A letter from an inspired reader

Hi Madam Chong,

My name is XXX. I live in Kedah. I’m a father of a three-year-old and I’m expecting another child (soon), isha Allah. I was a government school teacher but now I’m a lecturer at a teacher training college. I came across the idea of homeschooling during my varsity years, back in 2000 when my lecturer who was from India, said that he didn’t attend any formal class when he was a child. And yet he is a very intellectual man I ever met. I think the idea just ended there.

Then, in 2011 I stumbled upon your book ‘Learning Beyond Schooling’ at my school library. I didn’t expect that it talks about homeschooling. All these years since being a teacher in 2006, finding the answer for the questions ‘what is the effective/best/ideal school?’, ‘what makes students learn?’, ‘why are they not interested in learning?’ is always there in my mind.

I can say that after reading your book, I don’t have to find answers to all those questions anymore, even though I still do not know the answer. It took me to the other direction in thinking about education. I hold a master of education degree specializing in educational administration from International Islamic University Malaysia. I read the idea of some scholars such as Dewey, Gardner, and the one who has rather different view, Freire. Thanks to you, now I read John Holt’s a little bit. And I read your blog too.

I agree a lot with you. It’s irony, working in this conventional system (government school, teacher’s college) and yet holding this rare view on education. Next year, I would like to pursue my education at PhD level at Universiti XXX, insha Allah. This time, I want to be free to write on any subject I like most, not tied to the recommended field, subject or topic. That’s why I don’t want to wait for any scholarship from the government. I want to do it in a part time basis, using my own money, it’s a challenge to me.

Now I really like to write about homeschooling. I’d like to do a qualitative study instead of quantitative which dealing a lot of numerical data, which to me is quite ‘meaningless’. But I don’t know where to begin with. I worry that I would be biased since I’m in favor of homeschooling, then my research would not be objective enough. I want to know what the people at stake would like to get and to know. What do homeschoolers hope from a research? I hope that my research would benefit all, homeschoolers, educationists, teachers, parents, government and children themselves. That’s one of the reason I’m contacting you.

The second reason is that I myself would like to bring up my own daughter in the homeschooling way. My wife agreed to it now, even though she at first did not quite like the idea. My father jokingly said that I would revert to the old days during the British rule when Malay parents didn’t send their daughters to school and they were educated at home. My daughter is now keep asking about school and about going to school even though I beg she doesn’t even know what it is. So, I want to get ready for it from now on.

Thank you.

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