Pre-School visit finalized our decision on Home Schooling…!!!
Well, we didn’t right away arrive at the decision to homeschool Aarohi. By the time Aarohi was almost 3 years old, we were still not finalized on keeping her out of school. There were a lot of doubts and peer pressure to send her to school. We were constantly reminded that we were playing with our daughter’s future and were contemplating the importance of having a conventional education. We were repeatedly told that kids need systematic education. They need to be told what to learn and when to study. They need a routine in life. They need to be prepared to be able to compete in today’s world. There was a time we even considered enrolling Aarohi into a Pre-School (wiki). At this time we were living in a city called Pune in India. We got a lot of advice from our neighbors on which pre-school was good and which was not. Finally, we decided to approach one of the pre-schools in the city and this one visit finalized our decision to go the route of homeschooling.
There were a lot of doubts and peer pressure to send her to school.
For the sake of anonymity, we’ll not name the pre-school we visited. The first impression we got was very positive. We were pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of happy kids running around and playing around in a safe and secure environment. Encouraged we went inside the building to meet with the management. We were greeted by a very soft spoken lady who introduced us to all their facilities and gave us a timetable of how kids were handled by trained maids and professional educators. Most of the learning was through various physical activities and fun filled games. Twice in a day, they would provide a meal for the kids and there would be sleeping sessions along with storytelling. My wife, Snehal and I were getting inclined towards enrolling Aarohi to this pre-school as it was everything that our neighbors had promised us it to be.
Trouble started once they told us the cost involved.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it was very expensive. It was the question that the lady asked us along with it that triggered the downward spiral. She told us the fees and asked us how many hours would we want Aarohi to be at the pre-school daily. Our reply was that it would be great if she could be there for around 2 hours every day. She seemed taken aback and informed us that they require the child to be there at least 4 to 5 hours daily. This came as a shock to us as much as it was a shock to her that we only wanted Aarohi to be there for a couple of hours. As you must have realized from our article ‘First Steps for Brand New Parents‘, we wanted to spend as much time as possible with Aarohi and didn’t want to hand her over to other people to be taken care of, it was beyond our imagination to leave her for such a long duration at the pre-school. The next question we asked was if we could accompany Aarohi during this period, to which she shook her head in surprise and in turn, informed us that one of the ideas of pre-schooling was to get the kids used to staying away from their parents. When we insisted that we don’t want to leave her there for more than 2 hours, she told us that the fees will remain the same whether we left her there for 2 hours or 4 or more. Also, she encouraged us to take the benefit of the free food that they would provide for her. This was, of course, a marketing gimmick to make us feel that we are getting more value for our money. While she was trying to convince us with these points she obviously didn’t have a clue that we had moved away from a conventional diet to Organic Food near the time Aarohi was born as described in our article ‘What Eating am I talking about‘.
This was, of course, a marketing gimmick to make us feel that we are getting more value for our money.
While this was going on, another lady who was passing behind us stopped to listen in to the exchange between us. After some time she interrupted us and asked the lady counseling us to leave. She sat down to talk to us and introduced herself as the owner of the pre-school. Suspecting that she will also try to convince us to leave Aarohi with them for a longer duration, Snehal and I tried to excuse ourselves. She requested us to stay for just a while longer and explain to her what our problem was. For the sake of being polite, we repeated the whole conversation we had with her employee and expressed that we were not interested in keeping our daughter away from us for so long. She listened to our explanation with wide-mouthed amazement. When we finished, she told us that she had never before heard of such a thing. She had seen a number of times that parents were all too eager to start pre-schooling for their children at the earliest. In some cases, they enrolled them as early as 1 and a half years old. They would insist on leaving them there for as long as they would allow. In some cases, the whole day if possible. Just about now Snehal and I are looking at each other’s faces in amazement.
In some cases, parents enrolled their kids as early as 1 and a half years old.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, she told us one of the most shocking stories we’ve ever heard. On one occasion, one maid found out that a kid had a high fever and still her parents had left him there. When they called the father to come and collect their child, he asked them if he could come post lunch. By the time it was afternoon the kid’s situation had worsened and they again called him. This time, he said that he was on his way, but never arrived. Finally, the owner decided to take the kid to the hospital and got him admitted to the emergency ward. The parents only managed to come late in the evening. We were horrified to hear the plight of this child. She further explained that most of the parents leave their children with them just so that they can carry on with their social lives and here we were asking her if we could leave Aarohi there only for a couple of hours. She found this very unusual and wanted to know why we wanted this. Again Snehal and I exchanged looks and shared with her our ambition to homeschool Aarohi. Hearing this, her face lit up and she told us that we were thinking in the absolute right direction. There is nobody more responsible than a child’s parents, for the right education and upbringing of the child. Of course, a child should have friends and should play in a playground/park with other kids, but he/she must not be left there without parental supervision. For the first time in our lives, here was this person who was encouraging us to homeschool Aarohi and who herself ran a pre-school. This pretty much put the last nail in the coffin of indecision with regards to Aarohi’s schooling and we concluded that the best schooling we could provide Aarohi is homeschooling.
There is nobody more responsible, than a child’s parents, for the right education and upbringing of the child.