Homeschooling in Singapore

Ok Meimei, so the short answer to your question from last Friday is:

NO. Homeschooling is not very popular in Singapore.

This is for the following reasons:

  1. In most families, both parents will return to the workforce a few months after their children are born. This is a decision that is supported by our local government, which offers childcare and domestic helper subsidies, extra paid leave days as well as tax breaks for working mothers as well as additional paid leave and tax rebates for working fathers.
  2. The Singapore mainstream education system may be both rigorous and rigid, but it is affordable and effective. Children who attend school in Singapore will receive a reasonable level of literacy regardless of which school they do attend, in a safe and secure environment. I have yet to meet a Singaporean from the mainstream school who is unable to read, write and have a basic knowledge of math, science and local history.
  3. Most parents lack the skills to teach children and have no clue where to start. This is important especially considering that parents who intend to homeschool in Singapore must have approval from the Ministry of Education to do so, and this includes submitting a curriculum that meets the national standards. Children who are homeschooled must still reach the PSLE benchmarks.

That said, there are still plenty of homeschooling families in Singapore, and I think homeschooling is gaining popularity at a steady pace for these reasons:

  1. Homeschool creates a more sheltered and controlled learning environment for children to learn at their own pace. This is especially relevant for kids who have special learning requirements or interests.
  2. The teacher-student ratio in a homeschool is practically 1:1. It’s essentially full-time private tuition.
  3. Parents can be in charge of imparting values important to their family, without the taint of outside influences. This also means being able to choose like-minded homeschooling families to socialise with.

I have noticed that most parents who choose to homeschool have some form of teacher training or experience, but there are quite a few parents who are quite happy to learn on the job. Unlike myself, these parents all tend to be very patient, highly creative and extremely well-organised individuals.

There are also some local homeschooling moms whom I really admire and whose blogs I read on a regular basis:

1. Jus from Mum in the Making. I love the way she organises her lessons. For example, she is currently teaching her kids about the solar system, so she has drawn it all out on her chalkboard wall in the kitchen, and also had them working on crafts related to stars. Her personal weak point is in the Chinese language, so for that she’s clubbed together with some other homeschooling parents to form a chinese immersion study group!

2. Ka-ren from Mum’s Calling. She has a very holistic approach to learning, often taking her kids on field trips and creating teaching aids from everyday materials. My favourite posts are where she teaches math concepts by using a song and a couple of pot lids, and then brings the kids to the beach to count sand.

Personally, I do not feel that I can handle the pressure of being the sole educator for my children nor am I adequately equipped with the skills necessary to teach or formulate a cohesive curriculum. This is why I’m happy to outsource the teaching to the well-trained educators at J and Little E’s school.

However, I do like to supplement their formal school education with some home-based learning which doesn’t have to follow any fixed curriculum. I truly believe that this encourages autodidacticism, which should be the true goal of pedagogy. For my afterschool learning, I use a combination of excursions, books, online resources, and crafts – and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll give you some examples of how I use these learning methods to supplement J and Little E’s education.

Find out about the Singapore Ministry of Education Guidelines on Homeschooling here.

Find out more about the Homeschooling in Singapore here.

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9 thoughts on “Homeschooling in Singapore

  1. Very informative post on the current homeschooling situation in SG. Personally, I don’t think I can conduct it myself and admire the parents who do. Love the blogs you listed! There’s this other blog I used to follow – Counting Coconuts – but she doesn’t update anymore. The materials she used is still available on site though.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  2. I can’t even get the kids to complete their homework on time sometimes, I’m not sure I could even come close to homeschooling! But like you I also like to supplement where possible. So far it’s more like I research and print lots of stuff but we haven’t really gotten far LOL.

    • Yeah, J starts Primary 1 next year, and I’m hoping I can still continue supplementing his education at home…if his spare time isn’t all about homework.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I think what you are doing for your kids is fantastic and I really hope that more parents will consider homeschooling as a viable and sustainable option.

  3. A very balanced perspective! Count me in, even with my teacher training experience, I also cannot ‘tahan’ homeschooling for the long haul! Time flies! I still recall J reading his Lego block book at the seminar. Now both Amos and J are going to P1! God bless Deb!

    • Hi Angelia! Thanks for dropping in – I love your blog and all of the messy fun that you have with your kids and students! I can’t believe our kids are going to be in primary school soon.

  4. Could I add another reason? It allows you to tailor to the child’s learning style or interests. And it allows for movement, something boys need to do alot of, but traditional classrooms do not make allowances for that. I think my kids would get into trouble in mainstream school because they just cannot sit still beyond 20 minutes!

    Thanks for such a clear and concise article, and for mentioning us! 🙂

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