IGCSE and Homeschool

Some of us parents met with Ms. Tanya Valecha, Principal of Rustomjee School http://www.school.rustomjee.com/ on Tuesday 18th June 2013. We mentioned to her that we are part of an All India body of Homeschoolers called Swashikshan whose website is http://homeschoolers.in/

The main points discussed were:

  • Homeschooled students giving the IGCSE 10th grade exams
  • Handholding partnership with the school for homeschooled kids who are younger

The Principal was very open and supportive and patiently answered all our questions. She

Homeschooled students giving the IGCSE 10th grade exams

Homeschooled children are most welcome to give the IGCSE exam in Rustomjee. Homeschooled Students are free to choose any subject, only English is compulsory, and the minimum number of subjects is 6. Exams are held in November every year, except Hindi which is held in May. The school can administer exams for most of the subjects except those which need special examiners like for Spanish or German. For these subjects, if the Student arranges Cambridge-certified Examiners, the school can still hold exams.

Since the student will be giving the exam as a private candidate, the school only facilitates the exam and does not provide any training. The school will also not be providing any Leaving Certificate, which is one of the requirements for admission into Junior Colleges in Mumbai.

The IGCSE results come after three months, and they give actual percentages obtained now, previously they used to give grades. This helps the student to know exactly how well they have done. Also in IGCSE there is no artificial boosting of percentages with internal assessments.

She also suggested that a child should take a minimum of 6 subjects at 10th level for admission into colleges.

Handholding partnership with the school for homeschooled kids who are younger

Some parents expressed a desire to homeschool and yet at the same time wished their child to attend ‘exciting’ activities, some classes and exams conducted by the school. The Principal is most happy to accept such students.

Such students will be admitted to the age appropriate grade after an assessment is done, basically for English and Math in lower grades. They are free to attend the class or activity of their choice. They can give the exam as mutually decided, either the Final exam with the whole year’s portion, or divided in three parts. Passing percentage is 40% in all subjects.

If the student leaves the school for whatever reason, the school will give a Leaving certificate, and if the student rejoins, a fresh assessment will be done before the child is taken on the rolls of the school.

The fees applicable for such students will be 50% of the regular fees. I requested the Principal on behalf of Swashikshan to consider reduction in the fees and she promised to discuss this with the management.

She also mentioned that text books can be purchased from book stores first hand or second hand, and course worksheets are also available in case the child wants to do them.

We thank Ms. Tanya Valecha and look forward to further interactions with her and the school.

Published by Dr. S. P. Mathew

A Mumbai-based practising Physician, passionate about God's wonderful creation, fitness, and integral health, writer, activist and family man. Saved by God's Grace alone :-) to be his Ambassador.

33 thoughts on “IGCSE and Homeschool

  1. good initiative but this is also the way to promote their school…as rutamjee is also a one kind of brand school like ryan, thakur, vibgyor, witty kids nd many more….because once child staring to visit there….nd they specially parents are facinated with their infrastructure, system, hi-fi classes nd all…

  2. thanks mr mathew, u r doing wonderful work,
    i hope more schools become flexible and join each other, to support students who travel different cities or countries,
    same facilities they can give to teachers who love to travel but possess good skills to share with students.
    metta for all

  3. Hi Mathew, I am homeschooling my 5-year old son and I feel its good to have a flexible curriculum like the Cambridge International.Do you have any idea what books to order for Cambridge primary level? I think it will be easy for the child to get accustomed if the same syllabus is followed from the start.

    1. Hi Suja, We did not use Cambridge books for Primary. We used a mix of state level, CBSE and Abeka books and now my daughter has taken to the IGCSE textbooks quite comfortably.

  4. Hi Mathew, We are based out of Bangalore and looking at homeschooling our 6.5 year old child. Are you aware of any school in Bangalore that would provide flexible curriculum like Rustomjee School. Also would like to know if i could speak to you to understand more about homeschooling from a parent’s perspective.

    1. Hi Joshua, it would be good to meet a friendly Principal of any nearby school and present your case mentioning that you are part of a group of Homeschoolers from all over India [you can mention Swashikshan]. You can give them our Rustomjee school’s example. You can call me after 6 pm.

