Homschooling 8 Children

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.

Jan - Homeschooling A High Ability Child


I am passionate about homeschooling, if you have not already known.  But AJ is not ready for it, so I leave it as it is.  In January this year, I interviewed Eric Kong, who homeschool his elder daughter who is a high achiever.


This month, I got into contact with a couple who homeschooled 8 of their 9 children.  Amazing parents, to have 9 children, in Singapore's context.  To homeschool 8 of them is even more amazing!  Let's hear their story:

Uncle Paul & Auntie Soh Yeng, with their 9 children. Photo was taken about a decade ago :)

(1) Auntie Soh Yeng, would you tell us how old are your children now?

They are 33, 31, 29, 26, 25, 21, 19, 16 &14.

(2) Wow! Did you homeschool all of them?  When did you start homeschooling them?

We started homeschooling in 1996.  All except our eldest daughter went through homeschool.  They were at different grades in the public schools when we pulled them out.

As our eldest daughter was going to do her 'O' level the following year, we encouraged her to finish her 'O' level before deciding whether to join the rest in homeschool.  She went on to join Ministry of Education after her 'O' levels & taught Home Economics in government secondary schools thereafter.  She is no longer teaching & is now a Manager in a Before & After Care Center run by a church.

(3) What caused you & uncle Paul to decide on homeschooling your children?

There were many factors that led us to homeschool our children. 

Firstly, we wanted an educational system whereby our children's character & Christian faith can be strengthened.

Secondly, we felt that the public school system was too pressurising (still is) & we wanted them to enjoy studying at their own pace. We found out later that 2 of our children are slightly dyslexic (they needed more time to do their work), thus they may not have done well under the pressurising public school system. 

We also wanted to spend more time doing things together as a family & we felt that only homeschooling will enable us to do that.

What caused us to finally take action to homeschool was the behaviour of our 3rd child, (our 1st son), in school.  We realised then, he needed personal attention & guidance that only homeschooling can give.

(4) What were some of the struggles you faced in homeschooling?

Juggling household chores like the usual cleaning & cooking, & yet being disciplined enough to start school on time!  Teaching & grading their work were really challenging, not to mention that I still had to care for 1 or 2 toddlers running around then.

However, much to my surprise, homeschool turned out to be a good 'training ground' to teach me & my children co-operation, self-sacrifice & self-discipline.

(5) What were the achievements/satisfaction you & uncle Paul achieved when homeschooling your children?

We were very happy & comforted to see them behaving responsibly & in a matured manner.  Progressively, we also felt safe to let the older kids take care of the younger ones when we needed to be away for some meeting or function.  In fact, their sibling bonding is very strong, even till today.

We are also very gratified that our 3rd child (our 1st son, who was the cause of our choosing homeschooling), went on to become an officer during his National Service.  During the many crisis that our family encountered, he has given us good advices & support that we needed.  We are very proud of him.

Recently, because of some health issues that my husband & I are facing, we are so grateful that all our children 'rose up to the occasion' & took on roles that enabled our family to move on together.

Academically, we were also greatly encouraged when our children (who had finished their homeschool education) sat for the SAT I (an international exam) & scored above average results.  1 of them has already gotten her degree in Finance from Singapore Institute of Management a few years ago.  Another has just completed his SAT 1 & has applied to study in National University of Singapore.

(6) In your opinion, is homeschooling for every child?
      
It depends on what goal(s) the parents want for their child & if the child wants homeschooling for him/herself.  It should be a mutual decision.

(7) What are the advices you would give to parents who are considering homeschooling their children?

Parents should find out all the pros & cons, the practical challenges they will be facing, & be clear of the goals they want for their child/children, before making the final decision. 


I am thankful to Auntie Soh Yeng for her precious time sharing with us their homeschooling journey.  I hope this post will serve you well, if you are considering homeschooling our child(ren).


2 comments

  1. Does the MOE have any guidelines around homeschooling? Thinking hard about it when we move back to the Singapore education system a year from now.

    cheriemae@gmail.com

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    1. The parent who will be homeschooling the child(ren) need to be a degree graduate min. The guidelines will not be published. If you are keen to do so, let me know, I'll link you up in a homeschooling community.

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