Here’s an interesting perspective of a mum who has decided to home school her three children. Meet Kavita Gopal who is based in Pune, a homemaker and a passionate teacher who shares her view on taking this initiative for her children – Pranav, Maitreyi and Anirudh aged 12, 10 and 8 years of age.
“When you teach a child, you can only teach them as much as what you know. When you teach them to learn, there is no limit to how much they can learn. Every child has boundless potential. All they need is a push in the right direction. When I learnt this, is when I discovered my identity – A Kumon instructor! That was what I was for 5 years from 2007 to 2011 in Sydney, Australia.
Having lived in Dubai for 3 years after marriage, we moved to Sydney, Australia in 2002, where I spent a good 10 years of my life. In Australia, I seem to have discovered myself in more ways than one. I had the opportunity to pursue my M.Sc. in Molecular Biotechnology when my first child was only 6 months old. But I chose not to pursue a career in research because I was more than halfway along my second pregnancy, by the time I was done with the course.
A year after, Kumon just sort of fell into my lap. It is a Japanese system of education which predominantly offers Maths and English to students, a system that changed my entire outlook towards how we look at ‘education” and how we ‘educate” our children.
Whilst running the education centre, I had my third child. It was tough, but I had my family to fall back upon. It was an incredible journey for 5 years, one that helped me build an identity in the community, one that will stay closest to my heart forever. A special thanks to my parents who were there always when I needed them in my life.
With an unexpected turn of events in personal life, came the decision to move back to India in 2012. I am now a stay-at-home mum of 3 (one girl in between two boys), who still passionately believes in the Kumon method of learning and hence home schooling my children.
Why home school? That’s the first question people ask, with a puzzled look on their faces as if wondering if I hit my head somewhere. It is very similar to the reaction I get when people hear that I have 3 children and that it was a conscious choice to have 3; no “accidents” here! Well…..let’s just say that I’m full of surprises!
My children went through the regular schooling system for 3 years, here in Pune. But I wasn’t satisfied. Something was lacking. I don’t believe in categorizing kids purely by age and boxing them into classrooms. Kids can really surprise you, if only they are given a chance. Unfortunately, the current education system is such that it’s a sure shot recipe to ensure that your child loses his/ her creativity by the time he/ she passes out of school.
Finally, my decision to home school saw light last year, when I started to home school my oldest whilst the younger two went to a regular school. The experience was a rewarding one, more so because it was my son’s decision as much as it was mine. He wanted to give it a go and had fun with this new outlook towards learning and in the process, kindled the interest of his siblings too! They started pestering me to home school them as well. I was delighted, nervous, apprehensive, all at the same time. With one child, it was cakewalk, but for three- it is a challenge.
However the challenge here wasn’t as much the actual home schooling process as was facing resistance from family. Phew! Even at 40, you are answerable to so many people! My parents still cannot fathom what has gotten into me. Being the only child, my decision to have three children was a huge surprise in itself. I guess I was expecting a little too much from them to accept my home schooling decision too!
Today, I am delighted to say that my children are very happy doing what we are doing and the way we are doing it. Home schooling has turned out to be a learning process in not just the academics, but in so much more too. When they act as little helpers with my chores, they are learning important lessons there too. Learning with those who are not peers, fosters patience, understanding and a whole lot of arguments too. They teach each other, they learn from each other. It’s all a package deal!
Being a mum has given me the pleasure of being a part of my children’s’ journey. The best part is, I see a bit of myself in them everyday. It is like re-living my childhood all over again.”