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Should I homeschool my child in Singapore?

Undaunted by the prospect of being solely responsible for the education of the child, several brave parents in Singapore are known widely in the media for daring to homeschool their children. The most famous of these parents are actress Evelyn Tan and actor Darren Lim, who are known to homeschool their children and also for preferring to live with their family aboard a boat. While the yacht may remain a dream for the rest of us, homeschooling is certainly within our reach. The pros and cons of homeschooling children are many, and here, we present some of the more important issues that should be considered before you submit an application.

Advantages of Homescholing

Freedom to decide on curriculum

One of the most attractive features of homeschooling is the ability to decide on the types of classes that your child attends. His curriculum can be entirely tailored to his interests, personality and ideal career path. Think that chemistry is not necessary for a budding musician? Leave it out. Think that coding classes are useful if your child is fascinated by computers? You can start as soon as you think he’s ready. With homeschooling, the sky’s the limit. If your child’s time is devoted to studying whatever he’s most passionate about, it ensures that learning is always a joy and never a chore. Subjects such as civics education, philosophy, religious study, or any other subjects which are important to you and yet given little to no time in mainstream education, could be a vital part of his homeschool curriculum.

Freedom of schedule and method of instruction

Parents who homeschool their children often take a hands-on approach to learning. Out of the classroom, everything becomes an opportunity for the child to learn. Learning could take place from morning to night. Think that’s too extreme? Well, not necessarily so, because once students depart from an institutionalised learning which prioritises an academic education, they are free to devote a greater amount of time to other types of learning which may not necessitate a strict classroom setting. For instance, humanitarian education may require your child to spend time volunteering or doing project work to benefit various causes. A religious education may require your child to spend time reading the Bible or interacting with churchgoers.

Quality time with one’s children

Through homeschooling, parents tend to forge closer bonds with their children. Though usually only one parent stays home as the primary caretaker and educator, the other is certainly not left out, as homeschooling is a heavy commitment that affects the whole family. Aside from spending a great amount of time with their children, parents who homeschool are also in the position to impart family values to their children. Those who are especially concerned about peer pressure, and who are often wary of their children falling prey to conformist tendencies when they mingle with less savoury friends, may find homeschooling to be ideal as the children’s education and social interaction with others can be done under their watchful eye.

Disadvantages of homeschooling

A challenging and extended process

While homeschooling may be a rewarding experience, there’s no arguing that it is an incredibly challenging process if one does it well. The parent who works as the primary educator would have to navigate curriculum challenges as their child grows, and may also have to juggle learning objectives when handling more than one child at once. Also though parents may feel up to the task of being an educator while the child is young, his or her ability to perform that role may be limited once the child’s education is at an advanced level. Nevertheless, many advocates of homeschooling believe that this fear is a redundant one, as homeschooled children should ultimately become self-directed, independent learners who do not need the heavy involvement of their parents in their studies.

Difficulties in re-entering the public school system

 Creating a curriculum and system that works for their family from scratch is challenging enough, but ensuring that their child meets the requirements to re-enter the public education system is even harder. Priority to enter prestigious schools also fall to mainstream students in public schools, so homeschoolers who wish to enter local junior colleges or universities may face difficulties in this regard.

Socialisation issues and lack of same-age peers

Socialisation issues is another common problem for homeschooled children who may lack a large group of peers to interact with. While homeschool communities and external courses and lessons help to provide the young ones with friends of their own age, the amount of time they see these friends (unlike their public school peers, many of whom form fast bonds with schoolmates, having had the opportunity to meet the same children over the course of the years) is usually limited.

14 Jun 2018