Our boy is 4 years old now. And we have been getting questions from friends and relatives about him. Questions like 'Have you registered him for primary school already?', 'Have you guys decided whether to send him to Chinese school or national school?' or 'Is he currently in any preschool?' and so on.
Our answers to all the above? No.
In Malaysia, parents will need to start registering their children for primary schools when they reached 5 years old. And some parents, in order for their child to get into the best/well known/popular schools, they go to the extent of queuing up in the schools 5-6am in the morning so they could submit their application forms as early as possible.
Chinese or national schools? Both my hubby and myself went to national schools since young (me since kindergarten) and we are both what you would call 'bananas'. Meaning, Chinese people who do not speak / write in Chinese. There are lots of Chinese parents I know that are bananas like us, but yet, they send their children to Chinese schools. And I know some of these parents have problems and difficulties when it comes to helping out with their childrens' homeworks. I mean, it is really not an easy tasks trying to help your children when you, yourself do not know or read any Chinese words. And btw, Chinese schools are notorious for the heavy load of homeworks EVERYDAY for the students! For us, we think that our children can always take up extra language courses when they are grown up.
Preschool? Well, I'm homeschooling my 4 years old boy right now and I think the only difference between us homeschooling and the potential of him going to a preschool is interactions with other children. Sure, this has been thrown to my face lots of time. 'Your boy lacks socialising with other children!', 'See, he's lonely, you should really send him to a preschool!', 'See, if you send your kids to preschool then at least you get few hours of time to rest while he's in school' and so on.
Well, good and bad... you learn to socialise with other kids but you also pick up bad habits from other kids as well. Comparing with each other, trying to be better than others, bitings, fightings, illnesses spreading easily... these are my concerns as I see pictures and stories posted by friends on Facebook on how their children get suspicious bite marks, HFMD and so on.
Apart from social factors, I am more concerned with the development progress of my child. You see, as I'm homeschooling my child, I realised that, my child (and I would dare say all children) develops at their own pace. I used to force get my boy (when he's 3 years old) to do his coloring but he's just not interested at that time and so I just let it slide and tried other things. And now that he's 4 years old, he suddenly likes to color and I was really surprised to see his artwork. Never did I teach him anything about colors - like you should use orangey color for human skin or so on because I think we should let our child decides by themselves. He colors within the objects and can even explain to me each particular color he used means what.
Take a look at the picture below. I totally agree with this, what I think is each child is unique and we simply can't brand them as slow or troublemaker or they have learning difficulties based on their results in schoolwork. (Excerpt page from the book: One-to-one: A Practical Guide to Learning at Home Age 0-11)
Take a look at the picture below. Notes on getting our child to learn to read when they are not ready... (Excerpt page from the book: One-to-one: A Practical Guide to Learning at Home Age 0-11)
And I love this inspiring quotes on childhood...
So again, as of now, no immediate plans to register for any schools / preschools or whatever type of schools. Our children needs more time to play hard while they still have a childhood.
So what do you think?