Alternative Education

All the world’s a classroom

Homeschooling has its pros and cons.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Homeschooling can be the best approach to realise a child’s potential and has proven to be efficient when it comes to balancing educational aspirations and extracurriculars. To the uninitiated, Homeschooling is an approach of education where the parents educate the child at home rather than sending them to a physical school.

The benefits

Interest-led education: Homeschooled students have the freedom to indulge in subjects outside the academic curriculum and can invest time in learning important life skills such as public speaking, foreign languages, creative writing, art and more — electives they otherwise don’t get to pursue.

Access to the best teachers: Since students learn remotely, they can choose to pursue classes taught by the best teachers from across the globe without incurring any extra logistical expense.

Higher retention rate: Research has shown that students retain up to 60% more information when learning online as compared to 8-10% in classrooms. This is because students tend to concentrate due to parental presence, the teacher’s undivided attention and lack of distraction from fellow pupils.

Increased efficiency: Homeschooling allows students to save approximately 1050 hours a year, which can be used for unstructured learning in formative years and exploratory learning with growing age.

The challenges

However, Homeschooling has its own set of challenges as well.

Lack of structure: The absence of structure is key. While some parents are deeply committed and go to great lengths to make the most of it, others aren’t able to keep up with the demands.

Lack of resources: Investment to gain access to the right resources is essential to realise benefits. Access to public libraries and technical literacy are limited making the need to drive efforts towards equity a priority.

The phygital balance: Technology is at the centre of the entire homeschooling ecosystem. However, proliferation of such resources can be overwhelming. Thus, striking the right balance between access to the digital and grounding oneself in the physical is crucial.

Lack of continuity: Homeschooling requires patience and perseverance to see the child bloom with his/her inherent natural intelligence.

Regulatory challenges: Often, parents do not indulge in home-schooling due to the social alienation that comes with it. Demands of mark sheets, transfer certificates along with screening tests are often the cause of limiting beliefs in the system.

To overcome these lacunae, one option would be to enrol children in an online school that is designed to teach students virtually for not more than three hours per day. Also, opting for the right resources that are engaging, standard-aligned and in sync with the child’s pace will eliminate roadblocks. Creating a realistic and balanced schedule will also help in the child’s overall well-being and growth.

The writer is Co-founder and Principal Director, 21K School.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 10:03:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/all-the-worlds-a-classroom/article33889117.ece

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