News

Back to mainstream schools

For five years, Madam Ong Ling Chen homeschooled her two older children, in hopes of inculcating Christian values and fostering stronger family bonds.

Two years ago, the mother-of-four sent Danielle, 11, and Dillon, 10, back to mainstream schools.

"I used to coach them in all subjects, 'outsourcing' only classes such as swimming and piano," she says.

"But as they progressed academically, and as I had more children, I found myself less confident of teaching them, especially when it came to writing Chinese compositions," adds the 38-year-old, who used to be a primary school teacher.

The PSLE, which all homeschooled children have to take, updates its syllabus and testing methods regularly, she points out.

"I am currently not too aware of the examinable components. And if I have to send them to tuition classes, it kind of defeats the purpose of homeschooling."

The adjustment back to mainstream school was not without its hiccups, she reveals.

Danielle suffered from a bout of separation anxiety at first, which was solved by handing her a mobile phone to call home with.

"The teacher also made sure she had someone to go to recess with, which really helped," she says.

Both kids have to contend with longer days, as they wake up earlier and spend more time studying in the mainstream school system compared to homeschooling.

Still, she has no regrets, as these teething problems went away with time and both children are now well-adjusted.

With a brood of four to juggle now, Madam Ong says her younger two children aged four and one, are unlikely to be homeschooled.

"I would encourage parents to try homeschooling before the child reaches the age for attending Primary 1. Especially when you have only one child, it is manageable," she says.