Panel Discussion at Homeschoolers Meet Goa:
One day was kept as Open House for newbies and those wanting to seek answers to FAQs. The Panel included a mix of parents and young people. Claude Alvares, Rahul Alvares, Avinash Almeida, Ravi Almeida, Shuchita Prakriti, Niom Samson, Jaydeep Deosthale, Hema Jain, Maria Alves Almeida, Nazir from SA, Nithya, and Myself. Nandita Deosthale moderated the session.
The best part of the session was that we had young people in age group of 17 to 23 responding to FAQs from the guests. Listening to these young adults who took questions like:
What about socialisation?
What about routine?
What about social pressures?
They also took questions like:
Does it matter if both parents are in full time jobs?
This question was well answered by those raised by single working mothers.
The collective wisdom reflected that unschooling challenges families and individuals to rethink life choices.
Questions about ‘will children be able to face the Real World, was answered with reflective questions about ‘what is the real world?’ How is School reflective of the Real World?
What about earning money?
Was beautifully responded to by Rahul Alvares, who said, how much wealth is needed for our children? Why cannot we as parents and community support our children to pursue their passions and be themselves under one roof and keep providing for their basic needs if we as parents are already earning money enough for all? Why is there this need in us to make sure our children ‘earn money’ as soon as possible? It was touching when he said if I had a lot of money I would happily let my children fully immerse in their passion and provide a platform for them to contribute in other ways to their lives and the society which is non-monetary.
The young people responded by sharing how they are happy to receive remuneration however ‘small’ for their pursuits of interests as their goals are not to build another home, gather property, and create wealth.
What about social skills?
Was evident from the fact that all these young adults had not gone to school and were sitting in a panel responding to questions from people from all walks of life.
One boy responded by saying his best friend is their housekeeper who he calls Khala and how close he is to her and loves her the most and shares a deep bond with her. So socialisation for children who are unschooled is not limited to a particular social class or section.
How long does it take to homeschool?
I responded by seeking clarity about ‘is the question related to a daily parameter or life long?’ I think most people got the answer in my question.
Nithya did a short presentation on Right to Education Act.
Questions related to exams were answered by the panel on NIOS and IGCSE etc.
I clearly stated that homeschooling is not about keeping the child cooped up in HOME. It is about Learning without School, where the whole world is a learning field.
To a question which was seeking safeguards on the system of home education, my response was that being out of the system means facing the unknown, playing with the unknown and that since its out of the system, there cannot be system controls as that which is open ended cannot have ‘any system proofing’.
Hema Jain, shared how learning without school is about nurturing the heart of the child and the heart of the parent. It is about emotional well being and emotional health.
All in all a very interesting discussion!