Not so long ago, the concept of home-schooling in Singapore would be almost unheard of. Today, things have changed. We hear of more people pursuing unconventional life choices, home-schooling is one example. Parents choose home-based education for their children rather than the formal classroom learning.
In this article, we aim to shed some light on four home-schooling myths.
MYTH 1: I don’t need to apply for permission to home-school my child.
In fact, you do. In Singapore, all children must undergo compulsory education (CE), which is primary school education. Parents, who plan to home-school their child, have to apply for a Certificate of Exemption (COE) through the Ministry of Education’s Compulsory Education Unit a year before the child enters primary school. Only children with special needs do not require a COE.
MYTH 2: Home-schooling is only for children with special needs.
For children with special needs, home-schooling is a great option. It allows parents or tutors to provide one-to-one instruction. It also tailors a suitable learning environment that is comfortable for your child.
The benefits of home-schooling also apply to parents who see it as a preferred alternative to the local school system. Home-schooling may benefit families who have returned to Singapore after living overseas, and whose children have difficulty integrating into the local education system.
MYTH 3: Home-schooling is free and easy, anything goes.
Yes and no. Home-schooling may offer flexibility but there are certain conditions parents must bear in mind. To be eligible for home-schooling, applicants have to submit detailed information on the educational objectives of the home-schooling programme and the proposed curriculum. This also includes ways in which the child will be taught National Education.
An effective home-schooling programme – developed and paced according to the child’s aptitude for learning – requires a systematic, targeted approach. Proper planning is essential to ensure a quality learning environment for the child. This ranges from mapping out the curriculum, devising effective teaching methods, identifying key resources to maintaining a regular schedule and a consistent method of tracking progress.
MYTH 4: Home-schooling deprives both parent and child of support from others.
These days, the internet enables us to access resources and opportunities to connect with others easily. Home-schooling communities provides online and offline support for parents. They can benefit from shared resources and experiences. These communities also provide a way to widen a child’s social circle when the children embark on learning journeys together. A non-profit organisation, the Singapore Homeschooling Association even loans out facilities such as science laboratories and studios.
Although home-schooling may appear daunting, it can be very meaningful to play an active role in your child’s education. With the right support, it might be worth considering if you think your child would benefit from it.