With most schools and pre-schools shut temporarily in these times of uncertainty, parents are turning to online classes and opening up to the concept of ‘homeschooling’ these days. Homeschooling is a great way to educate the child and teach him or her necessary social skills at home through various formal and informal ways. Parents can conduct teaching sessions by themselves or with the help of an online teacher or tutor.
The practice of educating a child at home rather than have him or her sent to private or public schools is a relatively new concept in India but it has gained considerable recognition in other countries. Studies show that homeschooled kids tend to perform better in academics because they have the same access to online education and extra-curricular activities as their peers – but without many of the drawbacks, like a standardized lesson and bullying.
Here are a few reasons why parents should start homeschooling kids early in life –
1. Helps kids get an idea of the classroom setting
Early homeschooling provides kids with an idea of a classroom setting. It helps them form an impression of a classroom, its surroundings, atmosphere, and so on even before they are ready for school. From greeting the teachers and fellow students to learning the basics of the classroom, you can teach them everything at home. Start by reading them stories, asking them questions or have them paint objects using different colours. This way, your kids will be accustomed to the basic learning methods and be better prepared for school.
2. Opportunity for child-led learning
This is perhaps the most crucial reason why you should consider homeschooling your little one from an early age. Child-led learning allows kids to choose a particular activity and use their imagination and curiosity to explore and study the surroundings. This could involve the child choosing to play with a particular toy in a particular area or building blocks and solve puzzles in one corner of the room. The child may also choose to paint pictures or write down numbers and alphabets, thus showing off his or skills and learning abilities.
A child may even learn to take ownership of activity by changing it to a different purpose from the one intended. For instance, pouring water into a hole to form puddles rather than watering the plants, as an adult would have intended. Homeschooling also helps the child develop knowledge through different activities to enforce rules during role-play and develop problem-solving skills.
3. Benefits of one-on-one interaction
Children often find it hard to interact with the teachers in a classroom setting. Likewise, it gets difficult for the teacher to address each student and attend to his or her needs and queries. Due to the communication gap, many children are unable to communicate their concerns to teachers. This may affect their learning in more ways than one. Early homeschooling provides an opportunity for kids to interact one-on-one with parents or tutors. This allows them ample time and the scope to address and focus on their problems and work accordingly to help kids hone their skills and abilities. It has been observed that children are better able to talk about their problems – be it the difficulty in memorizing lessons or calculating math – more openly with elders in a private, secured setting, such as the home.
4. Scope to work on shortcomings
Homeschooling is particularly beneficial for kids, who struggle with specific subjects. It provides children with an opportunity to focus and work on their flaws. For instance, if your child has difficulty solving math problems and sums, instead of scolding them, you could help them work on the weak points. Sit with them and help them learn through playful activities – counting objects to learn addition and subtraction. Once they are at ease, they may be better able to focus and work on their mistakes.
5. Enhances creativity and passions
Homeschooling is a great way to bring out your child’s subjects of interests. Your kid may be more interested in subjects like English or Science, or even Arts and Crafts – early homeschooling will provide an opportunity to identify their areas of interests and enhance their passion and creativity. You can help your child practice master their creative skills through various playful activities while teaching them at home.
Here are some tips and tricks for homeschool beginners –
- Create a designated space for learning
- Follow a daily schedule
- Map out the school year ahead of time
- Set learning goals together
- Take learning beyond the classroom – play board games, teach your kids household management skills
- Make learning a family activity
- Connect with other homeschoolers
- Ease into school
Apart from the reasons discussed above, there are several benefits of homeschooling – flexible hours, moral support, and learning through play. From spending time with family and writing down your own timetable to bringing them back into the school system if and when they are ready, homeschooling allows parents to look after their little ones while bonding over lessons and playful activities.