We in Singapore, we grow up in a highly structured environment. Everything we were taught in school was systematically taught to us from kindergarten up to the point we graduate. That is why, some parents, though they think homeschooling theoretically is a great idea, they feel afraid to take the plunge because they think they may some how be shortchanging their children and ruin their futures.
I'm not here to guarantee that homeschooling will always be a successful path- there are many, many variables to consider. I'll just share here one example of a learning journey we entered into somewhat haphazardly and to just document how our eldest son has been doing. It is a combination of things that happened, opportunities that were available to us, but above it all, I can only claim that it was the invisible hand of God moving in our lives.
It all started one Sunday Jan 2013 when a sister in church, Germaine, cheerfully handed me a bag. She told me that before she went for her company dinner function the previous night, she told God if she won anything during the table draw, she would give it to the Ongs. I am still so grateful for the loving and generous brethren of my church!!!
So, I think God planned this journey for us :) .... In that bag was this brand new Canon IXUS. And I decided to let the kids have it and I tasked DS1 to go and take some nice photos.
Very quickly, the boy learned to use the functions of this little camera and he started to take pretty amazing shots. This was a shot from the first few albums when he took it on his cycling trip to the Sembawang coast.
He learned to play the the special functions on the camera like color emphasis. The one below was from mama's shopping trip to Tekka market in Little India. I dragged all the kids along and he had a chance to play with the camera.
Flowers from the garden...
He got some nice shots when we went to Perth in June 2013. This is my fav shot!
But his favourite muse is of course, his baby sister.
Soon, I began to foist my dreams of doing short video skits on the kids. haha. Foist.
I thought it was a fun and interesting project that could get the whole family involved. Some could come up with the story line, some could act, some could film, some could edit.
But way before we got to that point, there were already several quiet starts to this part of the learning journey. We didn't know during those moments that it would be useful information some day....So, go out and explore broadly.
(On a separate note, I have noticed sometimes, homeschoolers become very cloistered and home bound. Partly the parent's personalities, partly the child's lack of motivation. I personally think homeschooling should be bigger and wider. If we wanted to be stuck in one place, we should have just gone to school. )
One such "quiet start" moment was watching the special, behind the scenes clips at the end of our Pixar DVDs. Those were really an eye opener as to how the creative process is communicated and produced.
Another one we remember was the Pixar exhibition which came to our Science Centre in 2010. We learned a lot from that too. So, field trips are a fantastic way to fire up the interest for learning. And we as homeschoolers, field trip as often as we can! (Budget constraints only. heehee..)
Yet another one was when we met a reader of this blog in Perth. She is an amazing young lady who decided to leave Singapore to study in Perth by herself initially. (Now her family is with her there.) And so wonderfully God planned it such, Michelle is someone who works in the film industry!
She was so kind to invest some time the next she was in Singapore and she did an afternoon course with us and other homeschoolers on how to make a Stop Motion Animation. There we learned how to do up a storyboard before filming. It really saves time! So, PEOPLE who are willing to share their expertise are another invaluable help that God sends on our learning journey.
We produced this based on what we learned from Michelle's session with us.
Oh yes, and another great thing that happened was the good papa invested in an iMac. I had so long been eyeing it for iMovie. Getting the right TOOLS are so important, without which, there can be little progress.
So after enough nagging about getting a video done, DS1 one evening had a sudden thought that he wanted to take very steady shot. And he thought of getting a hammer from the storeroom and attaching it to his camera to stabilize the movements. And it worked! Resourcefulness and Innovation! haha
DS3 had been making a rubber band ball and we were complaining one day how all the rubber bands in the house disappeared overnight. I thought it would make an interesting little storyline. And he also agreed to talk about how he made his rubber band ball in his British accent (gotten from watching TV, cartoons mostly. Like Peppa Pig). I can't wait for his comedy skits to be filmed!!! :)
So this was the first real video that DS1 shot and edited.
After this, he started learning more and more cost efficient (read: cheap) ways to make camera rigs and he found on youtube, that PVC pipes were the way to go. The very next thing, the papa goes to the hardware shop and buys many PVC pipes and lots of joints... and away the boy went, measuring and sawing. He would be muttering the measurements under his breath and it reminded me of me when I am sewing clothes. haha
So, supportive adults who encourage the child's interests and passions. Important! Don't quell their ambitions! (Caveat: as long as the ambitions are good and pleasing in the sight of God, of course.)
But but but.... there is no O level subject that is Videography! Is all this a useless waste of time?
Let's get out of the certification trap (majority of kids in Singapore doing the same things) and go with honing of specialized talents, building a portfolio and then see how it goes.
Note: I have found that this generation of learners are no longer words and print bound. There is a wealth of information in the form of videos out there on the internet.. for FREE. It's a great time to be a homeschooler.
He made a slider, a crane, and he got pretty carried away at some point and made a monster. But that's part of learning.
His interest now piqued, another opportunity presented itself in the form of an upcoming play that our church youth are putting up. DS1 volunteered to make a trailer to tell people about the play (advertise). I don't think the others knew what they were in for! haha.
Now the latest part in this video making puzzle is learning about filming (like the different types of shots and camera angles) and editing. This he also learned from Youtube.
Here is his storyboard (the first he really planned and worked on, colour coded and everything).
So he managed to communicate his ideas with his friends and get them to act for him. :) I am proud to say these two handsome guys are my homeschooled nephews! ;)
And right here, we so happy and excited to be releasing the SECOND trailer that DS1 created for the play.
The literature teacher in me is so happy that he extrapolated from the actual text to imagine Mordecai's reaction when the decree was passed. In school, we had to come up with all these exercises to help the students better understand the text. And here, my homeschooled son shows he understands the text well enough to do the same. :)
In this one project alone, he has pooled so much of what he has learned over the months and years together. Leadership and organising skills, conceptualizing, directing, filming, editing, choosing an appropriate soundtrack. And new talents too... acting! haha I never knew he could emote. LOL
As I said in the previous post, I am glad and proud of how DS1 is growing and developing. Homeschooling in the teen years is very exciting and fun! He is at an age whereby his learning has taken a life of its own and it has grown beyond me and my knowledge and abilities. And that's the way it should be.
For EVERYTHING that has happened on this journey thus far... I attribute it to our loving Heavenly Father who loves us and guides us with His eye. Thank you Jesus. I am so grateful I do not homeschool the children by my strength alone!
And so the journey continues, with the recent (last week!) acquisition of our first DSLR!!!!
Do come for the Esther play! ALL are warmly welcome!
13 Sept Sat 4-6pm, 14 Sept Sun 2-4 pm
Maranatha Baptist Church.