Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Parental Acceptance

'My parents don't get me ever'
'Nothing I do is ever liked by my parents'
'I can never talk to my parents, without arguing' 

What goes wrong in a parent child relationship? 
Why is it that the most intimate relationship goes so sour that often in adult hood many prefer to go 'no contact' with parents or interact in a very limited way with their parents? 

Parents world wide end up using language of non acceptance. They have been brought up to believe that it is their imperative duty to keep 'correcting the child' or the child will not grow up to be what they want him or her to be. They feel if they accept the child, he/she will not be better and remain as he or she is. According to them the best way 'to improve' the child, for the future, is to tell him/her what is not good about them 'in the now. Most parents offer language of non acceptance laced with 
Evaluation-' Look at all the cousins, they are more polite /achieving than you'
Criticism- Your smile is so wide 
• Judgement - Your friends do nothing all day. 
Moralising- Good people don't argue with elders
Preaching - We in our age had it so hard. You should be grateful 
Commanding- Just do your work as I instructed. 
Demanding - I want you to take that course 
• Scolding - Why was this not done sooner? 
Admonishing- You just don't want to do any hard work 
Penalising - This month no pocket money. That will teach you to argue less! 
No wonder the language of non acceptance turns children off. They stop talking to parents. Children find talking to parent unsafe, unhelpful and often hurtful.
A bond that could have been for a lifetime gets severed and withers away! 

How can we influence this?
We can learn and train to use the powerful language of acceptance.
Acceptance of the child as he or she is. Looking at the child in all his/her glory. Opening up your eyes to see how they truly are and not what version of you they should be! An embracing of the personality of the child as is instead of what 'others' in your environment define or arbitrarily describe the child should be. 
There can be no idealised version that a child can fit perfectly. 
A child cannot adhere to a perfect script and come up with behaviours that will satisfy every adult around them. 
To expect that is putting the child in an impossible situation. 
For the ability to anticipate what is in other person's mind is a super power, no one is born with. 
Instilling in the child that kind of hyper vigilance is actually setting him or her up with Inadequacy and a feeling of being constantly hyper aware to not displease another. 
What a huge tedious responsibility! 

How is Acceptance helpful and effective?
When a person uses acceptance, it gives the other a chance to feel safe. The body language softens and allows room for other person to be there too. A person feels free to be himself /herself. In that mode of being safe, a person can learn to look at all aspects of the situation, do effective problem solving, make effective decisions, be more productive, want to do well, experience well being!
Acceptance is the fertile soil that allows the seed/children to sprout, grow, nurture and blossom to its full capacity.
Likewise parental acceptance is that soil that makes room for the innate capacity to grow. Instead when acceptance is not present, the resources of the child are used to simply repair the critical attacks, the non acceptance of the parent brings. All their problem solving is invested in getting their parents to like them in some form.
Instead of thinking in terms of 'How do I grow as a human being?' , they are constantly coming up with ways to avoid being disliked.
Children hate to be denied, restricted, prohibited no matter how 'cleverly' parents think they do it. Children see through it. 'Setting limits' has been known to backfire by means of lying, cheating, rebelling, resentment!
Children see it as being intruded upon.
These scenarios then aren't conducive to positive outcomes of growth or unfolding a potential.
If only parents learned to discern the value of transmitting the language of Acceptance!
Understand the disastrous effect of non acceptance. They produce the very effect that the parent wishes to avoid. The non acceptance creates hostility and a vicious circle of attacks and counter attacks lowering esteem and love on both ends!
By Sonnal Pardiwala 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Parenting - A human journey!

Nowadays there is information overload on how to be anything!
You name it, internet has it!
Articles, posts, videos, portals on virtually every aspect of human life!
Parenting guidance can't be far behind. One whack, one yell, one bad episode has the mother or father scared that they are doomed. They feel child will be traumatised and sit in some therapy couch healing from wounds sustained from them.

Childhood experienced neglect and its adverse effects has been making rounds, a lot lately. While it is a real phenomenon, every parent need not find themselves guilty of neglect every corner of Parenting.
Good enough parenting.
Let me introduce a concept we aren't talking about much. If looked in properly we all may well fall in this range. None of us are perfect. None of us will stand up to check mark every item on the good parenting checklist. We will fall short somewhere along the line.
However if our child rearing practices follow the 5:1 ratio of pleasant :unpleasant, we all can attain 'Good enough parenting' goal. For one yell, if our record book has five hugs, for one argument, if our record book has quick 'making up', we can safely state we have done good enough parenting.
Most of the parents are unprepared for a child but once in, they want to do the right thing. That intent is a foundation of good enough parenting.
Along with mistakes, if there is atonement, it offers the child what he/she needs! 
A reassurance of being loved, their best in the hearts of parents! If the child is respected, their choices valued and considered there is good enough parenting.
I speak to the young parent today who tremble at the first cry of kid with 'Did we do something wrong?'
Young parents are inundated with information on how to do it right. These often impact them to micro scrutinise each action and reaction of the child.
I ask each parent, young or old to ease out.
Relax and aim for Good enough parenting instead of a perfection goal of raising a kid who says, does and is demonstrable as ideal child. 
Change the goals to raise a child that feels loved, valued, cared for and who loves to do the same for you.
Watch out for these myths and each time it makes its dramatic appearance, bust it in your awareness.

Parents are persons too
The moment parents hold a child a different sense of responsibility is felt in the gut and heart. You want to do your best. We want to sacrifice our needs to meet theirs. Our films, our books, our regional stories have accounts of parents setting their selves aside to meet the needs of the children. Noble indeed in noble circumstances.
Now look at yourself! Are you in those noble, tough and dramatic circumstance. A typical couple today is not. Both have jobs, both have expenses sure. Both have cultural, familial upbringing, both are individuals! There is space to meet needs of all involved. Yet this misplaced notion of only one person becoming the caregiver and being fully available causes resentment. If each accepts that each can take turns at care giving and together too. All and everyone's needs can be met.
Are we willing to make that effort to accept our humanity, our humane needs and make room for it to navigate together?

Parents can have mood swings!
If we accept our humanity this one will be easy.
We feel guilty when we are sad, mad or occupied. We feel we are burdening the child if we express our emotions that are heavy in front of them.
My question
Our homes are tiny. 
How would you hide what is felt?
 Where would you go in the tiny house?
Next option, you pretend to be joyous.
Can you truly keep that up, given the human natures?
In both instances, you run the risk of transmitting lack of authenticity to the children. You teach them that emotions should be hidden. You also ask them to stick to a false sense of always being joyous. Both are bases to emotional issues and entanglement.
However if you were to demonstrate that you are subject to 'ups' and 'downs' of emotion and you bounce back to a baseline of calm and peace, you can role model the same.
Accept your mood swings, communicate it is not the children but your personal stuff and demonstrate the bounce back.

