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Homeschooling: A Complete Guide

Homeschooling has grabbed a lot of attention in recent times.It is gaining popularity at a growing rate of 7-12% per year. After COVID 19 Pandemic, homeschooling has become widely popular. Before COVID, around 2.5 million U.S. children were being homeschooled. But In Just one year,the number of homeschoolers nearly doubled.

Mahatma Gandhi once said “There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.

 

Homeschooling: Meaning, Advantages & Disadvantages

 

What is homeschooling

Homeschooling refers to the educational method where the child is taught at their homes under the guidance of their parents. Unlike the traditional system, the child has the option of learning things in the comfort of his home. 


Why homeschooling

Most of the parents referred to sending their kids to school mainly due to two components- the curriculum and the teacher transacting the curriculum. Children spend most of their time in school and then join some tuition centers to clarify their doubts. So when real learning is in the tuition centers then why are the kids spending 

About 6% of school-aged children were homeschooled during the 2021-2022 school year, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. That equates to about 3.1 million students in grades K through 12.

According to John Holt, an early proponent of homeschooling and author of the bestselling book Teach Your Own, the most important thing parents need to homeschool their children is "to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, and passion. They have to enjoy all their talk and questions, and equally enjoy trying to answer those questions."


Homeschooling approaches

There are various educational approaches parents can choose from when considering the best interest for their children.

  1. Classical homeschool: The traditional homeschoolers usually have a room set up like a classroom. The parents enjoy teaching their children what they were taught. It is the most structured of all of the methods of home education which follows a schedule for the day based on traditional school hours and it often follows the same calendar and curriculum that is laid out subject by subject for each child on their own individual level like in a normal school. This works best for parents who want a lot of involvement in their kids' education. They want to have their home school run like a traditional school and they prefer to use textbooks and workbooks as the main source of learning. They  want to be assured that their kids are in sync with the rest of the world.

  2. Unschooling:The term Unschooling refers to the home education that allows the student’s to choose a path of learning based on their interests and curiosities Rather than using a defined curriculum. In this type of education the children gain knowledge organically. “Unschooling is quite different from classical homeschooling in the sense that the parents come from a place of not knowing. They don't know what the future holds or is better for their children. They  don't even know how to teach them but they trust that if they allow their children to be themselves to completely rest within their own sense of being that they will find an inner guidance,inner strength and inner capabilities which will take them exactly to where they are meant to be on this earth” explains  Urmila Samson.

  3. Montessori method: The Montessori method is a way of teaching the child in a way that he learns at his own pace and subjects of his interest. It gives the child a hands-on experience of various activities that helps his creativity and critical thinking skills."My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding on that certification... but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity, through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual." explains Dr. Maria Montessori, the founder of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).

Advantages of homeschooling

There are various reasons why parents prefer to homeschool their kids rather than sending them to normal school setup, some of them includes

  • Involvement of parents: Researches have shown that homeschoolers do much better academically and socially comparatively. The parents are in charge of their child's education and are directly involved. They can keep a track of the child’s progress and also build a stronger connection in the process.
    • Flexibility: flexibility is one of the most important aspects of homeschooling. The child has the freedom to learn subjects of their interest. They can go through subjects they enjoy studying and dedicate extra time for topics they find challenging. 
      • Cost cutting: homeschooling also means there is no need fir the parents to go under the pressure of paying hefty amounts to institutions for their child's education. Parents can opt for bundled learning packages that can help reduce costs. 
      • Less distraction: homeschoolers learn faster and more effectively because of less distractions. They are often self motivators who takes great pride in their own achievements.    
      • More time for community work: homeschoolers can actively participate in various voluntary services. 
      • Exposure : holidays are a part of the curriculum, the childrens have more exposure to various adults and activities due to field trips. They are also likely to face less bullying and social pressure which is the reason for low self esteem in many childrens

      Disadvantages of homeschooling

      Though homeschooling can prove to be beneficial for your kids in many aspects, it also comes along with various disadvantages.

      • More responsibilities for parents: The parents have to take up  the responsibilities of both the parent and the teacher. It sometimes can be demanding for the parents. 
        • Dedicated hours: If you opt for homeschooling, any one of the parents must stay at home every time. This means that only one parent must take up the responsibility of the family expenses.
          • Difficulty socialising : Many kids who were homeschooled have been reported to have a smaller friend circle. They may also face difficulty interacting with other children of their age.
          • Lack of facilities : Various topics in subjects like physics and chemistry require experiments. But it can be difficult to get all the necessary chemicals and apparatus at homeschooling.
          • Lack of motivation : Healthy competition can prove to be beneficial for kids. It helps them excel in studies. Studies show that kids thrive to excel when they are involved in some challenges. But there is no competition in homeschooling and children are not motivated enough.

          Legal aspects of homeschooling 

          There are certain legal attributes that parents should keep in mind that govern the form of education in India. These include : 

          • The parents must get affiliated with a recognized board such as National institute of open schooling(NIOS) or International General Certificate of Secondary Education - Wikipedia.
          • The parents must plan out a curriculum that meets the requirements and standards of the affiliated board.
          • The assessment and examinations should be conducted responsibly 
          • The parents should provide all the necessary documents required by the affiliated board to complete the registration process
          • The parents should maintain a proper record of the child's progress by maintaining coursework, assessment, etc. They might have to go through periodic checks by authorities.

          Though homeschooling offers numerous benefits for the child but it also comes equipped with a number of disadvantages too. To ensure the maximum benefit of the child, it is necessary for the parents to be aware of the possible challenges and legal issues that might be involved. It is of utmost importance for the parents to go through a thorough research before taking  the decision keeping all the possible outcomes in mind.

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