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Homeschooling in Malaysia:
A Complete Guide
All you need to know about homeschooling and how to get started.
4 minutes read
Homeschool, A Trending Mainstream Education
Homeschooling is relatively new to Malaysian as the majority of students are enrolled in traditional national school and international school.
However, homeschooling is getting popular and becoming an attractive alternative for many families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People used to think
homeschooled kids are more creative and do better in university;
homeschooled kids lack social skills.
It is undeniable that the community has many misconceptions and prejudices against homeschooling. But in reality, homeschooling in Malaysia has been changing drastically over the past decade.
It was considered a radical choice as it opposes the teaching method in traditional schools. As time passed, homeschooling rapidly gained popularity and became accepted as one of the mainstream education methods.
Many factors come into play when parents decide if they want to homeschool their child.
Here, we will be exploring homeschooling in depth. By the end, you shall clearly know if you should consider homeschooling your child. Click to navigate to your favorite topic.
Should I consider homeschooling my children? Is homeschooling suitable for my child?
No matter if you decided to educate your children yourself or to hire a private tutor to teach them, the main purpose is to ensure your children learn both mainstream education syllabus and external knowledge in the most suitable way possible for them.
In Malaysia, there are a couple of deciding factors why parents decide to homeschool their children.
The major reason is due to the parents no longer believing the current school system as the place where their children can learn and grow healthily. If your child prefers to stay with their long known friends and friendly national school environment, they might enjoy studying there.
If your children suffered from any form of harassment or bullying problem, they probably would be scared to attend classes. They might find it hard to socialize in the existing school environment. If the issue continues, it probably does more harm than good to your children. Homeschool could be a viable option.
Homeschool for your own children is very time consuming. Even if one of the parents is not working, it is still a challenge to squeeze time to plan and execute the plan.
In order to ensure your children are educated properly and successfully, it requires a lot of effort. If you decided to hire a private tutor to ease the burden, it could strain your family’s finances. However, homeschooling gives you the freedom in designing the lesson, giving out homework and preparing tests for your children.
Some parents decided to homeschool their children for a short-term when they are on a work trip to somewhere outside the nation.
For example, one of my friends, who is a lecturer, was on a research trip to Spain for three months. He brought along his wife and two little kids at primary level. There, instead of enrolling them to local school, he decided to homeschool their kids using Malaysia curriculum.
What to expect in a homeschool?
What a child might find in a homeschool setup is a lot!
A successful home school let your children learn not just the local syllabus, but explore the entire world.
There are classrooms everywhere. The kitchen, your relatives and friends, grocery store, the park near your place, swimming centre, local artisans and e.t.c. There is no limit to where and from whom your kids can learn.
It is about curiosity and finding answers. Homeschool gives parents a chance to dissect a subject from all angles. Once the children find a topic that they are interested in, they then spend more time and find their own way to learn more about it. Now with easy access to the internet, they can easily get all the information they want and even exceed the knowledge of a school teacher!
In traditional school, not doing well in exams is usually associated with failure. In homeschool setup, failure is a chance to improve. Homeschooled children learn at their own pace in a less chaotic environment, with more control over a topic.
Every child has his/her favourite subjects. Parents have the freedom to allocate time they spend on each subject to ensure the child is learning effectively. For instance, in history lessons, a tour to local museums or historical places, a field trip to the zoo to learn about animals and visiting a cultural village to learn about religion and culture.
Homeschooling encourages kids to be independent. Unlike a teacher who feeds all the information in fixed and predefined bundles for the sake of learning, homeschool helps students to discover answers on their own.
Pros and Cons of homeschooling in Malaysia
There are many factors to consider before decided to go for homeschooling. I am listing several pros and cons of homeschooling your child.
Whether to homeschool your children yourself or hire a private home tutor, the main purpose is to ensure your children enjoy every single moment in learning and gaining the most out of it.
In a homeschool setup, children learn something new from real-life experience. They tend to remember it. They learn way lesser things by cramping all the facts and notes into their head the day before an exam.
Homeschooling allows you to foster bonding and share your values with your children. Instead of constantly monitoring their homework, school examination performance, and fighting over curricular and co-curricular events in school, you can discuss the next field trip, listen to your children on the finding they did on a subject or argue over something that has nothing to do with academics.
