Homeschooling is another word for home-based education. In other words, this option allows parents to take charge of their child’s schooling without seeking the support of an institute.
Initially, this term was coined in Western society as a reaction against the curriculum of schools (in the late 20th century). Back then, this choice was more parent-driven. But now with the boon of technology, there is a new and better way of carrying out a child’s education at home without making it completely parent-driven.
In the present times, homeschooling meaning has changed with another option for home-based education called online schooling through an online homeschool program. This choice is readily available for students through accredited online schools. And these schools are already operational in India after the outbreak of the global pandemic.
Let’s understand more dimensions of home-based education.
What Is Homeschooling?
Literally speaking, when a parent/caregiver decides to homeschool a child he/she does not attend a brick-and-mortar school. Instead, the child continues education at home. But in India, a homeschooled child’s education is not given a legal sanction if he/she does not come through a legitimate institution. In other words, India does not have a clear set of rules/policies for homeschooling a child. Despite following the Right to Education Act (2009) wherein a child’s education is both free and compulsory between the age of 6-14 years.
It is noteworthy that the RTE 2009 allows home-based education for children with multiple disabilities (as defined in the act) under the 2nd chapter (point 3). But again this provision is linked with another act, the Multiple Disabilities Act, of 1999.
Is Home Schooling in India a Legal Choice?
The RTE Act does acknowledge schools that fulfill the predefined required norms and do not function with any government aid. This means that a student can be a part of a school. And enjoy the right to education (as long as it is not completely parent-driven).
In other words, home-based education is not a 100% legal option without an institution’s support. Hence, the legal options to choose home schooling in India are mainly through:
- Open schooling (through the National Institute of Open Schooling)
- Online homeschooling, through accredited online schools
- Cambridge IGCSE, recognized under the COBSE (Council of Boards of School Education, a legal entity under the Government of India Act).
How do I get started with Homeschooling?
Clearly, the best way to homeschool a child in India is through an online homeschool program or an open school (NIOS). Another option to go about making this choice is to appear for exams as a ‘private candidate through the Cambridge IGCSE board. If you wish to take up this educational choice, you need to check all the requirements of the selected institution/board. And map these with the individual needs of the student in particular.
Parents in India can also find support through homeschooling communities/groups. And seek their expert advice to make this choice.
Keeping the legal aspects in mind, an online homeschool program seems to be the most credible choice. Because it is closer to the mainstream schooling pattern.
What are the requirements for Homeschooling?
As explained in the previous sections, the requirements for Home schooling in India are subject to the institution that the parent/student opts for. In general, the admission criterion is similar to the age eligibility, and previous class performance, and admissions are mostly through the virtual mode.
Typically, a student also needs a device/computer/laptop, a stable internet connection, and access to the learning platform as both the NIOS and accredited online schools have an option for virtual classes. A quiet study space, intrinsic motivation, and the learning coach’s handholding are also necessary.
Why do people Homeschool?
Some of the main reasons why parents take up this option are as follows:
Globally, 246 million children and adolescents face problems like bullying and school violence around an academic year. In India, 42% of students in classes 4 to 8 experience harassment on the school campus. Similarly, 36% of students from classes 9 – 12 also experienced physical violence and teasing incidents (between 2013-17).
A prominent reason for choosing this option is to spend more quality time with the kid and give him/her a more tailored education. Parents who wish to impart religious instructions or lose faith in the regular schooling system take up this choice to add their personal touch to their child’s education.
Another reason is the uncertain future prospects in the post-pandemic era. The rampant threats of the virus variants. And additional challenges like H3N2 influenza (Flu cases) are also a big reason to worry. Due to these reasons, parents in India are looking for more resilient educational alternatives like online homeschool programs.
Here’s a quick comparison of the Traditional and Online HomeSchool:
|Traditional Schooling||Online Schooling|
|Fixed timetables and schedules||Flexible|
|Large groups||Small class size|
|Threats of school violence||Secure|
|Limited access||24*7 accessibility|
|Hidden costs and expensive||Cost-effective|
|Travel required||No need to travel|
Who does Homeschooling?
