Advantages of home-schooling to traditional schooling
When a child is born, it brings happiness in the family. Parents experience a sense of new responsibility. They shower the child with love and wish to bestow upon it the best of everything that they can afford. They start dreaming about the future of the child and pause at the first obstacle; because its future depends upon education. They want their child to get the best education in the best school. At this point, they are compelled to relate a brake to their dreams and to the use of the superlative degree. Will they succeed in procuring admission for their child in a good school? Will they be able to afford the exorbitant fees? Even while every earning individual pays education cess and while the Government of India has a promising budget reserved for the education sector, there are few parents who can freely dream about good education for their children.
The reason for this disheartening situation will be clear when one considers the evolution of formal education in India. It all began with the advent of the British who established the formal schooling system, not so much for enlightening the Indians with true knowledge as with the intention of creating "a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect" (Macaulay's Minute, 1835). Unfortunately, this is exactly what schools today are desperately trying to do.
Going back to the evolutionary track, the government schools performed well initially. However, with the difficulties involved in policy- making, implementation, adjusting budgets, responsibilities of the State and central governments and so on, education in India after Independence suffered like a guinea pig. India is a vast country with a huge population and diversity in several respects; the British left India abruptly handing over the responsibility of educating millions of people. This was a Herculean task for the Government. Commissions were appointed and policies were made and revised a number of times. The experiments continue with the advent of changing governments and ministers at the state and central levels. The targets of the system are innocent children who cherish dreams of bright careers and quality education. It will not be an exaggeration to state that we have made a mess of education today and all stakeholders are still groping in the darkness to find the golden magic wand.
Unsatisfied with the government schools, the notion of private schools came up. They too started well with ideal intentions of providing excellent educational facilities to children. Soon however, business minded people noticed an opportunity of gaining huge profits and private educational institutions became fertile, commercial profit-making grounds. The aim of a business organization is to earn more from less investment. There is a mushroom growth of private schools all over the nation. Flashing luring advertisements and attracting prospective admission seekers, they compete with each other on the basis of false promises of providing value added programmes like e-learning, computer based teaching (CBT), besides swimming, sports, horse-riding etc. for holistic development of children. They neither care about education nor understand the real nature of holistic education. They charge exorbitant fees and devoted parents slave to fulfil the educational needs of their children. This has been carried so far that a wise handful of parents paused to think of the pros and cons of school education and dared to revolt against the system by taking a divergent path; they decided to educate their children at home. The concept of home-schooling was born and is gaining popularity day by day. Although this argument is rather lengthy, it establishes a foundation and justification for home-schooling.
There is much to be said in favour of home schooling. Instead of spending large amounts of money on tuition fees, books and stationary and transport, the same amount can be utilized for training children in games and other activities. Children have a choice to pursue their passions rather than accepting what the school plans for them. Thus, children can be coached in outdoor games that they like or specialize in playing musical instruments, vocal music, dancing, chess, judo-karate etc. Nobody becomes a champion from the scarce training given in schools; parents have to spend extra money and children have to spend extra hours if they want to specialize in something. Children have more flexibility, no tension of time-tables, periodic tests or fixed schedules. They do not have to bear the punishment of standing in straight lines, keeping their mouths shut and being chained to desks for hours. Parents can provide more scope to children to indulge in their passions and more liberty to play, sleep, exercise and do the things they cannot do when they grow up. Regarding academic development, the parents can pay special attention to the children and individualize teaching methods as per their grasping capacity. In a research it was proved that structured home-schooled children achieved higher harmonized scores compared with children attending public school ((Martin-Chang, Gould and Meuse 195-202). Students can emerge for the same Board examinations externally and get the same certificates as school children.
Values are inculcated better in real life situations. The authority of school- mates from unknown families is not under the control of parents. Science laboratories cannot be set up at home, but if home-schooling persists, private laboratories can be set up for use at minimal rents. It would be a great idea for home-schooling parents to come together and spend in necessary laboratory equipment that can be shared by all.
One common protestation to home-schooling is that children cannot be socialized at home. On the opposing, children can meet a variety of people from various parts of the world; the money saved through home-schooling can be spent on travelling. Travel broadens their viewpoint and range of experience. With such plentiful benefits of home-schooling, why imprison children within four walls, confining their talents, potentials and spirits as well? affluent families in western countries educated their children at home, "...combining the hard work of parents, tutors and older children" (Hill, 20-31). Thus, they get manifold advantages. John Lyon ( Lyon, 3), has observed, "Schooling is what goes on in schools; education takes position wherever and whenever the nature with which we are born is nurtured. The home, the church, the neighbourhood, the peer group, the media, the shopping mall ...are all educational institutions." In short, the entire world is an eternal classroom, even beyond the boundaries of a home. Considering the advantages, it can be said that home-schooling has a bright future.