Homeschooling has replaced a typical school, giving students and stakeholders more control over learning. Apart from the immediate cause like the pandemic, its advantages continue to bolster the prospects of this new way of learning for a very long time. In India, the history of homeschooling dates back to the age of the ‘gurus’ when they imparted learning at home. Later, it shifted to the trend of the ‘Gurukul’ system, wherein students visited a different location for their education.
Before the pandemic reintroduced this concept in India, some homeschooled students were in the limelight for making it big without any formal schooling. For example, Malvika, daughter of Supriya Joshi was admitted to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the recent past, Indian parents and stakeholders connected this choice with the child’s ‘Right to Education’, 2009. And was taken up as a solution to the challenges within the traditional schooling system. As per Sources, the number of homeschoolers varies between 1000 to 2000 in India. Let’s understand more about this growing trend. And see what it really means to homeschool a child in India.
Definition of Homeschooling in India
Homeschooling is the educational method within a child’s home. It does not involve any formal institution that is specially designed by the government or a private organization for the purpose of educating the child. A homeschooled child receives education/instruction either by the parent/parents or equal to parental authority.
Advantages of Homeschooling You Need to Know
- Nurturing the desire to learn-
Homeschooling creates a wonderful opportunity to direct the child’s interests through a suitable style. It allows the parents to take charge of the child’s learning without the influence of any government body, making it more focused and secure for the child. These advantages are believed to develop a love for learning in the child.
- Great to identify strengths-
As per ‘Washington Post’, traditional schooling leaves students disengaged, and creates an information overload. All this defeats the real educational purposes. And it makes the process mundane without doing any good to the students and society at large. Educational alternatives like homeschooling are addressing issues that are unresolved for decades now. These choices are helping students to identify their strengths, without any threats like peer pressure, bullying, and school violence, etc.
- Better academic performance-
As a tailor-made solution for a child’s learning, homeschooling also helps in improving academic achievements and socialization opportunities. Homeschooled students are believed to be better than their peers from traditional schooling options. A review proves that 78% of the homeschooled graduates were expected to perform better than traditional peers in the first year of college (by the higher education admission officers). These students are also better in terms of socialization. And for these reasons, this trend is picking up pace in many parts of the world.
For example, the most steadily growing homeschooling community is in Australia with almost 80% growth in homeschooled students from 2011 to 2017.
Is it Legal to Homeschool a Child in India?
In India, homeschooling is a choice that is gathering momentum. However, there is no legal sanction to the choice as yet. The governing bodies do not recognize any homeschooling groups or homeschoolers within the mainstream system (not even under the RTE 2009). But at the same time, it is not an offense to homeschool a child. We can say that homeschooling in India is a choice, where parents are on their own without any assistance or aid from the government.
Despite the vague picture of legitimacy, many metropolitans are taking up this option along the lines of the world’s leading education systems (such as the USA and the UK). Indian parents are readily embracing alternative choices for school education. And online education is also becoming a new normal through platforms like online schools. Before we discuss homeschooling in more detail let’s discuss how online schooling is a more viable option for students in India.
How is Online Schooling a better fit for homeschoolers in India
With the flexibility and reduced cost of homeschooling, online schooling caters to a wider student population with many more advantages in the Indian context. The greatest drawbacks of homeschooling are the lack of legitimacy and the excessive burden on the parents/caregivers.
Virtual schools in India offer a legitimate medium for schooling, that too with teacher support to share the parental load (with traditional homeschooling).
Should you Consider Homeschooling in India? What do Experts Say?
Homeschooling: Indian Perspective- ResearchGate
Experts have highlighted a very important aspect related to homeschooling in the Indian perspective. Homeschooling is not a legitimate option as per the RTE 2009. Hence, there is no need of making any amendment to this act. The research also throws light on a ground-level reality that mothers bear the weight of homeschooling within the Indian family. And the greatest challenge is to strike the right balance between their role as a parent and a teacher simultaneously.
Forbes India Report:
Amrutha Joshi Amdekar, a homeschooling parent emphasized in the write-up that homeschooling is a demanding job that needs complete attention from at least one adult in the family. The parent further added that EdTech companies are great to help children understand concepts. And this new trend of online education has been a support for homeschooling families.
The most crucial takeaway as per experts is the bandwidth or capacity of the family to take up and do justice to this schooling choice. Failing which, the child might lose productive time. And the purpose of homeschooling will be entirely defeated.
Quick facts about Educational alternatives in India
- Indian parents from urban centers are taking up educational alternatives.
- Some homeschooling groups/associations are operational in India to offer support to homeschooling families.
- Maharashtra has launched its own open board, thereby legalizing homeschooling for students with special needs or an inclination towards sports.
- Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, and Ahmedabad, etc. are some of the metro
- cities that have embraced the idea of home-based schooling.
- Delhi has recently launched its own virtual school for classes 9 to 12, and as of Nov’22,
- 45 students were enrolled in class 9.
- Parents who take up homeschooling in India also prefer the National Institute of Open
- Schooling (Under the Ministry of Education, Government of India).
The Bottom Line
Both homeschooling and online schooling have great advantages for students in India in terms of customizing educational opportunities and creating a safe learning space. While both these options are similar, it’s still better to invest in the one that can have long-term results for your child. In India, the growing number of homeschoolers can be fascinating for many of us. However, the fact is that options like NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling), Delhi Virtual School, and Maharashtra Open Board are some of the only few choices for homeschooling with the government’s legal sanction.
Metropolitans are witnessing a spike in the number of homeschoolers. However, it is advisable to take up this option only if you are completely sure of pulling it off on your own, or with the support of other adults within your family. The good news is that the advantages of home-based learning are now readily available with online schooling. And there is no compulsion to invest a lot of time and energy in this choice, unlike regular homeschooling.
A good decision can make all the difference! So make the right move and do not hesitate to explore choices like accredited online schools if you have even the slightest of doubts about managing the task to homeschool your child all on your own!