Learn­ing hubs for home-school­ers? Par­ents dis­cuss idea

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Ankita Bhatkande

We all thought our chil­dren should learn from daily ex­pe­ri­ences and de­cided to rent a place where they meet and learn. POORVA SULE , a par­ent at the meet

MUM­BAI: On Sun­day evening, more than 50 par­ents from the city, Thane and Navi Mum­bai, who have de­cided to home­school their chil­dren, met in Ban­dra to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of form­ing peer-learn­ing cen­tres for their wards.

This in­for­mal meet­ing comes af­ter the state ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment launched the Ma­ha­rash­tra State Open School­ing Board on Jan­uary 10 that will let home­schooled chil­dren take up ex­ams for Classes 5, 8, 10 and 12.

At the Sun­day meet­ing, par­ents ex­changed sto­ries of home­school­ing their chil­dren and the chal­lenges in­volved.

Bi­nal Joshi, 40, said she had al­ready started a learn­ing cen­tre for home-school­ers with two other fam­i­lies in her neigh­bour­hood in Thane.

“We are a group of par­ents who de­cided to ‘un­school’ our chil­dren — help­ing them learn with­out a cur­ricu­lum or fixed struc­ture. We de­cided to rent out a place where chil­dren can come any­time be­tween 11am and 4pm ev­ery day to learn, play or par­tic­i­pate in field vis­its,” Joshi said.

Like Joshi, Poorva Sule from Sion and six other par­ents have de­cided to stop for­mal school­ing for their chil­dren from June this year.

“We all thought our chil­dren should learn from ev­ery­day ex­pe­ri­ences and thus de­cided to take the step. To help each other with this process, we de­cided to rent a place where our chil­dren can meet and learn from each other,” Sule said.

Some par­ents at the meet, how­ever, op­posed the idea of cre­at­ing learn­ing cen­tres for home-school­ers. “The whole idea is to break struc­tures. If we are go­ing to have a ‘cen­tre’ once again, it will again be a for­malised set up where stu­dents would go at a cer­tain time and would be ex­pected to do cer­tain things rather than learn­ing freely,” said Am­rutha Langs, a Dadar-based par­ent.

How­ever, Sourav Dutta, one of the par­ents who or­gan­ised the meet, said the point of them com­ing to­gether was to dis­cuss var­i­ous views about home­school­ing. “There are dif­fer­ent mod­els of do­ing it and par­ents can fol­low what suits them best,” he said.

As of Jan­uary, 66 stu­dents had en­rolled with the state’s open school­ing board which plans to con­duct its first ex­am­i­na­tion in June.

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