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

Published: March 17, 2013

Our parents let us act according to our own choice and did not want force us to fit in to a particular mindset.

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

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 necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ramsha

    I understand your point when you say home schooling has turned out just fine for you. But i really don’t think it is the same for everyone. Fine, when you say school teaches the kids prejudices but that’s not the only thing the school teaches. It gives you the confidence you require to step into the world outside. Tomorrow when you leave your home for doing a job somewhere, do you think you would have sufficient exposure to the professional side of the world?Recommend

  • DaniyahSehar

    Thumbs up ! Recommend

  • Green Tiger

    An very good article and point to ponder. There are some videos in youtube on TED, and in one of the Videos, the presenters proves in a certain way, that schools shuts down the “Open Mind”.

    & to answer Ramshas questions, "do you think you would have sufficient exposure to the professional side of the world?" & "Confidence Levels"?. I believe, schooling can go in two ways. With all the Rankings and Gradings and competitiveness, Prejudices, Ragging, it could kill the confidence of the kids. This apart, Whats being tought is the only thing the child would think is right. If you look at Madrassas across Pakistan, the teachings are manipulated in such way that they make an impression on the childs mind which continues for the life time. & they ultimately become foot soldiers, nothing beyond.

    Isn`t home education better?Recommend

  • Insaan

    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…..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.

    Parents can do things bit differently even when their kids go out to school. People who send their kids to madrasah are not educated themselves and believe Quran/Islam is perfect and has answers for everything.

    How are you going to live your life in a world full of prejudices and dangers? Do you plan to live inside your home all your life?Recommend

  • MH

    Homeschooling’s great. However, it depends on the parents and house environment. You were lucky in both (I’m assuming). If enough parents take the initiative to train their children, they could perhaps keep their children from becoming school-churned idiotic morons who compulsively need tuition and coaching centers to pass their exams. I know for a fact that I learned nothing in school other than to hate it. What can save you is books. If you can hook your child up to reading, half the battle’s done with. Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Indeed Quran/Islam is perfect and Divine. The Quran talks of the afterlife and faith and the way to lead a righteous life in this world. Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    @Author-? I do not see any reason for home schooling. Anyways its your own choice and good if it works well with you. But apart from learning the subjects, schools also teach students to interact with other students, the teachers, etc, which helps in interactions all though ones life. Recommend

  • Ramsha. K

    @ Green Tiger

    I understand that there are faults in the entire institution of schooling, but when there are many disadvantages, there are also many advantages to it which ultimately are much greater when counted. As far as Madarrassahs are concerned then they are absolutely a different case. In the name of Islamic education most of the Madarrassahs are just torture cells. Then again, I dont say ALL the madarrasahs are bad. Like wise when you come to schools, I would still prefer schools over home education a thousand times for reasons I discussed earlier! Recommend

  • Parvez

    As you have done your O levels and now doing your A’s you obviously are following a system and that is the Cambridge system of gaining book knowledge. Your method of learning is different but the substance is the same as for other children. Apart from learning from books there is much, much more to gaining an education. For example I learnt of parents who sailed around the world on their yacht and tutored their two children while seeing the world. When they eventually went to school they were understandably way ahead of their age group. So its not just book learning that counts.
    I think you know what you’re doing, so best of luck.Recommend

  • IceSoul

    The only problem with homeschooling in my eyes is the lack of interaction with other people. But maybe that’s just me; I was EXTREMELY shy in middle school, but later on, took part in dozens of debate competitions in my O and A level years. Now in college, I’ve overcome my shyness to the point where I’m probably more confident than 95% of the population. This would never have happened if I hadn’t gone to a good school (Beaconhouse in my case). Recommend

  • Historian 1

    Going to school ( Cathederal school system Lahore) taught me decipline, I made lifetime friends, I experienced co education, I fell in love, i enjoyed teacher student relationship and respect, I played lots of sports and all of this made me a confident young man to face the world. At the same time i was intelligent enough to pass with very good grades. School days are the best days of my life.Recommend

  • Asad

    Not really, I went to school and turned out fine. My parents instilled in us values and ethics of the highest standard and no amount of biases could persuade me otherwise in school. If you have a strong character such issues don’t really mold your character. What you really missed out by being home schooled is that life isn’t fair and the perfect home environment is all about fairness. You learn valuable life lessons by going to school and interacting with your peers. Your sheltered home life cannot do much to prepare you for the real world.lRecommend

  • Mehtab

    Dear Rahul Karamat Barlaas,

    You have explained the experience you have. When someone decide to explain his opinion about a matter then actually he can only be able to explain; what he thinks about it? not more than that. It also covers the circumstances in which he developed his opinion.

