While many of us who have been unschooling or homeschooling for a few years now may consider ourselves as “old-hands” more and more parents are only just beginning to hear about homeschooling / unschooling. Many of the things we take for granted are answers that some of these “newbies” are desperate for.
Here are some comments I’ve responded to on another wordpress blog. The original comments made on that blog by other Malaysian parents is in quote, followed by the other author’s response in black Italic and then my responses including the additional notes I wanted to add which are in grey.
I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of homeschooling …..it’s a big bad world out there and we have to be
“realistic” ~ A L Wong
It is a very daunting task that you have set for yourself and your kids. I admit that I would never have entertained that idea for a moment even.Partly becoz’ I need to bring back the bacon and also the mother of my kids is Chinese edu based and my kids live in a bilingual world.
The challenges will be immense and I do pray and hope it will turn out well for you and the kids.
Please remember we live in a world based on academia and paper qualifications. However much we rail against it and disagree with it, it is still a capitalistic world where earning and living a comfortable life entails doing well in a given job or occupation.
I never knew you hated school that much or that you did poorly at uni. You did really well in all the public exams and wrongly assumed it was a breeze for you. How presumptious of us ‘all knowing parents ‘ huh.
Homeschoolmalaysia’s response :
A L Wong, as my favourite uncle, I am honoured that you took the time to read. I appreciate the concerns and I admit that I too have the same reservations. However, the world is constantly changing and we cannot know what the future will bring. However, I sense that those who can see material things for what they really are, ‘possessions’ will have a slight advantage. This is one of the things I hope to impart. Having a big semi D, two cars and designer bags do not equal being happy. Furthermore, these things are not the only manifestation of a ‘comfortable life’.
Liking yourself, an unending desire to learn and and open mind are more likely to lead to true happiness. Family, good friends and a responsible attitude combined with a sense of accountability also add to this.
Just a note, I don’t resent mum/dad/any parents for their assumptions. I think it is perfectly acceptable for parents to think they are doing their best for their kids. I don’t know any parent who would deliberately put their child in a situation that would make them unhappy. My immense dissatisfaction with school just means that I want something different for my kids. It is in no way a ‘comment’ on my parent’s parenting.
Englishforasians’ response :
If there is one thing I’m going to teach kids is to (well yes, I am a teacher) NEVER treat education and learning as a means to a paper degree or that base term, “earn a living”. This is the 21st Century. Economics have changed and Wong is right about the fact that Business decides the shape of education. There will be a fallout, a big, bad fallout in 20th Century Industrial Obedience schooling (read my post on The Dropout Economy) simply because we are in the midst of a Revolutionary Economy.
Like many our generation, our parents framed our future based on their past, based on the ships they’ve missed. It is incumbent upon us, those slightly edumacated and living in the wake of an Information Revolution, to leverage upon the relative abundance of information to be better informed than our parents have been about predicting trends for the future we are supposed to prepare our children for.
Nana says :
i wish i can do the same like you – home school my children. it is my dream but at the pace that we are now (in monetary terms), i won’t be able to leave the work for now and home school my children. i can only do that at night and during weekend. truly agree that malaysian education system produce mediocre students. i was one of them! i was timid and shy to express my criticism and sometimes i rather keep quiet that voice of things that are not correct in public. it was a shame, at least for me.
keep writing and sharing your home school experience with us. God’s willing, one day i can home school at least one of my younger children.
Englishforasians response : God is willing, that is why millions are homeschooling. We are, the Resistance. I believe you will end up homeschooling and you will experience, like many unschoolers have, that the Will of the Universe will support you in all your needs. Ask, and it is given. The duty to raise our children, our gifts from God, to be all that they can be is above and beyond the material call of life.
Many unschoolers have found ways not only to make a living but to eventually make an even better living due to the blessings of a homeschooling journey. Homeschooling isn’t about curricula and revenge of the “fallen”, it’s about a revolution in how we rethink society, starting with families, beginning with ourselves.
Additional note : I am truly concerned about the wider implications of our intention to help illuminate the problems 2oth Century Education has had on our lives, our economic possibilities and re-creating that for our children.
