So she WILL join 1st standard?

That’s one of the standard question I get when I tell people that we are homeschooling.

A passerby will typically smile at Disha, ask her name and/or pinch her cheeks. Then they smile at me and ask-”Which school?”. When I reply we are homeschooling, they look so confused (much to my amusement). When they ask for her age and I tell them 3 yrs, they look so relieved and ask me if she will join next year or if she will “directly” join 1st standard. For which I smile and say, I don’t know just yet. Another puzzled expression follows.
Today a teacher I met proceeded to ask how she is “picking up” and studying. To which I explained, children best learn by playing and that is what Disha does mostly. Sometimes I play along with her. At this point she had heard enough. Her eyes reflected how crazy she thinks I am, before she went on her way and we on ours.

4 thoughts on “So she WILL join 1st standard?

  1. Ha ha! I would have probably answered with a catalogue of all the things she picks up … e.g. rocks, sand, earthworms …

  2. Well, the ideas behind homeschooling all sound very good, but how do you ensure the child has some peer learning? (It’s true that kids pick up many bad habits in peer learning, but they also pick up good things too). And what about outdoor sports? I believe staying in a colony where there are other kids will be a necessity?

    Besides that how much time does home schooling occupy? How easily can it be managed when both parents are working?

    Another point is that most homeschoolers I’ve seen are mothers. Where does father’s responsibility lie here? I understand mom’s required for breastfeeding and all, but beyond that too, it’s always assumed that child-care is majority of the time mother’s responsibility, and if one of the parent has to take out time for things such as home-schooling, most of the time it’s always a mom. How do you fit the ideas of gender equity here?

  3. If we were to slightly modify the definition of a peer, then we open up doors to many more possibilities. D typically hangs out with our friends who are mostly young couples or single people with no children. Everyone enjoys the others’ company. Some of our friends have told us that by being with D, they get to learn so much. And I guess in some way D is learning from them.

    We do live in a neighborhood that has lots of children and a park close by with whom D spends most of her evenings with- from different social classes, background and privileges. Which we are thankful about. A typical middle class private school (in which we studied) will have children from similar socio-economic background. Adult interaction means keeping quiet to listen to lessons or instructions about how not to use your mind, but just follow orders.

    Until now we have not faced any challenges with socializing. Traveling and meeting new, different people helps too. I feel that homeschooling affords the opportunity to expand our social horizons and will in a way make us more inclusive as a society than schooling.

    Outdoor sports right now means we are spending time running up and down a playground or park. Maybe homeschooling families with older children can explain this better. I do know children who have joined various sports classes or clubs as their interests lie there. I also know a family where two of their sons spend all their time playing football. I think they are a part of a football club.

    As my good friend Aravinda once pointed out, every parent, every mother is a working parent/mother. There are definitely fewer middle class parents who go to offices and homeschool their children. But I firmly believe that it is possible. If both of you go to an office, you will have to find alternative care for your child. What a homeschooling family can do is ensure that the caregiver is in sync with your parenting. Or maybe the parents can go to office part time. Or either parent takes the child along with them to the office. I think the last scenario would be ideal as children love doing real things in the real world.

    I was reading an article few weeks back, about career-oriented mothers, some of them in CEO level positions who have confessed that they have at various times disliked going to their offices and have felt that they should spend more time with their children. But men, typically do not feel the same way (according to this article). True, majority homeschooling families has the mother as the main caregiver.

    D does see her father go to office everyday, but she also sees her mother attend various talks, workshops or volunteer her time. She sees her father cooking some meals and her mother cooking others. We value time together as a family a lot and spend most of time outside our chores and work doing everything together-from attending protests, meetings, to gardening and playing.

    We are trying to be feminist in our parenting. bell hooks talks about conventional parenting being a part of the patriarchy, where parents control their children by fear, intimidation and physical measures. We are trying to create a balance in our lives where we share our parenting and each of us gets to do what we really want. note, we are still trying to figure it out and are far from it.

  4. It’s good that you are breaking conventions and doing what you think is right for your child – It takes a lot of guts/confidence to do this. Of course, people may initially be skeptical about something that is abnormal, but they will eventually appreciate (or secretly appreciate) if the concept has enough merits.

    But, I feel that traditional schooling has its advantages (in spite of all the limitations). At the end of the day, children have to go back to the world and its systems, which maybe biased towards traditionally coached children. An IT job cubicle, for example, is made for students who are used to the ‘traditional disciplining’.

    There could (will) be a culture shock if your kid starts working in a company, which has a structure similar to traditional schooling. Of course, there are other creative venues that matter more than such mundane jobs, where a home-schooled child may excel in. But still, they might have to deal with other people who are used to the ‘disciplining’ culture.

    Who knows, in spite of my skepticism, perhaps a home school child might better adapt to a traditional workplace role. Or they might create a new path for others to follow.

    Wishing you (and your child) all the very best 🙂

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