    In your case may be the circumstances suited you to become as better as a regular school guy. But not in case of everyone. You may be blessed with such parents, but not all of us.

    We can always observe that all the great leaders had joined some academy to step up the stairs to the level when they became leaders, even we can take example frpm the recent past “Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah”.

    The person who studies at home, can not be the only different person, as you quote, others who joins schools can also be.Recommend

  • sundus

    appreciate your viewpoint.

    one question – how did you make friends?Recommend

  • Sameera


    I think the institution of school evolved to cater to mainstream an individual into a disparate society as well as teach him values of discipline and restraint. These goals serve to build a well functioning society.
    So, Rahul you might be doing well without a school, but schooling might have honed your social cognition; and, mind you, you will have to get up early to go to office. Would you be working from home too?
    But best of luck for your future!Recommend

  • some one

    where did u go give your exams ?

    how did you get A if you were not enrolled in a school ?Recommend

  • some one

    & who taught you ? since your parents did not Hire a Professional Tutor ?Recommend

  • Nasir

    Your social circle would certainly affected
    Compared to other people you may not have the opportunity to make friendsRecommend

  • Stranger

    I am not against home schooling but I prefer sending my children to some school . They grow better when they are with their own ilk. Regular picnics/ indoor and outdoor activities / common facilities like libraries etc., have a postivie impact on the child’s brain. Home schooling is more ‘isolated’ I feel.It should done in extreme cases like if the child is handicapped or the nearby school is a long drive away etc., Children learn better and open up with they interact with their own age group in all branches – I mean like having lunch/ studies / group activities/ picnics etc., Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Burjor

    There are pro’s and con’s at home study. Education, knowledge, experience, are different things. Home study, is only one aspect, getting “A’s is also one small aspect, life as a whole should be experienced, and this is done by interaction with the environment, i.e. with people, with places, experiences which cannot be substituted with only books and computers, i.e. home study. This universe of ours is a vast ocean of knowledge. We will never know how much we do not know. Every time a new discovery or invention is made, we realize how much more there is to know. Recommend

  • PK

    Schooling is not only reading books and educating yourself. Scoring A’s will not help you in team work.
    The most difficult task in this world is to survive other human beings….and this is wht you learn in school or university as well…you learn how to treat others and you learn how to response when you are treated good or bad.
    ….once you will open the doors of your house, you will notice a savage world waiting for you… of luck…Recommend

  • gp65

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

    Just curious : who certified that you were “fine”? Or this is self certification based on your grades?

    Many people have pointed out, so I won’t beat the dead horse but you learn more than book knowledge n school. You also learn how to interact with others and also how to deal with other people’s prejudices.Recommend

  • uzma

    believe me you have missed the golden period of your life!!!Recommend

  • afza siddiqui

    y make things difficult? o to school and have a good life :) Recommend

  • Historian 1

    i will never forget my kindergarten days when sometimes i used to sneak through the gate when chowkidaar was away for tea (we were living close to the school) and go home ( i was only 4 years old) and my mother will bring me back to the school and sit with me in the class room. Sometimes i would run and stand beside the window of my elder brother or sister classroom and cry.sometimes i used to forget something at home ( i was in 5th or 6th grade) and i would ask teacher for toilet but go home and bring my copy.
    How can i forget the mango tree on our way back to home. we would throw stones at the mangoes and eat them while chatting.
    And than my first effectuation towards my female arts teacher when i was in 7th grade. Sweet school days.Recommend

  • Kulwant Singh

    My collegue sent his son to school in fifth class and now he is a Medical Sudt. Kapoor Hospital Ludhiana after doing MD in.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @I am a Khan: Indeed Quran/Islam is perfect and Divine

    Perfect in what way? Do you mean people who read Quran and follow Islam are perfect?Recommend

  • Sana

    Totally amused with the fact, but it depends upon the environment as well…Recommend

  • Sana

    I am amused about the fact, but it also depends upon your surrounding..
    you have missed the golden period of life , but your heads off to your parents for working so hard on your up-bringing..Recommend

  • Wasim Raja

    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)….it 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.Recommend

  • Hibah Naz

    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. Recommend