To any outsider, who has never done Homeschooling before, I can vouch that Homeschooling seems like a pretty daunting task. Most people are not able to cross the line into the Homeschooling world because Homeschooling seems like a lot of work. Plus, there are not many clearly documented resources to help along the road. Most thoughts about Homeschooling remain thoughts, until there are a few, extremely strong, non-negotiable, gut-wrenching, soul shaking reasons why one just has to move forward with homeschooling.
As a family, we have been doing homeschooling for roughly an year now. My children went to regular school before that. My experience with regular school has been for 10+ years (10 years for my daughter and 3 years for my son). You can say that I know more about regular school system than I know about Homeschooling. Yet, I feel 300% more confident about Homeschooling than I have ever felt about regular school. Below are our reasons for choosing to Homeschool. An important point to note is that each family will have their own, unique reasons to consider Homeschooling. If your reasons don’t align with ours, it is perfectly OK. As long as your reasons are strong enough, they will guide you forward on your journey. Before I give my 5 good reasons to Homeschool, here is a list of four bad reasons to consider homeschooling. I hope none of us, ever, opt for these arguments while debating for Homeschooling.
Four Bad Reasons to choose Homeschooling
- Homeschooling is an upcoming trend. It will help me look trendy and different. (No comments from my side on this reason)
- I do not have money for school. (While this could be a legitimate reason, I believe, as parents, it is our responsibility to have adequate resources to provide education to our children. If you are struggling financially, please consider some low cost/free school options. But please do not try to do Homeschooling basis your financial condition.)
- School is not a safe place. There are drugs, child abuse and even murder lurking in the corridors of the school. I believe, these are general statements, not just about school, but about the world in general. How can we ensure that our children will be safe in a Homeschooling environment? Can we ever plan to keep the child safe 24*7 for the rest of his/her life? I wrote a blog about keeping children safe, sometime back. You can read it if you are interested.
- I love my child too much and wish to spend as much time with them. (Seems silly right! Thankfully, I have not seen any parent, yet, choosing homeschooling because of this reason)
Our Five Reasons for choosing Homeschooling
Below is the list of reasons why we chose to Homeschool. These reasons are all important and not necessarily written in the order of importance.
- Our children should have control over how they spend their time, each day – Most school-going children rush through the day juggling school, exams, projects, homework and extra curricular classes. Most parents are pushing their child into this strict regime with a good intent. They just want their child to be the best. In the process, I think, they have forgotten the definition of being a “child”. Our definition of “childhood” is:
- Living each moment to the fullest and not being caught up in the race towards marks, certificates and awards
- Understanding life more through observation and less through curriculum defined books which stifle free thinking and questioning
- Learning more through failure than through success
- Completely being yourself without the need to being good/better or best.
Given this definition of “childhood”, it was clear to us why school was not fitting in our life. The only way we saw preserving the essence of childhood was to start homeschooling.
- Current Education System is not preparing children for the future – Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to conduct research on job skills that will be needed for the year 2030. My research strengthened my belief that the current education systems are not preparing our children for these future skills. With Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Virtual Reality taking over the world, humans will be performing much different jobs than the humans of today. However, the education system continues to teach children the skills needed in the world of today. It was, therefore, necessary for us to build something which would inculcate these future skills in our children and make our children future ready. (You can read about my research here.)
- Our Family Learning Goals – In addition to the future skills, there are some core basic skills that as parents, we believe, our children should possess. For example – financial management and spirituality. These skills were not being addressed in the schooling system, so we decided to focus on them on our own. I will detail our family learning goals in the next blog.
- Joy of Learning is sacrosanct and should be preserved at any cost. For us, learning is a life long continuous process. Given this premise, children should love to learn. They should learn because they believe that there is value in what is being learnt. They should learn because they want to learn. The good news is that children, by their very nature, are extremely curious and always wanting to learn. Unfortunately, in a school system, with a pressure of marks and exams, the learning seems to be directed towards scoring marks and not for the sheer joy of learning, itself. In the process of writing exams, checking scores and comparing yourself with the best students, the joy of learning simply dies.
When, as a family, we watch videos on World War, gaze up at the stars searching for Saturn, or break down a leaf to see its parts, there is a sense of awe and wonder for the world around us. We learn because we want to learn, not because someone needs to know how much we know.
- Our children are differently-abled – As I mentioned above, both our children have been to school for considerable stretches of time. All along the school years, I always felt that the school/curriculum was not the best fit for the needs of our children, but I didn’t have an alternate plan so we simply continued. Our 14 year old daughter has always been visually creative and very active in sports/dance. She has been winning Taekowondo Championships year on year, but at the same time has failed to master higher concepts of Maths. My six year old son is a science nerd. While most kids, his age, love to read fiction story books, he devours encyclopedias on Space and Human Body. In spite of my daughters many accomplishments, she always felt under-confident in school. On the other hand, our son was simply bored to death in school and refused to go to school in the middle of first grade. We decided to Homeschool both of them to help them learn what they want to learn at the pace they want to learn at. Even though our daughter is behind in Maths, she enjoys doing Maths, when she does it at her own pace and in the way she finds best. I think, that is because there is an inherent joy and wonder in learning Math when we just learn it for the sake of understanding it.
These are our main reasons to choose Homeschooling. There are many more secondary reasons which I am not detailing for now. This is the second blog in my series of Blogs on Homeschooling. The first blog was, “What is Homeschooling?“
I hope through these series of blogs, I can share our journey of Homeschooling with other parents considering Homeschooling or simply wanting to know more about Homeschooling. There are many more topics of Homeschooling coming up. Stay tuned if you want to know more.