Parents can't  put up a joint front all the time.
Parenting experts always tell you to be a team. Yes you are. However we each are differently bred. We have different opinions. Now when something happens around the child, one parent asks the other to enrol in their agenda to show a joint front. There are few drawbacks here
*Child will feel ganged up on. Two parents against her or him. A feeling of being cornered is simply not a conducive atmosphere to change, bonding or team spirit

*When we are not in agreement, our non verbal communication spills through. Our tonality, the body language will give it away. The child will know which parent holds the agenda and who is not having enough power here. This creates an unhealthy control dynamic and resentment brews

*The child is in a bind of trust. As he/she senses the weak stance of one parent and strong stance of another, the child doesn't know who to trust. Child may learn to play one against the another
An honest way would be an expression of personal opinion on a certain subject by both. Consequences laid down and allow a choice. It can go in any direction. At a time child faces unpleasant consequences, be there to support.

Parents may not know what to do
The moment you accept the position of a parent, you feel saddled with a great responsibility of responding appropriately. Truth is, in many instances, since it is a first time, we simply may not know what to do. If we live under false code of being a know all, we will err hugely.
If we accept we don't know and it is ok, we look for support from a source who might guide. That can involve therapy, learning communication skills or anything that empowers the parenting dynamic.

Every parent needs to understand that world is changing and the child is different at each dynamic development stage. Each has a unique matrix of challenges. As individuals we hold myths. Bust them please
We may not know few things
We can learn though.
We are evolving and we can have a wonderful experience, parenting our children and sending out into the world, an authentic individual!

By Sonnal Pardiwala. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Homeschooling - A Way of Life, Not a Policy or a Fad

Yes! We four home-school! Me, my husband and my two children. At the time of writing this, my elder son, Shahen, is 18. My younger son, Shahaan, is 13. They embody the principles of homeschooling and truly live it up each day. They are not attached to any formal institutions and so have free rein of their days. In any given moment, they have complete freedom with regards to what they shall do. As parents, we do not offer any proposals, suggestions or influence as to what they may do in any given hour. They have complete freedom of choice with regard to what they choose to pursue, how they pursue. They decide which book they will read, from which internet source they will browse. They may decide to not do anything at all in a given hour or day, which is rare. They are constantly up to gaining a line of know-how and abundantly share with us as we meet each other. 

Dinner time is the general discovery and excitement time as we share all that was discovered. A TED talk, a stand-up act, a film, a thought. All four of us are together and yet pursue individual goals and interests while simultaneously available for any support the other might need. Last few months, Nozzer's creative project, his web-series 'Anntaraal'. We shot every Sunday, each pooling in whatever capacities we could. Now, he is passionately involved in the post production process and time to time emerges proudly to share his master piece strokes. I am involved in my teaching and preparing grade ten students for their Boards, revisiting my own psychology training, creating workshops, online/offline and offering them on topics ranging from homeschooling, Self Hypnosis, Reiki and others that surface from time to time. The only way to ask the children to innovate is to do it yourself. If we put out the zeal for life, the children most definitely catch it and refine it even better. I can safely declare my elder knows more about Psychology than me and boy, am I proud of it! My little one educates me about canines, a topic about which I absolutely have no clue. What he shares is astounding. Homeschooling has paved paths for them and now they gloriously walk on it, creating their own navigation bars and have ton of fun too. 

Shahen pursues Psychology with all the devotion that he has within him. He is in the second year of his undergraduate course in Psychology at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. He already is a Practitioner of Positive Psychology & Hypnotherapy- Certified and Practising. As he quotes 'Schools hiring my services look at my age & my credentials but my clients are only interested in how I support them and aid them in transformations!' This confidence is what Homeschooling and we as parents have infused in him. We strove to introduce him to a world of possibility. He is his own resource. He has learned to see himself as his Resource and deeply pulls into his inner wealth when he presents himself to a group of people as a public speaker. Very recently, he was invited to his ex-college to speak on Positive Psychology and Hypnotherapy. He conducted a live hypnosis session for an audience of 150, consisting of his ex-teachers, students he would have been classmates with and several other distinguished authorities from the field of Psychology. Those attending the session were enthralled with the relaxation they felt. His social media inbox has not stopped buzzing ever since. 

He doesn't stop to gloat on his laurels. That’s learning from the Home-schooling philosophy. Enjoy the high and then move on. 
He is currently offering Psychological Questionnaires and Self Designed Workshop 'Wellbeing in One Week' (W. O. W.) ©. He has enrolments and we are thrilled. 

The trend is clear. Skill-sets are important. You need to learn to deliver. Your degrees and certificates may help but ultimately, the person that shows up, with all that he or she is, matters. As Homeschooling parents, we endeavoured to find ways to inculcate skills. Yes, we meet old-school (pun intended) people who frown upon this but we wish them luck and move ahead on our journey. For our journey matters, not their opinion. 
We have inculcated a valuable faith in our own internal voice and that is unshakable. 

My younger son has done absolutely no academics from the past year-and-a-half. However, he has devoured copiously every bit of net content related to his pet topic - Canines. He breathes them. Ask him anything about Canine behaviour, breeds, habits and stuff, he is quick to let you know. He is sensitive to how we talk about it. 

Honouring his love for canines, we began meeting and talking to people who work in this area. We came in contact with few foster personnel, rescue workers, animal welfare activists. We tried contacting the leading Canine Behaviourists in Mumbai. Most didn't reply. The ones who did, asked us to wait till he is 18. Their reason: 'Only after 18, one can handle big dogs.' 
Shahaan’s hurt reply, 'Mom, I can handle pups and the earlier you start, the better, isn't it?

I can't disagree.

So another lesson Homeschooling taught us is Perseverance. We don't stop at the first 'No' nor on the tenth ‘No’. We keep looking for a way till we don't find it. I am extremely certain that there is a Canine Behaviourist who is equally enthusiastic and appreciative of a 13-year old as we parents are. 

Until then he gathers his knowledge and improves upon his resources. Soon a Canine, his own pet, we shall have to complete his longing. What about his Academics?’,  we are asked often. He will be giving his examination via National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) when he turns 14. He has chosen as of now to not join any College.

