Dola Dasgupta – Can Our Kids Be Educated Without Going To School

Learning without Formal Schooling
Expert session Question & Answers

Where did this concept of learning without formal school come from? Please throw some light on this and why and how does it help?

First of all this is not a concept, it is a way of life, a way to change a lifestyle that is centered around the concept that the education of your children should be outsourced.


How about their career? Will colleges grant permission or will this affect the future?.

The concept of school came about after the industrial revolution, where large number of adults were needed in factories, and children needed to be in a place supervised by other adults. And eventually at the end of school years join the work force needed for factories. Yes, if you take 10th and 12th  exams through NIOS or IGCSE, college will give admissions.

Is there any study which shows how children without formal education has performed later part of life compared to children who has formal education.

Plenty is available if you research online.

Please guide how to go about it as there are so many subjects. Do we call for a tutor at home?

If one were to homeschool, then one can start with basic reading writing math. Then follow NCERT syllabus, and sign up for NIOS or IGCSE which is Cambridge school curriculum. Initially just focus on reading and writing math, then as the child is older follow NCERT and take NIOS exams. The NIOS website has a list of subjects to choose from

We all know there are issues with the current education system, but how to deal with is the concern? It could be social fear / financial fear or concerns rather. How do you logically sort those complexities out? Your personal experiences would help asses.

One must ask oneself what is school offering that we has parents cannot provide to our children?

School sets in a formal disciplined way of Learning. Please share your experiences on how to schedule this.

If you as a parent lead a disciplined life, then you lead by example, not by using the stick, punishments or harshness. Children imitate parents.

What about PT( physical training) ? Their annual and stage performances, leadership qualities etc. Will these be catered to in homeschooling?

All extra-curricular activities are nowadays available outside school too, in fact it is better to train under coaches outside school as that gives more attention.

How does homeschooling help the child to be social?

Socialisation has very little to do with schools. In fact schools have issues like peer group pressure.

Children spend almost 6 hours covering all subjects in school in a time table. Won't it get too hectic as a parent to do it all?

When the child is interested in a subject and has engaging adults to make that subject interesting, then learning takes lesser time. Schools have a target to meet. In homeschooling you can take it slow, as there is no rush to finish within a year or few months. In fact sometimes more can be covered without school. Some children want to learn more than what schools offer, some want to learn at a slow pace. In homeschooling you and your child can together decide. For subjects you find hard, you can hire private teachers or seek help of friends. Websites like Khan Academy provide online teaching for large number of subjects.

I have a 2.5 year old daughter , home schooling is no doubt a lifestyle and a child might actually do wonders. Only issue is social acceptance is what I am worried about as that can't be ignored. Plus the child might not get social. Any inputs?

My family has never found any issues with social acceptance. People will be curious and ask, then you respond by explaining why you are making that choice. Social acceptance is always a fear when anyone does something different. Socialisation is a common question. If you as a family socialise with friends, relatives, neighbours, other groups, your child too will socialise. Human beings socialised much before schools were invented.

How abt the experiments which may be there in the syllabus for higher classes?

If the child takes science then NIOS centers provide labs for such practical studies.

Can you please share some of your own experiences. How did you manage being a working professional and homeschooling 2 kids?

When my children were younger, I chose to leave my career and focus on the children, I picked up freelance work as the children grew. It is advisable to have one parent at home or working from home or freelance while homeschooling. As a parent I worked on supporting my children to take responsibility of their own learning, I guided them in their interests and helped with looking for resources and mentors.

Do we need to put in 5 hours daily with the kid?

That depends on what is attention span of your child. Forcing a child beyond his attention span is counterproductive.

Can you please share a few homeschooling forums here?

Punehomeschoolers  and Unschooling in India. There are many others all over India too, major cities have support groups.

Can we start homeschooling midway. Incase student is in 2nd standard?

Yes, you can start anytime.

Do they have online exams? Like correspondence courses? How many exams do they need to appear in 1 year?

No. NIOS is for 10th and 12th. There are no exams unless you want to test at home. The first principle of home education is that exams are not needed to see how much your child has learnt. 10th and 12th exam is for certification needed for university.

As they are providing syllabus every year I thought it would be like a correspondence course. But this is not so right?

You can buy books based CBSE or Cambridge curriculum and follow that until your child is ready to take 10th and 12th exam. Or join Khan Academy kind of online education portals and follow that. They also follow CBSE or IGCSE.

Is this certification accepted by all reputed colleges? For further career or again they need to continue full education from home.

Both NIOS and IGCSE accepted by all universities. Check out

Any Particular age to appear for 10th that is followed?

Minimum age is 15. Maximum age has no limit.

After 10th did you need to send your kids to college? Please guide. Or can it further too be done this way? Does this work reasonable too?

College is only after 12th. After 10th one can go back to school also. After doing 10th through NIOS once can join school or junior college for higher secondary or straight away join graduation after NIOS 12th.

Why did you choose homeschooling for your children?

I wanted my children to learn and educate themselves at their own pace and pursue that which interests them more.

Are there any alternate schools other than regular schools in pune?

Swadha is a Waldorf school. Then there is DLRC. For CBSE and IGCSE DLRC is fine.

What about for SSC board?

For SSC one needs to take exams as private candidate. State Board has provisions. Maharashtra Government has also started Open school from this year for SSC, just like NIOS. What helps is connect with families who are already homeschooling for support and guidance.

My child is dyslexic, I cannot make him study at home but need other schools. Please suggest.

For  children with special needs, supporting them to learn at their own pace and finding special educators is a better way. Then one can later take NIOS at a slow pace. Referring to children with special needs, these children need to feel loved and cherished for who they are. The competition of schools actually is regressive for such children. Children with special needs like dyslexia have different and unique learning skills. And one needs to give space and match the child’s pace and unique skills to support them to be more confident in their own selves. In fact every child learns differently even if no dyslexia, in homeschooling once can be more supportive of the individual child’s needs and learning styles than judging them on a common parameter as is done in schools.

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Dola Dasgupta – Can Our Kids Be Educated Without Going To School

Dola has unschooled her two children, her daughter is now 18 and son is 13 years old. They have never been to school.

About Dola Dasgupta

Dola moderates multiple forums to support families to unschool. She is also a storyteller and holds storytelling sessions for small and large groups. She has a few blogs where she writes on learning without school, parenting and self awareness. She has been interviewed by many mainstream newspapers, magazines and TV channels and many of her articles have been published.

The Session

Dola Dasgupta – Can Our Kids Be Educated Without Going To School will be the topic where she will be taking the session at 5To15 event.