By Dawn Fung, Founder of Little U
My earliest definitions of homeschooling were hazy. They were representational, based on first impressions. After meeting three homeschooling families, I decided that their way of life was happier. Because I liked what I saw, I envisioned homeschooling to be synonymous with well-adjusted, big families. And because of my background as a teacher teaching the local syllabus, I thought of homeschooling as also academically oriented. So the idea was that if I were homeschooling, I would be developing a big family around academic goals in the home and beyond the home.
When I researched homeschooling, I found that homeschooling defied definitions as simplistic as the one that I created for myself and that through history, homeschooling has come a long way. It has become a sophisticated patchwork of teacher-led pedagogical reform for parent education, parent-led curriculum to self-directed work by children. I have seen homeschooling families use a wholesale school curriculum to carry at home, design world travels and vocational experiences around their needs, and create accelerated academic environments for their precocious children. I have seen enterprising individuals start microschools for their homeschooling communities, do projects with local and international partners, forge hybrid pathways across schooling and homeschooling environments. I have seen homeschooling families fall out of love with homeschooling, come back to homeschooling, graduate from homeschooling. I have met and mentored homeschooling teens and alumni who loved and hated homeschooling. I have heard teachers praise homeschoolers for being unconventional, interesting students. I have heard other school teachers who condescend homeschoolers for being unacceptable and socially isolated. It is difficult for me to imagine a more beautiful and diverse educational world than the homeschooling world. It embraces expats, locals, neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals with ease. More importantly, homeschooling children and parents are often happier learners compared to their mainstream counterparts. At least, they have a clear idea of what education should be for themselves, and they have tried their best to pursue it.
What modern homeschooling is definitely not: a relinquishing of parental oversight in education nor a regress in parental education by outsourcing duties to others. Unless the parent is highly negligent, homeschooling deepens a parent’s involvement in the child’s life. It fosters a keenness in the homeschooling parent to be as fully present as possible. Being a fully present parent is difficult to sustain in busy Singapore. But truly, it is the best thing for your child who needs you the most in their earliest years.
What I have discovered is that homeschooling the preschool years is probably the most accurate and developmentally sound starting point in homeschooling. Raymond Moore, one of the two founders of modern homeschooling, advocated for preschooling children to be at home rather than be separated from their parents to go to school. It was proven to Moore, a homeschooling father, a school principal, superintendent and national education officer, that all evidence in early childhood showed that very young children required their parents to be around for them, and to develop them in a secure and safe environment. The home was the ideal learning space. The first principles in homeschooling the preschool years, therefore, have nothing to do with academics. They are all about establishing the adults’ parenting identity, their parenting muscles to care for the whole child, and designing a congenial environment at home to educate their own. In short: Homeschooling the preschool years has everything to do with a healthy parent-child connection that only time (in abundant quantity) can afford.
The trend in the preschool years now is that it is normal for very young children, even from birth, to go to school. Early schooling is a popular service for working parents and parents who desire relief from caregiving. Early schooling is now an indispensable part of life. It will stay because it will always be needed. There is nothing wrong with such a service. I have been a working parent who put my preschoolers in schools because I could not afford to take off from work, nor was it financially viable to do so. I was very grateful that there were schools near to my workplace and home so that I could choose, and for teachers who cared for my children. Single parents, grandparents who are the sole caregivers and foster parents are also important demographics whose needs can be met through early schooling services. Early childhood intervention is empirically proven to benefit children, and it can be offered by vendors and by the parents themselves through homeschooling.
Diversity is always good for the greater education landscape. As a parent who has put my preschoolers in school and who homeschooled them in the preschool years, I see value in both approaches. I understand as an educator that the best environment is one where the child has access to wide learning opportunities and healthy socio-emotional support. Still, my parenting heart and educator’s loyalty leans towards the child. A child is happiest when a loving parent or the main caregiver is present to see him smile, play and learn; and this is where I want to invest my time to develop.
We designed the Little U Preschool to guide you in :
- parent leadership
- psychosocial support
The Little U Preschool program focuses on parent education as the heart of the early years. We believe that if you, the parent, is equipped in the right way, your child will benefit. As you grow in sensitivity to your children, you will find the right help eventually, because you know yourself and your children well.
When you have a firm foundation in your parenting philosophy and a strong community to help you get to where you want to go, your children will thrive. The Little U Preschool is suitable for homeschooling parents and schooling parents who will commit to long term contact time with the community to reach desired competencies (life skills and abilities). This will enable us to support you in designing a great preschool experience for the family. And yes, your children will have fun learning, playing and growing up together.
Pls find out more about our Little U Preschool here.