This the the original email Q & A between Wai Leng and Ms Yeong of the China Press before it got to the press. Enjoy and be inspired!
From your web, I knew that instead of the main subjects, you arrange a lot of sport/non-academic activity for the children, could you share your view on the arrangement?
First of all, we must all view education as a HOLISTIC approach to personal development, and NOT an academic means to personal “enrichment” (good grades=good job=good life). To develop the whole person is to develop all aspects that involve BODY, MIND and SPIRIT. The schooling system focuses too much on academic achievement and grossly neglects all other types of learning such as sports, artistic and musical development, caring for the environment and most importantly, knowledge about healthy eating and healthy living. This is why we need to put back the balance into our children’s learning by developing these much-neglected areas which we believe, in turn, would help improve the mind and spirit of the child.
The current numbers of student that join your study group? The main reason for the children to home schooling?
What we are trying to do is to offer a SUPPORT GROUP for homeschoolers, creating opportunities for group learning as well as group activities such as outings, camping, learning about our country’s heritage, etc. The most important thing to children of all ages is having FRIENDS and we try to create opportunities for them to make friends and foster closer friendships with one another.
The main reason for us to homeschool our children is to nurture their NATURAL MINDS and to let them grow ORGANICALLY – schooling is a system that often does not support a child’s natural ways of learning and growing because it is actually created out of the FACTORY MODULE where everything is systematized and categorized – this is highly mechanical and artificial – very UNNATURAL! Humans are not machines – for this simple reason, we should not try to make them learn in a robotic manner.
You are considered one of the preneur to start home schooling at Malaysia, could you compare the current situation of local home schooling with 80an?
I think in the past, if one were to homeschool when no one else has heard about such a thing, it would have been a very lonely decision. The rare few families that homeschooled then did it very quietly and privately. Now homeschooling is much more prevalent and people are more informed. There are many homeschooling families all over the country and they do not raise any eyebrows from the public anymore!
Due to over pressure in Chinese School, more and more Chinese speaking family are interesting in home schooling, could you give these parents some advice?
It is especially challenging for the Chinese-speaking Chinese to homeschool because of the deeply ingrained practice of conformity to culture and language, which are highly placed in the Chinese community. The Chinese mindset of seeing the superiority of their language and the heavy emphasis on academic achievement above all else can be very hard to break. How the Chinese view children and learning is quite different – children are expected to be obedient (obey all rules), hard-working (finish all homework and study, study, study!) and never try to question authority (be seen and not heard). So, if you want to homeschool your child, be prepared to be opposed by all quarters – your parents, relatives, friends and the school!
Future of home schooling in Malaysia.
Malaysia is quite unique in a sense that homeschooling is seen to be an alternative to the national schooling system – parents want a better system of schooling but are not quite prepared to homeschool in its original sense, ie, parents taking full responsibility of educating their children themselves. Instead, parents here outsource their children’s schooling to a new phenomena called “The homeschooling centers” where students go for their schooling on a daily basis from 9am-3pm, very much like going to school, with teachers, or facilitators to help them with their worksheets which they religiously work at everyday. This is a BIG business opportunity for those who see it!
Then there is a growing trend in younger parents (in their 30′s) who plan to homeschool their little ones because they see the benefits of a more creative way of learning that will have a direct impact on their children’s future in this SUPERSONIC AGE of high-technological advancement. The traditional way of learning no longer prepares children adequately for a future that they cannot predict. We just have to look at how technology has changed the way businesses are conducted all over the world – using video conferencing for meetings, complicated supply-chain systems to manage global businesses, power-point presentations to push a point, using social networking for marketing and connecting people, etc. How much are students learning about ALL these current developments in schools?
Schools need to CHANGE and they need to change FAST!
But changing a dinosaur system takes a million years! Our children cannot wait for that change to happen. This is why we PARENTS have to step in and make the change ourselves – starting with our families, and gradually try to build a community that values true education that is organic, holistic and progressive!