Unschooling Tips: How To Start Home Schooling In India

Unschooling Tips: How To Start Home Schooling In India
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Wondering how to start homeschooling in India? Learn about homeschooling advantages and disadvantages and get a list of top accredited homeschool programs.

Interest in home-schooling in India has increased tremendously thanks to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. Schools all over India are closed and with good reason.

After all, you don’t want your child catching a deadly, preventable illness from their classmates or teachers and then giving it to a grandparent at home who is at much greater risk of dying from it.

Many schools are resorting to ridiculous and desperate measures like Zoom calls, even for kindergarten students, to keep them up to date on the syllabus.

But wouldn’t it be saner to take a chill pill and call for summer holidays early instead of forcing kids to adhere to some irrelevant school deadlines when the world is falling apart?

Parents are also at a loss, as many of them have no idea what to do with their kids in lockdown since they cannot escape to a hill station or take a vacation abroad right now.

With the possibility of the lockdown being extended or imposed a number of times, it’s now important for parents to learn about homeschooling in India.

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What Is Homeschooling Or Unschooling?

Homeschooling or home education is the process of educating children at home or in places other than school and is usually conducted by a parent, tutor, or online teacher.

Interest-Led Learning or Unschooling is a term coined by educational pioneer John Holt. Homeschoolers who follow this style allow their children’s interests to form the basis for their studies because they believe that children are by nature curious and have an innate desire to learn.

Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction.

Like the Montessori homeschool curriculum, unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child.

In many countries, including India, homeschooling is a legal alternative to public and private schools. Students can complete their entire education, right up to getting a degree through distance education or open education, as it is known in India.

According to these homeschooling statistics, homeschooling in India is growing at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years. In a few years, your home may well be the school of tomorrow.

The Homeschooling Debate

Having homeschooled my child for a number of years, I’ve come to see that the idea of traditional schooling is redundant, especially in urban areas where the internet is easily available.

Perhaps the only place it still makes sense is in rural areas where the internet is not easily accessible and the only place kids can get an education is in their local school.

Much of the debate around homeschooling has to do with the idea that traditional schooling is essential to get an education or a degree. However, traditional schooling kills creativity, as Sir Ken Robinson’s famous TED Talk showed us.

According to the Teaching Channel, research has indeed shown that creativity in children, educated in public schooling, tends to decline with age.

In traditional schools children rarely go outside, while homeschooled children make the world their classroom, learning through direct experimentation, rather than endless repetition.

Homeschooling facts show that homeschooled children are more open to creative, artistic, and intellectual pursuits than their classroom peers – qualities they’re more likely to carry with them later in life.

Thanks to the march of automation, the most valued skills of the future will be those that a computer lacks, such as the imagination or creativity to dream up a vision for the future.

Because computers lack the emotional competence that a human being has, creativity will be the skill of the future, says this article in Forbes. So, if you want to prepare your child for the future, traditional education and getting a degree is not the answer.

The problem is that many Indian parents still live in the past, hoping that their child will take up a “money-making profession,” without caring about whether their child has any interest, the aptitude or the personality for such a profession or if it will even exist in the future.

“The truth is, you don’t need to be average to make a living. You can be a unique individual, and live life comfortably, maybe even better than most, “ notes homeschooling parent, Bharat Mallapur, in his post on Quora. “You will be forced to not depend upon the false security that the schooling system provides.”

Most Indian parents have little awareness that many of the jobs of the future likely don’t even exist yet. After all, the very desirable remote jobs of a digital marketer and social media manager did not even exist 10 years ago.

They’ve not even realised that online education is the future of education, that life-long learning will be the way of the future, and getting an online degree or online MBA is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

And, when it is not possible to send your child for home tuitions, an excellent alternative is to find them an online tutor through online tutoring websites.

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. ~ Jim Rohn
homeschool quotes

Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling

While there are a number of arguments both for and against homeschooling, and it may not be the best option for everyone, there are a number of reasons why online education and homeschooling in India are excellent choices for many students.

Here are some arguments in the homeschool vs public school debate to help you understand the many benefits of homeschooling as well as the disadvantages of homeschooling:

Homeschooling Advantages

Here are a few of the reasons why a growing number of parents in India have been rejecting the cookie-cutter approach to education followed by public schools, and choosing instead to home school their kids, even in the absence of a pandemic.

1. Homeschooled kids are smarter

Research suggests that homeschooled students tend to do better on standardized tests, stick around longer in college, and do better once they’re enrolled.

2. Homeschooled kids are happier

Because homeschooling is usually self-driven and the child is allowed to spend more time studying subjects that they have an interest in, without the usual pressures of examinations, homeschooled kids are generally happier and less stressed out.

In his Tedx Talk, 13-year-old Logan LaPlante discusses how hacking his education is helping him be happy and healthy.

3. Homeschooling is safer for kids

With teachers having much influence and close proximity to children, sexual abuse in schools occurs at high rates. According to the Delhi Police, 60 per cent of child abuse cases are linked to schools.

