In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Government has asked the country to observe a complete lock-down for 21 days. Schools and colleges are closed, children upto class 8th have been promoted and new sessions have been stopped as of now.
This comes as a bit stressful for families as schools may be closed for the entire summer. Many people are juggling between jobs and giving more time to children. It is not easy to maintain a work-life balance while remote working, teaching children and entertaining them. Children are enjoying their free time while staying away from the stress of exams. But this does not have to mean that they don't study at all.
Many ed-tech start-ups have released free courses of K-12 children. Schools have been sending out video classes over Whatsapp. But this pandemic allows parents to think about school the old way-Homeschooling!
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling has been quite prevalent in western countries. It is high time that Indians move in the same direction. This pandemic lockdown can be a trial stand to innovate children learning at home. Homeschooling means educating children at home. It may include fun-activities for smaller children and time-table wise study for the high-schoolers. Parents understand the needs of their children and homeschooling can certainly help in improving the weak areas of a child.
What are some Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?
- Homeschooling bundles up resources and can be personalised for every child's needs. This will allow parents to pursue the interest of their children. Schools anyway would have less technological resources compared to a homeschooler.
- Homeschooling provides time and space flexibility. It also provides a different learning experience to the child. There is educational freedom for children during homeschooling.
- Parents and children can bond over learning. This will also enable having a more direct role in their children's learning.
- On a personal front, children are subject to less school bullying and social pressure. Also, children will be less distracted and take pride in their achievements.
- Children who are homeschooled learn more through real-life problems. They are better socially, physically and emotionally. This builds up a positive attitude in them for future endeavours.
- Parents will have to plan school-time and children sometimes don't listen to their parents.
- Children build up less social interaction skills and have a very small, tight-knit group of friends.
- Parents have to teach a broad range of topics. Sometimes they might over or under-do it.
How is Homeschooling an alternate to Conventional Education amid the Lockdown?
For many parents, teaching children at home is only a temporary situation. Some may find that teaching their children at home suits their needs, but for most, it is not letting their children forget that learning is essential. Many schools have already shifted to virtual teaching and some are still on their way to following the suit.
Parents are still scrambling for keeping their kids busy since India is also practising Social Distancing. Therefore, here is a list of some technological reliefs provided by tech start-ups that can help parents keep their children still attached to learning.
1. Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a not-for-profit website and app for children aged 2-20. Parents can prepare their kids for Kindergarten to SATs. Khan Academy has released all of its content for free amid the lockdown. It offers exercises, quizzes, and tests so students can practice and master skills, as well as instructional videos to help students learn or review material. The courses are standardised and available in over 40 languages. Teachers can have special access as well. Khan Academy's platform includes loads of interactive exercises, videos and articles that cover a range of subjects.
2. Encantos: Encantos learning app is ideal for kids aged up to 6. the app is very interactive and takes kids into a virtual reality ride. Kids can go on virtual geography or history lessons or learn bilingually as the app is available in Spanish and English.
3. Duolingo ABC app: Duolingo released a new app, Duolingo ABC. Originally, the firm wanted to unveil the app later this year, but due to the increased number of kids under lockdown all over the world, the app was released today. The app is currently available subject to geographical feasibility. It caters to basics for kids aged 3-6 and has 300 lessons to teach basic reading and writing. The app is ad-free and is currently only available in English. It is expected to release in more languages.
4. Amazon Kids: Amazon is offering some kid's movies and TV shows for free. Parents don't need to have a Prime account for that. It can be accessed via logging in for free. The content will differ from place to place but considering the lockdown, Amazon's initiative is a relief for parents who have to juggle between work and home.
5. Outschool: Outschool website is an aggregator of teachers and learners. It allows teachers to teach what they want to and learners to sign up for the courses they need. It also allows content creation from experts and freedom of learning. The lectures are entertaining and informative.
6. ABCMouse: ABCMouse Learning is a website developed for K-12 children. The course is available for free for one month. It offers a learning program covering reading, math, art, music, and more with games, books, and puzzles. The website also offers movies and game learning to keep kids happy while learning.
7. YouTube Kids: YouTube kids has been in the market for 5 years now. It caters to the educational and learning needs of kids below the age of 12. It is free and different from your regular YouTube. The app is a fun area. It has nursery rhymes, baby songs, stories and science and math lectures for kids aged 7-12. Now no more kids' videos in your recommendation list and fear of children watching something they should not.
8. VootKids: Voot Kids app has been gaining popularity amidst the lockdown. In the app, children can watch their favourite shows, read books, listen to stories and learn while having fun. The app has a 30-day free trial. It also has parental control for parents to manage only the content they want their kids to see. With the current scenario of lockdown, VootKids has reduced its annual subscription from INR 1200 to INR 800.
9. Scholastic Learn At Home: Scholastic's new Learn at Home website offers free daily courses for kids. Each daily lesson includes age-appropriate writing, reading, and enrichment activities, and they're even offering virtual field trips. Scholastic offers an overall learning experience and keeps children entertained.
10. Byju's: Byju's announced that it will make its learning app free for all students until the end of April. Students in Classes 1-3 can access Math and English lessons and students in Classes 4-12 can learn Math and Science concepts. The free classes can be accessed on web as well as its app.