Last year, Malvika Joshi made news for getting into MIT, without obtaining a class 10 or 12 school certificate. Joshi had been homeschooled and had found it difficult to get into IIT without a certificate. However, the prestigious American college admitted the wonder kid with open arms. Her mother Supriya is an advocate of homeschooling as she thinks it is important to give one’s child the freedom to choose what they want to study.

But can homeschooling be beneficial for every child?

Urvi Mittal, a teacher based in Dubai, is against the idea:

“I personally do not advocate homeschooling. There are multiple essential learning experiences that a child should go through, which can be achieved on the fair playing field of a school,” she tells SheThePeople.TV.

We see the wonders of peer teaching and the buddy system in schools every day. Homeschool may give your child individualised attention, but will they learn patience and to wait for their turn?

In schools, specially nowadays where differentiated instruction is common, children are learning an important message — fair does not mean equal. They are learning how to socialise, not just with children like them, but children different from them in appearance, ability, background and age. They learn to socialise with adults who are not their parents and will treat them just like the 30 other children in the class — fair but not equal.

Neena Kothari, mother of two, is also against homeschool. She says that children learn to socialise in classrooms, in a way that they wouldn’t at home.

Mohua Gupta, editor and mother of two young children, has a mixed view. She herself was homeschooled for a year, and said it made a big difference to her life. But she says that homeschooling older children may not always be the best idea.

“It happened when my parents shifted me out of a Kolkata school I had joined in class 1, following a case of severe punishment. The teacher had put a pencil in between my fingers and pressed hard till I yelled in pain. All because I had forgotten to bring a particular book to school!

“So that year, I was homeschooled by a fabulous teacher and the next year I joined another school after clearing an admission test with flying colours. And it is this teacher whom I owe a lot for building my base and inculcating a love for books. So yes, homeschooling is good if you have a good teacher around. Also, for kids in playgroup age, it makes sense to homeschool them if you have the time and energy. But for older kids, schools are important as they need to interact with children their age and build life skills,” she tells SheThePeople.TV.

There is a growing number of parents who believe in homeschooling. Many of them are part of Swashikshan: The Indian Association of Homeschoolers.

According to Navin Pangti, who is part of the association, the organisation has over 1,000 members, and the numbers are only increasing. 

There are three primary reasons for a parent to choose to homeschool his or her child, Navin tells SheThePeople.TV.

It could be because the child has a specific interest such as music or sport that he or she needs to pay special attention to. It also could be because the parent is always moving, and so it is easier to homeschool his or her child. Medical, psychological reasons are other factors that motivate parents to opt for this option, he says. “There is a growing trend because the idea of entrepreneurship is increasing. People are not looking for 9-5 jobs.  Homeschooling is equal to learning entrepreneurship. Why do you want to pressurise the child with societal notions of success? Now you can be more liberal with your dreams,” Navin says.

He also says that the argument that a homeschooled child will not be socialised is a big myth. In a school environment, the child only interacts with children of the same age, and of the same socio-economic class. When the child is homeschooled, they interact with a larger variety of people, he says. When he left Gurgaon to move back to his village, he found that his children became more social and more sensitive when it came to talking to different kinds of people.

Pratibha Agarwal, who is also part of Swashikshan, agrees. “Your child only interacts with children of the same age at school. Here they interact with whoever they are entrusted to,” she tells SheThePeople.TV.

Also Read: Digital Parenting: Good Or Bad?

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