Hello Friends!

Continuing with my blog series, ‘Education of Neurodiverse Kids’, in today’s blog, I continue with exploring legal status of homeschooling in India and its various approaches.

Homeschooling or other alternative approaches of education is not new in India. Rabindranath Tagore’s Visava Bharati University, Sri Aurobindo’s Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education and Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas about “basic education” are prime examples how educational theorists have discussed and implemented radically different approaches of education in India, as early as 20th century.
However, the legal status of homeschooling in India is still a grey area and hot topic of debate since long amongst parents, lawmakers and educators. Over the years, many petitions have been filed by parents and alternate schools for granting relief from formal schooling. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) makes formal education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 and specifies minimum norms for schools. However, as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which India is also a signatory), “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

Various approaches of homeschooling in India
Homeschoolers use a wide variety of methods and materials and customize them to fit individual learning styles. The most prevalent methods of homeschooling in India are Montessori method, Unschooling, Radical Unschooling, Waldorf education, traditional school at home, etc. Some of these approaches like Montessori and Waldorf are available in school settings also.
Many homeschoolers also follow formal education methods at home through CBSE, NIOS and IGCSE. Of these, IGCSE and NIOS are especially suited for homeschoolers.
National Institute for Open Schooling (NIOS) is the official platform for home-based schooling by the government of India that caters to students through

its academic and vocational education department. It is one of the most popular alternatives to school education in India. For more information, check the link
With the increasing popularity of homeschooling in India, many online homeschooling providers, kind of online schools, have also cropped up. Some of the popular ones being 21K School, K8 School, AOL School, etc.
In 2019, Maharashtra government launched ‘Open SSC board’, a platform for athletes, artists, disabled people, seniors and anyone who wishes to continue their academic journey while pursuing others interests and obligations surpassing all hurdles. This move by Maharashtra Government was much welcomed by homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers Support Groups

There are many online support groups for homeschoolers in India. Though most participants are based in major urban Indian cities, these a days there is a considerable presence of homeschoolers in small towns also who either independently educate their children or are associated with alternative schools.
Some of the prominent support groups are
• Swashikshan – Indian Association of Homeschoolers
• Homeschooling by Handholding
• Pune Homeschoolers
• Cascade Family Learning Society , etc
These support groups regularly organise conferences, social meetups, apprenticeships and other activities that allow for mutual support and knowledge-sharing.
In recent years, some homeschooled children in India have been accepted into top higher education institutions such as the IIT and MIT while a number of them also choose to be integrated into mainstream education at some point. The number of homeschooling families in India has been increasing over the years.

In the next blog, we will explore the different homeschooling approaches in detail to understand which of these approaches is best suited for your child. Till then, feel free to share your thoughts on WhatsApp number +919910353219 or email

Author Shivani Lohia

Shivani Lohia is a Chartered Accountant by profession and mother to 9 years old child on the autism spectrum. The cause of autism awareness is very close to her heart and she strongly believes in equal education for all & strongly advocates inclusion. She has been homeschooling her son since he was 5 years old.




Hi Friends

Whether the child is neurotypical or neurodiverse, initially every parent hesitates to opt homeschooling. There are several reasons for this hesitation, some of them being society system of sending the child to formal school, peer pressure, feeling scared in taking over complete responsibility of education, lack of confidence, etc.

I faced similar mix of emotions and confusions when I started homeschooling my child. However, as we proceeded, gradually I started to develop my own strategies and tips & tricks which helped me to become confident and achieve my targets. In this blog, I will be sharing some of these strategies to enable new parents gain confidence to start homeschooling.

First most important tip is to create a daily schedule and follow it religiously so far as possible. For my child, initially I had divided the day into 5-6 slots of 15 minutes each. After following this schedule religiously for about a month, my child himself started demanding to study at the designated time. It gave me support to work on his academics as I no more had to struggle that much with his sitting tolerance. Gradually, we started increasing this time and after about two months, we were working in 4 slots of about 30 minutes each. This strategy helped me in increasing his sitting tolerance and imbibing regular study time in his schedule.

Another strategy I opted was academic goal setting. I started taking notes as to what we had done on a particular day, if the target was achieved or not, what are the goals for next day, revision schedule of work done that day, websites/books/ youtube channels to be referred for that particular topic, time designated for a particular activity, etc. This task took only 15 minutes everyday but was very helpful in keeping me sorted. Also, I made a repetition/revision schedule for every topic. For example, if we learnt number names 1-10 on a particular day, I made sure that the same was revised multiple times through different activities.

Though I took help of books and websites, I took his learning beyond table and chair. Apart from making my own worksheets as per the level/needs of my child, I made him revise a concept in multiple other ways including using activities in daily life e.g. counting ladyfingers, sorting mixed rajma & chana on color basis, identifying shapes of doors, windows, utensils, appliances, etc.

