Written by Sindhuja Prabhu
Homeschooling is no more a word or a method of teaching that is frowned upon. As time changes, new age parents are learning to appreciate the numerous advantages this style of education offers them and their kids.
Homeschooling as the word itself suggests is when you decide to educate or “school” your child at home by yourself rather than sending them to the regular schools. In this system of education, you will be setting the time limits for their “classes,” teaching them concepts and other things on your own, in your own style rather than following the regular education system. Homeschooled kids do not go to schools and study completely at home.
Traditional schooling is where the child, after a certain age, is sent to a school. Here the school follows a syllabus set by the respective education board. These syllabuses are set according to age and classes. The portions are also set based on a kids’ age and everything increases as the child grows older.
Children, as they grow, show different levels of interest in different subjects. Some may like maths, some may like science while some may show high proficiency for languages. Traditional schooling has a set syllabus for all children of the same age group and hence they are taught the same things. If you decide to teach your child by yourself at a pace set by them, depending on their level of interest and understanding, you are homeschooling them.
Children are like a sponge. They just absorb everything they see, hear, and are taught. When your child has a higher aptitude for math than other kids their age, it is only right if you feed this curiosity and help them learn more without holding them back in the name of the syllabus. This will quench their thirst for knowledge and help them learn more of their favorite subject.
Are you wondering how you or your child can benefit from homeschooling? Is it actually good for your child? Read on to know how homeschooling can be a game-changer and really help your child:
One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is there is no limit to learning. If your child has an aptitude for math, you can go on introducing concepts well ahead of the syllabus set for their age. Some children are natural geniuses with numbers and if your child is one, homeschooling can be a great option for them.
The learning limit and pattern are decided and set by the child in homeschooling. If the child wants to learn more, s/he learns more. If s/he is not interested in a particular subject or needs more time to understand a particular concept, they take the required amount of time.
In homeschooling, there is no rush for the child to learn everything. There are no textbooks or exam schedules to adhere to. Though parents follow a certain homeschooling curriculum, there is no fixed time period for their learning. Hence the child’s learning is not rushed with an intention to “complete portions”.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is the child has a hands-on learning experience with many concepts. For example, if your child is learning about mass and water, they can practically try putting different objects in a tub of water to see which is heavier or what will float and what will not. They don’t have to just learn verbatim from a textbook. This type of practical learning helps the child understand better and clearer. Such lessons stay longer in their minds than what they learn blindly from textbooks.
Children who are homeschooled have the chance to learn more about themselves. They are able to gauge better what they like, what they can understand, and how much time they require to learn or complete a particular task. Parents who are homeschooling their children also get to learn more about their kids when compared to parents who send their kids to regular school.
Homeschooling allows a child and the parents to explore various interests. A child is exposed to many new things at different times and they can choose one particular subject and explore more. This will enable the child to go with the flow instead of stopping just because it is not part of the portions mentioned in the book. There are many homeschooling programs to help parents explore their child’s interests.
There is no peer pressure in homeschooling. Your child will not be forced to do something or behave a certain way just because their friends are doing so or that is what is expected out of a child their age. This helps the parents keep the child’s behavior under control and also check their exposure to unwanted things.
No matter how many rules the schools enforce, there is bullying here and there in schools. Bullying need not be dangerous or very obvious, it can be quiet yet very damaging to the child. With homeschooling, your child will not have to endure bullying of any kind. This protects the child from a lot of trauma that can shape their character as they grow.
Many children get anxious if they are unable to answer questions their friends know the answers to. Children experience anxiety even when they are under the spotlight. In a traditional schooling setup, the teachers will conduct quizzes or ask questions from time to time and when a child is unable to answer them, they can get very conscious, anxious, and withdrawn. Such episodes can change the character of a child.
Homeschooling saves you a lot of money as one need not spend on school fees, transportation, uniforms, and other extracurricular activities. Today, the school fees in India have increased manifold. However, parents who are homeschooling their children need to spend on the basic study materials only.
Just like any situation, homeschooling also comes with its own set of disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages of homeschooling are:
One of the disadvantages of homeschooling is your child could lag behind in their learning. Since they are not following the traditional schooling standards that cover certain topics at certain ages, your child could be falling behind kids of his age in certain topics. This can become an issue if he is to go out and compete against kids of their age, on some platform.
Homeschooling requires a lot of attention and time from the parents. What the teachers do in schools is what you will be doing for your child, at home. This requires not only your time but a lot of patience too. Kids take their own time to learn and grasp concepts. When you decide on homeschooling for your child, you must be ready to dedicate a lot of your time and pay close attention to their lessons.
