Yes, I was home-schooled and I turned out fine

I will never know what it is like to bid farewell to your school buddies as you graduate and pursue a career.

Rahul Karamat Barlaas March 17, 2013
Whenever I am introduced to someone, they are certain to ask me the following, very annoying question:
“Which grade are you studying in and what school do you go to?”

My answer generally leaves them dumbfounded.

You see, I have never been to school - ever.

I am home-schooled and am currently doing my A’ levels.

I am a keen student and always manage to secure good grades. Despite having all the opportunities to enroll myself in any well-reputed school, I chose to study on my own.

When I tell people this, they ask me why I chose to be home-schooled. It is a predictable question and I have my answers prepared.

No, it wasn’t because of financial reasons.

My parents decided to do things a bit differently with me and my siblings. They didn’t want us to be fed with the same prejudices that inhabit the thinking of regular schoolchildren. They wanted us to have an open mind, form our own opinions and have the confidence of being able to think out of the box. This is why we never even hired a professional tutor.

The education system in our society – be it schools or madrassas - tend to frame minds according to their ideologies. Our parents let us act according to our own choice and did not force us to fit in to a particular mindset. They let us decide what we wanted to pursue and who we wanted to be.

In the beginning, we were inspired to study when we noticed the people around us; they were often seen with reading material in their hands.

As Piaget’s theory on child development points out, a child should be seen as an explorer. We, too, explored the things which were around us; we explored books. We would take the books to our parents and asked them to tell us what they were for because they seemed so interesting. Our parents encouraged us to read the books ourselves. That was the commencement of self-studying. And of course, this was after we had developed familiarity with the alphabets and so on!

I won’t go as far as to say that the way of homeschooling is something exceptionally great or that conventional schooling is less qualitative. It is simply an experience of freedom.

There are, of course, some great aspects of school life which I missed out on. I could never participate in group debates, sports, writing competitions, dramas and such. Likewise, I also never experienced features like being a part of a social clique, ragging newcomers, and going to high school graduation parties.

I’ll carry no memories –neither sweet nor bitter– of high school graduation. I will have no pictures of friends or even teachers which would strike a chord of nostalgia in me years from now. I will never know what it is like to bid farewell to your school buddies as you graduate and pursue a career.

But it’s not like home-school isn’t cool. There are no boundaries in this system; you can do whatever you feel like doing regardless of time constraints. In fact, you are entirely free to follow your call, study when you think it is the right time and indulge in whatever subjects you enjoy the most. If you don’t feel like studying, there’s no one to force you to do it. Everything you do is up to you. You have the liberty to wake up and sleep when you want to. Nobody is there to tell you to go to bed because you have to wake up for school tomorrow. No one will wake you up early in the morning and say,
Beta, wake up! It’s time to go to school!”

Homeschooling has been a blessing to me. My siblings and I have always secured A’s in exams of all the subjects we have appeared in, believe it or not!

When we study using course books, we use Google to look up things we find tricky to grasp. In addition to this, there are loads of study-help forums on the internet

You may wonder why I choose to study at all when the decision rests in my hands. The answer is very simple; I study because my parents have taught me about what becomes of people who remain uneducated and I don’t want to end up by he street begging for a living.

I might be different from the ordinary kid, but hey, who said different was bad?

Rahul Karamat Barlaas A home-schooled student of A'Levels who is quite fervent about cutting-edge technology.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Hibah Naz | 11 years ago | Reply Nice article Rahul. It's nice to know that they're kids out in the world that appreciate the fact that they were homeschooled and turned out fine :). I feel like writing an article myself - after having read yours - about being homeschooled and sharing my experience of how it was like for me.
Wasim Raja | 11 years ago | Reply Whoever says school is a golden period of life, must be pitied. The way the schools are totally focused on unwanted, insignificant and artificial aspects of living (polished schools, ties, morning prayer, homework, speak in english or urdu only, short haircuts, etc) is a dungeon that suffocates natural, sensitive and inquisitive minds of children. There is no learning from doing, no discussion with rationality, no freedom of thought....just rote memory of belonging to this particular community, of heroes long gone and their outdated beliefs....there is always 'should and should not' all those 16 years of school. Forget bullies in school, the school itself is a bully. This is why we are living in times where mullahs rule the roost, fighting over sighting of moon....while the free thinkers has sent man to moon and are looking at mars.
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