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When your home becomes your school

While most familiesin Goa start their daywith the hustle and bustle of getting ready for school,
things are different in the Vaz household. This family from Verna begins their day with Mass in the morning and once they are back home,they enjoy a heartybreakfast before the five childrenopen their books and start studying. At home.Under their mother’s watchful eye. Avoiding the hassle of pick ups and drops, tiffin boxes and heavy bags, this family has adopted the home schooling method of education for their children. Mother to Luke, Jerome, Maria, Clare and John Paul, Dr Zenita Sequeira Vaz gave up her practice to dedicate more time to her children. She has structured the schedule for her children and they are well disciplined to understand the importance of their studies. She has been home schooling her children for thelast 11 years. She gets the syllabus from the NCERT/ ICSE/CBSE board and teaches the children accordingly. Her elder son is studying the class XII
syllabus,andher youngest,class I.“We save a lot of time and we have our own pace of studying the subjects. Each of the children has their own individuality without being forced to study.Travelling with the children also becomes easierwithout the restriction of attendance. It is not difficult to cope up with the syllabus. I had a teacher coming home to teach maths and science when my elder son was in class X and a Portuguese teacher for Jerome for three years,” says Dr Zenita, wife of Lewis.Besides academics, the children also excel in music with Luke learning the viola, Jerome,the piano, trumpet and cello,and Maria playing the violin. In the evenings, the children play badminton, football and cricket with the children in the neighbourhood. “The children don’t participate in any competitive sports but play to be physically fit and interact with children of their own age,” she adds.
Buleta Fernandes from Nachinola, Aldona is home schooling her eight children,with the eldest son now studying Class XII in the open school. Her aim was to keep the children away from peer pressure. “I actually thought of pressure in the school and how it could be avoided if they were studying at home. My elder son was studying in a CBSE school till Class III but there was a lot of peer pressure from the students. My eldest daughter and second sonwerealso in the same school,
just a class apart,and I felt it was difficult to cope up with their demands. They wanted money instead of taking tiffin from home and there was peer pressure with regard to attire too as we prefer to dress modestly,” says Buleta, mother of four sons and four daughters. Her youngest daughter is two years old.
She was inspired to adopt the home schooling method when she met missionaries from Finland. Being a member of a group of home schooling parents, Buleta feels that more parentshave started
home schooling and this year itself the meet will have more than 50 parents. “The advantage of home schooling is that the children have a lot of free time and can do other activities like cycling, gardening and also choose what they want to study. I was at home with the children with no maid but we had a teacher who would come home to teach the children, especially for practicals. Regardless of which class they were studying in, alleight were interested in learning the practicals. It is also important to evaluate the children every year and I get test papers to evaluate them at home,” explains Buleta.
Nadisha Coelho James from Soccoro is one of the first home schooled children in the state. She is now doing her PHd in Psychology. Daughter of Anna and Valentine Coelho, Nadisha was also a lecturer after completing her Masters in Psychology in Mumbai. “The advantage of studying at home is that I have my own space and though I had the opportunity to study the subjects I wanted
, I chose the regular school subjects. When students don’t understand the subject, they dislike it. When they study on their own, their individual needs are met. I used to get question papers from my friends to answer and get my mother to correct it, just to see where I stand,” says Nadisha, a sister to four.“In the morning, we would study for three hours and that was enough to concentrate on the lessons and learn on our own. In the evenings, we were free for music and I used to go for gymnastics, swimming and even creative writing classes,”adds Nadisha. [H]

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