Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Should I homeschool my kids?

Think. Think. Think. Maybe I should just do it. The Nike style ;)

Mr O and I have discussed home schooling for quite some time. Again and again. And every time we discuss it, we will brush it off as an option that is probably too complicated for both of us. Truth is we have too much doubts on ourselves. It sounds so intimidating.

However, the conversation tends to come up more frequent lately. Especially when we face certain "recurring" issues. Like Emily's continuous struggle in school. Or Luqman's lack of interest in everything that has anything to do with school. Or my frustration of finding a "suitable" kindergarten for Medina that fits my requirement. Or Malaysian's crazy obsession with the exams. And the politician's fickle mindedness in deciding how the Malaysian education system should be.

The school has been a babysitter to me. I know my kids don't learn much but those hours that they spend in school gives me some breathing space. I "thought" it helps to keep me sober throughout the day. The only motivation for Luqman to go to school is his friends. The best part of school for him is time spent outside the class room. On the football pitch. In the canteen. Break time. Emily's favorite subjects are art, music and swimming. All the non academic subjects. From time to time Medina will refuse to go to school. With all sort of excuses. School is boring. I am too shy. etc etc etc. Some excuses sound lame, some sound more valid. So the only person who really enjoy school is Hajar. But again, Hajar gets excited about homeschooling too. She got excited about a lot of stuffs ;)

We thought they will change once we put them in a private school. It has been 2 years. There are changes. But the p value is probably insignificant. So I ask Mr O the same question again and again, should we continue? Should we change?

All that matter to me is they grow up to be a person who loves learning, loves what they do, find their niche to make the world a better place, and most importantly be happy. So does school help them achieve that?
Sir Ken Robinson doesn't think so. So does Muhammad Luqman Avicenna ;)

Last few weeks, I had a chat with 2 fresh graduates in my lab. Both graduated from Australia. Let's just call them A & B. After graduating from Australia, A applied for scholarship to do Masters in Monash Sunway but didn't get it. There were too many applicants. Lucky for him there was a vacancy in the technical department. So they offered him a job. But he still didn't know what he wants to do. So he's going to go with the flow. If he likes the job, he will continue. If not, explore other stuffs.

B is applying for a PhD scholarship. Still waiting. In the mean time, she's living on the Research Assistant's allowance. A measly $1700++. No EPF. No SOCSO. To supplement her earning, she does extra jobs like tutoring some kids at night. I asked her if she's really interested in research. She had no idea. Just going with the flow. But she's feeling the pinch. Living on your own in Klang Valley with that much income is tough.

I am pretty sure A & B are brilliant. Well, at least brilliant enough to get a government scholarship to study in Australia and graduated with a decent result. But they are struggling to make end meets. So how is it going to be for my kids in 10,20 years time? The quote from John Holt keep popping in my mind.

"Since we can't know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned."  John Holt

I have exactly 3 weeks before school reopen. Time to think hard. It's probably long enough for me to deliberate and let the thoughts ruminate. To talk to few people that have done it. To dissect all the pros and cons. To pray and listen to my kids. And my instinct. We shall see.

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