The “prosperity mindset” or as T.Harv Eker puts it, our “Money Blueprint” is woven into our lives more intricately than we would like to believe. We should focus on money, not a lack of it. I think parents who “cannot afford it” are the ones who would benefit the most by Homeschooling because it would force them to examine and rethink their entire lives and how their choices will be the model that will impact the future of their children. We live in a time when degrees have become a symbol of The Dropout Economy – should our children continue to take the same path and suffer the same consequences as the young adults today?
Wisely says : What the legal aspect of pulling out a primary student from normal school? Is the process lengthy and difficult?
Vivian says : May I know more about homeschooling? I have a son and am not sure where to send him for school. I like Chinese school for its competitive environment but at the same time I hate the piles of homework that he may have to do. I think it is crazy for a child to have no time to play and all they do is just home work and more of it.
I am also very concern of the quality of our education in Malaysia. I hope someone will enlighten me about homeschool and how it is done and where I can find more information in KL area and yes! The legal expect of it – how to apply for exemption to do homeschool program should I wanted to enroll my son in homeschooling?
Can I get some information of how to do home schooling? I remembered someone told me we have to apply for exemption from the education minister if we want to do homeschooling for our children?
Please enlighten me?
Suki says :
My husband and I want to take our kids out of Chinese school and put them into an international school at some point. But we want to home school the kids for a year during which we plan to travel. To keep up with their education on the road, we plan to “homeschool” the kids. Any thoughts? When would be the best years to do this gap year? They are starting Std 1 and Std 3 in January 2011. What do you need to do to begin homeschooling? Get MOE’s permission? Thx.
EfA’s response : If we go to a restaurant, we are not happy with our meal, we walk out and say next time we’re going to another one. This is your child even more personal than a meal.
The reason for compulsory schooling was an Industrial model to disallow parents to sell their children as child labor and to instill nationalism and industrial discipline at a time when cross-border migrations were frequent and wars happen every few decades. School was a training ground for the military (obedience, discipline) as well as factories (get used to routine, unrewarding work).
Back then children’s rights was a newly conceived idea and children had no legal defense against parents who sold off their future prospects to chimney sweepers. However, I highly doubt that postmodern, Information age, college-educated, middle-class parents mean to harm or disadvantage their children by unschooling them. The opposite, however, is true : parents want to protect and incubate their children from a dysfunctional society created by the Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
By the way, the Minister of Human Resource Development in India Kapil Sibal (with responsibility over education) officially recognized and affirmed homeschooling as a legal educational option in all of India.
If a strange man showed up at my door and asked for my laptop saying it is deficient and needed to have software and antivirus installed unto it I would not for a second hand it over to him. If he said he was from the government he’d have to drug me and shoot me on the spot otherwise I’d scream HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE if he compelled me with jail to take my laptop away. If we are not willing to even surrender our laptop, why are we surrendering our children to be abused under an Industrial School Model? If we are not even willing to have our laptop smashed by the government then why are we willing to have our children’s future smashed by the same body?
If we are not willing to even surrender our laptop, why are we surrendering our children to be abused under an Industrial School Model?
Please rethink the idea of democracy and the idea of government. Government is not some faceless authority policing us and ruling us with an Iron Heart. GOVERNMENT is a collective of parties WE VOTED INTO and which we may very well VOTE OUT OF. If they are not doing their job in educating our children’s future at least allow us to prevent our children from being miseducated by a Fallout in Education coming very soon to a theater near you.
Rather than prosecuting educated, middle-class parents who can at any given moment do a better job than any random state-trained teacher the the ruling government, whoever they may be, should be GRATEFUL that we are not being berkira asking for our part of our taxes to be paid back to us instead of going into “multibillion dollar school reform budgets.” We understand that some of those taxes need to go towards state-funded education of children whose parents do not have the wherewithal to educate them with a more organic and empowering learning environment. Sadly, we also understand that those taxes are going to state-funded schooling that perpetuates the Myth of Schooling preparing thousands upon thousands of students for the Past.
