Thursday, May 3, 2012

'Coz every parent is a teacher but not every teacher is a parent :)

The title of this post (which was an annoynomous quote I saw some time back) aptly puts how I feel towards home learning of any kind.

Being a homeschooler and a FTWM, I am often asked countless times how I do it and why I decided to take such a road less travelled. I started off signing to Dumpling as a means to communicate with her when she was really young. It then later evolved where it naturally took on a life of its own where I would read, sign to the books and this later extended to crafts. 

Looking back, I think that I was never meant to be the "sit back and outsource" kinda mum. There is nothing wrong with "outsourcing" but based on my Type A and active personality, I think anyone who knows me, will definitely agree that I can never be a "tai tai". :p

Baby Signing is a beautiful journey as it is simply amazing to be able to communicate with your child before she is able to speak. Tantrums were naturally reduced and frustration was knocked down many notches since Dumpling and I do not have to play any guessing games. Even when she was starting to talk, signing helped greatly as I was able to clarify her requests - "darling, do you mean 'doll' (signing to that) or "duck" (once again signing to emphasize the animal's bill)?" when she sounded the word out as "duh". It allowed me not only to clarify but also to re-emphasize the pronunciation with her.

As Dumpling grew older, we did try out some of the weekend "enrichment" sessions but they were somewhat not what I was looking for. I also wanted to be more involved in Dumpling's learning process and not just take a backseat. I wanted to discover the joy of learning with her and be part of that discovery journey.

So, I cannot stress how important it is for parents to be involved in the learning journey with our children. As one of my mummy friends shared, she was unaware that her child (3+YO)  was not able to recognise some numbers (lesser than 20) though he goes for daily classes in a preschool until she did some home learning activities with him using the Smurf Activity Pack which I created some months back. The school did not point this out and the teachers did not bring it up during the Parent-Teacher Meeting too.

I know that while keen, some parents may be hesitant and unsure about how to home learn with your children. So how does one get started?

Here are some quick tips:

1) Read, read, read
Have some quiet time with your child(ren) daily where you read together. Even if your child is starting to read, you can still continue your read aloud time with him/her and take turns in reading. Do not be too worried with the technicalities of "blending" etc. especially if your child is very young but just use these moments to build up the child's interest and vocabulary.

2) Do age appropriate activities
Depending on how old your child is, you can always extend with crafts or outdoor activities. I often include a field trip with most of our homeschool themes. These activities are not only fun for Dumpling but, I too, learn along the way.

Some sites which I have found to be useful for crafts are as below and many have printable templates too:

3) Child-led themes
I personally find it easiest to work around a theme and one that Dumpling is keen on. It is much more enjoyable if it is an area which Dumpling shows interest in and in turn, it is easier for me to gather resources - suitable books, printables, google for information, etc.

4) Multi-sensory activities
Where possible, I also try to include physical activities (e.g. field trips / outdoor activities) and food craft. Being a Baby Signing coach, I also have the habit of using short simple catchy songs in the Signing program where it is theme based too.

5) Google for ideas!
We are so "blessed" these days with the Internet where information is literally right at our finger tips. While homeschooling is not very common here, it certainly is not uncommon in the US.

Here's a list of websites that have free printables / downloads which I used to print off when Dumpling was younger before making my own materials:
Great for tot packs and has fun printables even based on cartoons and also preschool packs

Free printables for titles in the BFIAR and FIAR series

Free biblical printables too

One of my favourite sites :)

Free devotional printables + thematic preschool units!

Started by 2 mummies who are passionate about early childhood education, this site also has Math and Chinese printables

To end off, I wanted to add that I also had the priviledge to run some workshops and it always warms my heart to know that a mummy whom I have coached has discovered the joy of home learning / signing and that something which I shared in our sessions has made a difference in their journey. :)  

"It was a great experience to know what is Home Learning about. I have never thought that with one topic, we can have many creative ways to diversify to many areas like we can explore science together by growing some green beans, maths, logical thinking by picture patterns. I would like to commend on your efforts for the engaging activites you have come up with... It really takes time and effort to read more and to plan the fun activities... I have learnt some tips from this homelearning. Really an eye opener for me"
- Feralyn Leong, Mother to a 4YO boy


  1. Kudos to you. I doubt I could ever know how to homeschool my daughter though I'm not keen when she turns 7 and have to enter Pri 1. Will check out the treasure of resources that you've shared.

  2. My pleasure, ladies. :) Hope these are useful for you to start something meaningful with your lil ones! :)

  3. Awesome! Do you plan to homeschool through primary school years too?

  4. Fantastic post - great resource to compile those links :) You're truly an inspiration to me - to get off my mum and put into action doing all this homelearning stuff instead of going (to myself) "Oh, I thought of that too!" or "That's nice, we should try that some time!" !!!

  5. Hi Cindy,

    Firstly, A BIG THANK YOU! You are the first person I know and I do mean the very first to use the word "awesome" alongside "homeschool" when they realise what Dumpling and I do. LOL.

    To answer your question, hmmm... if Dumpling likes it in Primary school, then yes. Otherwise, we may consider continuing :)

  6. Hey Pamela,

    Thanks for stopping by! We should have a playdate then I can buy you coffee for such nice compliments! :)

    You may be surprised, homeschooling is addictive. Once you experience the bond, get to witness the magical moments and know that you are part of that journey, you may not want to stop! :)

  7. Hi. Came over from the blogging circle. :) Great stuff you have here. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Mumsgather,

    Thanks for stopping by. I am planning for more stuff for this blog too so drop by again! :)


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