He has enough socialisation. He heads the battalion in the building complex and recently the brother duo cycled all the way to Manori Beach and back. Adventures and Companions, they create themselves. Again, a Homeschooling lesson of internal resourcing.

All we need, we create. We don't look for answers of 'How to do.' from others. We observe keenly and find ways. We go to personnel, meet them, talk to them, find our resonance and learn. We invest in teachers who embrace us. All four of us have learned different skills in the last six years from different teachers. 

At home too, my children are resources. At times, we come home from work to dinner fixed by my elder son. He understands when we have a hard day. He understands when we need rest and/or a break. In every chore of the house we have four pairs of hands. None of us get to have an entitled existence unless one is unwell or injured. 

The younger one is our Sherlock Holmes. He is somehow privy to which thing is where in our household. From food-grains to a screw driver. He knows it! Now instead of searching and wasting time, we simply ask him. 
At 13, He is the 'fix-man'- fixing spectacles, the projector (our preferred alternative to television) and the laptop. He knows what is left in the vegetable and grocery Section. He remembers what requires fixing in the house and garden. Self-sufficiency forms the cornerstone of our household. From making tea to frying eggs to making basic dal-rice, he knows it all. If required, he along with his sibling mops, dusts, rearranges stuff and cleans utensils and clothes. 

We get a hand in everything. Dudes decided to go domestic-help-free and made our home freer than ever. Now there is no one else responsible for the house cleaning and managing. "Give us the salary you give them for pretence cleaning", was quoted with circumstantial evidence. Post that, we have been free of domestic service. It has been four months now. 

It is a way of Life, woven in the fabric of Daily living. One has to find one’s own way. Time and again, we have been asked queries related to our way of living as they wish to apply it in their own life. I attempt to answer some questions fielded to me recently. See if you can find your own insights. 

'How to do Homeschooling?' 

1. Begin by reading about it. Thinking how your children and family will adapt to it. Think about the long term and short term goal for your children and yourself too. 
2. Attend the India Homeschooling Conference (IHC) that happens each year. Meet families there. Interact with them. Gather information that you need. 
3. If you insist I meet you, follow the protocol. I give you the link to my free blogs. You read them. If you want a paid interaction, there are two ways:  a two days Whatsapp interaction or you can talk to all four of us via Zoom Meetings App. Ask us all that you wish to. However do remember these are paid interactions. 'Oh but I just want to talk!' Yes we will, in a paid format. We have stopped interacting with random strangers who take up our valuable time. 

The daily hum drum of living, your child's interests, your family values, all require attention. Only you can decide after deep thought. 

'Can you do Homeschooling for my children?' 

No, I cannot. When you insource education for your children it is called home-schooling not when I teach your children. Life is a vast learning each minute. It requires consistent upgrading on your part to know yourself and your progeny and goals of your family. If you still think in terms of only history, geography, engineering, medicine you haven't even begun to understand home-schooling, much less apply in your life. In that case I suggest educate some more and read some more and meet the experts. Not the self-proclaimed ones but rather families that have gone through few developmental phases with their children as home-schoolers. Search them. You will find a treasure. 

'How to find a Teacher for Homeschooling?' 

You do not understand home-schooling if you ask this. Done. End of Discussion. Don't Homeschool. Very acrimonious this may sound but you will do more harm than good to your child. Neither will you enjoy home-schooling nor will you know how to. If you and a teacher decides what a child may do at any given point of time, where is the freedom we speak of in home-schooling? The child is still at the mercy of adults and exercises no choice with regards to what they may learn or not learn. If it makes you uncomfortable to give the child free rein then I suggest you wait; reflect on what attracts you to home-schooling? What makes you think you cannot teach your child what needs teaching? Why do you not trust your child to learn what he or she needs to? What makes you want to find a teacher to teach? What specific need or matter you want to teach? If it is school subjects you want to teach, how is it any different than a school?

If you have to find a teacher, then let the child be in school. It will save you the trouble of searching. There are many teachers in the school. You don't have to find them. Remember, when you home-school, You, are the teacher. Find yourself, involve your children in your journey. It will be a wonderful life then. 

'How will you support me if I home-school my child?’ 

I cannot. It is your decision. Your life! Your family! Your children! I can share my experiences. When someone says 'support', they essentially want a guide who will sort out their educational arenas, offer tuitions, worksheets, online exams, plus, convince their family. I can't and I won't. Every single minute if you wish to be micromanaged by someone, one must be careful, for the tools to navigating this journey are 'Free-thinking' 'Innovating', 'Self-Reliance'. Unless you have them, home-schooling creates a void. There is nobody to tell you what to do. Every hour, you have to fill up with meaningful activities. Every route you will have to chart out. There are no maps, no navigation bars. Each one makes their own beautiful island and lives peacefully, undisturbed. For the focus is on your own path, your own beautiful new world that you are creating! The support comes from inside and others can share experiences and show you what they have done. You have to take that, juxtapose and apply it in your life as it works for you. I am far too busy in myself and my children to take time out to support you. 

My child has ADHD, Dyslexia will home-schooling help me? 

Home-schooling is not a treatment to anything. It is unfortunate that your child is diagnosed shabbily. For ADHD, dyslexia are overused in the school system. Yes, these conditions are real and require management. Read it. They are conditions, not diseases. Hence the surrounding needs management. What activities you choose requires observation and smart thinking. A child with ADHD is having excess energy which can be channelized. A child with Dyslexia can be trained to read or hear information. There is no one way to gain knowledge. Work around the requirements of the child. Schools cannot do it with so many children around so probably someone suggested you try home-schooling. It is not an ice-cream to try. It is not a fad to be tried on. Home-schooling is a philosophy to imbibe. Sure school pressure relenting is one way to ease the child but your child still needs lot more. If you can provide a happy playground to grow, please home-school, but do not expect someone else to support. Find your own support systems. You will need this unique regard for your child's limitations as well as strengths. Allow the strengths to build and limitations to dwindle. Once the inner is strong, the outer is a cakewalk. 

'How to implement it in Rural India?' 

This is a question I would like to answer a bit indepth. First and foremost, Home-schooling is a philosophy. Am I repeating myself? They say repeating ingrains an idea (hopefully). It has to be adopted by a family out of choice, out of conscious will to create a life for themselves that does not depend on formal institutions. 

The word 'Implement' suggests a move by an external agency. Who are you to 'implement' anything in Rural India? Do you have any such authority to do so? I don't. 

