What started as a 1-year experiment has entered 3rd year for us. The idea to homeschool was something we had been contemplating and when the pandemic hit in 2020, it made our will a little stronger. Both my husband and I were of the view that what is important is the learning and not the education.
Rajat being a first-generation entrepreneur was already a risk taker but I was sitting on the fence since it involved a lot of my time and competencies.
Though the thought behind homeschooling started in 2019 when we were juggling school, homework and extracurricular classes. The whole day was spent going and coming to school and other classes. Kids and we were hardly getting time to learn new things, travel, explore and do things we loved to do together. Having travelled extensively when we were based out of Bangalore, this was something we were missing since we moved to Gurgaon.
So, come 2020, our year of travel – as I say- started with quite an adventurous note. We went to Jim Corbett for a week and after returning… the dreaded lockdown started.
This is when our homeschooling journey took off in full swing. Sanaa was entering Grade 4 and Viaan in Grade 2. Both the kids had each other so it wasn’t difficult to sail through the lockdown. We baked, cooked, cleaned and played sports together. Not having any stress of schooling brought us together.
During the pandemic, we travelled too. Our parents are based out of Chandigarh since the kids earlier had never got an opportunity to explore the City Beautiful, it gave us a chance to discover the city and all that it had to offer with the well-kept Museums and unique tourists attractions and the lake. I make it a point to visit a lot of places like Museums, planetariums and even parks with all the flora and fauna to see and touch. The big advantage is that we can visit such places on weekdays when there is no rush and we can spend time on whatever we want to spend more time on. Another benefit we have was having a place in the mountains. When travelling was unthinkable, we used to go to Solan, which made running away from the pandemic and the city life was easier for us. During our stay in the mountains, we used to daily go for long hikes and have a picnic near a stream, helped in farming, raised an orphaned parakeet and painted in our free time.
While back in Gurgaon, we initially tried to follow a schedule, picked up course books and replicated school at home. But realized this was not what we wanted to do! We wanted this journey to be more child-led rather than replicating school at home.
Since homeschooling is new to us, we realized that we are facilitators in this journey and had to unschool ourselves as well. Sanaa and Viaan have varied interests and so they pick up things that intrigue them and on our part, we try to find what will be the best way to learn. Both the kids have enrolled in different classes on weekdays and on weekends we are spent exploring the unexplored.
Also, if you look around learning is everywhere. We recently travelled to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary to learn about flora and fauna, Agra and Lucknow to learn the history and architecture of those cities and view the famous monuments.
Our main idea is to keep them meaningfully engaged, learn life skills, learn while travelling, watching, playing etc and enjoy their childhood. Though this is relatively new for us, and we are learning new ways to gain knowledge like, learning fractions through measuring cups, financial literacy by giving an allowance, science through baking… the list is endless. There is no dearth of knowledge with so many online learning resources available like YouTube Kids etc. Even OTT channels like Netflix, Prime etc have a lot of theme-based educational videos and documentaries which are both engaging and interesting and the kids get their screen time too. Sanaa self-taught herself keyboard through Youtube videos, Viaan did the whole coding module on code.org… so, if we give them wings, they will fly!
This article has been authored by
Tapasya Kumar: a baker, blogger and homeschooling mamma. Currently based out of Gurgaon but explorer by heart. Her mantra in life is – Never stop wondering, never stop wandering.
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