More parents take to home-schooling their kids, term school studies as rote-learning

Children have always learned naturally from grandparents, parents and elder siblings by accompanying them to the market, to the jungle, to the river, or to the fields. Helping with daily tasks of sowing, harvesting, hunting, food gathering, wood cutting, thatching, attending cattle and so on… children acquire valuable knowledge about biodiversity, medicinal plants, animal husbandry, agriculture, water conservation, house construction, fishing, pottery, weaving, painting … That is EDUCATION!! http://ancientroots.in/children-tomorrows-custodians-of-traditional-knowledge-part-1/

Now it looks like city dwellers have caught on to this and are taking on to homeschooling in a big way. Here is an article in the Times of India by Freny Fernandes….

Seven-year-old Aditi Choudhary is intensely poring over a copy of an atlas and correctly spells out the capital of all nations on the globe when asked. After a pat of appreciation, she resorts to learning math. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that Aditi is getting her lessons at home and not in school for the past three years.

She is being home-schooled, just like the growing number of other children whose parents have taken responsibility as teachers, instead of sending their wards to school for what they call rote learning.

“The schools are preparing them for a rat-race. It is not about gaining knowledge these days. It is all about rote-learning and preparing them for a job market. I do not subscribe to this concept,” says Maya Choudhary , Aditi’s mother.

Shubhangi Bagul, an artist and resident of Louis Wadi, is determined to pull out her fouryear-old son from a school in Thane after a year of observing the way he was being taught.

“We enrolled our son in the junior KG of a popular school with lots of hope. The first thing that disappointed us was that it was overcrowded with 68 children and one teacher to handle them. The school’s approach was a very standard, one-size fits-them all pattern where a child’s natural instinct takes a beating,” she says.

Shubhangi’s husband, Chetanraj, also an artist, says that he wanted his son’s ability at creativity, imagination and understanding to be nurtured and sharpened. “Home-schooling is an alternative education system that can allow holistic growth, “ he says.

Most of the 500-group of parents from Thane and Mumbai who are home-schooling their children say that taking on the role of a teacher requires 100 per cent commitment.

Shruti Patil, who took an infinite sabbatical from her career in architecture to homeschool her three daughters, says, “I have not gone to work ever since I took the responsibility of teaching my children. Every night I have to think of ways to teach basic concepts to them in an interesting way. I even took a course on phonetics from Deborah Rodrigues to understand it better before teaching them. I am constantly reading up on child psychology, etc. to help me teach them better. “

Adapted from May 17 2015 issue of The Times of India (Thane) by Freny Fernandes.

Drinking water or Sewage?

Civic body faces takeover if Ulhas River remains polluted

 

This is really shocking. Does the Municipality and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board [MPCB] have to be told to do this? Drinking water is a basic requirement for everybody. What is stopping them from destroying he life of millions of innocent people? I am glad that my friend and fellow activist Stalin Dayanand has taken up this vital issue through his NGO Vanashakti.

 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

14th May 2014 The Times of India

 

Figure 1 Untreated waste dumped into rivers


Mumbai: The Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) was on Tuesday warned by the Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it will have to stop discharging untreated sewage and effluents into the drinking water source of Kalyan-Dombivli.
The tribunal gave three months to the municipal corporation to clean up its act, failing which “it would be constrained to direct the secretary, urban development department to exercise powers under the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act to control the corporation and deal with the problems of pollution in the area”.
NGO Vanshakti had filed an appeal before the NGT to restore the Ulhas river, which was seeing discharge of untreated effluents from MIDC industrial estates, seriously affecting the health of people in Ambernath, Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan-Dombivli and elsewhere.

 

Figure 2 Criminal discharge of effluents into water bodies


The NGT observed that information provided by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board showed there was no sewage treatment plant (STP) provided by the Badlapur Municipal Council.
The NGT order read: “It also appears that Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, has provided STP of very low capacity, which does not take care of sewage generated….”
The tribunal said in view of the submission by the MIDC that the process of laying pipelines in the sea-bed to discharge effluents would take time, it directed the UMC to divert Khemni nala to avoid discharge of sewage and effluent in the river or water bodies.

 


The Ulhas river sees discharge of untreated sewage and effluents

City NIOS candidate moves HC over no extra answer sheets rule

City NIOS candidate moves HC over no extra answer sheets rule

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MUMBAI: A clause in the rules governing the flexible National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) exams, which says that candidates are not allowed to ask for extra answer sheets, has now been challenged in court.


Jeremy Fernand, a Class 10 student,[whose parents are part of Swashikshan, the All India body of Homeschoolers], couldn’t complete his Math paper in the October exam session, didn’t know he wasn’t entitled to an extra sheet till he asked for one, because no announcement was made at the exam centre, he claims.

When his father Max subsequently wrote to the authorities, they were told the rules didn’t contain a provision for supplementary sheets.

Fernand has now moved the Bombay high court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), praying that the rule be amended so students can use more than one answer sheet.

He has alternatively prayed that the rule be better publicized through the hall ticket and admission form well in advance so that students are prepared for it during the exam. “We are not saying that the rule is right or wrong, we are only asking that candidates be made more aware about it,” said Fernand. “Students shouldn’t find out the rule after it’s too late.”