As a parent, I am selfishly vested only and only, implementing everything in my family. Half the times, I don't succeed. I am yet to reach that social conscience to revamp an entire rural India with my experiment of a way of life which worked for me and my family. 

Besides, most rural and tribal India is anyway Home-schooling by necessity and not choice. There is a dearth of schools and teaching personnel there. In the swankiest places of Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune just to mention few, if schools are in doldrums, what do you suppose happens in Rural India? Schools are just a classroom and one disinterested low paid teacher. The children there mostly home-school, working in farms, factories or doing menial jobs alongside. 

If anything, a different system of education that empowers them and uplifts them is required, not 'We cannot go to English schools and therefore we are not educated' esteem. 

Even if they don't learn English, they still are valuable and can lead a meaningful life. Going to School for Rural India must not become the only ticket to progress. Becoming self-sufficient must be the goal for Rural India. Is that not what all the educational degrees promise us? A way to earn money, position in society, broadening of world view! Can that be achieved only if one gets into an IB, IG or some such foreign board or an expensive national board? Why would a tribal child foraging in the jungle be interested in a pizza recipe or birthday letter invitation where they talk of cakes and chips?? Why would a rural child earning ten rupees a day want to study economics as laid out in our textbooks?

If anything, the Government needs to redefine educational goals and definitions for Rural India. They need to consider a system that addresses the needs of rural people, provide material that is closer home, create a module that is short-term but create a sustainable outcome which brings them a dignified life. The Government can do it. You and I cannot. I strongly recommend you to care for the progeny the Lord endowed you with. That is your primal duty. If every family were to get into this happy space of discovering themselves and constantly evolving and becoming better versions of themselves every few months or days, we would have a meaningful time on this planet while we are here.

As a family, we work happily in our little world. From time to time we give you a glimpse of what we are about. We all are avidly on social media. Connect to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Just be sure to witness a very varied life. We don't always yap about only Home-school.  We will offer you courses, seminars, workshops and our outings to learn from and gather your insights from the posts we put up. 

 - Sonnal Pardiwala

Saturday, September 7, 2019

All I Need is Me!

As soon as I was born, I was plagued with a syndrome that put me in a semi-sight state. 
It was the Approval seeking syndrome. 
I yearned earlier on to seek the love and adulation of my parents, cousins and relatives. 
To my chagrin, I realised there were some inherent flaws that I couldn't change. 
I was dark skinned. I was short. I was Myopic. I had thick glasses. 
My mother was already ashamed to her bones for having birthed me. For few years I was apologetic. I sat for hours figuring out what to do with myself so that I could scratch out all these seeming deviancies from me. I deeply sought love and to reduce their shame and disgust when they glanced at me. 

My maternal relatives carried the burden more and felt that a dark-skinned, short girl with thick glasses was indeed a curse on my poor mother. My paternal relatives were indifferent and apathetic. They chose a better option of ignoring the very existence of this puny girl. 

Naturally, the onset of Adolescence was a painful realisation that I had no place in this world. There were no pupularity contests to win. My place seemed in the corner of every space I inhabited. 

When I was 17, they took to me a quack who claimed to miraculously cure my high numbers. She did not, but I grabbed this opportunity to Lie. 

Lie that I could indeed see! 
I couldn't! My numbers were higher than -14 in both eyes. 

This one decision was liberating somehow. 
It brought me a realisation that I could live on my own terms, devising my own strategies to survive even with 40% eye sight. They called it a Miracle. 

For me, it indeed was. 

It gave satisfaction on my mother's face that with spectacles gone, I would find a groom easily. 

My dad felt, he no longer, had to bother about answering the maternal lot about me and my dubious future as (wrongly) predicted by them.

They stopped bothering me. 

What Relief! Utter and sheer bliss. I would find myself visiting each quack who promised an eye cure. 

I went along, for I wanted their approval. 
Why was it such an uproar, no one dared to ask? This last piece of Quackery became my manna! 

Yes, it cost me 22 years of semi-blindness but it also showed what deep reserves of will power one can have! 

I learned to rebel from thereon. As they believed the Lie inspite of the gaping evidence of me poring and peering into each book I read, I realised the fact that 'One has to take charge of who one is, what one wants, and be ready to face the necessary consequences!' 
My body was mine and I will do what I want with it, was my learning that moment. 
I learned to live on my own terms from thereon. 

I questioned ruthlessly. I rebelled fearlessly and took decisions to bring autonomy into my life. Few junctures were painful but Self Reliance and Determination pulled me on. 

At 21, I took up a job. The annual assesment rated me as the Best in their bouquet. Yet the Head was unhappy. For I had directly thwarted an order while others complied. Though I was hired as a psychologist, I was expected to decorate their lobby and find carpenters. I refused. My work, I was willing to do, but this was outside my skill-set as well as the job requirement. In our country, the 'Yes ma' ams! ' do well. I somehow was not in that category, much to my delight! 
They gave me an ultimatum to resign or' We will ruin your career!' I looked in the eye and asked them to give the worst work experience letter they could type. I won't resign. It was their decision to terminate my services and they better stuck to it. My career is my responsibility. They threatened, intimidated, urged, pleaded. Finally they terminated the services as I was a temporary placement for two years. However they had to send in a polite, technically sound Work Experience Letter. 

I have never taken a job after that! I have been on my own, setting my rules, exploring my skills, earning my own money and being Self-employed all the two decades post this incident. 

I got to explore so many of my sides as a result of foraying on my own. Besides I answer to no one but myself for all the ups and downs. 

When I gave birth to my baby 18 years back, fates queerly handed a unique situation. My in-laws took over our work space taking advantage of my ailing husband. With a child of ten days, I had a choice. Beg, plead, exhort the in-laws to have mercy on us. Or, go to work with a baby suckling onto my breast. 
Who would give me a job in those circumstances? I had decided to not work under anyone. 

I took up my husband's coaching class. I had no clue how to teach any subject. With a flailing baby, tired body I had to make a vital decision again. 

I did. I have not looked back since. From being homeless to owning a flat in Mumbai city. I learned to draw on my deeper reserves, give up dependence, victimhood and Rise up to Live on my own terms. My rules, my turf. If a, student left, it was my financial loss. I learned from my mistakes. If a student joined through referral, it was my gain. I learned from it too. With my eye sight dim, I had to draw deep, deep, deep personal will to check every handwriting, every spelling error. 

