The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on all aspects of lives. The way you shop, communicate, work, and get medical advice has witnessed a sea change. One of the most significant changes has occurred in the education domain. With schools closed, educators, parents and students turned to virtual options for learning.Homeschooling, an alternative education methodology, drew significant attention during the pandemic. Over the years, homeschooling has been gaining acceptance in India too. The pandemic has rekindled interest in an alternative approach to education, and the number of homeschooled children is expected to grow.
There are about 2.3 million homeschooled children in the USA. The percentage of home-educated children has been growing by approximately 2% to 8% per annum over the last few years.
What is Homeschooling?
Education in modern times is a combination of conventional and contemporary educational methods.
Homeschooling is an alternative to traditional physical schools. The parents or guardians do not enrol their children in a conventional school; instead, they educate the child at home under monitored guidance.
In the homeschooling method, the parents use open study resources and materials for teaching. The focus is on building family bonds and not following the conventional path, which emphasises amassing knowledge. Children learn at home through real-life experiences, interpersonal interactions and spirited discussions with family members or hired tutors.
In India, the government recognises every child’s ‘Right to Education”, and all measures adopted for educating children are appreciated. Homeschooling does not violate any provision under the Right to Education Act 2009.
Homeschooling in India: An Overview
Homeschooling is still in the nascent stage in India. It initially started to cater to special needs children who require a different approach to teaching and more parental support.
More and more parents whose children felt constrained in the traditional education system started experimenting with this approach with time. Parents who had concerns about inefficient teaching methods, harassment, or sensed that the existing education methodology did not explore a child’s full potential also started getting drawn to this approach.
The growth of ed-tech companies has provided an impetus to homeschooling in India. Parents can now access these digital platforms to understand concepts better and aid their children in learning. These online tools make learning in-depth and interactive. Audiovisual aids help students understand concepts faster and better. The learning process becomes more interesting, and a child can explore all aspects of any concept.
Why is homeschooling a rising trend in India?
Traditional education follows a set pattern. All children are taught the same subjects, peppered with a few extra-curricular classes like pottery, drama, art, music etc. The children give periodic exams, and the pressure to secure “good marks” if not excel in them is immense.
Each child has different learning capabilities and interests, but they must adhere to the blanket parameters for learning and excelling.
There is very little attention given to the specific needs and interests of a child, and the parents remain focused on marks rather than learning. Some benefits offered by the homeschool methodology are:
- A homeschooling environment is a haven of learning for the child. It is free from any dangers of violence, bullying or ill-treatment.
- Students have the flexibility to learn and can choose their subjects and schedules.
- Kids learn through real-life problem-solving experiences and techniques rather than just focusing on theoretical solutions.
- Any gaps in learning or weak areas can be improved and strengthened with a greater focus on the skill or subject.
- Children learn to be innovative; learning is interactive and fun-filled.
- The needs of special and gifted students are addressed better through homeschooling. The teaching style can be tailored to suit their interest and capabilities.
- Inculcates independent working and critical thinking in students.
What are homeschooling options available in India?
As homeschooling gains popularity in India, open education and learning are becoming more formalised to ensure that homeschooled children do not lag.
Prominent national and international institutions have become involved in this alternative approach to learning.
Homeschooled students need proof of competence to be eligible for higher education in India. Two organisations in India provide certification for homeschooling in India.
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is an open learning board in India. NIOS provides a platform for children to continue their learning through homeschooling.
Parents can homeschool their kids and undertake milestone qualifications like the class 10th and 12th exams through the NIOS board. Students have to register with the board to appear for the relevant exam; the certification awarded by the board is equivalent to what is provided by any other board in India.
NIOS offers education at different levels, with an emphasis on vocational learning.
The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) provides internationally accredited qualifications to students following the homeschooling pattern.
IGCSE conducts an exam for the 10th class level; it has multiple phases for evaluating the child’s learning from the preliminary to the advanced level. Students appear as private candidates for the exam and can earn an internationally accepted qualification.
Online Homeschooling options In India
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents became aware and accepted online schooling.
Parents can homeschool their kids on their own, hire tutors, or use online homeschooling options. These alternatives mentioned above are not mutually exclusive, and any combination is acceptable based on the parents’ and students’ choices. Online schools such as 21K School offers you the possibility to find the best certified teachers that will instruct your child from the comfort of your own homes.
Online courses allow students to work together on assignments and projects. Many schools and digital platforms offer homeschooling options in India.
Homeschooling is emerging as a viable alternative to the traditional education system. It offers many benefits; however, at the same time, you as a parent must remember it may come with its challenges. Online homeschooling options can help you overcome these challenges to some extent.