I found a beautifully resourceful individual – Vidya Shankar (VS) on the Alt Ed India Yahoo mailing list. This is the first time I am seeing some concrete steps as to how I should begin formalizing my homeschooling journey (For things to do with your younger child (2-6 years) during Homeschooling – See also this recent article of mine –Homeschool in India – A suggestion)
Here are the relevant conversations (edited for blog)…
MAIL EXCHANGE 1
This is related to your recent reply on the mailing list regarding NIOS.My child will be two this year and I am very keen on homeschooling. I am based at Mumbai. If I decide to go ahead the formal way of homeschooling (ie with curricula) then what are my exact choices out of CBSE, ICSE, NIOS, IGCSE or any other?
Also how do we as parents go about choosing any of the above? When are we eligible to start? When my child is of what age is he eligible for applying for any formal system? How do we prepare? Any ideas would be helpful. It would be helpful if there is personal reply.
Hi, yes, this is a personal reply. I am in this education research and analysis work especially for preprimary and primary for a while now, running schools myself, as well as my children’s experiences.
I would personally recommend Montessori, as it will flow into the ICSE curriculum beautifully, and I think that ICSE is the one that is most flexible and strengthens knowledge base, however, the children would be beyond this curriculum if they were going in depth with the Elementary Montessori and would cake walk the IGCSE (which can run parallel) and the NIOS which would need only hours of preparation if the child is already ready with IGCSE.
The flow chart would look something like this
Montessori preprimary – > ICSE Curriculum -> NIOS and IGCSE -> A levels or IB schools
Montessori preprimary -> Montessori Elementary -> IGCSE and NIOS -> A levels or IB Schools
I am doing the International Montessori Elementary diploma, and www.navadisha.org is the institute that offers it – now for the second time in the country. There are 2 candidates from Mumbai, but I do know that one of them will be happy to associate with you when she completes with me in December. The next course is only in 2012.
The Preprimary Diploma is available in Mumbai itself, besides Chennai and Hyderabad. I would swear by this methodology, as I am seeing the benefits working with children in parallel.
ICSE does not prepare children for any other form of exam or do not entertain private candidates. Let me know if you have any questions.
MAIL EXCHANGE 2
I see NIOS website http://www.nios.ac.in/FAQ.htm. It says – NIOS offers the following courses:-
a. Open Basic Education Programme, Which includes following three levels courses
OBE ‘A’ Level Course -Equivalent to class III
OBE ‘B’ Level Course -Equivalent to class V
OBE ‘C’ Level Course -Equivalent to class VIII
b. Secondary Course-Equivalent to class X
c. Sr. Secondary Course-Equivalent to class XII
d. Vocational Education Courses
e. Life Enrichment Programmes
What does the above mean ? Does it mean that Child has to be taught till equivalent of Third standard and then he should appear for exams. How is the curriculum defined? Is it available online? If I decide to homeschool and adopt NIOS, then I will have to go to a NIOS centre and obtain study materials and also give tests there ? As I see there is no NIOS centre in Mumbai (nearest is Pune) so is there no way I can do this via correspondence or online. I see advert in TOI. This admission process is for what age (it is not mentioned in the ad)
It is very difficult to understand anything on the NIOS website, hence some details would be very much appreciated.
Also I see this notification on the NIOS main page – http://www.nios.ac.in/obe614.htm which says- [It has been decided to continue the Open Basic Education Programme for 6-14 age group. The MHRD letter vide no. DO 10-4/2009-EE-4 dated 7th April 2010 has permitted NIOS to continue its OBE programme for 6-14 age group for a period of three years wef 1st April, 2010.]
Now does that mean in three years time, there is going to be no NIOS ?
OBE need not be followed, there is no pre-requisite for taking 10th std through NIOS or 12th later (Should have completed one year after 10th std Board to take part of the 12th exams). So do not worry about this – only age 14 years should have been completed to enroll in the previous year July to write the following March. You can take your own course curriculum for the child routing it to cover the 10th std syllabus available in the net, when he reaches probably 13 years and above.
MAIL EXCHANGE 3 –
I am seeing this link- http://www.cie.org.uk/countries/india/qualifications/
There is no mention as regards to Indian Government recognition. Is it not an officially recognized board in India?
The above page leads me to this link – http://www.cie.org.uk/qualifications/academic/middlesec/igcse/overview
I also wrote to CIE and got the reply that homeschooling can be done for IGCSE level only. Not for earlier levels
See my article where I put up that official email –
Now there are lot of links to syllabus materials on the CIE website starting from 5 years to 11 years. I am suppose to download them and then order books and other things and homeschool my child with that? Which links and editions to follow? If my child wants to learn through CIE methods via homeschool, then he will not be able to give any exams till IGCSE O level ? Any guidance would be appreciated.
Also the same issue of RTE saying that all children between 6 and 14 should be in a school will hinder this plan?
IGCSE O levels is the only official Board exam your child can write with the Cambridge board, not before that. It is followed by A levels. RTE Does not blatantly put down homeschooling. So looking at the PILs and replies, meeting the minister etc, it is not ruled out that the child can be completely homeschooled.
MAIL EXCHANGE 4
VS / ME / VS –
VS – I would personally recommend Montessori
ME – Montessori as teaching methodology for homeschooling? From what age? What resources (on & off the net) you recommend? Or are you recommending Montessori schools?
