Homeschooling parents pool resources, set up centres to enrich kids’ learning
Mumbai: As homeschooling picks up pace among Mumbaikars with the state recently starting the Maharashtra State Open School, parents are getting together to set up centres to share resources and give their children a space to interact with peers.
One such centre, the Free Bird Learning Centre, was set up in Thane’s Yeoor Hills last year by three homeschooling families. “We began homeschooling our daughter and realised we could share resources and be a support for other families doing the same. When you are going against the tide, you need the support,” said Thane resident Binal Joshi.
The centre is open Monday to Friday between 11am and 4pm and the parents bring their children there as per their convenience. “In homeschooling, children interact mostly with their parents. So when they learn at a centre, it gives them a chance to interact with others and know about other point of views,” Joshi added. Currently, only the three families work out of the rented space, but are hopeful that more will join in.
Similarly, seven families who have children aged between five and eight are in the process of setting up a centre in Sion from June. The children are currently enrolled in the same school. Poorva Sule, one of the founding parents at Learners Collective Foundation, said, “We will begin homeschooling our children from the next academic year, but we first wanted to build a space for them. Since there is a problem of open space in the city, we plan to take our children for unstructured play for 30-40 minutes every day,” she said. “We will also organise field trips to enable learning on the go and sessions by professionals to expose our children to careers they would want to consider.”
Another set of homeschoolers, however, are opposed to the idea of centres that bring structure to a concept intended to make learning fun. “Homeschooling allows a child to learn what he is interested in, at his own pace and also bond with his parents. In case of a centre, it would mean having to go at a particular time and do things that others are doing. With centres, there is also a possibility of the concept being commercialized,” said Amrutha Amdekar, a Shivaji Park resident who is homeschooling her eight-year-old son Agastya.
Parents homeschooling their children and those aspiring to homeschool children met at a school on Sunday at an event organised by Sourvv Dutta, a parent and filmmaker who is working towards documenting homeschooling stories. “The idea was to get parents to discuss homeschooling formats so they can pick and work around what suits them best,” he said.