5 Things to Know Before You Begin Homeschooling

It is so good to see how our community has grown and expanded. On the whole, the Malaysian home education movement has blossomed beautifully. With so many new families thinking about making the shift, I thought this would be a good time to summarise what I really want to tell new families.

  1. It begins with the parents. If you choose to home educate, you are essentially taking responsibility for your child’s everything. It is up to you to provide opportunity to learn motivation, it is up to you to help them make friends, it is up to you to help develop and shape their characters.This may sound scary but it is actually such a wonderful gift. It means you work on yourself too. It is unlikely that a bad tempered, irrational person will raise a calm and rational thinker. Choosing to home educate made me super aware of my biases, which then made me introspect and improve.
  2. It is a journey, not a destination. There will be good weeks when everything is easy and the kids get lots of meaningful stuff done. Then there are the bad weeks when someone is just cranky, unmotivated or uncooperative.One of the things I’ve come to realise is that our family has a rhythm and once we learned to recognise and work with it, it has been so much better. It taught me to accept lulls, restful times and idyll.
  3. Each family is unique. People often ask me how we how we do it. I am quizzed on our schedule, which syllabus we use, what activities the children do. I sometimes wonder if they think that replicating our situation will be some kind of magic formula. It isn’t. You have to make the decisions and choices that work for your family.Some families literally do school at home, with timetables, schedules, books and exams. Some do no bookwork at all and kids are free to do as they wish. We fall somewhere in the middle; I love math, literature and philosophy so I try to teach this to the kids. But it goes in fits and starts, some weeks, we just try to be nice to each other.
  4. It takes courage. This is no easy path. You will be questioned. And criticised. Make friends and be a good friend. I think spousal support is critical. There have been times when I have felt the weight of all the doubt and responsibility on my shoulders and wanted to quit. To take the easy path so I can pass the blame and work onto someone else’s corner. It would be so easy to have swathes of time each day in peace and uninterrupted. Then my husband will say something about how great the kids are doing, and that helps so much.Malaysian Homeschooling Tribe is an FB group. If you wish to join, please PM admin with the following info
    1. Children’s names and ages
    2. Who referred you to the group
    3. Brief description of your HS life
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/775467275907926/?fref=ts
  5. It ends with the parents. How well this goes will depend on you. I speak with brutal honesty here; if you are not the best person you could be and you’re not wanting to work towards that, think twice. If your default setting is to moan and nag, whine and complain, resent and grumble your child might be better of in a school room where he will most likely be ignored, which is better than being stuck at home with only one (sub par) person. I cannot stress enough that any parent who embarks on this path needs to approach the journey with love and kindness; for both child and self. Seeking self improvement goes hand in hand with raising better kids.

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Independence

Because we are home schooled,  the kids are super curious and love meeting new people. They are also fairly independent and happy to go off without me.  Before Cian was even 3, he decided to go with my uncle to his wife’s family in Bentong for an over night trip.

Now he’s almost 8 and his older siblings were desperate to be included in the fun; this year they were allowed to go to.  Here are some photos.

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Gotta love extended family!

Teach Your Monster to Read

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When I stumbled across the link in a google search, I laughed to myself for a minute before clicking. And I was pleasantly surprised. It’s British for a start and the kids instantly said they love the way the narrator speaks. Bern is disappointed that he is too advanced and Kiki says she’ll try it even though it may be too easy.

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Cian’s been on it for 45 minutes and cannot wait to have another go tomorrow. So if your child needs help learning to read, go check out Teach Your Monster to Read. Best of all, it is free for computers! I can’t wait to see how they kids take to this.

Complementary Health

On Friday afternoon, I moved three 100+kg pots of bamboo plus about a dozen smaller plants. All good. But on Saturday morning, I picked up my sewing machine from the bottom shelf and one of its rubber feet snagged on the shelf which caused a little click in my back. When I tried to stand after that, it was awkward. By Saturday night, I had to crawl up the stairs and when I did attempt to walk, I had the unmistakeable posture and gait of a Zombie.

My sister, who is a vet (because humans are animals too!), said I had most likely slipped a disc and I’d need an MRI. I did try and the husband drove me to Prince court at 10pm. The somewhat vacant Dr Ding offered painkillers and an MRI on….. drumroll…. Wednesday! There was no way I was going to amble around like a primate for so long, so I said thank you but no thank you and went to Gleneagles, which was so busy I decided to go home to bed instead.

Throughout the whole of Saturday I id my best to stretch my back (using the yoga poses I had learned form Shilpa Gatalia of Yogshakti in 2013) so that I could undo the click. That night in bed, I felt it. The relief was instant and I was able to stand and walk on Sunday albeit uncomfortably. I also looked like I was attempting some serious Kegels or carrying tins of Milo between my thighs, not even remotely glamourous.

By some stroke of luck, mum had booked an appointment with Alexis at One Osteo for today so I went instead. I’ve been many times before and I swear by it. After 40 minutes of being manipulated, I was dizzy and sore but the ‘rightness’ in my spine was indescribable.

While I have always been flexible and strong, even more so after my 21 day yoga course with Shilpa, I have always felt that my lower half of my spine lacked movement. Not anymore. I am a new person literally; I can physically feel it.

Bern has also benefited tremendously from osteopathy (his stomach muscles did not close until he was 10 and had his first osteopathic treatment with Florian Prucca who has since returned to France) and here’s my advice to HS families out there; if you are brave enough to strike out on your own in education, extend your courage to complementary health. Our health and well being as a family has improved from Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Homoepathy,Yoga and Osteopathy.

Don’t get me wrong, allopathic medicine is not evil or useless. I just think there are many things that can and should be dealt with more successfully with complementary methods.

Here’s a link to the people we rely on in case you’re interested

Osteopathy Alexis and Pierre of One Osteo

TCM, Acupuncture and Acupressure Yen

Yoga Shilpa of Yogshakti

Homeopathy Nicole Cunningham of Puraforce