    2. Hi Joshua, I am not aware of any school in Bangalore right now, but you can surely meet them and give them the reference to Rustomjee school’s position. You can speak with me between 5 to 8 PM weekdays.

    3. Hi Joshua I am a homeschooler based in Bangalore. Did you find any school like rustomji which are open to homeschoolers in Bangalore

  5. Hi Matthew, We are already homeschooling our 7 year old daughter. Would it be possible for us to get admission for our daughter at Rustomjee and pay 50% of the fees while she continues to be homeschooled so that we can be benefited from text books and yearly assessments.

  6. Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for your feedback. We shall surely contact Principal Tanya Valecha and look for possibilities to enroll our daughter there. I will surely get back to you for further guidance. Thanks again

  7. THANK YOU Mathew
    I was researching about homeschooling further on after attending the Khandala conference… and i happened to come across this blog. Wonderful. Just one query in case of no school leaving certificate what shall be the next step for further studies. Would it be A levels since State board colleges wouldn’t accept. Or is there still some other option. And after A and As levels can the child get admission in degree college.
    Please do reply. and of course wanting to meet you guys sometime around. Love n light

  8. Hello, my daughter is currently studying 4th grade of ICSE board, she was assessed and diagnosed with Dyslexia by Sion hospital LD department, she is brilliant child with high IQ as assessed by hospital too but unfortunately in over crowded classes she was always left on her own, i changed her school 3 time until i came across this great little school run by Turkish management but they are shutting down their Mumbai branch this year end,finally i’ve decided enough is enough and i’m opting for home schooling with IGCSE board from next year onward,my question while home schooled, from this year on does she need to appear for annual exams at the end of every year or can she do it only for her 10th grade? i just registered myself with Swashikshan as well, will need lots of guidance and support from experts like you , should i purchase her study material from some IGCSE sch ? how to choose the best subjects (as it is optional)for her ,keeping in mind her future higher study as well as her current problem of dealing with Dyslexia?
    will be grateful if you could answer my queries.

    1. Congratulations on your decision to homeschool. Every child is precious and unique and the parents are the only ones who know them [and love them] the best. Do not worry regarding the books, you have a lot of time. You can email me for more details.

      1. Thank You Dr Mathew ,for your encouraging words, we hope to have a long association with you and your team.

  9. Hi Mr. Swaminathan,
    My Husband Joshua and I homeschool our 7 seven old daughter and we are very happy about our decision. As homeschooling parents we have so many questions about homeschooling and our child’s educational’s choices. I presume you are aware that as a homeschooler the child can do either an IGCSE board exam or a NIOS exam for 10th and 12th.
    As Dr. Matthew once suggested you can either choose a combination of CBSE books and A Beka books for educational purpose
    Or choose
    Cambridge books right from the start for your child if you are thinking of IGCSE board exams.
    Please register yourself here and go through the books and you may be able to decide which stage books your child would be able to handle.
    Sometimes you will be surprised that your child’s abilities will be more than the key stage recommended.
    We are planning to buy some of the Cambridge books for our daughter this year and also use IGCSE at a later stage for language and social studies, etc.
    All the best.
    Best Regards

    1. Thank you Irene for taking time to reply me, it was helpful,we are very nervous about it because as a parent taking such decision on behalf of our kid and for her future we want to be sure she will benefit from it and all her academic needs will be taken care of. But for the start do we need to inform any educational authorities here in Mumbai about our decision ?
      Do we have to register her name any where at all as a homeschooler? or just go ahead and start our study ?
      will appreciate your feedback.

  10. Hi Mr. Swaminathan,
    You do not have to register anywhere to homeschool your child. We have not done so far… nor has any parent in my perception. But Swashikshan is a national forum for homeschoolers. Please register yourself there. Only homeschoolers can register in Swashikshan and they are collecting a database of homeschoolers in India. One wonderful aspect is that the Swashikshan team one among whom is Dr. Matthew are trying to establish a Homeschoolers Board legally. If that is established then nothing like it as it will immensely benefit homeschoolers. Another thing I am happy is that we are not alone as parents in this journey. You will find a big family of homeschoolers who are not happy with the conventional method of education. Though each parent has a reason to homeschool their child/children each parent is happy and positive in taking the decision of homeschooling or unschooling. Parents share their fears and challenges in the Swashikshan forum but I bet some years down the line we all will be proud parents for having made the decision of homeschooling.

