The issue of homeschooling raised once again. As a father of homeschoolers, I sometimes feel dissappointed with the netizens who have no idea about homeschooling yet they comment on the method as if they are homeschooling parents, which I end up not to post anything on my Facebook in relation to homeschool. I believe those who want to learn more about this method will search the appropriate source from the internet, and my blog could be one of their reference.
To add on to the questions that I have raised in my last entry, here are few more questions in regards to homeschooling:
Don’t you feel guilty for not sending you kids to school?
No. In fact, I feel so happy to have my kids enjoy their learning at their own pace without any stress. Indeed education is the right for all children. As a parents, we know what is the best for our kids. Without sending them to formal school, it doesn’t mean that the children are not learning what the teacher teaches at school. In fact, they may learn far more advance than what the other students are learning at school. With one to one or one to two ratio, it has been a very big different of the level of attention received by the homeschoolers compared to the children attending formal school, which the ratio of students to a teacher can be more than 20 to 1!
In addition, the competition at school has been criticized worldwide where many of the parents, without aware, are forcing their children to get the best number in the class. Some parents even frustrated when their children are not getting full marks in certain subject. For homeschoolers, the rubric used to evaluate the children achievement is much more flexible. Indeed, there is no one size fits all. Thus, through homeschooling, the children will have more attention, and the method of teaching can be more flexible, enjoyable and fit the the children pace.
As a father, my concern are their spiritual and emotion. I can see the struggle of me myself during my school life where all the time, I was struggling to get the best results at all subjects and the best number in class. During my primary school, I was placed in a class where all the students were excellent. I was wondering, what will happen to my friends that were placed in the class which the majority were not performing well in academics. This phenomena continued until I was in secondary school. I was so frustrated to see the gap between the excel students and those who were intermediate or not performing well in academics. It seemed the academic was everything that days until today. I saw the big gap and I also aware that the ‘not so performed’ students were always feeling low when facing those who were from the top class. As such, I really believe that my decision to homeschool is the best, where both academics and emotion are treated humanly.
Will your children go to university?
Yes. That is definitely one of our MAIN aim. For some Malaysians, it maybe beyond their imagination for homeschooler who was thought informally may enter the prestigious university. In their mind, UPSR, PT3, SPM and STPM are the only path to enter the university. For your information, there is no rule that forbid the homeschooler from taking those exams as a private candidate. Furthermore, the children may take IGCSE Cambridge and several others that not only internationally recognised but also locally.
Is it cheaper to do homeschool than sending children to private or government school?
It depends. So far, we can say homeschooling will be far more expensive than private school. It is very subjective given that the parents should know their capability. As a microbiologist, it is very simple for me to set up my own lab at home. With a very simple equipments such as microscope and other lab apparatus, we are able to do very advance experiment at home compared to the school. The children are not restricted to learn only from home, they are also learning from the nature. For example, we sometimes bring our children out to the nature to learn the marine and estuarine ecosystems. For them to learn about astronomy, we have an advance and sophisticated telescope that allow our children to observe the stars and planets during the night time. Lucky to live in Kuantan, there is not so much light pollution, thus astronomy has been one of their favourite subject. While myself is focusing on science and technology, my wife is focusing on Islamic studies and mathematics. As a graduand of accountancy from University of Malaya, there is no problem for her to teach the children mathematics. Through playing, the children do learn a lot in much enjoyable and stress free environment. Thus, I may conclude that homeschooling, as far as I concern, is far more expensive than sending the children to school, but the product can be far more excellent, subjected to how discipline are the parents.
Do your parents support your decision to homeschool?
Yes and no. This is a very difficult question to answer. It is true that the parents of mine are very concern particularly on the legal aspect of homeschooling. As far as I concern, there is no law yet in Malaysia that forbid homeschooling. According to the law (Akta Pendidikan 1996), it is true that it is compulsory to send the children to primary school. However, the spirit of the law is to ensure that all children are getting their rights on education. In fact, there is not a single parents have been imprisoned due to the decision to homeschool their children in Malaysia.
However, it is different for my parents in law whom my father in law was a former headmaster of several primary schools and my mother in law who was a Quran Sunnah teacher at one of the top secondary school in Ipoh, Perak and also Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) questionnaires panel for Quran Sunnah, are fully support our decision to homeschool the children.
In a nut shell, people may have different opinion on homeschooling. I still believe that homeschooling is the best for my children but it does not mean that it can fit others. I hope by putting these questions and answers will help the readers to understand a bit about homeschooling. I am a Ph.D. holder, and I never regret to see my children are all homeschooled. I may say today is the best for them to be homeschooled, however, I may change my mind in the future if I found out the education in Malaysia is improving and fit with my children.