Even before we had a child, back in summer of 2008 I met a child who was like most of her peers, but yet different. Confident, expressive, loud and free are the adjectives that come to my mind. It was fascinating for me to watch her and somehow she made me feel very happy.
When we gathered at a friend’s home, I spotted her with her mother in a corner. I was just drawn to the pair of them. I don’t remember how, but sometime during our conversation, her mother mentioned that the child did not attend school.
My mind was suddenly abuzz. There were a thousand questions, but also feelings of respect, awe at the courage to be ‘different’. I asked her amma, so how do you do it? You have lessons which you take at home? So is the school replicated at home? For which I received a rather simplistic answer- ” I just answer any questions that she has”. We stopped talking about it then, because her amma went to talk to someone else in the room. It took me a while to digest the answer.
That was my first introduction to home schooling. I remember having heard about it vaguely but had never come across anyone actually doing it. I was back again with more questions for which I got patient answers. Through this I made two dear friends and for me there was no looking back.
After Disha, I found more answers by reading and later interacting with other home schoolers. Askamma’s newsletter, John Holt’s books on How Children Learn and How Children Fail, Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn are most of what I read. The journey has only convinced us that we can trust our instincts and children’s innate ability to learn on their own terms. As parents we can only facilitate, encourage and stand back.
The ever growing home schooling community throughout India, more and more alternative education movements is proof enough that change is inevitable.
We are unlearning and growing along with our child. Rediscovering what we are passionate about. Many parents have said that home schooling is not about the children, its about us as adults, reflecting on our lives and what we can do to make this planet a better place for the future generations. The children do not need to be taught, they’ll learn anyway. One step at a time.
Watching Disha grow is cementing our belief in this choice. We don’t have all the answers, let alone know the all questions. And yet, I, feel peaceful and grateful.
The post was originally written for authors blog Whichdisha – Directions our lives take.