Education and Learning

Homeschooling? All your questions answered!

Carol
3 to 7 years

Created by Carol
Updated on Jan 27, 2016

Homeschooling All your questions answered

In recent years homeschooling has gained popularity in India as an alternative way of educating children, and more and more children are getting homeschooled (though not as many as in US).  Since many of us are new to the concept, we have questions in mind such as what is Homeschooling, why do some parents go for this option, what does it involve, is it legal in India, what curriculum to follow, how can one get admission in a college after homeschooling and many more. So let’s find the answer to these questions.

What is Home Schooling?
Home schooling is an alternate to the traditional education system. Here, a child is educated at home instead of a school. Parents may choose to teach the children on their own or appoint tutors.  But it is not just about educating them at home. It involves various approaches such as unschooling, learning led by the interest of the child where the pace is set by the child, where one can learn what he likes instead of learning the standard set of subjects in the stipulated time, learning led by the ability of the child and their learning style. Some children get enrolled in educational institutes or centers to attend specialized courses or workshops, or get tutored at home by tutors of their choice. Some parents even opt to send the children to school for some years and do partial home schooling.                
What are the reasons for choosing home schooling?
Though there are numerous reasons such as religion, safety, flexibility and so on, for opting out of school and to go in for home schooling, the most common reason homeschoolers in India say is that they are not satisfied with the current education system, as the system is more to do with tests, competitions, marks, completing the syllabus within specified time, forcing children to learn only in a specific way, repetitive usage of worksheets though the child may not require the drills, not taking into consideration the child’s interest, child’s readiness, ability, learning style and child’s needs i.e. child might be gifted, athletic, physically very active, might have learning disability or medical conditions such as ADHD, Autism or SPD and so on.  Most schools can’t afford to follow individualized approach in learning but can limit learning only to books and classrooms due to the larger class strength. In homeschooling, parents can take care of each of these aspects based on child’s need. Children are able to pursue other field of interest such as photography, singing, playing musical instrument, painting, pottery etc. along with their other academic studies due to the flexibility in time and choice of subjects. 

Is homeschooling legal in India?
According to Right of children to free and compulsory education 2009 act (RTE 2009 act), every child between the age 6 and 14 has the right to get educated and elementary education shall be provided only through recognized government and private schools.  The act also states the consequences for the school if they refuse to admit a child. But it doesn’t state any consequence for the parents who don’t send the child to school. So homeschooling parents were hinging upon the ambiguity in the act for a while.
An affidavit filed by the Government of India on July 18, 2012 in response to a writ petition filed by a 12-yr-old Shreya Sahai who wanted to be home schooled to pursue her interest in photography and music, states that "Parents who voluntarily opt for alternate forms of schooling may continue to do so. The RTE Act does not come in the way of such alternate schooling methodologies or declare such form of education as illegal." The affidavit also clarifies that the Act is with regard to the rights of children, and is not a compulsion. It states “The compulsion is on the appropriate government and the local authority to provide free education to all children up to 14 years”. So the compulsion is not on the citizens to be educated in a conventional school. So parents can rest assured that homeschooling in India is legal
.
How to start home schooling?
Learning happens anywhere and anytime. So one can start homeschooling at any age. Before deciding to homeschool, one needs to ask himself a few questions and do some research to find the following.
1.       Why are you looking for an alternate education?
2.       What worries you the most about the modern system of education?
3.       What are the ways in which homeschooling is going to be the solution for the problem?
4.       What does education mean to you and your family?
5.       What is/are the learning style(s) of your child?
6.       Is there a dedicated adult available at home at all times to understand the child’s learning needs, to plan and schedule activity based on child’s interest?
7.       Is your family socially active so you can help the homeschooling child to connect with other homeschoolers and socialize comfortably with people of all ages? 
8.       Read and gather information on various educational philosophies ((Montessori, play way, Waldorf etc.)
9.       List down the education philosophy that you think would be suitable for your child based on your expectation from the education system.
10.   Gather information on the local home schoolers group in the city. There are many local home schooling groups in major cities of India who meet either weekly or monthly to organize field trips, conduct workshops, and discuss the curriculum and methodology they follow. So it can of great help to be associated with these groups.
11.   Read books and blogs on homeschooling to understand how others succeeded in the journey.
12.   Gather the resources (online curriculum, homeschooling websites, blogs) and materials (find the suitable publishers, lab equipment, selective and suitable children’s literature, informational books, encyclopedia)
 
Home schooling methods
Homeschooling methods may range from unschooling to following one’s own curriculum or a standard national or international curriculum.
In homeschool, the term Unschooling means natural or spontaneous learning. During Unschooling process, the school is made non-compulsory, children are pulled away from power of grades, ranks and from being judged, away from the compulsion to stick to the schedule or the compulsion to follow fixed curriculum that is taught in specific way but instead the focus is on making them self-initiated learners driven by their own interest.  In unschooling approach, the educators – i.e. parents or tutors, act as facilitators and the learning is led by the child’s interest.  In most cases, unschooling is for those who don’t worry much about the certificates, exams, competition and working for someone though others also follow unschooling method to relieve the child from stress.  