Apart from above, we tried to make his learning a family activity by including his father and elder brother. For example, we played traditional game ‘चिड़िया उड़, मैना उड़ …’ when we were studying means of air transport, game of ‘laddoo’ where every nth number is replaced by the word ‘laddoo’ to learn tables, etc.

A small area with high glossy tiles was designated for him to write anything he wanted apart from placing white boards in all rooms, sticking chart papers on doors and keeping a notebook and pencil box in every room to prompt him to use them.

These are some of the activities we opted to ease the learning process and make it interesting. Apart from helping in academics, these activities also helped my son in mingling with the family members which he never did before as he used to stay aloof all the time, he started enjoying family time and most importantly, developed a bond with his elder sibling.

One more important thing, I joined various homeschoolers groups in Delhi NCR. Due to the lockdown, there were no physical meets, but we attended many online activities that helped us in our homeschooling journey. Also, keeping in touch with other homeschooling families, helped us in learning from their experiences and applying the same strategies for our son.

From my experiences, I have learnt that you cannot impose or inject knowledge into your child. Approach has to be relative, interesting, functional, practical and innovative. Something that prompts him to step outside his comfort zone. Also, a strict no comparison policy helped me to remain calm as there was no rush and we were proceeding as per the pace of my child.

These are some of the activities that helped in academic progress of my child. In the next blog, I will be sharing more such tips & tricks along with exploring mediums of open learning in India.

Feel free to share your thoughts on WhatsApp number +919910353219 or email .

Author Shivani Lohia

Shivani Lohia is a Chartered Accountant by profession and mother to 9 years old child on the autism spectrum. The cause of autism awareness is very close to her heart and she strongly believes in equal education for all & strongly advocates inclusion. She has been homeschooling her son since he was 5 years old.


Education of Neurodiverse Kids – Part III

Education of Neurodiverse Kids – Part III
Homeschooling Neurodiverse Kids

Hello friends!
In the last blog, I shared my views about special schools and tried to explore the positive side of special schooling. Education, as such, is the primary need of every child but in case of a special needs child, it usually becomes difficult to educate the child in regular manner. It is not impossible but yes, very challenging when it comes to educating a neurodiverse child. This need calls for an enthusiastic out of the box approach on the part of parents of special needs children.
One such ‘out of the box’ approach is ‘Homeschooling’. As the name suggests, homeschooling is where the child does not attend a regular school rather parents take complete charge of child’s education with flexible approach and child learns at his own pace without stress of unhealthy competitions. These days, homeschooling is increasingly becoming popular, especially among families of kids with special needs as it gives ultimate control to the parents along with flexibility, making it easier for them to create an ideal educational program and goal setting for their child.

My ND child was also struggling with academics for a very long time. During the first covid lockdown, I got connected with homeschooling communities in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru and was surprised to learn about its popularity in south India as compared to north India. Also, none of the homeschooling families with whom I got connected had a ND child and two of these families had parents working as teachers in mainstream schools. These families were homeschooling their children out of choice and their children were pursuing innovative professional courses along with regular education. After many rounds of detailed discussions with these families, who were kind enough to spare their time to help me understand in detail the underlying principles of homeschooling and also shared their experiences with me, I decided to homeschool my child with initial target of 3 months, based on whose result I would decide to pursue it further.

Though my son, was 5+ years at that time, I literally started from scratch. After struggling for about 10-15 days, my son started showing little bit of interest in whatever activities I was doing. One thing I made sure, not to use conventional stationery viz notebooks, pencils, eraser etc rather I used white board and colorful marker pens to attract his attention. Also, I had pasted colorful blank chart papers on both sides of all doors in my house (that I replaced with new ones, when needed). I, along with my elder (NT) child started playing racing games with my ND son, as to who will reach the door first and write on it, may be some alphabet or number or draw sleeping/standing line, etc. Gradually, his interest started increasing in academics along with progress in taking instructions, turn taking, etc. This one activity benefitted him in multiple ways.

Similarly, I devised many innovative activities for my child’s learning and literally within just 6-8 months, he was at par with his peers in academics. We also took help of many websites and free resources available on internet. A child who couldn’t identify alphabets and numbers 6 months before, was now reading and writing both English and hindi languages along with developing mathematics skills. It was litrerally magical to see him progress this way. I had never thought that homeschooling could do such wonders for my child.

One more important activity that I did with him everyday without fail was recap of how we spent the whole day. Overall, our homeschooling experience was wonderful and very enriching. Based on my experiences, some of the pros and cons of homeschooling are as follows.

In the next blog, I will be discussing the legal status of homeschooling in India and other similar innovative education concepts like unschooling, roadschooling, etc. Till then, feel free to share your thoughts on WhatsApp number +919910353219 or email at

Author CA Shivani Lohia

Shivani Lohia is a Chartered Accountant by profession and mother to 8 years old child on the autism spectrum. The cause of autism awareness is very close to her heart and she strongly believes in equal education for all & strongly advocates inclusion. She has been homeschooling her son since he was 5 years old.


