Saturday, March 14, 2009

Homeschooling Report Card: 2008-2009

Summary:
1. After 3 years of homeschooling, two of our children have done well in standardized online tests (Asset-online) for Maths, English and Science. Asset is designed to test concepts and is therefore textbook independent. This means that these tests cannot be 'prepared' for like school exams. Our children finished their syllabus and then just sat for the exam with no other preparation.
2. Their doing well implies that they 'got' most of what the textbooks were trying to 'teach'.
3. They spent less than 13% of the time that school-going children spend on academics to go through the entire syllabus for that year. Their 'school-time' was only an hour or two of any one subject a day and with long gaps for travel and other such non-academic interests.
4. The entire process of studying and getting tested was joyful to the children.


* The Asset-online website says that more than 3000 students take each test and the percentile value reflects how many students did worse than you. So 97 percentile means you did better than 97% of the students who took that particular test.

** The Asset Online Maths test that Srikant took had pre 2005 content. (All NCERT textbooks were revised after 2005 to make the subjects simpler and more relevant to the student's daily life) This means that his scores in a test of what he actually studied would be much higher. How much higher? I don’t know and what is more, I don’t care either. :-)

Endnote:
My claims all along, that our children were learning much more than what was contained in their school books and that I was very happy with their progress and that I was not interested in testing them on just their ‘school-time’ was always angrily argued about by the numerous well-wishers of our children. So this report card is the public answer to squash these concerns. Well well-wishers, time to take YOUR children out of school now. What?

:-)

2 comments:

  1. We're "THIS" close to pulling our kids out of school. This blog has been wonderfully inspirational. Just saying thank you!

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  2. Way to go Jayshree! It is difficult taking a decision like this that goes against the way we fundamentally define ourselves. Its a bit like stabbing oneself in the stomach. What I mean is that you shouldn't underestimate the internal/external push required to take this decision.

    When we started three years ago our first impulse was to quickly get a support group around us. We shifted out of our house in Kolkata, sent our stuff (we have very little)to my father-in-laws house in Hyderabad and headed to Bangalore with our backpacks. We spent some agonizing weeks there trying to meet the people on the alted forum and realized that there were very few people who were actually homeschooling and that many of them had agendas that were very different from ours. But by then we had already jumped into the water and so were forced to thrash around and learn to swim. We still swallow some water once in awhile but it has been an invigorating swim against the tide so far. Again what I mean is that you shouldn't underestimate your need for support in this journey.

    Please call us (Kanti my wife or me)at 011 26001938 if you ever feel the need for a sympathetic ear.

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