Dubai, UAE: A junior graduation ceremony held last week at Dubai and Northern Emirates Association (Duneha) in Jumeirah was one with a difference.
A group of 20 homeschooled children took to the stage to celebrate the achievements of their journey. It was also a graduation event for children aged from two to seven. In contrast to the usual assembly-style school graduation formalities, kids stood and sat when they wanted along with their parent-teachers.
Noticeably, this wasn’t a rehearsed set up as every child was coming together for the first time. However, the tiny graduates were mostly confident in interacting with the other students, and came forward to collect their certificates on cue.
Firaz, 8 years old, has been homeschooled for over two years and opened the event by reading from the Holy Quran. Khadijah, at just age 5, said she loves homeschooling “because I get to play with my sister every day”.
Dismissing the idea that homeschooling makes children unstructured, Supriya Narang – a mother who homeschools her kids – said: “Homeschooled children have more time to socialise than other children. For instance, unstructured activities outside, playdates, events and workshops help them integrate with children of many different age groups.”
Even homeschooling works only with a system and it’s up to the parents to make sure there are diverse activities and lessons planned for the day, Supriya pointed out.
Another homeschooling mum, Rizwana Abdul Kader, said: “Homeschooling has given my children a lot of free time to think and be creative. There is no rush: When you give them the topic to learn or activity to do, they are ready to do it. There is no resistance because you have worked on them as individuals.”
Yet another misconception about homeschooling is that it segregates children from the real world, says Rizwana. “But homeschooling has no set timings and therefore, the children are free to be out in the real world as often as possible.”
Hadia Nehme, another parent, said: “There is freedom and space to teach what we want and when we want it to our children. I started homeschooling one of my children from age 2 and integrated him into a group homeschooling playgroup session every week. I could expose him from the start to different nationalities, faiths and activities. This teaches them a lot of life skills early on.”
As for the kids, they displayed a real sense of personality and individuality in the room, showing that homeschooling is perhaps quite cool.
© Khaleej TimesApr 2018