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December 7, 2015

Indian Father Shares Homeschooling Challenges

By Saju Joseph

The Joseph family

There are a lot of people who ask questions about the challenges and drawbacks of homeschooling kids. So in this article I thought I’ll answers the two most common questions we often get to hear.

1. What about their social life?

This one is the most frequently asked question and we understand the concern they share. Most people think that because children are taught at home they aren’t exposed much to social life wherein in school, kids get to interact socially almost everyday. They think the children grow up in isolation and hence may end up as introverts and also limit themselves from learning through social interaction.

Firstly, the answer to that question is that even though kids spend most of their time at home it doesn’t mean that they don’t get involved socially with other children. There’s a community of parents here in Mumbai who home school their children, a Christian homeschooling group as well as a larger community of parents comprising of people from different backgrounds and religious beliefs within India. Events and activities are planned for children within the group and make sure they get to talk, exchange ideas and share daily mundane things on life. We have something called a co-operative homeschooling where once in a month all children come together and parents with specific skills and expertise teach and share their knowledge.

The advantage we have here is that kids get to interact with children from different age groups, unlike school where they only meet kids of their age. Isn’t this how the real world is? When we finish our college and get a job, we work with people from different age groups and stages in life. This has helped our children become quite comfortable talking and chatting freely even with our friends and anybody who’ve met them will testify of that.

Secondly, looking at the kind of things the current generation of kids are exposed to through TV and internet, it is quite daunting to think of kids being sent to school and interacting socially without a parent’s supervision. We want to protect our kids, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in doing that.

We want to make sure our kids have a supervised social life where we are in control of what they hear, see or do at least till they’re grown up. At the right time, we will teach them the things they need to know like sex, marriage etc.

2. Aren’t they missing out the fun?

I completely agree that for some school was fun and enjoyable. My wife Jane always shares a lot of fond memories of her school days.

Parents who had great schooling obviously think that school is fun and all children should live out that experience. But sadly only few of us would be able to say that, because statistics prove that majority of children in school feel depressed, stressed out, pressurized by parents, bullied by seniors, rejected by teachers, and fall prey to teacher favoritism, just to mention a few.

Yes, there is a possibility that home schooled kids might enjoy their school life IF they do well academically and are loved by the teachers, but the possibility of my kids falling prey to other meaningless things are even higher and we don’t want to take that risk with our children’s lives.

On the other side, I would say that home schooled kids get to have more fun at home. They get ample of time to work on their creative skills, learn musical instruments, read story books, make their own stories, spend time with their grandparents, travel with us to places without worrying about school attendance etc.

As I conclude, let me also say that it’s not that easy all the time. As parents, it also takes a lot of our energy to keep them busy, plan their days, come up with new activities, give them a listening ear, play with them, help them do productive things, go slow if they become too anxious, etc.

There are challenges, but more on the parent’s side, and we are well aware that if we fail to stay true to our commitment and provide a healthy learning, growing, and loving environment for our kids, then our homeschooling efforts can turn out futile.

Saju and Jane Joseph are homeschooling their two sons in Mumbai, India. Originally posted at A Father’s Heartbeat. Reproduced with permission.

 Other Resources

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s India page.