Education vs. Schooling…!!!
In our generation, everybody we know has gone to school during their childhood. If you didn’t go to school you would not be considered educated. To be called barely educated you’ve to at least be a Graduate (Bachelor’s Degree). In any country, one of the largest organizations would be schooling. Most of their citizens would go to school as children and young adults. Once they finish schooling, they would hunt for a job and pursue a career in one or the other field. So then what seems to be the problem with this system? To answer this question one has to first analyze how the system works. Is this the way one would like to live one’s life and also encourage our children to live the same way? To do that one has to start by looking at the history of education and how the schooling system came about. Minor disclaimer: The information we are sharing here is based on our own research & experience and may not be taken as the final word on the matter.
From what we’ve understood, the systematic education system came about around 1500 BC. Initially, this was freely available but over a period of time, it became the privilege of the rich and powerful. Before this, children used to learn at home from their parents by watching what they did for a living. A carpenter’s child would become a carpenter as they would be exposed only to this kind of skillset. Similarly, a Soldier’s kid would become a soldier and an intellectual’s children would become intellectuals. Soon enough people wanted to learn skills other than the one handed down to them from their parents. This lead to the advent of the schooling system (gurukul), where children from different parts of society could come under one roof and learn from a teacher (guru).
Once the industrial revolution came about the schooling system that we see today, was developed to meet the manpower needs of the industry. The syllabus was modified to teach specific skillset to a set of individuals so that they could later fulfill the specific requirements of the industry. Mathematics, Science, Social Studies became primary subjects, whereas Arts, Crafts, Music and Performing Arts became co-curricular activities. Passing an exam became more important than actually investing oneself in learning a subject or skill set. My wife, Snehal and I are a direct product of this schooling system. I am a Bachelor of Science Degree holder and my wife is an IT Engineer by education. We have both voluntarily moved away from our line of education and pursued successful careers in the field of creativity, by working in movies and games. One of the reasons for me to develop such a change was because I was never a good student by the standards of the education system that I grew up in. The reason for Snehal to move away from her field was a lack of interest in programming and scripting.
So then the question arises, why did we slave through schooling if it was something we were not going to pursue in our adult lives? The simple reason is because our parents didn’t know any better. Don’t get me wrong, both are parents are well-educated people, who have had successful careers and have always provided for their families, starting from putting food on our table, right up to bearing the entire expense of our education. The only thing they never thought about was what we wanted to do in our lives. They followed the norm and provided for conventional education just like everybody else was doing without considering the effect of such compartmentalized education on our physical and psychological selves. The worst part of this system that we both faced throughout our time there is represented in the image below. Since both of us were artists in our hearts we never fit into the schooling which never gave any priority to Arts and Crafts. We were literally fishes who were judged on our ability to climb a tree.
So, considering our own experience with schooling, we had a great challenge in front of us when we had our child. One thing was sure that we did not want Aarohi to go through the same schooling system that we grew up in. Another thing was that we wanted to be fully involved in her learning process. We believe that no one will care about Aarohi’s education more than we would as her parents. This is when we explored the idea of homeschooling. We were faced with incredible odds and no one, I repeat, not a single person supported us in this endeavor. Against everyone’s wishes and with a hundred doubts in our minds, we went ahead with our decision to not send Aarohi to school. 5 years later we can say that this has been, by far, the best decision we ever took in our collective lives. The main reason why we didn’t get any support from our peers is because neither do they understand the concept of homeschooling nor were they willing to look past the various myths attached to the idea. Let me conclude this article by sharing this light-hearted video created by homeschooled children dispelling myths about homeschooling, enjoy: