Even as academicians and educationists talk of making education more 'child-friendly', a few people in the state are taking things in their own hands. They are giving up on the regimented school education and are opting for home-schooling and 'unschooling' instead.
Home-schooling refers to a system in which a child is either tutored at home by parents or by a tutor instead of attending a school. Unschooling refers to a system in which a child is allowed to learn things on his own by exploring his surroundings.
Sejal Patel Chevli, a parent who follows the middle path between home schooling and unschooling said that there could be several reasons why parents opt for such methods.
"For some the exam stress, regimented type of learning in schools or even the rat race could be the deciding factor," she said. Her 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son are both home-schooled.
"My daughter went to a school for four years before we began home-schooling her. Home-schooling calls for some
serious thought as it
involves a lot of sacrifice. I used to run a business of my own but left it to concentrate on my children's home-schooling," said Chevli.
Dr Bharat Shah, a paediatrician, who also home-schools his two children said he opted for it after his children stopped enjoying school. "Initially, we began with group home-schooling before moving to individual home-schooling," said Dr Shah. He said they follow the usual school syllabus but teach it at home, although there is no time constraint to do it.
When asked if he worried about his children losing out on competitiveness, Dr Shah said, "I believe that competition is a problem. With home-schooling there is no pressure of exams and children are more relaxed," said Dr Shah. He does admit that with home-schooling children may end up missing being part of their peer group.
Another couple who have opted for home-schooling is Shishir and Asmita Raval. The couple, whose 13-year-old daughter is being home-schooled for the last three years said that they opted for it after their child stopped liking school. "Our daughter was not very happy in school. She used to remain stressed over several things including homework and some teachers as well," said Asmita.
On whether he fears his child losing out on competitiveness, Shishir, professor and head of department of architecture at MSU, said, "To succeed what we need is co-operation and not competition." He further said that thanks to home-schooling his child nowhas more time for herself,