    As parents we faced enough criticism and skepticism from our relatives and friends. But be assured the community of homeschooling in India is growing and it is proved that homeschooled children are the most well-mannered and most desired candidates in universities and colleges which itself defines success if that is what today’s parents would want to define success. We chose homeschooling because we wanted to give our child a socially enhanced and happy environment so that it will not kill her inquisitiveness to learn.

    Please join http://indiahomeschoolers.ning.com/
    and you can also keep in touch through my email id

    1. Hi and Thanks again Irene, i tried to register myself with Swashikshan but was told only if i am already homeschooling my child, i can join in and was directed to the Ning group ,i have send the request there and am still waiting to be accepted ( my profile is not reviewed yet, i am going to Maharshtra nature’s park tomorrow as i came to know there will be a gathering , so hoping to meet the parents there and get some first hand info as well and hopefully be accepted by the community too.(by the way i am Mrs Swaminathan,the mother, not the father of A, Cheers)eagerly waiting to meet you all.

      1. Hi Mrs. Swaminathan,
        You sure will be welcomed and accepted into the Swashikshan National forum as you have already considered homsechooling and convinced as well which I presume. Besides, even I was accepted into Swashikshan after 10 days or so which is general procedure timeline I believe and has no hinges there.
        I am sure you will have a good time in tomorrow’s get together in Nature’s Park. We live in Bangalore and whenever you plan to travel down to Bangalore we will try to catch up.
        These are my contact details:
        Irene: 9632700884
        All the best for your homeschoolers parents meet tomorrow Mrs. Swaminathan.
        Best Regards

  11. By the way Mr. Swaminathan we all are proud of our children and are proud to be homeschoolers but only that we need a little pat on our shoulders, a word of encouragement and inward assurance which will help us stay empowered in this journey…This you will find not only in online Swashikshan forum but also in the small get together or informal homeschoolers meetings that happens in each state and cities. You will find it yourself once you join the Swashikshan forum. Glad to be associated with you.

  12. Very good initiative. Both of my kids go to Rustomjee school, 10th and 4th grade, so happy to have such sensible principal like Tanya Valecha. I come from expat community, so homeschooling was my first choice that I could think of after seeing the madness of a ” rat race” in scools around. But 9 years ago I came across this person, I ve heard, I believed and I trusted . My kids had structured lerning experience, I newer send them for tuitions for school’s subjects, we had plenty of time together, so I can concentrate on what I want them to teach, my culture, my traditional craft, my values. I had more time for my own personal growth as well. So happy to meet early in life the right people and the right school.Just wanted to express my gratitude and also wish you,not to give up on search of what is best for your kids, for you as a parent, for your situation…

  13. Ms Tanya valecha and Rustomjee are really a boon. They are a institution who accept gifted kids and homeschoolers. They are open are flexible. My personal interaction with her during my dds admission made me understand in clear terms this is an organisation with a difference

  14. Just wandering whether a homeschooler in a primary stage using the cambridge curriculum need to give annual exams every year…or is there a certification exam at the end of primary,middle etc before getting ready to sit for IGCSE exam, or can they sit directly for the IGCSE exam when they are ready? please do kindly clarify.

    1. The beauty of homeschooling is precisely this, that exams are entirely optional till the 10th grade board exams. There are a few who have not even given that! There is however a Checkpoint exam by the Cambridge board that can be given [in any IGCSE school] before the child enters the O level preparation [9th std] if you wish to know where he or she stands.

  15. I want to homeschool my 9 year old daughter. She is currently attending the school. The school is not ready to provide LC for homeschooling as there are legal issues relating to RTE. I really don’t understand how to proceed with this situation and shall opt for homeschooling. Please help me out.

  16. Hi Mathew,
    My son studied 9th standard in India (Andhra Pradesh syllabus) AND HE DIDN’T COMPLETE 10TH STD.Then we take him abroad & he skipped std 10th. And doing igcse o level(home schooling) is it OK in the future for further education in India.
    And many are saying that he cannot join in any colleges or jobs in India without doing the 10th standard.
    Kindly help us and thanks in advance.

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