Forum: Homeschooling not a barrier to social integration

The Straits Times' July 6 editorial suggests that commonly structured regimes of study, play and multiracial and multi-religious interaction transform individuals into good citizens, and concludes that "schools must remain the primary site of education" (Schools are key to social integration).

The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on home-based learning (HBL).

For those of us who have homeschooled our children, HBL is familiar ground.

I am a former school teacher who homeschooled my children, the two youngest of whom are still being homeschooled.

All five of my children are well-adjusted individuals who interact comfortably and easily with neighbours, friends and colleagues from all walks of life regardless of religion or race.

There is a structured regime of study adopted by most homeschool families, and there are different homeschool programmes that cater to the different needs of a child.

The Ministry of Education's Compulsory Education Board screens all families who register a desire to homeschool their children, and closely monitors primary school-age children to ensure adherence to guidelines, educational progress and that national education is taught to a homeschooled child.

There is also no lack of social interaction in homeschooling. Some programmes such as Classical Education gather small groups on a weekly basis, while parents of other programmes gather on an ad hoc basis.

My children exercise regularly. In fact, my three older children exercised more regularly than their colleagues and church friends of similar age.

I know of a basketball team in a homeschooling community made up of homeschooled children and their neighbours who meet every Saturday morning.

Homeschooled children get personal attention that schools are unable to provide. As a result of the smaller class size, parents are also able to cater to the individual needs of their child, cater for differences, teach character and inculcate values.

I know many homeschooled children who are confident, well read, digitally savvy and possess self-discipline as well as soft skills, which makes them good employees and good citizens.

Tan Sek Jen

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