Even though the Indian government has banned corporal punishment, physical violence against children is very common with teachers who are unable to manage their anger and believe that hitting a child is acceptable.

In terms of safety, homeschooling is also the best option when we’re faced with a pandemic or an outbreak, as schools are Petri dishes of infectious disease even at the best of times.

4. Homeschooling is better for special needs kids

According to this article, public schools have a difficult time working with children who struggle with learning disabilities.

All too often, these kids end up with lower self-esteem, issues with socialization, and a feeling of discouragement as they struggle to accomplish what they see their peers able to do with ease.

5. Homeschooling prevents bullying and trauma

Homeschooling also helps prevent lifelong trauma caused by bullying, which is very prevalent in cases of special needs kids and those on the autism spectrum. Bullying trauma can often emotionally scar a child for life.

6. For some, homeschooling is the only option

For students who live in rural areas and rarely see the inside of a school, homeschooling is the only option.

However being homeschooled did not stop 12-year-old Satyam Kumar, the son of a farmer from Bhojpur in Bihar, from cracking the tough Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE).


Disadvantages Of Homeschooling

While it is definitely not for everyone, here are some oft-cited disadvantages to homeschooling. It’s up to you to decide whether they are reason enough to not choose to home school your kids.

1. Lack of socialization

Many arguments against homeschooling cite the lack of homeschool socialization as a disadvantage of homeschooling. It’s led to the myth that homeschooling and socialization are not compatible with one another and that homeschoolers are awkward and lack social skills.

However, studies have found that today’s homeschoolers have far fewer difficulties in building healthy friendships than they did in the past since much of the socialization now starts on, moves to, or somehow involves the internet – no matter the learning environment.

2. Some studies don’t lend themselves to homeschooling

While you would think that some studies such as art, dance and music don’t lend themselves to homeschooling, that’s no longer true with every subject under the sun now being taught in online schools and courses.

In fact, online education provided by online schools such as Masterclass allows us to learn from world-class experts we would never have access to in real life.  From gymnastics to dance to filmmaking, you can almost anything you want in a Masterclass.

Today, it’s not hard to find a computer based-homeschool curriculum for all levels of students, from a Pre-K homeschool curriculum to a high school homeschool curriculum.

Perhaps the only subjects that don’t lend themselves to homeschooling are group athletic sports such as football and cricket.

3. Missing events such as graduation

Another perceived disadvantage of homeschooling is that kids miss out on events such as graduation that some may consider an important rite of passage.

However, thanks to innovative technology, homeschool graduation became possible when students in Japan were able to attend their graduation ceremony remotely by controlling avatar robots while logged on at home.

Their university in Tokyo used remote-controlled robots to hold a virtual graduation ceremony via Zoom when Spring graduation ceremonies in Japan were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students at an elementary school in Japan also decided to hold their graduation ceremony virtually through the use of the popular world-building game, Minecraft.

How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?

The answer to this question is: it depends. There are many affordable homeschooling programs that cost far less than traditional schooling when you take into account exorbitant school fees and additional charges for learning materials.

In the homeschooling websites below, you’ll find a wide range of prices and packages for their homeschooling curriculum, while some websites even offer free resources, others charge a membership rate.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to pay to purchase a homeschool curriculum for your child.

How Does Homeschooling Work?

You can homeschool your kids either yourself or with the help of a home school tutor or through an online tutoring website.

Or like 13-year-old Logan LaPlante above, you can give your child the freedom to hack their own education and follow their passion.

Looking for accredited home school programs for your child? Look no further. This list of homeschool programs includes 7 top homeschooling programs:

1. National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

In India, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), formerly known as National Open School (NOS), is the largest body that provides accredited homeschool programs. They have centres in every major city where students can travel to give the examination.

NIOS provides Vocational, Life Enrichment and community oriented courses besides General and Academic Courses at Secondary (SSC) and Senior Secondary level (HSC). It also offers Elementary level Courses through its Open Basic Education Programmes (OBE).

The NIOS syllabus is very similar to the CBSE board and you can access the entire free homeschool curriculum on their homeschool website, and use them to supplement your own homeschool activities.

Thanks to the NIOS, which offers a cheap homeschool curriculum, the cost of homeschooling in India is nominal, making these affordable homeschooling programs accessible to even marginalized and vulnerable students who would otherwise not be able to complete their basic schooling.

homeschooling advantages

2. The ChalkLit App

The ChalkLit App provides comprehensive capacity building programs for teachers, school leadership and administration at scale through partnerships with state education departments and school bodies.

Created by Million Sparks Foundation, the fastest growing teacher education platform that supports other education sector organizations to create a collective impact the ChalkLit App is being used by over 280,000 teachers from 6 states in India.

It also offers platform and services to other NGOs, content, and implementation partners in the education space for online and blended programs. The embedded content development framework allows modular structuring of the content suitable for self-paced mobile learning.

