Homeschooling is essential for every child since our school system sucks!

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“Schools suck, the system sucks, everyone sucks”. Sounds familiar? You may have probably said at some point in your life – perhaps as a parent, perhaps as a student and perhaps as a teacher!! A discussion on why homeschooling is essential for every child, whether they go to school or not!

Before we begin, a quick clarification that I am not suggesting that a school education is not necessary, that we should get out kids out of that system and begin teaching them at home. It would be silly to offer such generic advice. I am only suggesting that homeschooling is essential for every child because regular schooling is not sufficient.

What is homeschooling?

The usual definition is schooling at home by a parent or tutor without enrollment in an educational institution. For the purposes of this post, it shall mean

schooling at home by both parents in addition to their formal school education.

Yes, that may sound at first sight as a lot of work to be done by the kids, but please bear with me.

Fireside Education
Source: Wikipedia. Kindly ignore the sexist legend. We know that both parents can sway any dominion that they wanted to!

Why do schools suck?

Long story short, because they have forgotten that kids comes first – no matter what. So much that they do even know who is at fault. Teachers blame the management. The management blames the parents, the parents blame the school and kids blame everybody (including themselves)!

School Syllabi are a load of crap!

Our system cannot differentiate between a concept and mere information. The role of a teacher is to discuss (not teach) concepts – the what, the how and most importantly the why of a certain idea.

Then assign each kid in class to work on an example: how each concept applies to real life and discuss it in class. As a class they would cover a lot of ground that way.

Then in the exam, quiz on how the concept can be applied to hypothetical and real-life situations.

It is as simple as that. A syllabus should be a simple list of 3-4 concepts to be discussed over a year, one a month. Instead, our syllabi read like a short story.

Most teachers in the system confuse the example (which is just information) with the underlying concept (or rather why one should study it). As a result, the students are unable to convince themselves  that it is a good idea to know more.

I hope the above makes some kind of sense. This confusing, unconvinced mindset propagates from class to class and gets worse.

The syllabi has to be a lot smaller urging the teacher and student to find applications on their own. That would make it a lot more fun.

1 Homeschooling is essential for the kids to understand the framework of the subject. We give them the bare bones, sit with them while the develop the skeleton with it and then leave them alone to cover it with flesh and fashion it the way they want. 

The Syllabi covers a lot of unnecessary stuff!

Even if we think  in terms of concepts/ideas alone, our kids are asked to read too much. As a graduate and post-graduate teacher, I can tell you with certainty that the entire 12th standard portions should be scrapped. They should cut up the 11th standard book into two and then teach the second half in 12th standard. A similar exercise is also possible with lower class.

No. I am not suggesting we teach them financial literacy and the need to beat inflation. That is just plain immature.

Most concepts in 10th, 11th and 12th standards (or even lower classes) need to learnt only in college. Simply because a school student does have the background necessary to learn them. Since we force it on them young, they end up with wrong notions. Once they go to college, they first need to unlearn the crap learnt in school and learn it back the right way … if they are still interested!

2 We cannot control what they learn in school, but with homeschooling, we can urge them dig deeper and learn a concept the right way the first time around.

Schools are partial to “good students”

Not everyone in a class learn at the same pace. Each time I stand before a new class, I make it clear that my job as a teacher is not to cater to the intelligent kids – who do not need help. Not to cater to the uninterested kids – who will nor respond anyway. My job is quite simple – help interested kids who need some time and effort to learn.

School teachers are always in a hurry! They want to finish the syllabus so that they can conducts exams and do not give enough time for the entire class to get to the same page (literally!). They tend to be partial to intelligent kids (this is human nature) and some even tell the slow learners that they not good enough (this is a crime!).

3 Homeschooling is essential for slow learners to catch up (if they want to go to a regular school)

Should we send our kids to school at all?

Given how bad a formal school education can be, is it worth it all? Why not simply homeschool them at their pace (and ours!).