As I accomplished payments each year I learned to depend on myself. I became fiercely independent and followed only rules and procedures that made sense to me. 
I had learned to vanquish the approval seeking bug within me. For it made one vulnerable to people's Unreasonable demands and antics. It twisted you into pretzels making you do what you don't want to do most times.
When the baby was born, I found another inconsiderate dependency on the masseuse. She was unhygienic and irregular. I had just joined work. Some ten days had passed. One day with her and I balked, for my baby cried crazily. Why shouldn't bathing be a nurturing time? Why does it have to be so barbaric? 
My maternal clan warned. Only masseuse can do it. 

The fierce rebel raised her hand,
'No! I will do it!' I did. From thereon, I and my baby cooed and sighed during massages and warm baths. My baby never cried during the bath hour. Yes, it made me tired. Yes, it added to my chore list. But hell! That is what living on your own terms means. When you want something, you carve it out for yourself. You do not live in a Complaint mode or victim mode of none listens to me. 

I listen to myself. I change my circumstances. I do. 

I did not wish to miss out on a single milestone of my children and so took courageous decision of keeping them with me while I worked. The striving was to strike a balance between work life and being a parent. Yes, it was super-tumultuous, but it was worth it. My children became privy to my tiredness, to my brilliance too. They saw me manage work. They saw me reach out to them too. They saw me cook for them. They saw me eat with them too. They saw me shedding tears. They saw to it they wipe them too. They became my resource and till date they are! 
To accept supremacy of parental tutelage also meant to divide kids into religious grounds. Our marital set up being inter-faith, we had to work towards an objective non imposing religious environment. So a decision again had to be taken to let go off privileges to seek out goals of neutrality. Children could choose once they were adults. Their childhoods had to be kept off the ritualistic bias. We courted wrath from our elders and loss of privileges and inheritance. As we see today a strong, global mindset in our progeny we smile with satisfaction. We too have taught them to live on their own terms and not follow dictums written centuries back. 
At the juncture of inheritance too, we had to give up the privileges for we refused to bow to rules that made no sense to us. 

Since I did not make it to their favoured lists, I lost lot of inheritance benefits. Still it was a freedom gained at a lesser price. I was under no obligation to please anyone to get anything. 

All that I need, I will create. This simple demand from myself has yielded rich dividends. All I need is myself. 

As kids grew, schools seem to add little to their knowledge. Dependence on school is a mandate in our country. Again the rebel quietly asked 'Can this dependence be avoided?'

'Can my children not have freedom and knowledge together?'

Oh, Yes! HOMESCHOOLING! It meant swimming against the current. It meant insourcing children's education!
Why not?

The Last six years have seen us homeschool our children with amazing amount of autonomy, freedom and explorarion. Their talents are diverse, at 19 the elder one is already an earning member of the society. The younger too, multi-talented and offering workshops as theatre artist. He aspires to be a Canine Behaviourist someday.

The last on the list to live on my own terms is a humorous episode lived out by my own progeny. 

We are dependent on housemaids to keep our house clean. In order to do that, we court a lot of attitudinal nonsense from the housemaids. Their errant and dictatorial ways are historic. They come at their own time, demand special ingredients, demand hike in pay, appeal to skip work due to silly reasons, command salary in the first week of month. The work is not satisfactory. 

My 13-year old, one fine day questions, 
'Do we really need to put up with this?' , 'All she does, we can do it too!', 'If we let go of her, we will have more freedom to do our morning activities with ease.', 'We don't have to live in terror of her coming and we running around for cover, so she pretends she is cleaning?'. 
Keen observations revealed their sloppiness. Cute appeals of self-reliance reflected what their mum had done all her life. 
Live on your own terms. 

We gave her full salary, wished her Adieu and have been maid free for two months now. 
Mornings are pleasant. We don't adjust tea time with her arrivals or late entries. We all clean the house in turns and house is sparkling. A kind of relaxed energy serenades the house. The kind when you are no longer under any subjugation or control. 

The kind when you are living on your own terms, doing your own thing, when you want it, how you want it. 

Life then, has been a quirky experience. Each situation offering Dependence and acceptance of rules made by others or Independence and Creation of changing circumstances to follow your own Rhythm. A world filled with no external control, no manipulation, no giving up of your own power. 

Claiming your life in all its beauty and the Mantra. 

I am All that I need! 

I am the Master of my Fate. 

I am the Captain of my Soul! 


-Sonnal Pardiwala. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Homeschooling Answers Many Questions ~ Dare & Explore!

We began homeschooling our children half a decade ago. The Elder one had crossed 13 and the younger one was merely seven years old. I identify with every anxious parent that comes knocking our homeschooling group Active Parenting for I was once there where they are. 

A parent just exploring homeschooling is standing on the Schooling Shore, wanting to breakthrough the rigid school structures, find newer pastures and yet trembles with fear & demands vexatiously: 
"Can I build school at home? After all we are calling it Homeschooling?!?" 

We have come across various types of Explorers. While I respect each one, one cannot escape the unmistakable human follies, eccentricities playing out. 

Here are the few prototypes. Broadly classified we have:

The Smart, Educated and Empirical,
The Confused and Lost,
The "Exploring-Tentatives",
The Business Opportunists, and,
The Made up my mind but support needed ones. 

Most parents smirk down in their elitist sharpness and condescend on the entire school system. They realize that school is not working for them. Yes, for them first. The children, too. That too, that too. They have had scuffles with school authority, changed schools, sometimes changed locations only to realize that the crows are black everywhere! 

When they connect to us, their questions are academic. Very Academic. I will attempt at answering some questions as they have worked out for us over the last five years. The only experience I can share is mine. The only illustration I can give is mine. 

There is a Mantra which any Homeschooling explorer must recite three hundred times a day until it sinks in. If it does not sink, please do not begin this journey for it will be extremely awkward and uncomfortable for you. 

Each Homeschooling journey is unique as every child is unique. We aim for individual development and carving newer paths for all involved. 

Read that again. Deep breath. Again! Till you get it. 

Whether you choose homeschooling or schooling, both paths are okay as long as you accept and decide it together, as a family.

How many hours to study?

This is a schooling territory question. It narrows down studying as an activity to be zeroed in, in a form of timetable. According to this question, only and only if I set aside time for something, I am doing that. Do we set aside time for living? We live round the clock.

As  homeschooling parents, we take an all encompassing scope for the child. We substitute the word 'Studying' with 'Learning'.

In that case my children are forever Learning. You will see my elder son with a book, Ted talk or notes all the time. He is constantly learning. Applying what he learned in mundane situations like his parents arguing. Younger one is constantly learning about animals. He began with Dogs, moved on to rabbits, snakes and other continent animals. Today, he can share an anecdote of any animal. 

