Why we homeschooled our children

I was thinking about it recently and jotted down some reasons that may have been at the back of our minds when we decided to homeschool our children.

Reason 1: I learnt a lot of complicated real-life engineering in the first six months of starting my first job as a bridge design engineer. I also became convinced that my engineering professors at IIT were less engineer-like than my office seniors who were busily designing complicated structures (and seemingly enjoying the process). If the objective was to become a good bridge design engineer, it seemed like my IIT experience added zero value in that direction. After I gained some experience designing bridges, I used to tell my non-engineer friends that if they remembered 10th standard mathematics, I could make them structural engineers in half an hour. The point I am making is about the futility of all the complicated subjects that were uselessly forced on me as if to somehow fill four years of classroom time.

Reason 2: School and college education is a great corrupting influence on most people who pass through it. Let me explain. Most people are forced to desperately get marks to meet the expectations of their family and friends. The corruption that ensues is a byproduct of the intense competition that is at the back of the whole rigmarole of marks that we have to display to the world. Some years ago I heard that the cut-off marks to get into Sri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi University was 100%. In this scenario getting higher marks by any means possible becomes very desirable. In IIT we used to get some children who got in because they sat behind or next to and copied the answers from someone who had also gotten through the entrance exam.

Reason 3: Both my wife and I are resistant to being pushed around by authority figures. This manifests as a kind of childish rebellion which is not very endearing and many times irritates people who know us. So, when my boss or my father or the Government says—don’t ask so many questions and just do what I am telling you—my first impulse is to resist and say ‘NO’. I may think about it and later change my mind but I have found from long experience that when someone is pushing something hard it is more for their benefit than mine. This rebelliousness appears like unstable or angry behaviour to people and they tend to think that I specialize in doing the exact opposite of what the whole world says is good. So, when someone says send your children to school otherwise you will ruin their lives, it is expected in my circles that I would question the logic of it.

This is an incomplete list compiled to help you introspect and see whether your experience of school and college was similar…

Homeschooling FAQ

Our three children studied at home. Homeschooling as it is called was not very popular when our children were small and my wife and I did a lot of hectic activity trying to make it work for us. This activity included meeting parents and children who were on a similar path, reading up on all sorts of things related to education, and in my case, starting a blog to chronicle our journey. I stopped updating the blog in 2013 when our elder daughter finished school and I hadn’t looked at it in a long time. I went back and browsed through it recently, like one looks through old family photo albums, and I thought that it might be of some value to people who are on a similar journey today. This is also topical because most children across the world got the homeschooling experience because of Covid. The full FAQ is available here or you can see the posts that interest you by clicking on the links below:

  1. Prologue
  2. Can you give an overview?
  3. What are the problems with school?
  4. How is the Government solving these problems?
  5. What does the law say about homeschooling?
  6. Can homeschoolers give board exams?
  7. What lead you to homeschool?
  8. How did you go about it?
  9. How do children not going to school socialize?
  10. How do homeschooled children learn about competition?
  11. Who are the famous people who have been ‘homeschooled’?
  12. Epilogue