Amrita Soon on Astro TV tonight!

Catch Amrita tonight on Astro V buzz channel 231 at 10.30pm!

She’ll will be sharing her music journey from when she first started 5 years ago as a very shy 15-year-old, venturing out into the local music scene playing at various open mic events.

Today, after 2 Nashville trips and back, and an album “Clues” to show, Amrita is slowly but surely gaining notice amongst the local as well as international songwriters and fans.

She will also be performing her upcoming new single on the show so don’t miss it!

I’m very happy that my children follow my advise to them on how to live their lives: “Don’t be normal. Be extraordinary! Embrace your weirdness – that’s what makes you special!”

Mother’s Day Special – Cotton-picking, pillow-making by Simone Chan

There is much to see and do in a small town like Alor Star. Life is unhurried, predictable, with plenty of room for leisure.

An evening stroll will likely take you through a city center housing area with spacious, abandoned parks that still have those old concrete slides, tunnels and spring-less seesaws. Right beside, you’d cross a bridge to a completely different landscape – of dirt paths, kampung houses and railway tracks, big drains and small streams teeming with haruan fishes, surrounded by insects n frogs and others.

One evening, we stumbled upon a lone cotton tree. All the pods were dried up and ready to be harvested. But only one or two was within our reach. Plucked it and decided we had to come back for more another day. Kids cracked it open right away n all the lil tiny seeds all come spilling out onto the path. Oddly, they were more obsessed with picking up the seeds than in the cotton itself!

A week later, we went back. Same spot, with a long stick n a makeshift ‘S’ hook cable-tied to its end. We managed to pick more than our hands could carry! So, we quickly scrambled to find a plastic bag or some sort of carrier among the bushes as we heard the blaring thunder. Found a torn net of some kind, bunched them all up and raced home in the rain!

Right away, Grandma got to work on sewing the kids a lil tiny pillowcase for their baby soft toys. And we got to work on separating the cotton from the hundreds of seeds in each pod. It was painstaking work! And it was snowing cotton! Everywhere! You can imagine their amusement…

When both pillows were stuffed, the kiddos even got to rummage through Grandma’s fabrics to pick a favourite for their pillow covers. The girly girl went for pinkish purplish flowers and the boy chose teddy prints.

The final product: Two teeny tiny pillows that they hugged to sleep like precious gold that night! So cute! You could see how much more they appreciated it cos they made it themselves. To see and touch and pull out all that soft fluff and turn them into something beautiful… so precious!

I was born and bred a city girl. But when I see my kids acquainted with nature, I beam with pride. It’s pure and it’s raw – the many unplanned little moments of discovery n adventure. There’s really nothing quite like it.

Can’t wait to see what we will find on our next evening walk….


Contributed by Simone Chan

We welcome parenting pieces here! Please email your stories to beyond.schooling

Independent Learning – an adventurous journey all the way!

Learning without schooling does not mean isolation from the rest of the world. On the contrary, families dig deep into the community to create learning opportunities through joining or organizing events, workshops, courses and field trips.

Starting from January this year, we dedicated 1 day of a week (Tuesday) to run events related to independent learning. The venue is at Love18 Chocolate Cafe at Setia Walk, Puchong. This serves as a platform for unschoolers to share their learning experiences through talks and workshops. It is also an excellent opportunity for parents to network and make connections with the community. To get updates on our activities, please go to FB Page ClicCafe at Love18.

Here are some of the activities that took place in March 2016:

1st March – Drawing & Cartooning workshop conducted by brothers Sheldon and Emmerson Chong. They taught everyone how to draw faces with different emotions as well as how to draw a car with trees in the background. In the end, it is all about having fun with drawing!

Follow their artistic journey on

8th March

A talk by 18-year-old Karen Leong titled “Adventures of an Unassuming Unschooler”. This event packed the whole cafe with eager listeners, including a van-load of students and parents all the way from Melaka! Here’s a gist of what Karen had shared on that day:

On tackling procrastination & taking action:

“It was when I had one of those frustratingly boring days and my parents weren’t pushing me to do anything or even seemed concerned. That was when I came to realize that my life was actually in my own hands and that I couldn’t rely on anyone else but myself to give me the future I wanted.”

The way her parents unschool:

“We just guided her to meet the right people and be in the right environment because she learns best when she believes that she discovered it all on her own.”

On her personal ups and downs of unschooling:

“One of the main advantages we have as unschoolers is extra time and time enables us to have such a great edge in building ourselves and our perspectives of the world because we just have so much extra time to simply sit and ponder. But this also means your priorities and what’s important to you is going to be very different from your peers which makes forging deep friendships quite a challenge for those of us who crave such bonds.”

On having time to experiment:

“Your teen years are the best time to do so since you’ve got the advantage of being fully supported by your parents, so it’s definitely a great idea to experiment and fail as much as possible because those are the times where you’d grow the most. I love how I welcome failure because I’d have to find a creative solution and/or I’d end up learning and understanding so much more which definitely helps to broaden my horizons.”

On freedom to pursue her passions:

“It just makes me a happier person! It also allows me to open my mind up to other things I could potentially do outside my specialized field (Cake artistry) or what I learn undoubtedly benefits me to become a lot more well rounded and I’d also be able to get a lot more fresh inspiration for my work.”

Follow her on FB:

9th March

Visit to the National Planetarium to view the eclipse of the sun.

Everyone got up before the break of dawn and headed to catch the eclipse of the sun! The kids had a lot of fun running around at the top of the hill, together with many other families and friends who had gathered there amongst over a thousand school students who went there by the bus loads.

