Homeschooling A High Ability Child
This is a monthly post on 'Homeschooling'. Every 5th week of the month I will interview parents who are homeschooling their children of age 7 up.
Today I have the privilege to interview Mr Eric Kong, a Boutique Fund Manager & Executive Director in Aggregate Asset Management, on why he & his wife homeschool their elder daughter.
Here are some questions I have asked:
(1) I understand that your elder is currently being homeschooled. May I know when did it start & how did you & your wife conclude that this is probably better for her?
My elder daughter Yann is an avid reader since K1. She started early because I read to her almost every night so she took on the reading habit.
When she entered Primary 1, she was quite unhappy. She complained that she hardly has time to read. She thought that school was inefficient & has wasted too much of her productive time.
I bought some books on homeschooling from Amazon & read about it. I also spoke to a homeschooling family & try to look for Singapore homeschoolers. I find that this series of books by John Holt is particularly helpful. He is the person who coined the term "Unschooling".
After some research, reading, hemming & hawing, she finally left school at Primary 4. We took 3 years to make up our mind, as it was pretty scary to go it alone then. But, one can always rejoin mainstream school if things don't work out, right? So why not give it a shot?
(2) How old is she now & what level is she doing?
She is turning 16 this year. She completed the IGCSE O Levels at 14, taking 3 Sciences, 2 Maths & English. She is expected to take her A Levels this year.
(3) How is her typical day like?
There is no typical day. Perhaps it can be broken down to work days & non-work days. She will study on her own on work-days. During non-work days, anything goes. We can be touring on our bicycles in Sri Lanka or Sumatra. We could be kayaking in Ubin or off Sentosa.
During normal work weeks, she also does Taekwando, gymnastics & tennis. She has also experienced teaching in child care centres, giving tuition & political grass root work. So, anything goes.
(4) You also have a younger daughter who is in mainstream school, would you be considering homeschooling her as well?
She is in Primary 3 this year & she still enjoys going to mainstream school. I always encourage them to exercise their choice. She chooses to go to school now.
(5) What is your advice to parents who are considering homeschooling their children?
The 1st thing to do is to read about homeschooling. There are many books out there. But 1 good book to start is "How Children Fail" by John Holt. The other is "Teach Your Own" also by John Holt.
Admittedly, it is very hard for families in Singapore to take the homeschooling route. It is venturing into the unknown. In Singapore, there are not many non-Christian homeschoolers, thus the network is not huge.
After many years of homeschooling, I realised that the websites or network of homeschoolers are not very "active" because homeschoolers are very busy enjoying their lives & are totally immersed in their activities & families to even update their blogs or websites.
1 usual admonishment from the regular folks out there is : "What about their social development?". I usually ask them: " Is school a natural social environment? Your children are surrounded with others of the same age group & with the teachers as "policemen" keeping law & order. It is dictatorial & military-like & does not mirror real life at all. Real life success is collaborative, not competitive like in schools. So parents got to really ask themselves whether their kids will grow up better in an environment where they are being told what to do 24/7 or to give their kids a chance to be accountable to themselves & to have the freedom to explore & to grow.
|Eric's wife (Kate), his younger daughter (Jann) & his elder daughter (Yann)|
Eric & his wife took the leap of faith to allow their elder to be homeschooled & it has proven to be the right path for this young lady. Do you have the same conviction & would take the leap of faith too?