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Homeschooling in India

by Dr. S. P. Mathew, Guest writer • January 7, 2019

Editor’s note: This father recounts how homeschooling has benefited his family—even when the going got tough.

In 2005 we started homeschooling our three kids in Mumbai, India.

Our oldest daughter, who is 19 now, was homeschooled till the 10th grade and took the International General Certificate of Secondary Education test (IGCSE) 10th level as a private candidate from Podar School. She then joined Podar Junior College IBDP and is now pursuing a graduate degree in liberal arts at Symbiosis International University after passing the 12th grade International Baccalaureate.

My 16-year-old son has taken the 10th grade exams of 2018 (in India this is how students often conclude their secondary education).

My youngest daughter Nancy, age 12, has also been homeschooled. She expressed a desire to join school when she was 10, and we got her admitted to Rustomjee Cambridge IGCSE where she did full-time schooling till May 2018. Now she has come back to partial homeschooling, but still attends school to take certain exams and participate in some extracurriculars.

My wife and I are grateful that we got to grow up with our kids, spending moments with them that would not have been possible otherwise.

I am also an admin for the Facebook page that supports Indian families involved in homeschooling and other forms of alternative education. We get hundreds of requests from people wanting to join the group including some who are not yet parents but are still interested in alternatives to institutional schooling.

Education in India has usually been about rote learning and preparing for exams, where the only thing that matters is the marks obtained.

This approach overlooks the truth that the application of knowledge is wisdom. Parents have a unique, God-given opportunity to grow in wisdom and make their children wise. This opportunity is limited, and passes away faster than the blink of an eye.

If you are a parent faced with tough decisions, where you have to choose between a career and being with your children, do not even think twice about it. Someone can replace you in your workplace or career, but no one can replace you as the parent of your children, ever. I have seen many fathers realize this, too!

True, parenting is tough, and homeschooling can be even tougher. Sending your children to school is often the easy way out. In each family, there are situations, challenges and opportunities. But tough times will strengthen you. Build your character. Make you wise.

In India, the growing interest in homeschooling has made it a common word nowadays. The legal situation is not yet clear, but thanks to Home School Legal Defense Association, we have written proof from the human resource minister that at present there is no way homeschooling can be called illegal. After all, parents know what is best for their children, and it is their right to do what they believe in.

We have our annual homeschoolers meeting coming up very soon.

Registrations for SAM 2019 in Hyderabad are now open. Please visit the registrations page to register and for other details for the gathering. Hope to see some of you there soon!