individual interest, they can opt for theatre, music, sports or other group activities. They can even find chemistry labs to experiment in.

What happens if parents can’t teach?

Most homeschooling activity is based on activities parents can easily take part in. In case they aren’t able to, there are plenty of tutors out there who can help.

Help for homeschooling

Homeschoolers’ Nook (Facebook)

Swashikshan - Indian Association of Homeschoolers (Facebook)

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Published 01 September 2020, 17:27 IST

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