Sunday, 21 April 2013

Questions and Answers

A reader wrote to me and had a few interesting questions for me. I decided to post them over here for the benefit of others, who may have the same queries.
(1) During your experience in homeschooling your kid, especially the Montessori way with the materials - what obstacles or difficulties do you face? Was it easy? How was it like?
First of all, i would like to emphasize again that i am not fully homeschooling my kid. Although i did homeschool sonshine until he was about 4 years old.
My toughest challenge was probably learning to let go. In Montessori, the teacher is to follow the child's lead and must be prepared to pull away & stop the activity if the child shows no interest. This was reallly difficult for me initially.
When you spent so much time & effort planning the activities for your child, it is natural that you would harbour high hopes that your child will receive your lessons with enthusiasm. However, this is not always the case. At times, he will show no interest and that can be very discouraging and disappointing. The natural reaction in me then was to insist that he continued with the lesson. Of course, i was received with more resistance which made me more infuriated. It is suffice to say that we both had a very stressful time.
Fortunately, i was able to get hold of myself by pulling myself away from homeschooling for a week. I only re-started our lessons when i was absolutely certain that i could let go. It was extremely tough but i did it. From then on, there was no looking back for Sonshine enjoyed our homeschooling time very much & always have been eager to start lessons with me. I learnt the hard way why it is important to be child-led.
I think it would be easier if our relationship was purely teacher-student relationship, but i am not just the teacher but also the parent. It was hard to play the two roles simultaneously- that was another struggle i had to overcome. As a teacher, you'd have no intention other than to educate the child. But as a parent, you have more desires and expectation other than just to teach the kid. It's a whole different ball game here.
As of this moment, my biggest challenge is to teach Sonshine with a toddler who also vys for my attention. It is really hard to find a time where i can just have some quiet one to one moments with him.

(2) What kind advice would you give to parents that wish to homeschool their toddlers at least before kindergarten or primary school. Any encouraging words? : )

Do it only if are truly passionate about homeschooling. Otherwise, it will take a toll on you and maybe even hurt your relationship with your child. Homeschooling involves alot of preparation work, the process can be quite tedious (and i am not even doing this full time!). You must enjoy planning, researching and making the materials for your kids or else it will be difficult to keep it going. What kept me going for so long is because homeschooling gives me intense satisfaction, more than any jobs i have ever had. 

Set very clear objectives and be very realistic about it. They are young kids after-all, don't expect the moon & the stars from them. Instead, expect that there will be days where they will lose focus, have short attention span, have no interest or maybe even throw up a tanturm. Give yourself allowance for such days. Be cool about it. Take a break and try it again later.

Have a clear plan how you are going to homeschool. Choose a methodology/curriculum that suits your family, decide which part of the day is the best for homeschooling, where are you going to do it (in the room? dining table?) etc.

Homeschooling pre-schoolers is, really, easy peasy (provided if you love doing it in the first place of course). Seriously, how difficult is it to teach the ABCs and 123s, apart from the preparation? You don't need to revise much in this case. It is actually VERY fun to home teach toddlers in my opinion. The educational games you can play with your kids- oh! So many ideas out there! SOOOO much fun!  Go for it, if everything i said sounds like a blast to you. I guarantee you, it is fun stuff and no other career can give you this kind of job satisfaction.

3) Also, what kind of products and services you wish you have had that would assist you previously to make your journey a more pleasant one?
None! LOL! I am very blessed i have everything i need in my homeschooling journey! That said, here are some of my basics 'must-have' for homeschooling preschoolers:
1) A computer with Internet access- of course! The Internet is heavily pregnant with a pool of ideas for teaching toddlers. SO MANY! There's no need to fret if you are not the creative sort; just look through the Internet- the curriculum is already written out for you!
2) Printer- This is necessary if you intend to make your own materials. Get something that can tolerate medium-range heavy duty printing. There are alot of printing to be done if you are going to make your own stuff.
3) Laminator- i lived without one for years and when i bought it, i almost wanted to kill myself for not buying it earlier. It helps to make your materials durable and prettier!
4) Household items. Don't throw away boxes, bottle caps, egg cartons etc so readily. These things come in very useful for home teaching- so economical!
You are probably waiting for me to name some Montessori materials. Well, i am going to name none. You don't need to own any Montessori material to teach Montessori at home. There are alot of free printables out there (and that is why a printer is SO important) that you can use, lots of materials can be EASILY made. So, no, there is really no need to purchase any.

I do think i have ALOT more to say but i guess this is the best & most concise answer i can give- while entertaining the little one. Hope this helps!


  1. I agree with all your points. As a teacher in profession, my colleagues always say that it is easier to let others teach our own child because we would have different expectations from them as their parents. I have to keep reminding myself to be patient, patient AND patient... Luckily I loved teaching and you are right. Preschoolers are way more fun to teach. And I am a hoarder of those 'junks' we accumulated - just in case....

  2. Same! I collect so much junk I'm getting the eye-balls from husband! Lol!