We have officially started homeschooling Georgia since June and we're loving it! It was a very natural occurence that we went into homeschooling. In fact I had little confidence in homeschooling when I first heard it from my friend whose auntie has been homeschooling her two children. I thought it sounded a little out of this world and doubted how effective it would be. That was a few years ago. Now it is a different story for us. We tried it and we love it (I must warn you that it's not easy as it's extremely time-consuming! But the rewards are priceless!) It's going to be very lengthy post so please have some patience with me ^_^
I spent two years staying at home looking after Georgia when she was born. I also breastfed her (I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding!) till she was 18 months old. The two years staying at home with her was such special time. The bond between mother and daughter was so strong and of course with the daddy as well. I get to see how she grows, how she starting talking, how she take her first steps...those are just priceless. I went back to the work force when she was twenty months old. So we enrolled her in Modern Montessori International. Georgia learned a lot during her time at the childcare centre. The teachers there were great and she spent five days a week, almost twelve hours a day away from us. I missed Georgia terribly. But I had to help Andy to bring in some bread for the family too. Everyday we only get to spend less than three hours with her and I felt sad and guilty. Weekends became very precious for us. But that wasn't enough. So I made a decision to work for only two years (that's the duration of my contract), save up as much as I can and quit and be a stay at home mum again. It got so bad that I would always go to work with a guilt stricken heart!
I finally call it quits in May and then we pulled Georgia out of the full day program and enrolled her for only half day. The cost of her half day nursery school fees is more than the full day program! And she's only there for three hours. There is also my transportation fees to be taken into consideration too. In that month, I began doing research on develomental psychology, preschool teaching methods and parenting guides. Andy and myself have also started to think about Georgia's enrolment into Primary One when she turns seven (yeah we know it'll be another three years but we can't help planning for it). And one day when I was chatting with my neighbour, who has a son in primary one, told me that the school principal said that students who have scored over 70 for their exams should not be contented. If they have worked harder, they should score 100! What was that all about! Our society is results driven that a lot of students are missing out on the process of learning! I kinda freaked out the moment when she told me that. I certainly do not want my daughter to be so stressed out with her school work that she will have phobia going to school. I also cannot fanthom the idea of having to volunteer myself for the school just so that my daughter can have a higher chance of enrolling in it! What is that! Tsk. Tsk. Children are spending so much time in school and parents are away from home most of the day and where is that family bonding. A lot of school going children have to attend tuition after school hours because they are not able to learn effectively in school. So what does it mean? Is there a decline in our public education? Why is children spending so much time in school and yet they need tuition? Some took up tuition so that they can be ahead of their peers. Sigh.
That really got me started thinking about my daughter's education. Then one day Andy told me there was an article in the newspaper about homeschooling. I missed that article. I thought I'll go to the library and read about it. And the rest they say is history. I read up a lot on the subject from books and also from the internet. I realised that I like it. The basic reason why most parents started homeschooling is because of their love for their children. We all wanted our children to learn in a conducive environment and who says that home is not a place for learning. We parents are the best teachers for our children. We taught them how to eat, talk, walk, and of course we CAN teach them how to study. Most importantly we are also teaching them how to love and be confident about themselves.
There are loads of resources for us to teach our children. The internet is one of the best option. Books from libraries and also loads of activities books from the book store. I go to here, here and here for homeschooling information and free activities. Just google homeschooling and you'll get more. I also love this book called Einstein never used flash cards, ISBN 1-59486-068-8. It's written by developmental psychologists and is about how our children should learn to play more and memorize less. I highly recommend this book.
There is the question of socializing when homeschooling is concerned. First of all, we are not isolating our children from the world. They still play with their neighbours' children. They play with their cousins. They interact weekly with their grandparents. They chat with the shop keepers. They play with other children from the playground. There is certainly no lack of socializing here!
Andy and myself are parents who want our children to grow up wholesomely. They should not only be good in their studies but also have good morals and have great love for mother earth. With my decision to stay at home (with Andy's support) and homeschool Georgia, I will give her the best education. I am not so hung up about whether she can read now, or knows how to count to hundred or thousands or whether does she knows how to speak in different languages. What matters most is that she enjoys herself learning while playing, learning how to write in the air when sees sign boards, counting the numbers of M&Ms I give her, pretending to prepare a delicious meal for me or taking care of her numerous stuff toys and simply enjoy the many hours of reading that I do with her. I will never trade the time with her for anything in this world. ^_^
Besides learning her letters and numbers, Georgia learns about practical life skills. Here she is screwing the bottle tops.
Learning about the different types of materials.
Matching alphabets and numbers.
Putting the covers on the tupperwares.
I'll be posting regular updates on our homeschooling! ^_^