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Sadaf’s not the only one who has decided to opt out of the system. The Irfans are part of a community of like-minded parents who are choosing to homeschool their children. The concept, though relatively new in Pakistan, is gaining popularity among families who are dissatisfied with the traditional schooling system and prefer being more involved in their children’s education. Parents like the Irfans got together and formed the Pakistan Home Education group which consists of an online community with approximately 150 members comprising homeschooling parents and those interested in home education. They also launched a quarterly magazine focusing on their activities and various issues related to home education.Families have lived and learned together since the dawn of time. It is a natural way and yet compulsory attendance to a factory-style school system makes schools unresponsive to families and prefers that children are socialized by the state. It could be a cooperative, socially-skilled arrangement where the state provides supportive services that families choose how to use.
In fact, families would be the surest check on bureaucratic waste and abuse. Families like these would be the strongest allies of schools, if the traditional opposition between the schools and the family, due to compulsory attendance laws, were changed.
Laila Brence, a Latvian convert to Islam and a former teacher herself, was the pioneer of the Pakistan Home Education group. “I feel that I am more in control of what is going on in the lives of my kids than I would be by sending them to school,” says Laila, who is currently in her seventh year of homeschooling two kids with a third baby in line. “The schooling experience has greatly changed since I myself went to school. These days, kids don’t have the time to be kids any more. Society puts so much pressure on them to become high-achievers that their own life gets lost somewhere in the rat race.” Laila says that she is glad her kids are getting plenty of time to do the things they want to do and enjoy doing. “Even boredom is a great opportunity for creativity and spontaneity — they always invent new games to play and come up with endless art projects of their own.”
For Sadaf, one of the big motivations of opting for homeschooling was the whole school routine, which involves, “ironing the uniforms and laying them out along with shoes and socks at night; packing the bag according to the timetable; forcing the child to finish her homework; making and packing the lunch in the mornings, forcing a few mouthfuls down a reluctant mouth, then sending off a sometimes mildly sick, or screaming toddler with a tear-ridden face, to school with a heavy heart and a shackled mind that never ‘dared’ to question the necessity of this so-called ‘must-have’ system of education”.background posts
the compulsory attendance mindset