Author : Sathish Bala, Founder of Schoolio.
Much has been said about the institutional schooling system, making education a sensitive topic for parents and teachers. Children who fail to perform based on set parameters are considered inadequate by the system and even advised to medicate for a better result. As a parent who had to face these allegations against my child, I realized that there is no proper alternative for the existing setup of the school system.
With schools shutting down because of the pandemic, accessibility to the said system was little to none. Many parents could not find a way to continue holistic education at home and had to rely solely on distance/online learning. The desire for a better schooling system is where the idea for Schoolio comes in. Schoolio is curated to help millions of families experiencing this dilemma, and parents who want to play a more active role in their children’s education while providing holistic learning opportunities to their kids.
Parents were more receptive to homeschooling methods during the pandemic.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, homeschooling parents have grown by 24.5% because children could now experience stress-free, personalized, and flexible learning options. Parents have also chosen homeschooling as a supplementary learning system to their child’s pre-existing learning methods. According to a customer poll conducted by Schoolio, 43% of parents who were not homeschooling before the pandemic indicated that they are now “very likely” to consider homeschooling.
Homeschooling elements that rivaled institutional learning
Education is going through a rapid disruption. Parents are awakening to the lack of resources, and there exists a growing homeschooling community that is expanding even faster. The pandemic-driven digital learning allowed students to still participate in school while at home. However, it compromised their ability to engage, learn, and grow. For a comprehensive fundamental development of kids, it is vital to focus on subjects that provide more hands-on learning. Apart from the knowledge required to excel and move forward in the institutionalized learning ladder, it is prudent to focus on topics that offer worldly wisdom and the ability to cope with changing economies. These topics include financial literacy, emotional intelligence, coding, mental wellbeing, etc. As a parent, I would also want my children to be active and engaged in physical activities to promote interest in sports, arts, and other extracurriculars.
What Schoolio did differently to enhance the homeschooling space
One of the main issues parents faced with the school system was the lack of opportunities to be more involved with their child’s progress. Most agreed that a report card check-in once a quarter did not do justice to their goal of supporting their child’s fundamental learning and understanding their areas of improvement. Many felt isolated as the only touchpoint in this journey was the parent-teacher night or report cards. Additionally, it proved difficult to integrate the digital learning ecosystem into their routine as it deviated from the holistic curriculum. While digital curricula allowed kids to catch up or continue with studies, they failed to engage and keep them active. After consulting with parents, it made sense to create a company that allowed parents to access the Canadian curriculum and other important courses at home.
Schoolio is an inclusive platform that connects students, teachers, and parents in one ecosystem. It unifies parents and teachers to positively impact students’ excitement and willingness toward learning and personalized education. The curriculum is organized to allow parents to follow along easily with what’s being taught in class. This feature offers parents the opportunity to support their children when necessary during the process. I decided to bootstrap and fund the early part of the business to continue to focus on adding value to parents and students. Schoolio is the only company that provides a complete, secular Canadian curriculum geared towards the expectation of each province for students from kindergarten through grade 8. We offer the student an option to express their interests in topics apart from the core subjects and provide multiple and more frequent communication channels between parents and our home-learning support network. Schoolio is reimagining the purpose of report cards by incorporating data points that are more inclusive and representative of the student’s holistic performance.
The startup blueprint
Businesses are a representation of the change you want to make to yourself or the world. Having a purpose-driven by life experiences is crucial as it gives you the energy and the motivation to push forward when nobody else believes in the cause. Twelve months ago, when I told people that I wanted the opportunity to impact change in education, and I was going to start with curriculum development, nobody believed in me. A lot of people even ridiculed the idea.
Our success has demonstrated that without the drive and the change I wanted to make for personal reasons, we would not have pushed to the level where we are now across five Canadian provinces and have plans to launch in the United States in 2021.
Author biography :
Sathish Bala is an Indo-Canadian award-winning entrepreneur with expertise in the fields of digital marketing, operations management, and product development. Bala works to harness digital strategies to define roadmaps, deliver client-centric solutions and identify opportunities for development and advancement. He has pioneered the development and launch of three digital companies, totaling $50M in sales with 150+ staff across 5+ countries. He is also the co-founder of a South Asian music festival in Toronto, DESIFEST.