In traditional school, children have a high tendency to follow their friends due to peer pressure. They might bring home values that you dislike. In homeschool setup, parents always teach their children based on their own values and beliefs.
The duration of study is flexible. Children do not have to go through every chapter that they already know. The time saved can be spent on improving other topics that they are not doing well on. Unlike the fixed schedule in traditional school, home school allows you to customize a study plan that suits your child’s learning pace.
If the child is learning fast, that means that they can take on the exams sooner and enter a college or university at a younger age as compared to their peers. If your child is aiming for IGCSE and A level exams, he/she can decide which subjects and when to sit for.
From the flexibility you get from homeschooling your children, you are able to plan for family vacation. Instead of limited by the fixed school holidays, you can arrange your travel plan to dates that are most suitable for your family without worrying for long queues at entrances and squeezing through people at holiday hotspots.
If you decide to homeschool your children on your own without hiring a private tutor, it helps you to save up extra money for your children’s future educational fund. In Malaysia, private international school could be costly, hence homeschool is a cheaper option.
Last but not least, studies show that homeschoolers do well in their academic. In Malaysia, homeschoolers are typically score 40% higher above public school students’ average mark on national SPM exam. Is this true for international schools as well.
Homeschooled children are less socialized compared to their peers. Homeschooled children are staying with their parents and siblings most of the time. The kids studying in a classroom of 20-40 pupils have plenty of chances to interact with their classmates on any topic. Besides, students in school are free to participate in clubs and sport teams they like. For homeschooled kids, it’s the parents’ responsibility to ensure their kids have sufficient social engagement.
Homeschool is extremely time consuming. It requires a lot of planning on the lessons to be taught, as well as the schedule. It doubles or tripled if you have more children! It is not 1 day work, but a few years of continuous homeschool lessons. Persistence is the key to successful homeschooling.
As children grow and the subjects are getting challenging for you to deliver, getting a home tutor is a viable option. The burden is reduced, but the family finance will be getting strained. If you’re aiming to help your child to pass an exam so he/she can get into a college, getting a home tuition is an effective way to do it. For IGCSE level, the home tuition can cost up to RM80 per hour for a single subject. For a 1.5 hours lesson, 1 lesson per week, 4 times a month home tuition, the estimated tuition fee is RM480 per month.
How to get started with homeschooling?
After knowing the pros and cons of homeschooling and if you have decided to homeschool your children. It’s time to get started.
Setting an academic goal at the very beginning is the first step. Research about the curriculum that you wish to follow. For example, IGCSE, GCSE or the national curriculum.
Let’s say you prefer to go with IGCSE homeschooling. Your children are expected to take IGCSE Exam as a private candidate. Here are some research questions that you need know when you plan out your homeschool learning plan:
What is IGCSE and how can your children benefit from it in future?
What is the registration requirement and how to apply it?
What is the syllabus and subjects the student needs to prepare for?
What are the exams going to be like?
Where to find teaching and learning resources?
Private candidates have to register to sit for IGCSE exams via a Cambridge exam center. Usually, exam centers are private schools or institutions that are registered with Cambridge International as exam centers.
Exam centers are usually located in certain areas. You may find a prep center near you to register and ask for more information.
Once you’ve decided to do the IGCSE exam two years from now, you need to decide on which subjects to take on for the exam with your child. There are more than 60 subjects listed, and more than 20 recommended subjects in normal international schools. You need to find out their interest and career path, and suggest to them the subjects they need to excel in order for them to fulfill their dream.
Once you have the subjects chosen, the next stage is to get started with correct resources and start designing the lesson.
Some parents might question themselves if the lesson they deliver suits their child, if they are a good teacher. One way is to listen to the advice of other parents who had successfully homeschool their children. Join homeschool support groups to seek for more information on homeschooling would helps newbie parents to teach their kids.
There are a lot of things to consider before you decide to homeschool your child. In Malaysia, homeschooling is getting popular and accepted as one of the mainstream education programs.
Spend some time to do research on the homeschooling to check if it is the right choice for you and your child.
It is a tedious work, but I assure you that you will not regret it at the end of the day after seeing your child enjoy learning new things everyday.
If you wish to hire a private home tutor to homeschool your child, you can consider our homeschool service. GoLearn is a professional educational consultant who provides home tuition service in Malaysia. In the meantime, we also help many happy parents to match with their desired homeschool teachers in Malaysia.