When they purchase stuff in a super-market they are learning. When they look over the EMI documents, while father goes about  their bank jobs, they learn. When he had earned a lakh he takes up a course on finances and stocks.

It goes in his memory bank as learning. His money, he cares to multiply it. 

Younger one reads Ruskin Bond and cooks up a story with friends and dogs as plot line, brings it to logical conclusion. His emotional intelligence is in the formation. 

Elder comes across Positive Psychology. He took a course, and got accredited. He created his Clientele. 

Next, he got interested in Hypnosis. He found an institute, funded himself. 

So how many hours they put in is tough to recall. I would say every single minute they both are learning. Sitting with paper, pencil books cannot be really quantified. Now they are sitting, then suddenly a joke catches their interests, a chore requires their attention in the kitchen, a friend calls up. They weave in and put off all they are learning. In that sense, each moment, they are learning.

Who can teach

Self Learning is the Key cornerstone of Home-learning. It takes a lonnnngggggg, really long time for parents to get this. No one can teach anyone. Learning is in-built in a learner. Their readiness, their backgrounds, their resistances, their preferences, their bias all play a role in how they will process the information shared by the teacher. 

That's the reason why some kids manage and grasp the concept introduced and some kids just don't get it. Neither the information shared is at fault nor the learner. Just the right fit. 

If child loves Math, he will devour sums. If child loves poetry, he will pick up the nuances. It is the 'Interested Child' who is required. An observant parent who understands the dynamics of the subject matter at hand and her children's preferences would never compel. We hear this all the time. "She is not hardworking. If she works hard in Math she will excel."

Moot question here is "Does she want to?"

If she does not want to, should that not be explored? 

A teacher would not be able to explore this. Even if she does arrive at the conclusion that child either lacks aptitude or interest, she hardly would let you in for obvious reasons. 

The one who can observe the child can teach. 
The one who can create questions in the child can teach. 
The one who can expose the child in the area of her interest can teach.
There is only Facilitation, never teaching. 

School convinces us that a subject related teacher, accredited with a suitable subject can teach. We have so many of them...

Why are school systems failing then to bring satisfaction to parents and children? 

Is there a teacher who will come home?

This is the most delicate, devastating question. My response will be controversial. Anyway, no one needs to like me. 

When you ask a teacher to come home, you say a few things. You express to your child: "I and you both are inadequate so we need another expert to come in and pour in you few concepts.

Second, you give the child a message: Things will be arranged for you. Your time. Your comfort. Your terms. As the teacher comes home, she has limited authority to exert any disciplinary influence or even frown when a given task is not completed or done half heartedly. Mothers jump in to ask the teacher to excuse the laxity. Child gets a beautiful message. 'Mom will bail me out anytime
Let us do nothing. She is just a teacher. She frowns more, we will sack her, get another one.

Welcome to entitlement creation in progeny. Much later when the same entitlement boomerangs on the parents, or the children are truly unable to cope with higher class syllabus, the mistake is dimly realized.

More classes, more money spent. There are classes that promise miracles. In any case the individual has learnt to rely not on self but outside forces to bail out. Mom, dad, money, whining, tantrums and excuses. 

If a child must learn, send them to the Teacher. It is first step to create respect. This person is important enough to go to. Create relationship on personal dynamics not one mitigated by parents.

As a Homeschooling parent we gave the onus of 'You can Teach You'.

My Elder one was interested in public speaking. He wrote scripts, enacted on his YouTube Channel Blogimly. Later, he was interested in Psychology he read avidly on every topic , every book, heard Ted talk on every conceivable topic of his interest, took up classes to add to his knowledge. 

My child is young. She cannot go out on her own. I have no time.

If the child is young, you have decided to homeschool, why do you need to impose a teacher? Why is the time running out? The mommy portals/media, today puts so much pressure on a parent today that they feel obligated to send the child for some classes or hire someone. Freedom is what one aspires for in a homeschooling scenario. If you will resurrect school at home, what is the purpose? The child is still a prisoner to your or the educator's times, whims and personality traits. Where is the scope for the child to truly follow her rhythm and understand life on her terms? We shove books down their throats because we think they should read. We send to classes because we think they must dance or exercise or make friends. 

We think. 
Not the children. 

Then as a parent can you take up the task of Unlearning the school and bring learning in and that too, holistically? 

Be your own teacher. 
Go to the teacher if you must. 
At home, you are only playing 'school, school'. 

What research have you done? 

Am I a parent or a researcher? This again is a school thought as they have large numbers and so must speak trends, statistics, percentiles and percentages. 

Apologies. I have two children. I decided along with my best half to raise them or grow with them differently. All I can tell you is about these two unique individuals. 

One cannot duplicate a homeschooling journey of anyone else. One can observe. Draw parallels and create their own frameworks. Research talks data and conclusions based on groups' behaviour. Homeschooling is a one of a kind journey of each family. For not only children, but parents too transform as a consequence. I got so busy parenting, I forgot to compute details of similar children. For each child has her own song. I enjoyed each one, forgot to classify any numbers. 

What about grade ten/twelve exams? 

It is a natural question and still a weird one, considering the children are just three or four years old sometimes when parents come to us. We are talking a decade (!!!) to public exam. Yet so married to school we are that we covet the certificates while unanimously agreeing that these certificates mean not much in the long run. 

A lot is changing in the Education Scenario world over that systems are changing, paradigms and frameworks are altered to suit the global Citizenry. 

Already the IGCSE and IB Curriculums and exams are widely taken all over the globe. They have an option of accommodating homeschooling students. 

Every state in India has an IGCSE school and an enterprising head who accommodates a home-schooler in various ways. 
  1. They accept home-schooled children as private Candidates. Their centers are offered for exams for a fee. The fee one has to be able to afford per paper would be 5k to 15k INR or more depending on school policy and rules, as of this writing.
  2. The schools in Mumbai, at least the one we know (Rustomjee Cambridge International School) offers hand-holding approach wherein one pays 50% fees. The school maintains the children on their roll call. It also shares time tables, resources, assessments. They may absorb the child to schooling again, should the homeschooling paradigm not work out for the family.
We also have native options. The NIOS board allows any child to give exams at grade 10/12 with wide variety of subject options. They send material home. Everything is on their website. You also could enroll in schools where there are centers for NIOS. The personnel would guide the process. One can give three papers one year, other three the next year. The fees are economical. They are  pretty lax, however, on sending material and instructions. The parents' active stance is required. 

