By Caitlyn Watson

It takes courage to step out into the world and use the gifts you’ve been given to make a difference. It’s difficult to make decisions that will allow you to expand your horizons and explore your talents – especially when those decisions involve looking at education in a whole new light! But when Puneet and Sumita Bakshi realized they had a young programmer on their hands, they took up the challenge and said “Yes!” to homeschooling.

Since no one in our family had ever been homeshooled before, it wasn’t an easy decision to start with Tanmay’s homeschooling,” acknowledged Puneet and Sumita. But when their son began developing university-level algorithms in math and computing and showing exceptional ability in a variety of technologies, they realized that homeschooling was the next step for their family.

“Homeschooling has enabled me to learn over and above my expectations,” said Tanmay, the youngest iOS app developer in Canada. “Being homeschooled this year gave me the opportunity to create software on cognitive computing. IBM then invited me to IBM Interconnect, their international conference in Las Vegas, and also to IBM DeveloperConnect, a developer conference in Bangalore, India, as a keynote speaker. They gave me an opportunity to present in front of an audience of thousands from across the globe!”

Tanmay also had the opportunity this summer to participate in training sessions at the Toronto IBM Lab, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Finally, he was also a keynote speaker at HSLDA’s National Leadership Convention this past September!

“The best part is that I now have friends of all ages from all professions!” exclaimed Tanmay. “They reach out to me with suggestions, advice, and problems, and all of this makes me love what I do even more!”

Anyone who knows Tanmay recognizes his passion for learning and for sharing his knowledge. Through his YouTube channel, “tanmay bakshi,” he loves teaching math, science, IBM Watson, programming, and algorithms! His first iOS app, tTables, focused on helping children learn their times tables, and it was available in the iTunes app store when Tanmay was only 9 years old!

“Some of my more recent creations include AskTanmay, the world’s first web-based natural language question-answering system to be powered by IBM Watson,” said Tanmay. “I have also developed another app called tSOMA, which is the world’s first social media analyzer powered by the personality and emotional analysis services of IBM Watson.”

Tanmay also recently finished his first book, Hello Swift!: iOS App Programming for Kids and Other Beginners, to help aspiring coders learn iPhone app programming. The online version of the book is already available, and the hard copy is expected to be on shelves at the end of 2016.

Homeschooling has definitely been a family experience for the Bakshis. “My mom, dad, and sister Tanvi have planned and taught me,” said Tanmay, “and I love spending time with them.” This past year, the family tackled Grade 7 curriculum, with several field trips intertwined with Tanmay’s regular classes.  “This was the most fun part!” said Tanmay. “These field trips were not just limited to school subjects, but also aligned towards my programming skills.” In his spare time, Tanmay also enjoys table tennis, biking, and playing the recorder.

HSLDA has proved to be the strength behind our decision to homeschool our son,” affirmed Puneet and Sumita. “HSLDA is the only association that stands by you from the very beginning and guides you with the right steps to take in every situation. By having HSLDA with us, we had peace of mind and could concentrate on educating our son just the way we always wanted.”

When asked about his plans after high school, Tanmay responded thoughtfully, “I love what I’m currently doing! I am a software developer, algorithm creator, mathematician, YouTuber, author, and keynote speaker. I would step up to a level where I could learn even better, perhaps by being part of a tech-focused school.”

Homeschooling is now not only accepted but also a preferred means of education,” concluded Puneet and Sumita. “Who else, other than parents, can understand the strengths and weaknesses of a child? If parents are able to spend time educating their children, homeschooling is the best way to go.”