Homeschooling, before, was an option that many parents would only consider when they had no other choice, such as when they moved abroad to Singapore in the middle of the year when the semester had long started, or were parenting kids with special needs. However, the backlash against independent learning has seen a decrease due to a shift in the court of public opinion. More and more parents in Singapore are considering homeschooling as one of the trusted alternatives when looking into education for their kids.
What You Need to Know About Homeschooling
Homeschooling is defined as the education of children within the informal settings of their home, as opposed to the formal settings of a public or private school—one that’s conducted by either the parents themselves or a tutor.
There are a few reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children:
- To be more involved in their children’s education
- To spend more time with their children
- As a temporary solution during their expat phase
- Dissatisfaction with the available school environment, such as the curriculum, quality of teachers, or even bullying
- To accommodate their children’s special needs
- To provide their children with a more religious-based education
According to Ginanne in The Wall Street Journal, children who have been homeschooled tend to perform better academically. They also possess more confidence and a deeper love of learning.
However, homeschooling is not without its cons. As your children will be mostly studying at home, many parents worry that they may not be able to integrate well into society later. There is always the possibility that your children might not be learning as fast or as much as the other children, in the absence of discipline and competitive spirit—which is why, homeschooling is not for everyone. Previously, we wrote about local education and whether it’s the right fit for your expat children, so give it a read for a more comprehensive idea about the education scene in Singapore—long story short, the island city-state has the smartest high school kids in the world.
Now that you’ve learnt more about homeschooling, you may want to consider putting your kids through the homeschool curriculum. The question becomes, how can or should you go about it?
How You Can Homeschool Your Kids
There are various methods you can use to teach your children, depending on your child’s disposition and aptitude for learning. Julie Shephard Knapp’s website, Homeschool Diner, has informative listings on the various homeschooling approaches, popular methods, and philosophies, but here’s a quick rundown on some of the more popular methods of the homeschool program:
- Unit Studies – If you prefer your children to have more say in what they learn, Unit Studies is the way to go. A Unit Study involves organizing a child’s learning experiences within a framework of a single topic or theme. For example, say your child wants to learn about “ice cream”. A unit study on “ice cream” may include reading about how to make ice cream and its various flavours, reading and writing stories about ice cream, visiting an ice cream factory, and watching movies about ice cream. Unit Studies is helpful for parents who need to teach multiple children at different grade levels.
- Delayed Instruction – If you believe that all children learn at different paces, and those who can’t should not be pushed to learn to avoid stressing them out, then you’re part of the (home)school of parents who practice Delayed Instruction. There are two categories of learning in this approach, which are “natural learning” and “formal instruction”. “Natural learning” takes place all the time as the child grows and has experiences, while “formal instruction” is to teach each child a certain set of skills at a particular time, like reading and writing at the age of 6.
- Charlotte Mason – For a more traditional Christian-focused and literature-based approach, then you’re looking at the Charlotte Mason method. This method dictates that children should be the ones to ‘dig’ their knowledge out of their learning materials, and as such, quality or ‘proper’ materials such as the classics or the Bible should be used. Nature walks are also encouraged, and a nature notebook and personal journal are kept.
- Thomas Jefferson – If your children are naturally motivated or you’re looking to foster self-discipline, you can try the Thomas Jefferson Education. This approach advocates a daily family learning time that emphasizes reading, discussing, and journaling about classics (in literature and other fields) and includes lots of time for “free study” where students work toward their own goals. The parents merely act as mentors to guide and motivate their children towards achieving their goals.
- Montessori Homeschooling – Sometimes, the only way to learn is to do it yourself. If your line of thinking pretty much falls into this category, then you might want to opt for the Montessori Homeschooling. The method emphasizes skill-specific hands-on activities, and learning through real-world “work”, with children are placed into small groups to work on activities of their own choosing and at their own pace. Most kindergartens adopt this method, as it fosters self-discipline and co-operative learning, with older children helping out younger children, and younger children learning from example.
Of course, if you’re new to homeschooling your children, and the methods listed above are getting way over your head, try seeking for more advice in this area and share your experiences with fellow expat parents so that you can gauge your progress. Here are a few avenues from which you can find support:
- Check out official resources such as the Ministry of Education Singapore and the Singapore Homeschooling Association (HA)
- Join homeschool groups online such as Singapore Homeschool Group (Yahoo!) and Singapore Homeschool (Facebook)
- Read articles and testimonials online at Singapore Homeschooling, Hip Homeschool Moms, and Homeschool Singapore—Homeschool Singapore has not been updated in a while, but you can still read through the old posts
- Make use of educational resources and apps such as CLASS Homeschools, Online School of Mathematics, Khan Academy, Duolingo, Bitsboard, Zap Zap Math, and Time 4 Writing. We’ve previously covered Zap Zap Math here.
Did this article answer your questions about homeschooling? If you’re keen on homeschooling or are currently homeschooling your kids, we’d love to hear from you, so drop us a comment below!
Cover image by thehomeschoolersnetwork.com