When one parent has to dedicate most of their time to homeschooling a child, they might have to quit their job or opt for a job that requires lesser of their time and focus. In all probability, this means a loss of income in many families. Families with both parents working full time will see a dip in income as it is not possible for any parent to dedicate all their attention to both work and homeschooling a child.
Since the parents are schooling the child in homeschooling, the pressure on them is high. They are under pressure to ensure their child is at par with other children of similar age, with regards to education and exposure. The parents have to test the children and come up with creative ways to ensure the child not only understands the concepts but also remembers them.
They will have to plan the lessons, portions, etc, along with educating themselves in order to be efficient enough to teach their children. For a parent who is not good or not interested in a particular subject their child is keen on, homeschooling can be very demanding.
When kids go to school, they are made to do all the homework and assignments by the teachers. If children are not in a mood to do their work or follow up on lessons, the teachers can give them a warning and sometimes even punish them. When parents are homeschooling their children, they are the teachers who have to ensure the work gets done. In such a case, if you were to reprimand your child or give them more work to get better at a subject, it could make them resent you, thus straining your relationship.
One has many distractions at home. When it comes to homeschooling, both the parents and the children have many distractions around them, unlike in a traditional school where the child can fully focus on what is going on in class. Other family members walking around or talking can be distracting; some household work being attended to can be distracting for the parent who is teaching the child; unexpected guests, kitchen duties, laundry, etc are all distractions a homeschooled child is subject to.
One of the disadvantages of homeschooling is the exposure the child misses out on. In regular school, they are exposed to a number of people, children, different teaching methods, and different concepts at the same time. They are even made to perform on stage, give speeches, do projects, volunteer, etc., for their school curriculum. All this does not happen in homeschooling. Even if you do put your child through various competitions or other homeschooling programs, the exposure is not the same.
There are many experiences a child accumulates by going to school. School field trips, lunch with friends, working together on projects, going on the school bus, playing in the playground are a few of the things a child does by going to a traditional school. In homeschooling, such experiences are missed out on. This may not seem like a lot but it most definitely is very important for the overall development of the child.
After homeschooling, when your child does step into regular school or joins college, they will find it difficult to cope up in almost all aspects. It is not just the syllabus covered but even communicating with peers, understanding attitudes, adjusting to a new environment, being away from home for long hours, etc., are some of the aspects a homeschooled child will have to cope up with.
Though people are warming up to the concept of homeschooling, it is not yet very well received in India. Society will not only ask a number of questions loaded with doubt and negativity but sometimes people will also conclude there is something wrong with the child, hence s/he doesn’t attend regular school.
Homeschooling is yet to become popular in India, and, as a result, there are very few children who are homeschooled. Parents in metropolitan cities are becoming more aware of and adapting to homeschooling their children.
Since homeschooling in India is not governed by any governmental organization, there is no set syllabus to cover. However, homeschoolers follow the CBSE curriculum or even their respective state curriculum. This way, they can appear for the board exams along with other children their age, who attend schools following either of these curriculums.
While many parents have not been keen on homeschooling and some have in fact been completely against it, the Covid 19 situation that struck the whole world changed the way kids studied. Every country went through phases of lockdowns that forced parents to homeschool their children. Though online classes were held and teachers guided the children and parents, the involvement of parents increased.
Kids who went to traditional or public schools found it hard to adapt to this change and many were seen to lose interest in schooling completely. These children were unable to stay home, study and play in the same environment. They were not able to split their time between lessons and playtime while being stuck indoors. Since they have been so used to the norms of playing and having fun at home and studying at school, when both became one, it was quite a challenge for many.
However, children who were used to homeschooling were not affected much by this change in the education system. They have always been used to splitting their time judiciously between lessons and play, while at home. So this lockdown did not affect or slow down their learning process.
Similarly, parents who were already homeschooling their children did not see much of a difference in the way their children were educated. However, parents of children going to schools found this situation to be a big challenge as many were completely unaware of the syllabus covered in schools and the teaching methodology.
The coronavirus lockdown has in fact taught many parents more about their children. They are able to understand why their child does not show interest in certain subjects but is very fast in others. This has changed the perception of many parents with regard to schooling their children. Many parents have come to appreciate how their children thrive under their undivided attention and grasp concepts when allowed to learn at their own pace.
If you have been wondering about homeschooling for your child; or have been debating homeschooling Vs. traditional schooling, the above-mentioned differences, pros, and cons should be able to throw some light on both types of schooling. Both types of schooling have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the parents to decide what is best for their child, focusing on their growth in all spheres of life.
Sindhuja, a mother of two, is an obsessive mom with a keen interest in psychology, especially child psychology. Her quest for knowledge and way with words led her to become a passionate content writer. She transformed her love for writing into a full-fledged career which incidentally also turned up being the perfect stress buster for the last 5 years.Read more.