Parents responds to “Homeschooling may not be holistic after all.”
Responses by Haslinda Haslim and Joshua Kam to: Homeschooling: May not be Holistic After All
Respond by Haslinda Halim
First and foremost, to be fair to homeschoolers, people with no experience in homeschooling (HS) should refrain from giving opinion based on assumptions. If you require our input, of course for the right reason, I am sure most of us are happy to contribute.
Secondly, being in the education field, those being interviewed should acknowledge the current gap in our education system. PBS, PPSMI, the current global PISA ranking, just to name a few. And of all people, they should realized in this internet age, learning occurs everywhere. Not just in school.
I am commenting as a mother to 4 kids who have been in the national education system for 9 years. And we have tried both government and private school. After 2 years of homeschooling, I can testify to you, holistically, my kids are doing better out of school.
My #1 aced all his exams but has no interest what so ever in anything. He scored 5As in UPSR and 8As in PMR. On paper it looks good. In real life, he has no direction. School has successfully kills his interest in learning and life. It is hard work for us to change his mindset and undo the damage. Our aspiration for him is for him to find his passion and contribute to the mankind using his talents.
One of the FB groups I joined recently is a group where people can share their direction after SPM. Most of the people who posted there are 17yo kids who just finished their SPM. They are so clueless on what course to do and where to go. And their SPM results are pretty decent. Lots of As. So apart from our poor ranking globally, if you think our kids are doing well academically based on the grades in the local exams, you need to do some serious reality check.
My #2 is an average student in school. She has blossomed in so many aspects it surprised me and my husband. Despite the co-curricular activities, sports and clubs and etc etc, in school, most of the time, only the alpha kids will shine. Usually it’s the same kids who end up taking up the leading role in everything. The shy, quite, average kids will forever be left out.
My #3 struggled to read despite being in school for 4 years. She has dyslexia. Our education system is poorly equipped to handle special need kids who learn differently. We were told she has social issues in school. Now that she’s out of school, she gets along perfectly well with all the HS kids.
My #4 has been to a Montessori kindergarten for 3 years. The first year, she was mute. She warmed up during the 2nd year but she was never her true self. She was timid and very concerned with how things should be done according to what teachers say. After 1 year of HS, she is a very confident 7yo girl who is excited about learning and matured beyond her years.
Ironically, patriotism, socialization, religion and multi faith tolerance and leadership are some of the main reasons why I pulled out my kids from school. In our homeschooling setting, we teach the kids by being a good role model and immersion. We instill patriotism through cultural immersion and learning history in a non biased way. Regarding patriotism, I urge you to go through the History and Kajian Tempatan text books. Not only the facts are so superficial, it’s so full of propaganda, even a school kid get turned off by it. It did nothing to instill patriotism in my kids.
There are many ways to socialize and educate the children about other religion. My kids are actively involved in volunteerism, sports and extra-curricular activities. They have won some scholarships and they have no problem to stand out in interviews. I am not saying this to brag about my children. I am saying this to emphasize, given the opportunities and flexibility to develop at their own pace, and the right support and guidance, any kids can shine and be excellent holistically. I am also not saying everything about school is bad. Neither am I advocating HS for everybody. What I would like to get across is HS should be a legal option for those who choose to pursue it. Just like any system, it does have its pro and cons. For our children, the pros outweigh the cons.
From: Joshua Kam
Well, today I was warmly greeted with this post, shared by a fellow home/un/schooler and friend of mine. I haven’t too much to say about the whole thing, so I’ll just pick a little quote that particularly got my gears turning. Hurrah for a caffeineless Tuesday morning! I claim little great coherence or didactic prowess here –just a few of my thoughts to post up before the day’s out.
“…chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim says home-schooling can be risky as children will grow up to be academically inclined. ‘Their social skills will not be honed. Their sense of patriotism will be low…they miss out on school team projects and co-curricular activities as they are not able to explore and shine as leaders in uniformed bodies, clubs and societies.'”
Because people always shine better on uniform bodies. Always. My dear Datin, unverified statements like those are really not convincing me of conformity’s wonders. I’ve met intelligent and awesome people from public schools, but don’t try to tell me it was all thanks to the system.
Let’s keep in mind that the public school as we know it is fairly new invention -just a hundred and forty years old, as I see it. The age-segregated classrooms, the uniform curriculum, the team sports promoted in the 1870s -all these were not attempts to build academic katanas NOR to inspire patriotism per se. They were build the imperial powers of Europe who wanted malleable students who grow into good soldiers, good clerks, and good order-takers. In their colonial assets, they wanted subordinates who could understand European languages –and take European orders in their offices. More importantly, these schools consistently bred loyalty to the STATE, which is very different from Loyalty to the land. That would be the moral equivalent of loyalty to the bikini instead the girl. Or the jockstrap instead of the boy, to be egalitarian. The later teachers and many of the education ministers have tried admirably to change elements of this, but the fact stands -public schools were not built to make sharp minds. It assumed some would be brilliant, and the rest would be ‘normal,’ and tried to strain children through that system and get the managers and clerks they needed.
And by the way -homeschooling was not a cocoon for me. There was and still is no escape from learning in my household. Intellectual, spiritual, and Ellah-forbid, SOCIAL interactions occurred around the clock -at lunches, over midnight cups of hot chocolate, on fields trip, on blooming vacations when you thought homework was DONE. Unlike school, we were not forced ‘out of home’ to ‘learn something.’ We were soaked up in an environment that made us curious about people and things and places. We weren’t taught to mingle only with forty kids exactly our age -we were taught to shake anyone’s hand, start a conversation with ease, and get along with pretty much anyone. We didn’t join uniform clubs: we built all the clubs that mattered to us. We didn’t attend too many ‘organized’ classes: we knew what we needed and designed our own. We planned events from the ground up -and earned our own funding. We created acting troupes, speaking clubs, and lab co-ops with people of literally all ages -and we got along. The notion that public school is the only way to “socialize” forgets that in a school, we deal only with students our age or thereabout. We aren’t taught how to bond with toddlers who aren’t our brothers. We aren’t taught to interact with adults who aren’t our family or teachers in informal conversation.
Well, schools do teach us to flirt with people our age: an art I sorely lack, though I could name basketfuls of home-schoolers exceptionally adequate in that department.
But back to it -homeschooling was a constant and rigorous activity that sharpened my spirit on one of the most brilliant and compassionate minds I know -my more than qualified Mother. She got a degree analyzing body language and interpersonal communications, so our house is basically like an episode of Lie To Me, minus the murders. Every day. If that’s not badassery, I’d like to hear what is. I’m not sure that a childhood of thirty-odd teachers who barely know me could have granted me the insights and critical skills I learned as a homeschooler. The good Datin forgets that while teachers may have nominal academic expertise, there’s no guarantee they can impart that expertise to each student, in the best way possible. Parents, however, know their children a deal better. Parents, and, more importantly, a community of parents, can exchange knowledge -a fairly cheap commodity- and teach it with heart -a resource too thinly spread and tightly budgeted in a public school.
So here’s to you, Mei Leng Lee. That’s my mom. I’m just not sure how to tag her like that.