Can a child learn if he/she does not go to school? Will the child get enough social interaction in such a scenario? Can the child be assessed properly without a rigid academic system? If you were to answer these questions in the pre-covid era, the most probable answer would be NO.
We have been raised to include schooling as an essential part of our lives, in fact, the school that their child goes to, often has evolved to become one of the major concerns of twenty-first-century parents, who are willing to spend a fortune to provide quality education to their children. But what about the case where the child is homeschooled, where he/she learns at his/her own place, with no compulsory assignment controlling their happiness, no cumulative assessment preventing them from pursuing their passion.
In conversation with Mariyam Vidhu Vijayan, mother of four home-schooled kids, who is leading a community of parents to the right methods of parenting and helping people realize that in this era of digital connectivity, home-schooling is not only inexpensive but a charming and brilliant option for your child.
Tell us about yourself, your previous ventures, and your background.
I am Mariyam Vidhu Vijayan. By education, I am an Engineer, and educating young minds was a passion that I couldn’t separate myself from. This passion drove me to work in the education field for a few years as a teacher, academic coordinator, and headmistress of various institutions.
What actually convinced you to take up the idea of homeschooling for your children?
My husband Rustum Usman, had a wish to homeschool our kids right from the time our first child was about 1 year old. But at that time, I was the least confident to take it up. Moreover, I was a school- person and wanted my children to get the experience of a school.
Later on, after working in certain schools and going through the difficulties of hiring teachers with subject knowledge, the right attitude, and the right vision, I felt like ‘why not give a try to homeschooling’. That’s when I joined hands with my hubby to bring his dream into a reality.
What were the major concerns that you had when you decided that your children will be homeschooled? And how did you resolve them?
Initially, we had a lot of worries regarding homeschooling our kids. Will we be able to finish their portions for the year? Will they get adequate peer group interaction? Will they be social? How will I manage my time since there were four kids whom I have to attend to, and above all, how to answer the questions posed by family and friends. But we decided to try it out and on the go, we realized that we can untangle each concern if we take care to deal with it. And now we help other parents start homeschooling with confidence.
Your website was designed by your child. How was he introduced to coding and what do you think is the right time and right way to expose children to these skills?
Yes, our elder one, Eisa, who is 10 years old, showed interest in programming and we introduced it to him about 1 year back. In fact, Eisa and Rustum learned programming together by attending Harvard University’s computer science course. It’s not about the age and the skills we choose for them, it’s all about when they are ready for what. It’s upon us parents to identify their likes, abilities, and limits.
Could you give us a brief about your support system? Do you take help from outside for homeschooling your children?
We haven’t taken any outside help till now. and I don’t think that’s needed if either one or both the partners have a good educational background and good learnability skills. But for homeschooling parents, if they feel they need outside help, they can and should definitely take it. Because we cannot compromise on giving quality education to them. besides, we cannot kill their love for learning as well. Kids are by birth curious and thirsty for more knowledge. if attended rightly, we can preserve it throughout. So we need to take all the necessary steps to balance these two areas.
Being a parent responsible for the academics of four kids, how does your day look like?
I have a very scheduled day. I can’t afford to have otherwise. I set aside time blocks for each of my duties. But it’s not a one-woman show that goes on. I have immense support from my partner. In fact, we see it as a combined duty of ours. We have taken extreme care right from the beginning to make our kids independent and that too without compulsion. The steps we have taken towards peer teaching and self-learning added to these advantages. So with the combined effort of all the members, my family’s and my day goes well.
For parents with a 9-5 job, homeschooling looks like a huge additional load. They may like their children to be homeschooled but they lack the time that it demands. What do you have to say to those parents?
Definitely, this will seem as and is an additional load because it runs the best way when one of the parents is highly dedicated to it. We are not advocates of ‘homeschooling’. Even though it’s not rocket science several areas need to be attended to -especially in the beginning stage and that definitely requires time and energy. But I have a different angle to put forward.
All parents – not only the ones in a 9 to 5 job- presently perceive homeschooling only from the academic point of view. What I would like to remind every parent is their role as a teacher in delivering the best ethics, character, values, and life skills to their children. This role of a parent cannot be substituted by a school. So every parent is a homeschooling parent – schooling their kids in areas more valuable than academics.
How do you make this idea of right parenting reach out to others?
The passion for upbringing a value-based generation topped our priority list. This character molding can be done only by us, parents. It’s something that we can never outsource to anyone. From the counseling experiences, we realized that many of the families struggle in this area mainly because of a weak relationship between the parents and kids. This is perhaps the main reason why kids rebel and parents have no clue how to provide emotional support to the children at the same time balancing it without spoiling the kids.
This is when we decided to support other parents to make their parenthood enjoyable thereby raising emotionally strong and bonded children. This gave birth to www. crink.ink
Tell us more about ‘crink. ink’.
My friend Sruthi and I founded this venture. When the name “crink” was formed with a few letters from the word “creative-thinking”, we just had the passion to bring out a better tomorrow through the next generation. We had no idea how deeply our parenting services will be helpful. In fact, its growth astonished us. On the go, we grew our services from short training to a year-long accessible subscription model because, from our fellow parents who took our services, we learned that consistency is the key to peaceful parenting. we build a community based on strong parenting principles and practical ways to achieve them. Through our online specialization program “Parenting without Frustration”, webinars, master programs, and one on one consultations, we could be a part of over 500 parents helping them get skilled in the area of dealing with their children. Once guided in the right way, one can be confident about taking each step in their parenting journey with confidence. Parenting isn’t something that you need to struggle through all the time. Our testimonials are the right proof for these. The smile that we bring on the face of parents is a reflection of an enhanced smile of their kids. and this is the drive that keeps team crink moving.
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