Everyone knows that Singapore has a world-class education system. Yet more and more parents are keeping their kids at home and home-schooling them. While it seems like an unorthodox, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has actually set up a system to oversee this. Parents can also make use of Edusave to fund their children’s study materials and education-related materials.
At the moment, there are no firm figures, but the parents who were interviewed estimated a conservative number of 200 local families who have opted to home-school their children.
Three mums who decided to trod down the path of home-schooling were concerned about the stressful learning environments in Singaporean classrooms, competition among classmates, as well as the pressure to conform to societal and/or educational rules.
Like all parents, they wanted the best learning environment for their kids – sans the stress – and home-schooling allowed their kids to grow and learn at a personal optimum pace, and even complete their compulsory education levels earlier.
What Home-Schooling Mums Say…
Deborah Tan, a private tutor, has home-schooled her older daughter Allison with a syllabus from a private organisation. “We homeschooled Allison to inculcate specific values that we strongly believe in, like responsibility, and giving back to the society,” she says.
YM, a homemaker, enjoys the extra time she gets from home-schooling her son, Isaac. “We save so much time on travelling, getting ready and rushing to school. And this allows us to bond more and have longer discussion times together. The undivided attention that Issac receives gives him more confidence to air his opinions,” says YM.
Meanwhile, another mother-of-two, Marie, uses the time saved to get her sons involved in household chores. She feels this teaches her boys to be mindful about their manners, and teach them essential life skills.
How To Start Home-Schooling
The first and most important thing to do before embarking on home-schooling is to apply for an approval from MOE to be exempted from compulsory primary school education.
Parents should also familiarise themselves with the syllabus of the mainstream subjects set by MOE. Certain subjects may contain tougher concepts that may require a teacher/tutor, so look out for those.
It’s Not An Easier Option
Be prepared for the ups and downs. One parents, Max and Suzi Moi has home-schooled their four children for 15 years, and they admit one of the biggest challenges would be overcoming the emotional barriers between parent and child. “Temper tantrums during lessons are unavoidable; they’re part and parcel of home-schooling. We constantly have to straddle between developing our children’s characters and their academic requirements,” they say.
The key: set good examples for the kids. Home-schooling puts another responsibility on you, as the parent, for you are now their teacher as well. At times, home-schooling may seem like a burden, but as long as you’re prepared and able to take things in your stride, the little ones will follow along too.