Q&A on Teaching Your Own

Question from Sugitha,

“This is great initiative, Wai Leng. I think it helps us all to learn from each other. I’m keen to ask 3 questions which are also relevant to the research I am undertaking on Homeschooling in Malaysia”:

1) How do parents lead children’s education in their homeschools?

Parents need to lead by example. We need to adopt a learner’s mind, to be curious, to be asking questions, to be very concerned about issues that affect our world – like the climate emergency that we care facing – and to be an active adherent and advocate for responsible living. This is applicable to every responsible parent no matter what your education choice for your children is.

2) What do parents do to ensure effective learning happens?

Effective learning happens when one is actively interested in something – it can be in architecture, nature, animals, culinary arts, anime, film-making, traveling, sports, dancing, music, writing, art, skating, baking, etc Interest do not happen in a vacuum. One needs to be put in an environment where the interest could grow. Just like a plant, it needs good soil, the right amount of sunlight and water to grow, so is growing a healthy child – one needs the right environment, the right support, and learning will happen as if by magic!

3) How do parent know if learning has been accomplished?

When we grow a plant, we will know if our effort has been successful by observing the plant periodically- is it sprouting well? Is it growing at a good rate? Does it need to be transplanted into a bigger pot of plot? Has it matured as a full grown plant? Similarly, we can make such observations in children. Are they continually showing interest in a subject/subjects? Are they spending more and more time engaged in their interest? Are they happily immersed in their projects? Are they continuously feeling excited and positively challenged by it? Have they managed to showcase their skills or knowledge through a book/photo/video project? Or a music recital? Or an art exhibition? Or a science/math/public speaking presentation?

My 16-year-old son has been unschooled since he was born – he was FREE to PLAY ALL DAY EVERYDAY at home as well as with his unschooling buddies who came to play together several times a week for several years until they grew up. They would play all kinds of games from playing with “weapons” made from cardboard themselves, to play-acting stories that they made up together. Now, they have grown up and their play has been transferred to playing musical instruments (namely the piano), making music together, writing, composing and performing their works privately as well as in public. Their favourite pastimes together is to group-watch classical recitals online, to play to one another via zoom, and to talk classical music and composers. Arian is still pursuing his writing in his room everyday – he plans to publish his work one day. He also collaborates with his buddies in film-making and script-writing. Oh and they do programming together, lovingly guided by a fellow homeschooling Mom! So yeah, they definitely share the same creative pond and make great companions due to their same interests all these years! Watching them being constantly excited about the things they love is just so gratifying because, come on, can you find any teenagers as “crazy” as these? I would think you would be hard pressed in finding them!

Arian showing his friend how to play the piano!

Question from Cynthia:

I’m planning to homeschool my kids (9years old and 7 years old). I am quite new to this homeschooling. But I would like to teach my own kids.

I appreciate if you can give me some advise as in what subjects should I start, and references. I’m looking at English, Maths and Science for a starter now, follow by geography and history after a year or 2. But not sure if I’m at the right direction.

Is it even possible to guide them all the way from home till they reach the final IGCSE exam or do they need some homeschooling centers to guide them in future? I’m not looking into international school.

Thank you very much. 🙂 your reply will be very helpful to me.

Hi Cynthia,

I’m happy to know that you are keen to embark on home-educating your kids 🙂 Before u jump into curriculum and stuff, it’s very helpful to list down the Why’s of homeschooling for you and your family. This will steer you towards the direction you might like to take, and the WHAT, HOW, WHEN will follow.

Remember that this is your opportunity to really make a change for your children, and to help them discover their interests and passion. It is an opportunity for them to be who they truly are, and to work towards realising their dreams (whatever they may be).

Do not fall into the schooling trap of trying to do school at home. Do not put yourselves back into the box when there is no box in the first place. Explore, experiment, experience learning for what it is – a joyful discovery, a meaningful connection with nature, a gratifying relationship with family and friends….

Do check out my education blog www.learningbeyondschooling.org

All the best and do check in here again whenever you need to :))


Wai Leng

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