As per the findings of a report published by ‘Forbes India’, parents share the following reasons to homeschool their child:
- Not interested in being a part of the stringent formal education
- Homeschoolers perform better than traditional students
- Parents want to focus on the all-round development
- The need to customize education as per the child’s needs
Homeschooling Advantages and Disadvantages
Online homeschooling is a credible solution to customize learning as per the student’s needs. This option is ideal for students with unique abilities, and family commitments. And even for the ones who struggle to learn better (and comfortably) in traditional classrooms. With this choice, a student can catch up with studies any time during the day. And there is always an option to take a break or slow down in case of illness or any other exigency. In other words, no more hustle-bustle, travel, or fear of missing classes.
In India, the overall cost of school education soars high with each passing year. In comparison to the traditional options of regular schooling, home schooling in India (including online schools) brings down these overall costs considerably. It reduces the charges spent on traveling, school supplies, and supplementary books. And has no hidden fees whatsoever. Parents reduce their spending round the year through this choice. And the best part is that they need not compromise on the quality of education despite saving these costs.
Innovative Learning Opportunities
Now that the chalk-and-talk methods are obsolete, new learning opportunities are a need of the hour. Parents can now choose the advantages of online education through online learning. This can give students a fantastic educational experience with online teaching pedagogies, virtual resources, podcasts, presentations, videos, game-based learning, collaborative tools, etc.
The biggest disadvantage of parent-driven home schooling in India is the dependence or the need for external assistance such as tutors. Even if the parents take up this endeavor without an institution’s support, the child loses the chance to re-enter the mainstream system (as this choice is not completely legal in India).
Parents who wish to take up this option can do away with these disadvantages if they choose a credible institution (online school or open schooling) to support them through their journey for home-based education.
How to Opt for Online Home Schooling in India?
Our Indian education system has now accommodated accredited online schools within the mainstream design. Fully online schools are a good choice for parents who wish to break free from the regular schooling patterns. You can visit the official website of the digital schooling platform and take a virtual session to explore the online learning management system, and quality of resources and interact with the teachers.
Once you clear your doubts you can follow the admission/enrollment process as per the particular institution. This can include presenting the age-proof, last academic accomplishment, or any special conditions such as physical/learning disabilities (if any). Upon the successful completion of the pre-enrollment process, the school shares the credentials for logging in. The child can attend online classes through the learning platform. Parents can simultaneously track their child’s performance through the advanced mechanisms of the virtual schooling platform.
The most important aspect that you must keep in mind is to verify the status of the accreditation of the school. It can be checked through the accreditation certificate/proof uploaded on the official website. If you fail to find any such information, do cross-check this point with the school positively before enrolling.
In this post-pandemic world, homeschooling in India is more popular and accessible than ever. Globally, this new educational alternative is helping students to thrive better by extending opportunities for high-quality affordable education. And in India too, this educational choice is now a part of our mainstream systems. Even before the virus outbreak, our education industry struggled with varied challenges like school dropouts, teacher quality, infrastructure, accessibility, etc. But with this new choice, our stakeholders found a resilient and convenient schooling model to serve one of the world’s largest youth populations.
A homeschooled child enjoys better educational opportunities through a tailored learning experience. So you can certainly check out the best-fit option for your child and readily join the promising homeschooling movement.
Thanks for Reading!
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Explain homeschooling meaning in short?
Home-based education or homeschooling is a choice outside the design of regular brick-and-mortar schools. This choice gives the students and the parents more flexibility. And an additional opportunity to tailor a child’s education to his/her individual needs.
- Is Home schooling and unschooling the same thing?
Both these terms are different from each other. Home schooling is about opting for a customized learning environment for the child at home. There is an option to follow a more structured curriculum-based home-based education with choices like online schools or open schools. On the other hand, unschooling is a term used for informal schooling that is based on experiential learning without any proper structure or curriculum. Unschooling gives the child more control over his/her learning.
- What is the most credible choice for home schooling in India for parents?
You can enroll your child in an online school. This will add the dimension of educator support, and guarantee better learning through virtual resources. And the child can switch back to a traditional school at any point in time seamlessly.
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