"You have FIVE children and you teach them at home? I only have two and I can't even manage them. How do you manage????"
I have 5 children, aged 10, 8, 6, 4 and 17mths. I know my family is a bit of an oddity in Singapore. But actually, there are other Singaporean families like ours: large family, homeschooling and producing well adjusted children. :D
Here's a little peek at how we do it:
This morning, I had to bring hubby to the doctor and we brought the baby out with us, leaving the other 4 without an adult to supervise them at home.
Goal Oriented Supervision
Before leaving the house, we read the bible and prayed with the children. Then we gave them instructions on what they needed to accomplish through the morning and until we came back.
1. They had to put the clothes in the machine, and hang them out. (It turned out to be 2 full loads today.)
2. They had to be doing their school work: their PACE work and their chinese homework.
When we came home, we were happy to see the place hadn't burned down.
HAHA. no lah.
I was happy to see that the clothes were hanging to dry (could have been done better, though, I must be honest) and they were doing their work at their desks. I did hear some bad report of some arguing while we were away but nothing that we needed to handle. They resolved it on their own.
I was happy to find that they had gotten their 4 yr old brother ready for pre-school at heritage learning centre, that is got him changed to his uniform, got him to eat his lunch, fill his waterbottle, bring him across the road to school.
Routine and Practice
This might sound incredible to folks. I don't mean to brag but I know some families do find this very incredible that children can be left to themselves like that.
I'm not sure but I think it's because we don't have a helper in the house and we do these tasks on routine, daily. So the children have been trained and this is nothing new to them.
Naturally, the older the child is the more jobs he is able to do. When he can do a new task and move on, we start training the younger one to take up the easier task. Next big thing I want to teach the older children is to cook meals. The oldest is already cooking some instant noodles and eggs and such.
Basically, I'm working myself out of a job. heh heh.
Balanced View of Education
I'll get down to the crux of this, why children these days aren't like children of yester years. Children of yester years? Yah. Like the generation above mine. My mom always tells us how they had to care for their siblings, help out with the family business. They lived on much much less materially, yet they accomplished so much!
Our children in present day Singapore are so tied to performing at school like they are study machines. They have so much so that they can study and so much is done for them so that they can study.....
I'm glad we have stepped out of the system, study at our own pace and have the freedom to educate our children in all areas of life, not only academic. Public School, by and large, functions to prepare a child for a job. We want to prepare them for life, not just a job to fill a place in the machinery of economy and society.
All praise to God who guides us with His wisdom!