Homeschooling is teaching in an informal setting outside the formal premise of a school. It can be conducted by a child’s parents or tutors and an alternative to the conventional schooling system. Even though Singapore’s education system is well-established, some parents choose to break away from the traditional route of classroom pedagogy.
How does it work?
Homeschooling appeals particularly to those who have children with a learning disability or have just moved back from overseas. It is also a preference for those who are dissatisfied with the education system. These people prefer an education that goes beyond what is extended at local schools.
Since all children in Singapore must pursue compulsory education (CE) or a primary school education, parents have to apply for a Certificate for Exemption (COE) through MOE’s Compulsory Education Unit a year before the child starts Primary 1.
To be eligible, they will have to provide information on the curriculum and educational objectives of the homeschooling programme. As well as ways the child will receive information on National Education. Only children with special needs do not require a certificate of exemption.
The demands of homeschooling
The quality of homeschooling is very much dependent on the parents, usually the mums. Their steadfastness in carrying out the curriculum and seeking new resources is imperative to a child’s academic progress.
To the majority of us, homeschooling is a daunting thought. But is homeschooling only for super mums? What does it take to provide proper and adequate academic support to ensure that a child succeeds academically?
The responsibility of homeschooling weighs heavily on mums. Providing proper academic support involves mapping out the curriculum and crafting learning methodologies that will help a child take in new information effectively. In Singapore, this often means referencing MOE curriculum as a benchmark in charting a child’s learning progress.
Homeschooling mums need to take on their role seriously. One of her primary duties is to conjure a rich learning environment for the child. She has to first seek to understand her child’s aptitude for learning. To make learning engaging, she has to present information in a way that will interest the child. She also needs to be consistent in keeping up with schedules.
One of the challenges of being a homeschooling mum is presenting information as objectively and thoroughly as possible. Making sure not to impose her views on an impressionable mind. She will also need to assess her child’s learning progress and adjust learning pace when needed.
When a child has a learning disability, the decision to homeschool is borne out of the ability to teach him or her on a one-to-one basis. The pace that is most suited for comfortable learning can be set. The idea is to help the child thrive in a homeschooling system that is catered specially for him or her. This means making a conscious effort to understand not just the strengths, but the weaknesses of the child.
How homeschooling mums cope?
Many mums rely on online learning resources to deepen a child’s learning. Since one of the drawbacks of homeschooling is social interaction with other children, homeschooling mums tend to join homeschooling communities as a way to widen a child’s social circle.
Within these communities, homeschooled children meet with one another and embark on learning journeys together. These networks also extend resources that are otherwise difficult to obtain elsewhere. Singapore Homeschooling Association provides parents the privilege to loan facilities such as science laboratories and studios to enhance learning. It is also a place where mums can build connections with other homeschooling mums for support.
Since homeschooling is regulated by MOE, these super mums tend to be more vigilant in discharging their duties when educating their child. Often, they hire tutors to coach in a subject or two to make up for their perceived shortfall in the subject or simply to accelerate learning. Is this a job reserved for super mums? Well, it is clear that homeschooling is a big commitment.