Why Parents Choose Homeschooling
It might seem strange to homeschool in Singapore when our public education system is so well-developed. However, there are advantages to homeschooling, especially under the following scenarios.
- Kids with special needs such as those with dyslexic, severe allergies, hearing/vision-impaired etc
- Overseas families who want a Singapore education
- Incompetent teachers
- To impart stronger religious values
Whatever the reason, homeschooling is happening in Singapore. The question is whether it will become more mainstream as Singapore becomes a diverse nation. In US, homeschooling has swelled to millions of families so there might be a possibility of homeschooling becoming more common in the future.
How well do homeschoolers fare in PSLE?
Homeschooling may have a preconceived image of producing students who are not academically sound. However, this newspaper report from 2008 gives another perspective. The headlines say that the first batch of 31 homeschooling children actually did well in the PSLE. Out of the 31 students, 92% qualify for secondary school education and 73% qualify for express stream.
How Parents Can Prepare for Homeschooling
The first thing a parent needs to do is to apply for approval from MOE. Primary school education is compulsory in Singapore. Hence to be exempted from the system, proper approval is needed. You can see more information at the MOE website.
In terms of preparation, there are a number of things that a parent needs to watch out for.
- Set educational goals for your child: Without goals as your roadmap, your homeschooling can be all over the place. You can start with MOE’s goals and see how to modify it from there to suit you and your child’s needs.
- Managing expectations: Homeschooling will not be a smooth ride. There will be good and bad days so it is important to set the expectations not only for the child but for yourself as well. In fact, you might even need to manage the expectations of your friends and family to avoid unnecessary tension when things are not going well.
- Prepare the necessary materials: This includes all textbooks, assessment papers and any other teaching aids. Online materials are recommended as they are not only cheaper but also provide more flexibility and benefits.
- Develop a daily schedule: Parents can keep the timetable flexible but there should be a clear path of achieving your education goals
- Prepare social activities: Without classmates and co-curricular activities, children being homeschooled should be exposed to socialising so as to develop their social skills. Things that a parent can do include enrolling the child in sports clubs or other hobby clubs where he or she can mingle with other children.
What curriculum should parents use for homeschooling?
The MOE curriculum is a good place to start. Parents can then add or take away from it, depending on what you want for your child. For example, if a you think your child is more musically inclined, you might want to include more music lessons in his/her home curriculum.
Here are a list of recommended resources that a parent can use:
- A complete homeschool system: http://www.homeschools.org/whatIsCLASS/index.html)
- Writing: time4writing.com is a good resouce for one on one writing courses for primary school students
- Science : Janet Sim’s Challenging Science and 3-in-1 series
- Maths : Fabian Ng’s problem Solving Processes , Andrew Er’s Maths Companion and Dawn Tai’s Challenging 3-in-1 Maths by
- English : Challenging 4-in-1 English and Excel in Comprehension. For listening comprehension, the only online resource is KooBits online assessment papers.
Community for Homeschooling
For new parents thinking about embarking on the homeschooling journey, forming an online community and seeking support from experienced parents will be extremely useful. Here is a list of personal blogs of parents who have gone through the homeschooling route. They are a fantastic resource if you want a first-hand account of how homeschooling works in Singapore:
Suwei’s blog: A piece of cake – homeschooling
School homeschooling group: The only virtual community in Singapore for homeschooling
Serene’s blog: Buiding up Moms
Angie’s blog: Teaching our own
Christian’s blog: Building an Ark in Singapore