There are generally 2 groups of parents in Singapore. The parents who send their children to the normal route of our Singapore system: Preschool, Primary School and Secondary school. The other group would be the homeschoolers who opt out of the mainstream system in varying degrees. Pamela is one of them who did the latter but eventually sent them for Formal School Setting by age 6.
This post was initiated as I was very curious over how she handles 3 children without a helper and yet manages her homeschooling very efficiently. She is also one of a kind Singaporean mum who teaches creatively and has crafty hands to the delight of All children! : )
Pamela is an educator and a respected friend of mine and it gives me great pleasure to have her share with us her journey below.
“I am a full-time homemaker to three children ages 9, 6 and 4 respectively (2015). My hubby is an instructional designer. We homeschool our children till they are six years old, ready for kindergarten level 2.
Why We Homeschool
Initially, the thought of homeschooling crossed our minds because we have friends who are doing it. Also, the selfish reason of wanting to keep our children at home and spend time with them as much as possible before they grow up. Eventually, after the first round of homeschooling with the eldest, we also found homeschooling the kids for their preschool years to be crucial so as to build their religious foundation, understand the child’s character and learning style. We also decided to send our children to preschool at K2 level so that the child would have a good understanding of school environment before facing the real BIG primary school.
Many often asked me about my homeschool curriculum. For us, we decided to use Sonlight curriculum. Firstly, Sonlight is a Christian curriculum (which matches our beliefs) and secondly, it offers a very detailed daily program for busy mothers to follow.
For English, my children follows the Sonlight curriculum from 3-7 years old. For 3-4 years old, my objective is very simple- to get my children to enjoy reading. Sonlight offers a range of good books to be read to the young reader. So, I’ll follow the booklist and borrow these books from the local library to be read to my kids. We purchased the curriculum for 4-5 years old and 5-7 years old from Sonlight respectively.
Mathematics for my children is more of playing with various manipulatives. Shapes in 2D or 3D form, blocks, multilink blocks, lego and dominoes are all great to have. How do I teach them, you may ask? We purchase assessment books to know the syllabus of the preschool years and primary one. I’ll work on the assessment books with my children. Subsequently, when I observe my children having difficulty in certain topic, I’ll further explore it with them.
For Chinese, my children follows the berries curriculum. We had a set of hand-me-downs from friends who had sent their children to berries. So, I’ll start the reading program with my children from 3 years old and plan some of my own activities according to the reading.
For art and craft, I would devise some suitable crafts from the books that my children show interests in or the books that we are doing our learning from. For example, my 3yo and 5yo’s recent interests in a series of books called “Mighty robot by Ricky Ricotta” inspired me to do a robot craft with them. Previously, my 3yo boy was very interested in machines and shapes. So, to combine both his interests, I would cut out different shapes to be formed into bulldozer, dumptrucks, plane, etc. On days whereby I have no idea on what to do, I’ll google and find suitable activities. The internet is a superb place to search for ideas!
On top of all the good reasons and curriculum for homeschooling is a good routine. My children thrive on routine. So, I’ll plan out a schedule for them to follow so that we would not end up not doing anything. It can be so tempting to just play and play and not do anything. Some days we do end up like that though. We can be on a playdate, exploring new places or visiting grandparents but in homeschooling, the best part is flexibility! We can achieve little today and then top up day after.
Currently, my 8yo is in primary 2, public school. So, our schedule kind of revolves around hers. As a homeschooler, the mummy is not only the teacher but also the driver, the cook, the housekeeper and the playmate. We do not have any helper or the blessing of staying with grandparents, so, in my schedule, i’ll factor in time to do housework, cooking and playing besides learning. Our schedule looks like this as of now… (it changes every year)
- Bible time (I feel it is important for my children and I to start the day right with God)
- Learning (8yo does her own assessment books, 5yo does her mathematics learning and 3yo plays with manipulatives)
- Music practice (my children learns music outside home)
- Lunch and off to school
- English and Chinese learning for my 5yo
- Art and craft
Our Struggles in Homeschooling
Single income family is tough in a affluent society. So, we do learn to live simply. We try to reuse and recycle a lot. Hand me downs whether in terms of clothes, books, learning resources and toys are very much appreciated in our family. Our children are also frequently taught to be content with what they have rather than to constantly think of what they would like/want. One of the main reason people tell me that I should send my children to school is to learn to socialise. For us, we do also think learning to socialise is important. My eldest was very blessed to be in a playgroup from 18months onwards to 3 years old. A group of mums like me came together and we went to each other’s home and taught our children biblical values and the alphabet. The struggle for my 3yo and 5yo is to find a similar group that my eldest had. So, the homeschooling journey for my 2 young ones is a little lonelier compared to the eldest. But we are thankful nevertheless that they have each other.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” ~~~Romans 8:28″
The following images have been used with permission for an idea of what activities Pam does at home.
Pam’s nimble fingers that painstakingly created these felt toys for the kids’ kitchen play!
Her husband’s DIY conversion of a discarded cabinet turned into Kitchen Play!
I am grateful to Pam’s time and thoughtfulness taken to share this homeschooling journey with GrowingHearts and our Readers!
It has been an encouraging and inspiring time spent learning from her when i visited her home. Her family is indeed blessed! : )
For those who want to obtain more information about homeschooling please visit HERE.
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Have a blessed day!