To Homeschool or Go To School?

The word ‘homeschool’ was foreign to me until AJ was about 3. Many of my church friends started asking whether I would consider homeschooling AJ. Many encouraged me to.

I have been teaching AJ at home since he was 1. Even when I sent him to Kindergarten, he was still doing home learning with me. This has never stopped, we are still doing it.

‘Huh? What is that? You mean the boy does not need to go to school?’ I asked.

Then they started sharing with me what homeschooling is & its benefits.

Back then, the more I found out about it, the more I feared homeschooling. I doubted that I have the patience to teach him 4-5 hours a day & I thought I would not have the energy to do that too. & how do I ensure that the boy would not miss out anything when he is detached from school?

I began to observe many things happening in a Primary School when I started parent volunteer work. The more I observed, the more I am convinced that going to school need not be the way to go. There are several benefits of homeschooling:

(1) Efficient Use of Time – Homeschooling allows the child to learn academic stuff in a shorter time frame because of the personal attention a mother can give. This explains why 1-to-1 tutoring on specific weaker topics is more effective than group tuition.

There is quite a lot of time spent waiting during school hours: waiting during Assembly Time for everyone to arrive, waiting for the teacher to finish disciplining other students before he/she can continue with the lesson, waiting between lessons, etc. All these waiting can be a waste of time.

(2) Imparting of Values – It is much easier for the parents to impart certain values which they hold dear to to their children at home. Homeschooling curriculum can be planned around these values.

(3) Child-Paced Learning – Homeschooling allows the parents to plan the curriculum according to the strength & weaknesses of the child. The curriculum can be highly customized for effective learning rather than a one-for-all structure. The child can choose to take a longer time to master more difficult topics while cruising through other topics that are easier.

While I was battling within myself whether to homeschool AJ or not, I also started to see the positive part of sending him to school when he started Primary 1 this year:

(1) Varieties – Because schools work on shared resources, naturally, they have more things to offer than a typical home could. In school, a child gets to play all sorts of games/sports during physical education (PE) period, participate in speech & drama, exposure to different forms of arts, etc. All these are included in the curriculum, & unless you are wealthy enough to pay separately for private enrichment classes which will cost some money, the schools provide all these at minimal cost.

(2) Social Interaction – The child gets to meet with peers from different background every school day. In a class, the child has to learn to communicate with them & work with them whether he/she likes them or not. This gives the child the opportunity to learn about the kind of society that they live in.

(3) The ‘Me’ Time – Yes, I get my ‘Me’ time when AJ is in school. In that 6 hours, I get to do grocery shopping, prepare meals, have my breakfast & lunch, exercise, do my work, rest, etc. That helps me to keep my sanity.

Weighing all these pros & cons, I would still favour homeschooling. However, AJ loves school. He loves to play & work with his friends in school & as an only child, I must agree that that is important to him. So he goes to public school, but I have told him that he has the option to switch to homeschooling. It may not be now, it may be 3-4 years later, but the option remains open.

Meanwhile, homelearning continues.


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