14th March

Visit to the Faber Castell Pencil Factory organized by the National Association for Gifted Children Malaysia. The kids had an educational tour of the factory and even had a hand in making their very own pencil during a workshop there!

15th March

About 10 families in all from our community and friends visited the art exhibition titled Little Kingdom by 2 sibling child artists Xin Yue and Xin Le who had over a period of just a few years, produced hundreds of art pieces that consisted of drawings and paintings of cats and dogs and toys and cars and other pictorial reproductions of their childhood. Absolutely amazing!

26th March

The most anticipated science fair of the year – the MHSN Science Fair 2016 was held in Bangsar Village and had attracted over a hundred visitors to the 40 allocated science booths run mainly be kids who were truly passionate about science! The judges were extremely impressed by the knowledge and presentation skills shown by the kids, and commended the parents for supporting such scientific minds.

So the month of March had been a busy month for art and science which make a perfect combination!

Little Kingdom Art Exhibition – March 12-20

There is a little art exhibition in town that is stirring up a lot of interest amongst children art enthusiasts, and that is, the Little Kingdom art exhibition. Over 200 pieces of art pieces done by siblings XinYue and XinLe who have made Ipoh their base. Please give them your love and appreciation by coming out to view their art pieces!

Taken from their FB Page:

今天是心悦•心乐的画展开幕第一天。两个姐弟小小年纪就可以画出立体感觉,超棒的! 画展在 KIDDOZ @ The EARTH, (SIRIM旁) 82-2, Jalan Jalil 1, Lebuhraya Puchong Sg. Besi 即日起到三月20号,记得来咯!

Today is the opening for Little Kingdom Art and Painting Exhibitions, featuring over 200 art pieces from two little young and AWESOME homeschooling siblings XinYue and XinLe. Venue at KIDDOZ located in The EARTH (next to SIRIM), 82-2, Jalan Jalil 1, Lebuhraya Puchong Sg. Besi. Catch it before it ends on 20th Mac! It is FABULOUS!

Photos by Prisca Ooi

Adventures of an Unassuming Unschooler!

Karen Leong is an 18 year old unschooler and cake artist. She started cake decorating as a hobby at at a tender age of 11 years. She is now an award-winning, custom cake artist who enjoys teaching the art of it. She recently became the two-time champion in the wedding cake category at the Cake Challenge Malaysia competition.

18 & Unschooled

The questions she gets asked most frequently by everyone from strangers to fellow homeschoolers are along the lines of “What is it like being Unschooled as a teenager?”, “What about exams, your future and are you sure you’ll fit into society?”……

Join us this Tuesday as Karen will be speaking about her schooled to unschooled stories and the reality of being unschooled as a teenager and all its amazing advantages as well as it’s grueling struggles!

Adventures of an Unassuming Unschooler
Date: 8th March 2016 (Tue)
Time: 2-4pm
Venue: Love18 Chocolate Cafe, Unit D-7-1, Block D, Setia Walk, Puchong. RSVP:

Drawing & cartooning workshop for kids by kids!

Hi everyone!

We’re back with more exciting activities for you this March! Do come join us at ClicCafe@Love18 where we bring you a combination of Clic’s creative ideas & activities in a cool & chocolaty setting of Love18 Cafe!

Here’s our first event for March:

Drawing workshop for kids by kids!

Date: 1st March 2016 (Tue)

Time: 2pm to


Venue: Love18 Chocolate Cafe
Unit D-7-1, Block D, Setia Walk, Puchong. (Opposite Subway)

Admission: FOC.
RSVP via email beyond.schooling

But do tip the boys in the tip jars!
And do order drinks and chocolates from Love18 Cafe!

Clic (Community Learning Initiative Center) champions self-directed and independent learning and this is a platform for young persons to showcase and share their creative projects and ideas.

Facilitators’ profile:

Sheldon Chong

Sheldon is a 9 year old who is passionate about drawing, doodling and drumming. He loves to draw cars, vehicles, robots, buildings, and comics. He believes that every child can draw and he would like to teach children to draw in an easy way. He facilitates Scratch programming workshops and is a drummer in a kids’ band.

Emerson Chong
Emerson is turning 8 and he loves to draw comics. He has created more than 25 mini comic books and would like to publish a comic book and conduct cartooning workshops. The brothers are child artists with a blog at

Items to bring: Please bring your own stationery. A4 size paper will be provided.


The Future of Learning Series

Last Tuesday we successfully launched “The Future of Learning” – a series of talks on independent learning by self-directed learners. The response was overwhelming! We thank you all for coming out in full force to listen to what we have to say about learning!

This Tuesday we will be featuring TWO young girls who will be sharing their stories and adventures that many kids their age can only dream about. What’s the secret to their early success? Do come and find out!

Event: The Future of Learning series –
A book launch by Chrysalynn Lim & backpacking adventures by Zhang En Date: 26th January 2016 (Tue)
Time: 2-4pm
Venue: Love18 at SetiaWalk Puchong
Cover charge: Rm20 per adult
Children attend for FREE!

Chrisalynn Lim, 12 is a livewire. There is never a dull moment with her. As a homeschooled child she indulges in many explorations. Her first story,

The Foolish Cat was printed in 2012 when she was barely 8 years’ old. It was her effort to raise funds for her flight ticket to do some community work overseas and locally. The Weird Cat is the second of her cat series printed recently to nurture her passion in writing and to help her earn her flight ticket for another community work overseas.

Another awesome soon-to-be 12-year-old Zhang En will be sharing her recent exciting back-packing adventures in Europe without her parents accompanying her! She’s also an amazing ice-skater and she won first placing in the National ice-skating competition last year.


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