home school

What Is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling isn’t the same as helping your child follow online schooling modules. It isn’t just about giving your child an education at home, it’s a way of life.

 Here, children learn through experiences and must develop the ability to be self-aware. It goes against traditional forms of education and is not dependent on any specific school methodology. Both the child and parents must be self-motivated for this system to be effective.

In terms of high school certifications, homeschoolers can go through the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) or National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

Alternatively, families may choose to move away completely from having a defined curriculum and help children gain knowledge through eclectic activities.

For example, the student may learn about farming by growing herbs in a pot. In such cases, a college education is pursued only if the child is passionate about it.

Who’s Homeschooling In India?

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact number of families choosing to homeschool their children. The highest concentration of homeschoolers is in Pune, followed by Mumbai. At third place is Ahmedabad. Other cities with a high concentration of homeschoolers include Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. Homeschooling is a popular choice in Kerala as well. 

The Social Side Of Homeschooling In Karnataka

Homeschooling is often assumed to be a solitary activity. Unlike regular schooling, there are no parent-teacher meetings involved, no sports days or annual days and no group activities. However, there is still a lot of social activity involved.

For example, parents and children may get support for their educational endeavors through WhatsApp and Facebook groups or open learning centers. Many of these groups have been started by homeschoolers and have no joining fees. Some of these groups even organize group activities like meet-ups, field trips and play dates.

Open learning centers like Shikshantar in Udaipur host 5-day retreats for up to 20-25 families to learn and bond with each other. Similarly, Swashikshan—Indian Association of Homeschoolers hosts annual meets for homeschooled children and their families. Here too the families will stay together for 4-5 days.

Aarohi, another open learning center offers community unschooling in a village campus 60km from Bengaluru. Here, children stay on the campus from Monday to Friday. Optionally, parents can choose to stay here too. The learning activities in this center are designed around what the child likes to do.

Homeschooling Concerns

Given the amount of importance we tend to give certificates, homeschooling has its own concerns. Many parents worry about whether their children will be accepted by universities if they want to study further. Others worry about short-term future plans of whether their child will be able to rejoin school at a later age.

The good news is that today, many companies are going beyond the need for college degrees when scouting for new talent. In the post-pandemic world, the adaptability of homeschooled children may in fact give them an edge over others.

Benefits of Homeschooling

With the formal education sector becoming extremely rigid and unaccommodating, homeschooling provides the space and scope to develop and nurture the potentials of a child. Enlisted below are some benefits of homeschooling which you must know about.

  • It allows parents to customize the academic learning of a child thereby developing their skills.
  • Due to greater attention to details, the child has a better understanding and their conceptual foundations are stronger.
  • The needs of the child can be taken into account and milestones can be demarcated to allow the child to grow at their own pace without unnecessary hurry.
  • It offers flexibility and freedom to find one’s passion and work towards excelling in it.
  • Having become more formalized, it doesn’t result in the child lagging behind and is equivalent to any other form of education.

Homeschooling curriculums in India

The most popular homeschooling curriculums in India are:

  • International British Curriculum/Cambridge Curriculum – This is a globally recognised system of learning and assessment that allows for seamless integration with national curricula worldwide. It offers more flexibility for students to work at their own pace and students are able to write exams in exam centres anywhere in the world. Parents opt for the International British Curriculum because an A Level certificate is accepted by universities across the world.
  • The NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling): The National Institute of Open Schooling, formerly National Open School, is the board of education under the Union Government of India. NOIS only provides course content for lower secondary and senior secondary education levels.

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)