They have curated some remote teaching strategies and approaches to sustain student-centric learning in a digital environment. These are bundled as various courses inside a Lockdown Learning Plan bouquet meant for teachers, parents, tutors, family members, and anybody else who is ensuring that learning is not stopped for students under lockdown.

Chalklit Lockdown Learning

This not-for-profit initiative has become synonymous with Teachers’ commitment to elevating the learning of their students. They ensure high training completion rates for any institution, school organization or a state who wants to offer certified training programs at scale using content from 4000+ curated global sources.

Donations are used to improve their platform and content to improve teacher capacity and student learning by developing bite-sized, curriculum-aligned, open license digital lessons and teacher training modules that are delivered to teachers through ChalkLit, a mobile-centric platform.

3. The Well-Trained Mind

The Well-Trained Mind is the guide that millions of parents trust to help them create the best possible home education for their child. Here you will find practical articles, an online community, courses for you and your children, user-friendly homeschool textbooks, and much more.

The Well-Trained Mind Academy (WTMA) is a homeschool academy founded in 2014 by Susan Wise Bauer to provide a natural extension of homeschooling education, rooted in classical methods.

They offer live, online instruction that fits a student’s overall educational plan. Their instructors are qualified in their fields and have years of experience in teaching, tutoring, and homeschooling.

The administration at WTMA works closely with students, parents, and instructors to create an educational environment that fits the needs of each family.

4. Time4Learning

Time4Learning’s Montessori homeschool curriculum helps you create an individualized curriculum that complements your child’s learning style and imparts the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values you choose.

Concepts are presented using humour, animated lessons, instructional videos, printable worksheets and fun assessments. Students build academic confidence and self-esteem from progress and accomplishment and develop a love for learning because the format and content are enjoyable and engaging.

With a focus on learning rather than forced repetition and memorization for testing, students learn independence and enjoy becoming self-sufficient, while fully understanding what they are learning.

Their full homeschool curriculum lets you select different grade levels for each subject to customize for your child’s specific needs. Students have the potential to move through education grade levels faster and accelerate learning.

Their complete homeschool curriculum packages help you reduce your costs associated with homeschooling while their automated system saves you time because it teaches, grades, and reports for you.

5. My Homeschool

You don’t have to pay exorbitant fees to give your kids an international education. My Homeschool Graded Courses are an accredited homeschool curriculum based on the Australian Curriculum content and outcome statements.

If you’re looking for a kindergarten homeschool curriculum or a preschool homeschool curriculum, you can check out their free trial and sample curriculum for grades Kindergarten to Year 8.

These courses provide a literature-rich approach using many of the ideas of Charlotte Mason and other experienced home educators. They also offer a community forum and virtual staff room to hang out and ask questions.

homeschool curriculum

6. Starfall

As we mentioned in our article on the top 10 educational websites for kids, Starfall is a kindergarten homeschool website that offers free children’s games online for Kindergarten and pre-K as well as Grades 1,2 & 3.

Starfall is an educational alternative for homeschooling special-needs kids as it is especially effective for special education, homeschooling, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). It is widely used in schools that serve children with special needs and learning difficulties.

Starfall’s fun homeschool curriculum places an emphasis on phonemic awareness, systematic sequential phonics, and common sight words in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity have proven effective in teaching emergent readers.

Their low-cost membership program expands the free educational games for preschoolers to include animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities spanning K-3. They offer the best homeschool reading curriculum for elementary students.

7. TJEd

Also known as “Leadership Education,” TJEd is a popular homeschool curriculum that promises to make your homeschool fun, inspiring, meaningful and effective, so that each family member experiences excellent, passion-led learning.

One of the most significant differences between Leadership Education and other classical homeschooling styles of education has to do with the belief that people, especially children, learn differently at different ages. Thus, there are different phases for learning certain lessons.

Their classical homeschool curriculum for family learning is designed to provide maximum inspiration for an engaged learning experience where the child’s mind and heart are open, and her love of learning is preserved, not just for early gains, but for long-term success.

If you’re looking to homeschool middle school kids or homeschool high school kids, TJEd offers one of the best-rated homeschool programs for you and your kids.

8. MyHomeschoolMath

MyHomeschoolMath offers homeschool programs for kindergarten and preschool homeschool curriculum with online games, printable activities and worksheets.

You can access free prewriting worksheets, alphabet learning games and activities, early math and school math online games and printables and more.

Whether you’re looking for k12 homeschool reading, homeschool algebra or homeschool art curriculum, this list of homeschool curriculum reviews will help you choose the best homeschooling program for your child.

Homeschool Support Groups

If you want to join a homeschool group or homeschool network and get homeschooling support and advice on how to homeschool your child from other parents, check out the homeschool support groups below.

So, if you’re considering home-schooling in India and want more info on homeschooling, read the homeschooling articles and homeschool blogs on the homeschool websites above to learn all about homeschool education.

About the author:

Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.

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Also read:

Home Schooling In India

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