What’s in a name?

11 Jun

As various homeschoolers interacted with each other, in person or on social networks, a need was felt to create an association which would not only act as a support system but also become the collective voice of homeschoolers in India. Considering the fact that the world seems to be more inclined towards a standardised way of life, deviations are often seen as an act of ‘rebellion’ or a deliberate attempt to ‘be different’. More than the fact that one may be alone while making unique choices; it is a collective bias which seems to work against people who are not willing to mindlessly walk along the ‘designated’ path. In such a world, a collective voice is indeed the need of the day.

Now the first question that arose was – what do we call the association?

While some members felt that the term ‘homeschool’, due to the usage of the term school, sounds more like a variant of a school, others felt that the term was not inclusive enough and did not represent the larger canvas of learning. But then one could not ignore that fact that ‘homeschool’ is the term that describes the idea of not sending children for formal schooling. It was felt that anybody researching on this idea and trying to dig deeper before taking the plunge would interact and explore the larger world of people, books and webpages with the help of this term. So it was decided that the term ‘homeschool’ should be incorporated in the name, perhaps more as a descriptor of the name rather than the name itself.

The search for a more encompassing name led us to the term स्वशिक्षा (Swashiksha). The Hindi synonyms of this name include आत्मज्ञान (Atmagyan), आत्मशिक्षा (Atmashiksha), कर्म द्वारा शिक्षा (Karm dwara shiksha), गुरुहीन शिक्षण (Guruheen shikshan), etc. The comparable terms in English would be self-education, learning by practice, self-directed learning, self-learning, self-teaching, etc. The term aligned well with our interpretation of the term ‘Homeschooling’ but then there was a catch. Some members pointed out that the term शिक्षा (shiksha) is understood in Marathi as punishment. Most people who knew Marathi suggested that we do not use this term. The alternate term with us was स्वशिक्षण (Swashikshan) hence we decided to call the association –भारतीय स्वशिक्षण संघ (Bhartiya Swashikshan Sangh) – Indian Association of Homeschoolers.

While this name was getting finalized we realized that we may have to eventually deal with the complexity of having two names for the association and this could create confusion. Hence, we opted for the middle path to settle for the name – स्वशिक्षण | Indian Association of Homeschoolers. This name aptly suggested what we collectively wanted to portray alongside its strong association with a term we are commonly associated with.

Now that the name of the association was final, we wanted a logo for it. I decided to take the initiative on this front and proposed a few logos. Subsequently some other members of the community and even children pitched in. After much iteration, we settled for a logo that seemed to represent the idea well.

The Swashikshan logo

The main visual form of this logo is derived from the helix of the DNA, suggesting uniqueness of individuals and intrinsic qualities of mankind. The form also represents an ‘H’ and its flame like fluidity represents freedom and agility while the embrace represents association, harmony and togetherness. The colour orange used in the logo represents vitality, enthusiasm, creativity and endurance while the grey colour is representative of balance and maturity.

Navin, and his wife Deepti, homeschool their two daughters. They are based in Uttarakhand. Navin is into design, photography, poetry, writing and handicrafts. You can also follow him on twitter at @pangti


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2 Responses to “What’s in a name?”

  1. rakesh singh November 3, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    hi read about the idea of selfeducation and your organisation it is a new innovative idea whicch is appreciable would like to know more about it

    • Shaikh Imdadali August 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

      “Love towards Love as school children from their books.
      Love from love as school children towards their books”Shakespeare rightly used the metaphorical example in 16th
      century,still the situation is the same.Hence SWASHIKSHAN can be an alternative for formal education.

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