5 Homeschooling Myths Debunked By A Parent

5 Homeschooling Myths Debunked By A Parent

Pooja Maheshwary

Homeschooling is a movement across the world in which parents educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school. Parents may choose to homeschool their children for different reasons—the unreasonable cost of education, dissatisfaction with the educational options available to them, wanting their child's education to involve religious learning or lack of faith in the traditional school structure.

Homeschooling became the go-to education method for many families, especially since the pandemic, when schools closed down and social distancing became normal. However, there are many myths that surround this way of life. So, we reached out to Sonnal Pardiwala, Counselling Psychologist and mother to two homeschoolers, and asked her to share her insights on homeschooling.

Ask her what made her opt for homeschooling, and she says,  

In 2013, my husband was writing his second book, about a family which takes on homeschooling. As he shared his research and concept, I was intrigued. I asked him 'Can we not homeschool our children?' Thereon, the research moved to personal zones. We embarked on this journey with a lot of questions, hesitations, myths, and trepidations. As we look back today on what it means to the four of us, we realise that we have unlearned a lot and learned so much more. We four are uniquely different and yet a wholesome unit, representing this mindset; a way of life we call homeschooling!

A decision like this would certainly have been met with different reactions from friends and family. When asked how people around her took to this news, Sonnal says,

In 2014, when we opted out of formal school, we were derided with 'Do you want to ruin your children's future?' Now, in 2021, my elder son is an author of a book and a coach in positive psychology and hypnosis. My younger son is a playback theatre artist, animal lover while also gearing up for tenth NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling). My husband has 2 books, 15 short films, 7 episodes of web series behind him. I have a book in the Limca Book of Records, and a thriving counseling practice. And now, we are asked, 'How did you do this? Can we do this too?' I say yes! You can if you cultivate the mindset that frees you and your children.

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The 3 Pillars Of Homeschooling That Must Be Imbibed

Freedom

When you opt out of formal school, you set yourself free from an externally imposed structure on your routine, your life path, and the micro and macro moments of life.

Choice

You now choose at any given moment what you would like to do and offer the same freedom to your children too. There is a choice regarding everything from the time of waking up to the choice of subjects to skills you would like to take up and give your attention to.

Self-Reliance

When one learns, who learns? The person, the body, the mind, that is one with the subject at hand. Externally, one can create facilitating environments to induce learning but learning is figured out by the learner through 'observation and doing'. Children, when given the freedom and choice to follow their inclination, would learn to rely on their own abilities to take in learning naturally.

Now, armed with the information above, read on to know some homeschooling myths that Sonnal debunked.

5 Homeschooling Myths Debunked

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Myth 1: Only kids having special needs do homeschooling.

This is farthest from the truth. It may be true that children with special needs encounter more frustrations within the school system, however, homeschooling is for anyone who wishes to explore life beyond the schooling structure. Both my children were toppers, however, we needed more for them than schools could provide, so we opted out.

Myth 2: If children stay home, they will not be socialised.

We giggle, for we have answered this one umpteen number of times. The school creates opportunities of exposure, agreed, but it is imposed nevertheless. The choice of children is never taken into account. In adult life, we do not engage only with one age group as in school. We interact with all age groups. Homeschooling allows children to take the initiative and go out to connect with people of all age groups and choose who they will engage with! My younger always laughs and asks, 'Do they think we are imprisoned in our house?' No, they aren't. They can participate in various activities and choose friendships as and how they wish.

Myth 3: Homeschooled children won't learn the competitive skills to survive in this cutthroat world.

Research has shown time and again that competition is a significant contributor to stress and a foe of social relationships. Wonder why we still feel the need to covet or cultivate it? Homeschooling children learn to compete with themselves and their own yesterdays. They are their own competitors and strive to do better within themselves. My son sure is wondering, after writing the book, what is his next best thing? It is a happy space. The younger does not look at the elder wanting to be him. Each chooses one's own path while celebrating and supporting the other. Would we rather build supportive structures or erosive ones?

Myth 4: I will not be able to teach my child all the subjects.

If the child was in school, yes, you had to ensure the child works for all subjects, because of exams! Think for a minute, if you are not in school, why does your child need all the subjects? If they get to choose what they like, can you trust them to figure it out themselves? If there are no exams, would it be okay if they don't memorise everything, reproduce everything? Would you not ease the pressure on you and the child and the consequent ego-clashes that you undergo for their academics? You would actually step down from the role of the micro-manager!

Myth 5: They will not get jobs without degrees.

First, there are Open Universities that allow one to get a degree without being a day scholar. Case in point: National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), and Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL) to name a few. Even some schools with IGCSE & IB boards allow homeschoolers to appear as private candidates. With exams going online, the sky is the limit for children's education. Opting out gives you the best of both worlds. Cut the interim chaos and mismanagement that you and your child go through, prepare for the key exams and learn your own way. If we honestly look within, most of us are earning a livelihood from a different skill than our degrees. A tutor may prepare the child to ace exams. A mentor will inculcate skills, share knowledge that will last lifelong!

Final Thoughts

Sonnal says,

We as parents feel that it is mandatory to see our progeny sitting with a paper/pencil/book and a pose of utter concentration. That is studying, apparently. The truth though is that learning is happening each moment. The moment we figure out an appliance, a new recipe, a match of clothes, a post on social media, we have 'learned' indelibly. It's a learning we won't forget.
Ask your kid a question from a test they just gave. They may draw a blank. Ask them how to fix an app on their cell or play a game. With closed eyes, they will shoot instructions. That's learning!
Ask yourself how you felt about something you taught yourself, and you feel the pride instantly! Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to learn in each moment and bring yourself moments of pride not only when you achieve, but also when you learn, every day.

Do you homeschool your children too? Would you like to share your story? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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