How do homeschoolers integrate with the regular board exams?
CBSE and ICSE do not allow any student to appear as independent candidates for 10th or 12th exams. At the moment there are only 2 options available for homeschooling children.
1.Cambridge International Examination (CIE) is the only board that allows private candidates for IGCSE (10th grade exam). On completing IGCSE exam, the student gets issued the IGCSE certificate, the statement of marks and migration certificate by CIE. The students can apply for any junior college by submitting the eligibility certificate provided by CIE and equivalency certificate provided by each individual university which is made available in CIE website.  
 2.NIOS a.k.a NOS – The National  Institute of Open Schooling has a program called Open Basic Education (OBE) which aims at providing distant education for children of age 6 to 14. It has separate courses for different age groups such as elementary education, secondary education course and senior secondary education course through which students can appear for all grade exams. NIOS will provide mark sheet and the migration certificate with which one can apply for junior colleges.
 Please note that after RTE 2009 act came in effect, it was planned to make NIOS, invalid in 2010. But taking into consideration the fact that there is still a significant number of out of school children, the OBE program has been extended till 31st March 2017.  Many homeschooling parents go with the hope that NIOS would further be extended for many years to come.
 
Reading suggestion (Must-Have books) for homeschooling parents 
1.       Teach your own – The John Holt book of Homeschooling
2.       How children learn by John Holt

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| Jun 01, 2017

An update : The NIOS OBE programme (for 6 to 14 years age group) has been extended for another three years, up to March 31, 2020. You can download the copy of the notification from Ministry of Human Resource Development from OLFI (Open learning Forum Of India)

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| Oct 11, 2016

Registrations are open for the Learning Societies unConference to be held in Sardarseher, near Bikaner, Rajasthan. 14th - 19th December. Registration form is on the Shikshantar website: http://shikshantar.org/LSuC If interested, view the flier on FB: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1177983098956146&set=a.510336179054178.1073741833.100002334014122&type=3&theater

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| Oct 02, 2016

immensely helpful article... super like!

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| Aug 09, 2016

If you are asking about swashikshan, the annual meeting is conducted every year at different locations. To get info from any regional homeschoolers support groups, join the yahoo groups called alt-ed-India. The home schooling members post invites for the meet ups and camps in their region.

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| Aug 09, 2016

will there be any such camp in Mumbai too. i wd like to attend. very mch intrstd to knw abt it

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| Feb 25, 2016

Good piece of information. It will definitely is going to stay and develop in india.

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| Feb 05, 2016

Swashikshan 4th annual conference is to be held in Bangalore in Visthar Campus from Feb 25 to 29 which is strictly for practicing home schoolers. But an open day is planned on Feb 28th for all.

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| Jan 31, 2016

Ys that wd be very helpful.. thank u carol :)

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| Jan 30, 2016

HI.. it is a good informative article, will u able to suggest any group of homeschooling children in jaipur.... I am intrested for my son..... thx

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| Jan 29, 2016

Pooja, you can become a member of Swashikshan, the Indian association of home schoolers. But it may be too early. They have some strict guidelines to include a member as it's only for current homeschooling parents who are very serious about it. But in the meantime write to 'mail at home schoolers dot in'. (Replace with appropriate symbol and use no space). They will be happy to help you connect with other homeschooling parents at the nearest area. Good luck..

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| Jan 29, 2016

No carol... that's also a problem I am facing. I live in a small city in haryana... n haven't found even a single parent who r homeschooling their child. BT I am still hoping someway to figure things out.

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| Jan 28, 2016

Hi Pooja, Glad to know the information is helpful.. Hope you have found the homeschoolers community near your area.

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| Jan 28, 2016

Hi carol.. my son is one year old. n I am more than interested in home schooling him. so I have been gathering information regarding the same. you have really helped a lot through ur article.. Thank u

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| Jan 28, 2016

Rishav, I agree with you. Parents need a lot of dedication, determination and planning. It's not an easy task.

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| Jan 27, 2016

Homeschooling though is a good concept, and Education per se, is an individual choice. Each Child or each student has different style of learning, and home schooling focuses on the same. But, homeschooling requires very disciplined approach by Parent, it is similar to Guru-Shishya parampara of Ancient Days. But, still it will take considerable time, before it gains ground in India. Rishav

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