How I Ended Up Teaching The Youngest At Home

It was really unplanned.

The original plan was to let #3 go to childcare some time in the middle of this year. Based on this plan, we also felt that we wouldn’t need a full time maid anymore. So when the maid went home, we did not find a replacement. (We are currently still maid-less and intend to keep it this way.)

Lo and behold, the school sent out an email early this year, informing the parents of the new fees for 2010. And it was a HUGE jump for us. We would have to pay $150/month more than what we were paying for #2, and that was after some bargaining with the school. Otherwise, it would be even more. The school also imposed a condition – that we had to enroll #3 by middle of the year to enjoy the “lower” fee.

I was not pleased.

1. I was unwilling to pay more than $400 a month (+/- $10) for half a day of childcare. It was not just cos we were not made of money, but more so because we didn’t feel like anything more than this was justifiable.

2. I didn’t like to be told when to do it. If I felt like enrolling him next year, I wanted to be free to do so and not be held hostage by the school.

We thought about some possible options :

1. Accept the new fee and condition.

2. Negotiate some more – but I was not optimistic about this. Also, I wasn’t entirely pleased with the teaching done in school.

3. Find another school – To say that we dreaded school hunting would be an understatement. Besides, there weren’t many options around.

4. Teaching him myself at home cum signing him up for certain enrichment programmes where appropriate/necessary

5. Send him to a 2-3 hours kindy and supplement with coaching at home – cos we know what is being covered in a kindy will not be enough.

So for a while, we stewed on this matter, unsure what we should do.

Just about that time, I started following what a friend of mine was doing with her kids at home. That gave me motivation to start something with #3 too. I figured, since the condition imposed by the school was that I must enroll him by middle of the year, I could at least try teaching him myself for a few months to see whether it was workable or not.

All thanks to my friend, who pointed me to lots of resources, I started doing school at home with #3. After trying it for about 2 months, I felt myself gaining momentum and confidence about it. Since Dominic was a tot, I have considered the homeschool option. Up until #2’s time, I was still trying to do some homeschool but without much success. I even tried starting a dedicated blog to keep track of things but still, being pregnant with #3 at that time, and then subsequently, having to take care of a baby, I just couldn’t get it going.

This time, somehow things just went really smoothly, with help and motivation coming just at the right time whenever I needed them, and ideas flowed. Basically it went on quite effortlessly, very unlike the previous attempts. I took it as a sign that this was the right direction to go. There is the ‘grace’ for it somehow.

So we have been doing this for about 10 months now and I am very satisfied with the progress this year. My hubby commented that #3 learned much more at home this year compared to his brothers (at the same age) in school. We enjoyed “doing school” at home, although I would rather not say that we are actually ‘homeschooling’. Right now, the arrangement is still very tentative. We will review year by year. At the moment, we are doing well at home. If this continues, we may try another year and then review again. If not, the school is always there for #3 to go to. Unlike the serious homeschoolers, there is no serious commitment involved here. I might just change my mind next month and put him in school. Or I may keep him at home all the way until he goes to Primary 1. As I said, it is all very tentative right now. That’s why I am more inclined to say that I am ‘teaching him at home’ right now, rather than ‘homeschooling’. The term feels too much like a serious, long term commitment.

That’s how I end up teaching #3 at home.

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