Schools certainly play a very important part in preparing kids for the shitty real world out there. They need to get used to crappy environments (with our support) otherwise, they may not be able to adopt later!

Not everything about a school is bad. We are social creatures and like to make friends. We interact with different cultures and learn. Some of the best bonds in life are made at school. They learn the importance of working in a group as a group and for a group.

4 Homeschooling is essential to hone their individuality. Formal schooling is essential to make that individuality cope in a real-world situation.

If schools have cons, they have pros too. If homeschooling has pros it has cons too. If not every school teacher is competent, not every homeschool teacher(parent/tutor) is competent. Choosing just one be dangerous! Even this requires diversification. We need both.

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About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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  1. Dear Mr. Pattu,
    “Most concepts in 10th, 11th and 12th standards (or even lower classes) need to learnt only in college.”
    I fully endorse your view. When we studied about 40 years ago that is how the syllabus was. As a parent who tutored his children during the crunch time (exams), I could not make sense as to why they had to go through a high level syllabus in school without understanding any concepts.
    But who will listen? Our education system will chug along merrily with many students getting 99.99% marks in the exams. That is why most of our so called reputed universities do not figure even in the top 100 of the world (except some IITs).

  2. really thought provoking for me, a grandpa of a 10 yr boy, paining to see him not getting interested in studies and performing very poorly , even in mother tongue medium of education. i am found not successful in teaching at home.and his mother found her duty fulfilled by sending him for tuition.I wonder if it works. Compared to my childhood, i think, TV, MOBILE and COMPUTER-NET ETC seem detract the children from learning.

  3. Desis are exceptionally good at talking but not so good at doing

    There will be 100 comments extolling and endorsing this post as how eye opening it is and how each one of them wished they were homeschooled by their grandparents and getting enlightened with vedas, Upanishads..oops..sorry nursery rhymes, 2+2=4 stuff

    sad reality is most of the audience are DISK/DIDK families who run to their offices at 8 am and return home 12 -13 hours later. LOL most of them send their 2 year old kids to day care/preschool for crying out loud.

    If it is a SISK/SIDK family, the burden falls on the poor lady who at least used to get some respite after sending these dennis the menaces to school!

    Nobody has even an iota of clue as to how much time, energy, emotional investment it takes to home school a child

    Forget about what you are going to teach, where you are going to get the study materials, HOW you are going to teach, what times during the day / night, how you are going to assess progress academically, psychologically, WHETHER outside world will ACCEPT your child’s home schooled credentials…..I could go on..

    I am sure somebody will quote a recent hindu article or claim they were homeschooled…bottomline — exceptions are not examples; outliers are not normal.

    1. oh dear god! yet another comment filled with extrapolations and prejudice. I make it clear that I not in favour of homeschooling alone and I get sermons about “WHETHER outside world will ACCEPT your child’s home schooled credentials”.

  4. Everything you said makes absolute sense ! Homeschooling is extremely important. Consider myself lucky to have parents who understood this & now ,as a teacher, glad to be able to make at least a little difference every year,as u said,more by discussing than by teaching.

  5. Well said particularly the last couple of lines. The flip side of being one of the most populous countries is that we have a large group of parents who have no idea of what they are doing. Drinking requires a license, driving requires training, marriage or having kids does not ….

  6. Very interesting and thought provoking article. I agree with caveats! For home schooling, parents should be aware of the shortcomings of the traditional system, but need not be highly educated. And the gaps have to be filled. I enjoy teaching and more importantly learning with them. Traditional school is only supplementary, where they have opportunity to interact with their peer group.
    Being in “Education Indusry” it pains me to see so many disinterested students going nowhere and doing nothing.

  7. Very Apt Article!! I totally agree on home schooling. But to action it out is a real challenge… for example…. I keep looking for DIY interactive class + stuff for science topics for my kids and Im struggling to execute it @ Bengaluru. Biggest gap I see in our education is our ability to question established fundamentals and go deeper……
    Any help here will be appreciated.

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