Seriously, if anything, the Education Ministry should be grateful that we are not prosecuting them instead for a stupidity that has caused our nation billions of dollars in unrealized revenue and hundreds of millions more in emotional and psychological duress.
Mediocrity, conformity – How Public Education Cripples our Kids, and Why.
Ila says : I hope I can be strong enough not to conform to society when I become a parent later in my life. and oh yeah, like you, I discovered that Malaysian education system really just produce mediocre student. They don’t provide real remedial education to the lower ability students and just look at the non-existence of our enrichment schools. eventually the gifted students don’t have a chance to be polished and being pulled down to become like the rest and its hard for the lower of the strata to climb up. what have become of them? look at our society nowadays. the system and some of the teachers have failed them.
pgunsanad says :
like nana, i too wish to same and hope that i will be able to find the way to do so….how?i’m not sure myself…i’m a teacher and hv been one for 17 years now…frankyly, it is not an easy job…we are confined to follow the syllabus and, yes! very exam-oriented…we dont like the system n in fact condemning them everyday,sighing every time we completed one class..not because of the inability of the students to grasp what they learned that day bt the fact tht we are pretending that the students have done well in their tasks…we are forced to teach and train students to excel in exam bt at the end, the students didnt learn the skill t survive in the real world…nowadays are even worst, students are forced to take up subjects which are their interest and beynd their ability,why?to fulfill the requirement that 60% of the students shud be in science and n only 40% art…and tht can be very demanding figure for most rural sch…seeing this scenario together with the situation in sch…i fear fr my children…i hope and pray there will be some way for me to quit my job and embark into the journey of beyond learning for my children…~ pgunsanad
Josephine says :
It sounds good to study at home, but i worry abt the curriculum the govt has set up for compulsory activities for every student in order to get marks. Another thing is abt the social skill, what if the student study at home but can hardly train up him / herself for social skill? ~ Josephine
Ruby says :
I would like to send my 15 year old daughter to home school. She is currently in government school but is extremely unhappy with the whole system. I would still think is best that she finish her PMR this year and move on to a home school next year. I just wonder if it is too late to move her to a home school. I am worried if I am making a big mistake. ~ Ruby
Anna says :
Stumbled upon this site while looking for alternatives. My 11-yr old son who’s in Primary 6 has just been told that he can’t sit for UPSR this year because he’s underaged. I’m dumbfounded. I’m angry. Whilst its good to read so many successful stories being shared online, I’d really like to speak and meet with someone who can help me find the light at the end of the tunnel. ~ Anna
Lily says :
I thought I was STUPID all this while.. the truth is, the system make me believe that i’m stupid… examination over examinations.. and teachers call me problematic simply because I don’t SCORE A all the time… I want to start homeschooling thank you for motivating me.. LOVE YOU ~ Lily
Coleen says :
OMG. reading ur story is like looking back at my life!! i SO. HATED. SCHOOL. i was called ponteng queen coz i’d routinely skip school on monday and fridays. and sometimes in between. i developed the art of psychosomatic illness. i’d rather stay home and read my dictionary or story books or encyclopaedia than tolerate the school. from kindy. anyhow… looking fwd to chatting. cheers!! ~Coleen
EfA’s response :
Murray N. Rothbard explores the history of compulsory schooling to show that none of this is accident. The state has long used compulsory schooling, backed by egalitarian ideology, as a means of citizen control
The curriculum is politicized to reflect the ideological priorities of the regime in power. Standards are continually dumbed down to accommodate the least common denominator. The brightest children are not permitted to achieve their potential, the special- needs of individual children are neglected, and the mid-level learners become little more than cogs in a machine. The teachers themselves are hamstrung by a political apparatus that watches their every move.~ Murray N. Rothbard Education: Free and Compulsory
Murray is not alone. John Taylor Gatto gives some context on why we all, parents, students and teachers have so much Against Schooling.
—————————————————————————————————————–I hope that by compiling these comments and then adding to them it will be useful for parents, teachers and students who have also dropped by this blogsite to know that they are not alone.
Do add your comments if you have any to further this conversation. – Sloane