The Taboo Around ‘Special’ School

Hello friends!

My last blog was an introduction to my new blog series ‘Education of Neurodivergent Kids’, where I tried to explore the real meaning of education. When we talk about ND kids, imparting quality and functional education to the child becomes very important as this helps him in becoming employable and financially independent in future.
In our society, schools play a very important role in educating the children. All parents want their child to attend the best school available in their city. Parents make all types of adjustments and sacrifices to get their child admitted in the best school with a hope that the school will shape the child’s future and make him successful in life.
When a child is diagnosed to be Neurodivergent, usually at the age of 3 or 4 years, that is the time when parents are also exploring various schools. Obviously, the parents are very vulnerable at that time, all they want is to admit their child in the best available school with the hope that the child will learn in school environment and overcome his challenges and that the school will work all round on their child (education, socialisation, learning form NT kids, etc), guide them to manage his challenges and help in overall progress of their child. However, despite maintaining a special wing, most of the mainstream schools are not able to help ND kids and parents have to often hire a shadow teacher, that adds to their expenses. Despite this, most of the ND kids are not able to adjust in mainstream schools, some of the factors for this may be –

  • Irrespective of the diagnosis, ND children are usually labelled as ‘mentally unstable’ , accordingly they have to face the usual social stigma in schools including bullying, isolation, judgements, etc
  • Teachers, students and their parents usually feel reluctant to get closer to ND children, not only because due to the social stigma but also due to lack of awareness
  • Mainstream schools are usually not fully equipped with special education resources and trained staff for ND kids
  • Inclusive schools maintaining special wings employ special educators for academic support of ND children, however the practical problem faced by them is that ND kids are studying at all levels and one or two special educators are not enough to take care of all subjects of ND children at all levels. If the school employs more staff for ND kids, it adds to their expenses which eventually comes to parents who are already overburdened. Alternatively, the school demands shadow teacher instead of hiring more staff, but again this digs a hole in parents’ pockets. So, even if the school wants to support the ND children, there are practical problems they face.
  • Parents of ‘normal’ children are usually reluctant towards inclusive set ups as they feel it may have bad influence of their NT child
    These are some of the few issues in inclusive mainstream schools. A very small percentage of ND kids are able to adjust in mainstream schools, a large percentage of these children opt out after middle school. So, what is the way out of this problem?
    Why don’t we explore ‘special schools’ for our children? Why do we hesitate? Is it social pressure or stigma attached to special schools that despite child’s issues, parents are reluctant to send their child to special school, instead are ready to make any adjustment for mainstream school.
    So, what is a ‘Special School’? A special school is a school that caters specifically for children whose needs cannot be met with the support provided by the mainstream schools. A special school works on overall development of a ND child, be it academics, vocational, socialisation, etc.

There is a certain kind of negative perception in our minds regarding special schools because of which parents feel hesitant in opting for special school for their ND child. The biggest reservation is the social taboo associated with special schools. Apart from the social stigma, the feeling of not being able to become part of general school going community gives a sense of being downgraded in society.
However, as a parent, based on my personal experiences, my view is that every school is fine so far as the child is learning, whether special or mainstream school. What matters is overall learning graph of the child. Once the child settles in some vocation, whether he attended a mainstream school or a special school, will no more be important.
Some pros of special schools are as follows-

  • Individualised Education plans (IEP) – customised education plan for each child to ensure achieving appropriate academic level
  • As compared to mainstream schools, special schools usually have smaller class size thus allowing teachers to give better attention and support to every child
  • In contrast to mainstream schools, all teachers and entire support staff are trained to work with ND kids and provide targeted support to these children to overcome their challenges and succeed academically and socially
  • Most of the special schools provide onsite therapy services viz OT, speech & language therapy, etc. at nominal charges (sometimes included in school fees only). This helps parents save lot of time, energy and funds.
  • As compared to mainstream schools, the special schools are completely accommodating for ND children that helps in increasing their confidence and makes learning process comfortable
  • Since ND kids’ share similar experiences, they are able to connect with their peers, which instils a sense of belongingness and happiness in them
  • When ND kids receive appropriate customised support, they perform better academically and become more comfortable socially.
    Given all these benefits of a special school, the big question is – Shall i to go ahead with special school for my child?
    Some important factors to keep in mind while choosing a special school for your child are –
  • Most important factor while taking this decision is to evaluate the child’s specific challenges and accordingly decide if he really needs a special school or you feel that the child will be able to settle in a mainstream setup. This is a very crucial decision as this will determine the overall academic journey of child
  • Do a thorough survey of all special needs schools in your area and based on available resources, staff qualifications, curriculum followed, strength, student teacher ratio, fees etc, choose a school for your child
  • It is very important to visit the shortlisted schools before going ahead with the admission to understand the overall environment of the school
  • Special schools may be expensive, hence it is very important to do your financial workings and accordingly proceed.

