I got this article from archives. This is a testimony report of our pioneer homeschooling family whose photograph is in the FELLOW HOMESCHOOLERS section of this blog. Hope it will inspire and motivate you in your quest for a better life for your kids.
HOME SCHOOLING COMES TO GOA
The 40th Session of the Friday Balcao on July 28 at the Goa DESC was addressed by Anna and Valentine Coelho, from Socorro in Bardez, who besides being involved in other social activities, particularly the Marriage Encounter Movement, have adopted home schooling for their children.
The children do not have to go to school every day, in sun or rain…they don't have to go for tuitions. The parents need not prepare the kids every morning for the school or reach them to school and go to collect them when the school closes, if the kids are too small to manage by themselves. The children don't pick up vices from their peers and get lot of time for play and other creative activities.
Vally, an electronics engineer, and Anna, a trained nursery teacher, were both brought up in Mumbai and moved to Goa only in 1992. Though living in nature's green grandeur at Socorro is a pleasure, their disadvantage was the lack of a good school close by. Totally "disillusioned" with the changing educational pattern in Goa, they evolved a golden mean of a non-formal education based on the pattern followed by the Salesian schools.
In this system, the children have to appear for public exams in the VI Std and the SSCE. "We took the risk. Our friends and family supported us in the venture. Of course, sometimes the elders felt that our children too should go to school like other children," Anna said.
They knew about parents, who were teaching their children at home but they were getting the books and programmes from the USA. They would post the assignment and get the feedback from there. This process was too costly. So they found out whether "it was possible to teach the children at home or whether there were rules saying that we couldn't teach them at home, and what would happen if our children wanted to appear for the X Std exam."
They use all the Goa Board books as per the syllabus and other books for reference. For the 10th Std they have the Open School syllabus, and the exams offer a choice subjects and wide options, and can be offered only after a student completes 15 years of age. They have been inspired by a lovely book called "Catholic Home Schooling", written by Mary Kay Clark.
They concede that it was no easy matter and that home schooling can hardly be recommended to other parents. The system suited their special circumstances. Of course, it involved a lot of sacrifice and special efforts, to be parents and teachers at the same time. They had to study the lessons thoroughly, patiently before they could impart instructions to their children. Now their children study on their own and consult the parent-teachers only in case of difficulties. They have already adapted themselves to the new type of schooling.
Being Catholic kids, they are never at a loss where peer group and social mixing is concerned. The children have the opportunity to meet at the Church, at catechism classes, and in the village itself. The parents take them to the Sports Authority of Goa for sports activities. Vally said, "We took them to the Bal Bhavan so they could mix with other students", and where they learnt music, dancing and other things.
"If they did not like something, we tried to change it and make it a little more interesting. We make them realise that they have to learn certain essential values, particularly religious education," the Coelho couple claims. The other advantage of home schooling is that the children don't have the tension to rush to school and are better prepared mentally to absorb what is being taught. The classes are five days a week.
Anna said, "Being a teacher myself, I was aware that sometimes teachers are not good examples to children. There are teachers who used bad language, smoke in front of the students, while we tell the children that these are not good things. Teachers should set a good examples to students at least while they are at the school premises."
Since Anna is the mother and teacher rolled in one, the children receive adequate care and attention, which is not possible in a classroom packed with students and the teacher unable to cope up with the unruly lot, while having to ensure that the prescribed portion is completed in time.
The results of Anna and Vally's endeavour in the "learning experience" reflects in the fact that Nadisha, the eldest child, has already completed X Std at the Open School examination level. She will carry on with the same system for Std XII. She gets enough time in between study and this time is being spent effectively to learn courses in Shorthand, hairstyling, etc. Nadisha, who represented by the Bal Bhavan twice in creative writing competitions at the all-India level, however, says that she would have preferred a normal school and be part of the student community, particularly, because of "competitions. I can work better under pressure". Nimish, their son is 12, loves computers and is obsessed with writing programmes for computer games.
Their home school is also a curious place, where even the grand parents form a part of the overall "learning experience". The Coelho kids watch various people at work too in their home, which prepares home-made traditional, Goan sweets. The family has grown to two daughters and three sons, and in the congenial, joint family environs they learn to adjust, care and love each other. The rare experiment is extended further; periodically, the entire family-from the youngest to the oldest-joins in a family programme, where each one of them have to perform some item or other.
Homeschooling is a family -based learning. It was started in the United States first and spread around the whole world later. According to the Americans, homeschooling is ’Learning in Freedom’. Today
more than one million homeschooled children in the United States and tens of thousands of other learners around the world are learning outside of school. As a teacher by profession, I thought it would be good to share my thoughts with you on this concept of learning.
Homeschooling has it’s own pros and cons. Here, parents need not bother about getting their children admitted in a good school, buy uniform, shoes and other stuff related to attending a regular school. They need not worry about the safety of children while going and returning from school. They can take care of their children’s lunch, snack very easily. Children get full attention unlike a classroom, where the teacher cannot give individual attention to every child. Here the parental interaction is more, as children learn to read at home.
I have a cousin sister living in United States with her family. She has four children, ranging from age 7 to one year old child. She is giving them all homeschooling, the reason being she is unable to send them all to school. All her children have very little age difference . It is really difficult to get them all ready for school in the morning. She wants to send her children to regular school after they grow a bit. That’s a good idea. When children are very young, they can be homeschooled and then admitted in a regular school.
Homeschooling children miss out many events held at school like Sport’s day, Founder’s day, picnics, class study tours, visit to a place of interest etc.
I understand, there are special books for homeschooling students. There are many children, who have successfully finished their homeschooling and have entered Universities for higher education. This is due to the fact that parents have taken sincere effort in homeschooling them.
When you talk about schooling in a private or public school, children begin to learn many other things apart from just studying in the school. They realize they have to get up early in the morning, to get ready to go to school. There is an order in their lives, which is totally lacking in homeschooling. Children may take their own time to get ready for learning, as they are going to be taught just by one of their parents. They take the parents for granted, where as if it is a school, children will learn to respect the teacher.
Children become more independant, when they are exposed to the outside world. They can achieve this only by attending regular school. They learn to tackle problems, and to get along with their friends. They are disciplined in many ways.The regular school has a counsellor, to whom children can go for any moral help.
I don’t think homeschooling has become popular in India.I have heard of parents standing in a long queue to get admission for their children to get a place in kindergarten class.
I feel,a home with parents is always a school for children at any age. They learn many things from their parents. Actually, they look up to them as their role models. So, children should be sent to regular school for regular studies since after returning from school they have enough time to learn many things from parents. They may get bored eventually, if they are with parents the whole day.
When children mingle with other people like their teachers and friends there is a growth in their personality. My advice would be to have children homeschooled, when they are very young and need parent’s help and then admit them in a proper school after the age of six or seven.