Recently, Maharashtra Board announced its own Open Schooling (MSOSB: Maharashtra State Open School Board) offering Grade five, eight, ten and twelve exams. The curriculum is regular textbooks of SSC board, available over the counter. 

One has to register, however, from grade five if no prior schooling has been undertaken. One needs to have the certificate of grade 5 to avail of grade 8 exam and grade 8 for grade 10. 

One can also avail of "Form 17", if your child has minimum grade five certificate and appear as private Candidate for SSC board. 
One can altogether do away with all regular exams and straight take the BPP - Bachelor Preparatory Programme (minimum age 18) from Indira Gandhi National Open University, offering wide range of undergrad courses and post graduate too. Assignments are given, and all material comes by post. 

Shahen is currently studying Psychology (majors) for his graduation. There is a website that is well equipped. There are centers too for collecting assignments. 

So, one has options galore for academic pursuits. When you score appropriate, all institutes would be glad to have you as a student. 

Are they eligible in Foreign Universities? 

It totally depends on the law of the land. There are some countries that accept homeschooling as a valid module some don't. It also depends on each university.

As a Parent, I would advise apply there where there is acceptability. 

If the homeschooling format is understood deeply, one would be less anxious about external acceptance. One would carve a life that is Self-directed especially in further education. Lot of global, online universities now offer certification online. In that case, their rules are relaxed and your ability to pay and invest your time and effort matters more than your background as a homeschooler. 

What about employability? 

Is it honestly possible to answer this question in this fast paced world?

We have employment issues not due to illiteracy or lack of education but due to entitled attitudes and preferences of a person. 

With right attitude, plenty of employability can be generated. With inept attitude, employability will remain an elusive concept.

As a Parent it reflects in your attitude: a need to micro manage your child's life. It comes up with an assumption that I will hand an enriched, well-planned life to my child on a platter. 

Can you really? As an adult, would the person not look for employing himself or herself productively? It behooves on us to trust them to Fend for themselves or do we not want to? 

What is the statistical number of children doing homeschooling in the country?

No such census exists in India. Homeschooling does not have a legal status in India. There is no registered body representing Homeschooling. 

The tribal and rural areas have more forced home-schoolers for lack of school/ funds to pursue schooling. 

Is it Legal?

With Maharashtra Board declaring MSOSB format, it kind of gives a thumbs up, a go ahead to this form of learning. It acknowledges that children may stay away from school due to sports, illness or some condition that cannot be managed at school.

That does give it a happier status of Being Acknowledged

How will my child give Medical /Engineering tests if they homeschool? 

First things first. Does your child want to pursue this or are they parental plans? 

Homeschooling encourages lack of structure and relaxed approach to learning. The learning of medicine or engineering requires rigorous work, adhering to schedules and rules laid out externally. They both are diametrically contrarian formats. 

If you wish they go in the drill, keep them in the race. For adapting to restrictions after tasting freedom will be difficult. 

How will they earn?

They will.

You and I did, not because, rather, despite our degrees.

So many of us are doing way different things than what we originally planned. Life is evolving, things are changing. Let us teach children to change with the times. Let us trust that by the time they reach adulthood, we would have instilled in them through experiences, responsibility and industriousness to carve an abundant life. 

These are some of the questions fielded repeatedly and regularly. 

Are there any institutes that homeschool children? Can you homeschool my child?

This question expresses complete lack of understanding of key feature of homeschooling. Homeschooling implies that a family has decided to grant uninhibited freedom to their children and have opted out of formal set ups. The child is under no obligation to get up to someone else's alarm clocks. Even if you were to send a child to an alternate learning centers, you still are imposing a structure on the child, however loose that might be. It will be external. No matter what we say, it is fooling oneself to think this is homeschooling. You are out of a formal registered school but you and your child is nevertheless in School: Mentally, Physically, Emotionally. 

What we practice is Homeschooling. We don't impose an institute nor worksheets on our children. They have complete autonomy to choose what they want in any given moment. To have that complete faith and trust in your progeny is your Unlearning.

I see many parents are not yet ready for this letting go of complete control. They still feel they need to micro-manage. There is Palpable fear in the dialogue 'If we leave them they will do nothing'. It implies that children have to be streamlined into structures we feel are good for them. We take the whole decision-making away from them. For we think we are right and superior. 

We are senior to them: Yes. We are ahead: Yes. But wiser: No

Allow them to realize it is their life and they must strive to make it productive. 

We faced this dilemma at grade 12 of Shahen. One fine day he simply announced, 'I won't be joining College next year. I will pursue on my own.

It was a time bomb dropped for us at that moment. Here we were thinking we had home-schooled but now he shall have degrees, earn, go for post graduation. 

He plain announced no more College. 

Before we jumped the Gun, we thought together. It is his life. If he wishes to pursue knowledge differently, can we not support him?

A new understanding dawned. We have an independent individual who thinks and knows what is best for him. 

He gave us three things he wanted to do:

*I will study Psychology
*I will write a book
*I want to become a Public Speaker. 

In that vacations post grade 12 exam, we found Positive Psychology Strength based Coaching. It appealed to him. He accredited and equipped himself with required Coaching. By the time the Academic Year began, he was clear about not joining college. He was already taking online sessions and clients. 

He reads avidly. He is synonymous to Books. The only time he does not have books in his hands is when he is bathing or taking lunch. A book is always on his mind, in his hand. 

Based on his book summaries, he came up with a program 'Shelf Help to Self Help' and pitched it to all schools in the vicinity. Rustomjee Cambridge International School has adopted his program and he has already given half a dozen seminar there.

He organised his independent Seminar on 'Positive Psychology'. 
He is fulfilling his own dream of speaking in Public and that too for a transformational purpose. 

He developed interest in Hypnosis as I kept discussing it avidly. We found an institute and actually attended together as a Mom Son Duo. We offered a Self Hypnosis Workshop together. 

If you want your children to develop a zeal for Learning, you as a parent need to be modelling the same love for learning. Learning never stops, is my message to my kids and to everyone. Unless you propagate it, how would kids who are observing you do the same?

An environment of Learning begins at home, flourishes at home. 

I guess the only Goal that remains now is writing a book. He will get there soon. 

Had I tied him to learning centers, group tendencies, this individuality would not have a chance to emerge. 

An innate trust to follow your path rather than huddle up is what brings forth true leaders. 

Leaders chart paths. 

My second dude has totally lived up the homeschooling spirit as he opted out post grade two. 

He reads but mostly Geronimo Stilton, Wimpy Kid, occasionally Ruskin Bond. He says Ruskin Bond fills him up and he needs days to digest his stories. 