This is my take on special schools. Hope I have been able to justify my thought process. I request you to give a thought to above pointers and feel free to share your views on WhatsApp number +919910353219 or email

Author CA Shivani Lohia

Shivani Lohia is a Chartered Accountant by profession and mother to 8 years old child on the autism spectrum. The cause of autism awareness is very close to her heart and she strongly believes in equal education for all & strongly advocates inclusion. She has been homeschooling her son since he was 5 years old.



Hello Friends!

Going to school, reading books, writing, appearing for exams and competitions, etc are a normal part of any child’s initial life. This process is so much imbibed in our lives that we tend to take it for granted. A child will go to school on turning 3 years and the process of educating him starts and continues for almost next 18-20 years of his life.

However, in case of neurodiverse (ND) kids, this ‘normal’ is not so normal! Rather most of the times, its a very turbulent journey for the child and his parents.

When a ND child turns 3, mostly at that time, parents start noticing that their child is not giving eye contact, is hyperactive, not responding to name, not engaging, etc. On top of that, the pressure of admission in a branded school (which, unfortunately, is also a status symbol), trauma of diagnosis, denial mode, difficulty in accepting the child’s diagnosis, social pressures, etc take a toll on parents mental and physical well being.

Amidst all this confusion, parents usually admit their child in a ‘normal’ mainstream school believing that their child will definitely learn with other children and things will change. Many of them hire shadow teachers to support the child in school, for which they pay a heavy monthly salary separately other than the school fees. Other than this, paying for multiple therapies, tuitions, special educators, etc also make a big hole in their pockets. Mostly, one of the parent (usually mother) has to give up her career to support the child.

However, after slogging so much under mental, physical and financial pressure, (mostly) what is the result? We all know that, I need not mention that! Only a small percentage of ND children are able to cope up the school pressure and eventually settle there to some extent. But what happens to other children who couldn’t settle in ‘normal’ school? It is normal for parents to feel angry, depressed, fatigued and disheartened when even after doing so much, nothing helps the child.

Parents suffer, the child suffers equally! Attending school, feeling of being treated differently, rat race with extra tuitions to cope up the pressure of marks, attending therapies everyday, daily struggle with his disability, etc etc…. what happens to his childhood? When will the child enjoy? When he will do the normal mischiefs like other kids? Does he even have time to laugh his heart out, unconditionally!

Unfortunately, when our children laugh, this is labelled as ‘yeast overgrowth’, ‘gut issues’ etc and mostly parents start looking for medicines to ‘fix’ this!

Read ‘Trust for special Needs Child’

Amidst all this, where is ‘EDUCATION’? we need to think that what is real education? Studying subjects which you don’t even understand, rote learning them and vomiting the same in examination and scoring marks… is this education? Where is this so called ‘education’ leading my child? And I personally believe that this is true for every child, whether NT or ND.

Then, what to do? How to educate my child? How to give my ND child real education and make him employable and ready to face various challenges of life?

While searching on google, I came across this definition of ‘education’.

‘Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life’.

How apt this definition is! Real education is not cramming information without understanding, rather it is about ‘acquiring knowledge’ and ‘intellect’ that help in developing ‘power of reasoning and judgement’ and helps in developing maturity.

I, as a mother of ND child and having gone this whole experience mentioned above strongly feel that we need to change our thought process so far as education of ND kids is concerned. It is very important to have a broader outlook, to look beyond what is available as ‘education’ as of now, to explore and think & act out of the box to give real education to our children. Merely going through the process of conventional schooling will definitely not make my child employable and capable to face the real challenges of life. We need to explore other mediums of educating our children such as homeschooling, unschooling, education from open boards, etc,something that doesn’t burden me and my child with unrealistic social expectations; give my child freedom to learn the way he wants at his own pace, without slogging in a rat race; something that gives him enough space to explore his interests; something that is financially affordable and result oriented and does not leave a hole in my pocket and I am able to build a financially secure future for my child. Basically, we need to change our perspective. It is high time to come out of this monotonous education system and understand ‘real education’. Only then, it is possible to really educate our ND children.

The above are my thoughts regarding educating my ND child. In my next blogs, I will be exploring the various alternate mediums of education that can be helpful for ND children. In the meanwhile, feel free to share your thoughts on my WhatsApp number +91 9910353219 or email at .

Author CA Shivani Lohia

Shivani Lohia is a Chartered Accountant by profession and mother to 8 years old child on the autism spectrum. The cause of autism awareness is very close to her heart and she strongly believes in equal education for all & strongly advocates inclusion. She has been homeschooling her son since he was 5 years old.