Many happy, eventful and fully lived-out years have passed in our humble homeschool and all too quickly, we are staring the end of our homeschooling years with our dear firstborn. I am truly blessed and I couldn't think of spending these years of my life in a more meaningful way. God's ways are not always easy to understand but in the doing of it, come the joy and blessings. My precious first baby is a young man now and it has been my privilege to be right there with him every precious passing day.
From 2007. Making his own pirate props.... He was 7 years old then! :) Check out my early blog entries.
In Singapore, the year our sons turn 18 yrs of age, they will be enlisted for National Service. Within a couple of months of their birthday, they will be enlisted. Unless they are enrolled in a school, that is. In that event, their enlistment will be deferred till they finish their exams.
Our firstborn son happens to be born in January. And this means that he will loose his entire 18th year to get an academic certificate if we were to keep him from public school. He is 14 now and, quite suddenly out of the blue one day, it dawned on hubby and I that we are quite squeezed for time to help him finish up his homeschool years with a certificate of some sort. In essence, we have from now till the end of 2017.
Three years left!!!
Only Three years left. :(
It has been a wonderful time of praying and planning together with our eldest regarding how he should be spending his remaining 3 years before the NS deadline. I've come to appreciate even more how very important it is that parents build a solid relationship with their children in the childhood years- a relationship of based on love and trust. Our dear son is also looking at the future, not without anxiety, but he is willing to trust us because he loves us and he knows that we love him and take his future very seriously. We have been praying and indeed, God who loves our son and has a plan for his life, has been directing our thoughts and refining the plan.
Homeschooling is a wide open path and there is no set route for any homeschooler- not even those of siblings in the same family! To date, I know of Singaporean homeschoolers who have gone the academic route (even to Stanford University), and some who have gone the vocational route (diploma in piano education, no other certificates and now teaching piano). Often it seems, the parent's inclinations and areas of expertise tend rub off on their children. Like the music teacher mom and her musically accomplished children. Some homeschoolers have gone on to pursue culinary courses, and some, go to the local polys. I guess the common thread here is: go with the God-given strengths of the child, work the system to serve that end.
If you have been following our blog, you will find that we have never placed academics like pursuing good grades for exams as the top priority but rather a well-rounded education. We love for the children to love learning and be passion driven in their learning. In our house, it's rarely maths or something "academic" that they are passionate about. Lately, the middle children have been sewing sock toys, and these few days, no. 3 has begun a knitting adventure. And I am so happy for that. So what if it's not going to contribute to his PSLE grade??? I have a young man who is excited to learn!That (the passion for learning) will take him through life. (But so much of society measures young people by their school grades. Knitting is a complete waste of time.)
The Boys and their own handsewn sock toys!
But I digress.
After going through several scenarios, Hubby and I have come to settle on doing the O levels and spreading it over 2 years (yr 16 and 17), giving our son a more spread-out exam load and hence giving him more time to explore his other passions. This is like what some in the normal academic stream do. Meanwhile, he will be finishing up a few high school level ACE subjects that I have chosen for him (Physical Science, Geography, Old Testment, New Testament, Life of Christ, etc..)
His to-do list runs very long! He wants to build a business, teach Sunday school, complete a triathlon, pick up the cello, just to share a few. On the home front, I need his help to teach the younger siblings, mop the floor, cook some dinners....
Photography and recently, videography, is one of no. 1's interests too.
His father is looking forward to enrolling him in Faith Bible Institute (FBI) which will take him through the bible over 3 years and we look forward to him being grounded in the Word of God even more solidly before he is "released" into the world. He is looking forward to FBI too! How Wonderful that he has a dad who knows what is the most important thing in education: being grounded in the living Word of God. AND he gets to earn a college level diploma in Bible at the end of it. *thumbs up*
He has typed out this to-do list and I told him that everytime he can tick off another item, that is a testament of God's grace to enable him to do that. So, we are happy for him to have broad boased learning (not all academic) in his high school years.
We are grateful to God for these exciting prospects. We have no idea how it will all pan out, how God will re-direct our path..... but we know that with God holding our hands, we are safe.