VS – If you can take a full time course at TATA institute it will be great, the course is for being a teacher to 3 to 6 year old children.
ME – Option 1 given by you ie
Montessori preprimary – > ICSE Curriculum -> NIOS and IGCSE -> A levels or IB schools
Will it involve my son going to a formal school for purpose of ICSE curriculum ? Or is it that I have to only find resources for the curriculum (like books, etc) and give no exams to my son or not associate with any institute ? You are saying ICSE does not have private candidates – that means no homeschool candidates??
VS – No private candidates are allowed to write ICSE, may change over time, when your son is older perhaps
ME – Option 2 given by you ie
Montessori preprimary -> Montessori Elementary -> IGCSE and NIOS -> A levels or IB Schools.
Does this option mean that my son can be entirely homeschooled? At what stages he needs to interact with institutes for exams, etc. A general guide would be appreciated.
VS – Yes, he can be completely homeschooled and only for 10th through NIOS Board as well as parallel O level – he needs to register for exams
VS – I am doing the International Montessori Elementary diploma, and www.navadisha.org is the institute offers it – now for the 2nd time in the country. There are 2 candidates from Mumbai, but I do know that one of them will be happy to associate with you when she completes with me in December. The next course is only in 2012. The Preprimary Diploma is available in Mumbai itself, besides Chennai and Hyderabad. I would swear by this methodology, as I am seeing the benefits working with children in parallel.
ME- I am little bit confused with these statements. Are you recommending I should do a course ? Or associate with someone who has done the course so that this person is like a “private teacher” ? Please advise.
VS – There is a lady from Mumbai who is completing the course with me. She and you can perhaps collaborate, she can help you for the Elementary (6 to 12 age material and methodology). I would recommend you to do the 3 to 6 course at Mumbai – http://www.montessori-mumbai.org/rti-montessori-training/diploma/. You can start looking at how to do the course now itself, since the child is in the right stage to look at something called ‘sensitive periods’ which will lure him into learning something which he cannot grasp so well much later. You will learn more, if you can visit and speak to Zarin Malva, the trainer.
MAIL EXCHANGE 5 –
ME / VS –
ME-It is not possible for me to join a course. Hence is it possible that Montessori Pre-Primary / primary and Elementary can be taught to my son through online sources (either free or pay)?. Can you recommend?
VS – you can go through Montessori resources in the net, and get material available with manufacturers to start the right approach for him – www.infomontessori.com may help to some extent. But when you can, do the preprimary course, as usually it is for 8 months, and the child can go to the school attached to the training centre.
ME-Is it the case that I have to compulsorily associate with some school, organisation or teacher to go ahead with Montessori Pre-Primary / primary and Elementary. Please inform for both – Primary & Elementary.
VS-There is nothing like doing a real time course. Elementary may come in only in 2012 in India (Chennai)
ME- The time period when I am homeschooling, as I have heard that people use mix of techniques – ie montessori, waldorf, any other ?? etc. Exactly what does that mean ? Do you have any opinions on this ?
Use of different techniques may be confusing, as each have their own approach, I would not recommend. Better to stick to one. Waldorf has very less schools unlike Montessori, which is more that Waldorf, and kind of has an extended curriculum till 18 years (Thought the 12 to 18 is not available in India at all)
ME – I also understand that any specific procedure I adopt should be atleast when my child is of 3 years of age. Am I correct?
VS – Go through the website I mentioned, Its useful, but not accepted in conservative Montessori AMI community,however you can use it till you get to a course.
MAIL EXCHANGE 6 –
I really want something like this. Right now I am considering this as Montessori. But it could be any other option if you or anybody suggests. Start with a formal system when my son is 3. Right now is he is 2. So from Sep 2011. The formal system should have online links saying for 3 to 6. It can have play suggestions, assignments, whatever. If it has tests. then that too. But main point is classification that this is to be taught from 3 to 4 or this from 5 to 6, etc. It can recommend books, toys, whatever which I can make at home (like art projects) or books (which I can buy from flipkart / amazon) or any other cheaper or costlier alternatives. So which website for Montessori can give this ? Say I find lot of resources on CIE website for 5 years onwards. Now I really don’t know how to use them since I can’t relate to it my child now, I am asking your opinion. Whether this CIE is giving study materials or book references or what…?? So when you find time, tell me these things as regards to Montessori or anything else –
Like 2 to 3 – Do nothing, just play
then 3 to 4 – Do these things, follow these links on websites, art projects whatever
then 4 to 6, etc.. etc…
So I am asking is I need a curriculum which can be done from home, i can buy books, whatever, i can send my son to camps, etc when he is older say 5 or something. But basic requirement is I can teach him from home. The places you have suggested like TISS and RTI are not feasible for me to attend.
Since you will be unable to take a course, would you be then able to associate with a Montessori house (school) that has all the material, a small school perhaps so that your son can have sensory experiences of learning. You can be a volunteer there. This is crucial for that age. For ages 6 and above, lot of joint work in the house can be done. Think about it…
MAIL EXCHANGE 7
I saw a Montessori Online Recognized Course ? Whether this is real and recognized? What is your opinion? It says – You can teach children from ages 0-9 years.
VS – There is no course of Montessori that is “recognised”, please see websites which offer Montessori for homeschooling and read Montessori books, that should give you a basis, till you can take on something more concrete sometime later perhaps, or take the help of a trained person (like I mentioned)
I hope the above will guide me to a suitable path. Please put your comments and share / help out….