The petition came up in the court on Friday, when a division bench of Justice SJ Vazifdar and justice BP Colabawalla said it should be heard as a writ petition. It is likely to come up before a different bench soon.

More than 20,000 students across the state appear for the NIOS exams every year.

The NIOS is an alternative system that allows greater flexibility as compared to mainstream schools.


The petition has pointed out that other boards allow the use of extra sheets and that the rule is arbitrary. “While the purpose of the NIOS is to foster the needs of the children in promoting educational programmes, such arbitrary rules are only counterproductive to the objectives of the NIOS,” it said.

  • 20 Jan 2014
  • Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
  • Bhavya Dore bhavya.dore@hindustantimes.com

Homeschoolers in Mumbai

Mumbai Homeschoolers: Brief account of our recent get togethers

In India, there are many parents who have chosen to educate their children out of ‘school’. They form a small but growing number of intelligent, creative and bold individuals who are now also getting aware of the need to join together as a National Body, with a structure, to best represent their interests to the Government.

In India Homeschooling is not yet legal or illegal. Like in many other areas, the Indian Government has not given a clear decision either way. Thanks to Mike from the HSLDA and others, we are assured of support from all over the world in this aspect of educating our own children.

This nascent movement has brought many individuals together and has also resulted in many fun filled moments for us as we met for common activities.

Some of the recent outings we had as homeschoolers included a trip to the National Park in North Mumbai during the rains in July 2011. We carried snacks, and field science kits to catch and observe specimens [released back after studying them]. The children enjoyed the time together, exploring the natural environment and the stream.

It also resulted in greater bonding among the children from diverse backgrounds and staying miles apart, as Mumbai is a large city spread out over a hundred kilometers.

The stream was in full flow at the time as it was the rainy season, and many amphibians, reptiles and other animals could be observed.

One interesting observation we made as parents was that none of the kids asked each other “Which school do you go to?”!

We had another field trip to the National Park in August 2011 when a Biology expert was invited by a Homeschooling parent Poonam Kurani and she gave a wonderful talk explaining in detail the flora and fauna of the park. We parents also learnt quite a bit.

Next we had a bird watching expedition at the Silonda trail at the National Park in October 2011. This was an early morning walk with a young naturalist from Mumbai. We saw almost 30 species of birds and identified them with the guide book too. Besides that we also saw many insects, reptiles and spiders. The kids as well as adults were amazed at the diversity of God’s creation and their adaptability to diverse environments.

Some of the birds we saw included the Ashy tailed drongo pictured here below.

We also had a trip to the Nehru Science center in December 2011, where we could see science in action. We also saw Science projects from across the country done by students.

After that we went to the Nehru Planetarium and saw the skies come alive on their massive dome theatre. There were quite a few exhibits at the Planetarium too.

Pose!

Then we all gathered at the terrace of a family from Dadar and witnessed the total lunar eclipse with our naked eyes and with a reflector telescope, besides having games, quizzes and fun there, literally bringing the roof down with the children running and playing.

We discussed how eclipses are formed, and different topics under the moon!

So that is how homeschooling is catching up and spreading in Mumbai and other parts of India and this is a small glimpse of our life here in Mumbai.

We do hope you enjoyed this short article and please pray that we would continue to enjoy the freedom to educate our children out of school to make them good citizens of India and the world.

Dr. Mathew S P

www.drspmathew.wordpress.com

Home schooling?

What? Homeschooling?

Many people ask me….You mean you dont send your kids to school?

Yes, I say. They all want to know why….

I say, let me ask you a few questions….

Why do you send your kids to school?

Learning at School

To learn, ofcourse, they say!

I ask them: How do you expect your kids to learn at school?

Why, from the text books ofcourse, and the teachers etc…

I ask them, what world are you living in? Don’t you know that if you want your kids to learn something from school text books, you are way behind the times? Knowledge is advancing so fast that by the time the textbooks your child gets are out they are already atleast a decade old?

If you want to find out or learn about anything, where do you go to now?

Smart way to learn

Did anyone say ‘google’!

Oh, it is as if a light bulb popped open in their brain…they wonder…..what on earth!

Then they say, aha, we send our kids to school so that they can ‘Socialise’ and learn to mix with other people.

I look at them and ask again, politely…where in the real world would you expect your child, assuming he or she grows up, to ‘socialise’ only with people his same age??

Are you preparing for the Real World

What kind of artificial ‘socialisation’ are you talking about? Would it not be better if your child mixes with their neighboring kids and with their brothers and sisters at home and around? Learning to share and play together?

By this time, the parent who asked me the question is left wondering why he or she did not think of all this before.

I reassure them, that there is still time. If you believe your kids are the most precious gifts you have, you would do your best for them. Since you thought that sending them to school was the best you could do for them, you did that. Now that you know there are better ways, think about it. Plan it as a family, pray about it. See if you have the necessary time and resources to homeschool.

Hey, homeschooling works!

Then be ready to change!

Hope you have a wonderful day ahead. Life is full of challenges and changes.