Mostly, he is an audio visual person. He joins in any class he finds interesting in our tuition class. He walks away when he is bored. 
Recently he gave a grade ten paper of English n scored 76/100.
That is the Academic part. 

He is an excellent actor, works in practically all Blogimly short films. He is also a Playback Theatre enthusiast. He trains his seniors in class for annual days, farewell or Teacher's Day fests. 
He is a Canine Lover. He wishes to care for them. Recently he embarked on research on Canines. His Instagram and Facebook pages show his depth of knowledge with the Canines. 

His love for animals has taken him into researching all kinds of animals in all continents. Talking to him increases my General knowledge now. 

He adopted a stray Canine and trains him sensitively. He even learned to knead dough, roll and bake chapattis to feed him. 

His parenting instinct has begun rooting in. 

Again, if I tie his autonomy to teachers coming home or he going to teachers, his creativity would not get a chance. 

Occasionally, he takes up two days workshops if something interests him but mostly he is the master of all he surveys.

There are not many animation movies left that I and Shahaan have not seen. We love watching movies of all genres, era and subjects. He dreams galore  and loves life. His spirit is untainted.
Free, enterprising and living up his life.


We break out into muffled giggles when this word is directed at us. 
We never faced this issue for various reasons. 

*We remain super busy and occupied. As a family we are up to one project or another. We are either making a film, planning a workshop, reading a book or watching movies or planning a vacation somewhere. 

*Making friends is a responsibility of each person. We do not believe in artificially creating circumstances and creating friends for our children. It is essentially their own intuitive process. As Shahen quotes 'Maybe I don't have a big  group of friends but the ones I have are the ones I have bonded with and I enjoy spending time with them.' He has his fair share of friends online and offline. While he is focused on a topic of research or study at hand, he finds socialization a distraction. 

*The younger dude has his gang and he is the leader and the peace maker. His play routine is fixed and a few nano-seconds' absence has hordes of kids pressing the doorbell sharply. 

*They both complete each other. They are best pals and love each other's company. When they are together, they are oblivious to the whole world. They are forever up to some mischief or project. 

We believe the best way to learn something is to do the thing. Each concept we want to imbibe as a family we strive to do it together, dividing roles. Becoming main cast to supporting cast for each other. We are our children's best friends. Micro-managing their lives and searching friends for them robs them of choice and self investment in be-friending another being. 

Can working parents manage homeschooling?

Ironically, this question is never asked when managing children with their schooling and allied activities. Somewhere, it feels it is a duty one must carry without questioning. Homeschooling, however, brings forth this question. Before we answer this, let us take a tour at school chores. 

Drag them out of bed with pleas, threats, yells. 

Bathe, dress, pack tiffins. Making tiffins is an ordeal at times for school insists on sabji, roti; every day under the garb of "nutritious food". 

Drop them to school by our own vehicle or by school bus. If missed, hell turns over. 

Get them back from school. 

Arrange for lunch. 

Arrange for tuitions. Schools are never sufficient. 

Look over school homework, tuition homework precariously balance the school bags, day routines, extra-curricular activities. 

Then there are sports day, annual day and preceding practice, exhibitions, field trips, picnics, exams, preparations, birthday invites and gifts, stationery items, Whatsapp group for homework and stuff. As a working parent you manage all that. 

As homeschooling family, too, we face tasks. They will be home now. We are the "in-sources" of Education for them. We don't have deadlines now but we have children constantly expecting us to fill in their waking hours. Expose them to right opportunities and experiences. Let them choose what they want so they whine less. School work, they defy, for they feel it is not what they wish to do and so the duels and tantrums. 

As a Parent, then, tasks face us both the departments. In school we streamline as per other forces dictum. For homeschooling we have more autonomy in that area. 

We have to choose and adapt to whichever style calls to us.

Schooling or Homeschooling, both require every parent's complete investment. School may absolve dad's role at times as mostly moms can manage. They get exhausted, but they manage. 

When homeschooling, the absence will be Palpable and potent. 

However there are single parents raising children in both the Schooling and Homeschooling arena with success. 

It is the parents ' vision for their life that counts. 

What do I do with children full day?

This is a question asked by a parent who has jumped the gun and into Homeschooling, without really planning carefully about their lives. Connect to home-schoolers, read up blogs by other homeschooling parents, draw parallels for yourself. Talk about your fears, anxieties and hopes for future with each other. Understand that a little anxiety will be always part of the process. As parents we are always made to feel we aren't doing enough. So, when you are taking a decision of this proportion,  it does involve some cardio pulmonary distress, so to speak (figuratively). Accept it. We still feel it. 

Once you have comprehended homeschooling you will have a vision as to what you would like to incorporate or let go. I recommend few months of no academics. This will give you time to adapt, enjoy the freedom and take a higher view of inclinations. You don't have to do something every moment with your child. They will figure out something on their own. They will have their routines and you as a parent too can pick up new skills. Learn things together, Grow together. Internet is abuzz with knowledge. Take your pick. Rest a lot. Relax too. Work on your paths. What works for you will become apparent if you stop to listen to yourself. 

Where do I register?

Homeschooling is not given a legal status yet in India. There is no presiding body for it. Yes, quacks have opened shops to cash in the insecurities of parents just leaving the school shores. They take advantage of your fear of your child's future. The familiar landscape of exam, worksheet routine keeps you feeling safe. It is not needed. 

To the self-proclaimed experts all I say, you will be your own downfall. Each parent who becomes confident on this path will see through your con. Your children too will grow up under the not so healthy influence. Do shift your attention to parenting your own progeny in an authentic way. Meet the needs of this force in a naturally supportive way but cashing on their anxieties is not recommended. Each parent falling into their con-game is also an adult. Choose maturely. 

As a homeschooling parent, I feel we embark on a journey which begins on a 'Schooling Shore'. Our boat enters the vast ocean, at first we tremble, shake a bit, then we move with confidence as we find our bearings and speed. 

We slowly leave the schooling shore and find that we need new rules to survive and thrive. We come upon our own island. We begin to live and flourish. If we don't adapt we may get back to schooling shore. Mostly we enjoy the freedom, independence and thrill of being on our own. No two journeys can be compared. All are unique. Every symphony has different strains. Every musical note, equally melodious. 

Homeschooling is a way of life that can uplift the entire family with its freedom of choice and endeavor. Give the Universe a new song. Expand its scope with your child and you creating something completely new to it. 

-By Sonnal Pardiwala