Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Educating our children

I read a fellow mummy's post here. It's a short post so if you can, please read it to follow my thoughts below.

So why is everyone still adamant about sending their kids to Chinese school? It's no better than the kebangsaan schools or any school that does not teach English or any other subject correctly the way I see it. What's the big deal about 'good to learn Mandarin', and 'Mandarin is a must because China is the future'?. You can learn Mandarin without going to a Chinese school.

"But one can only speak and write well if you're immersed in a Chinese-speaking environment," they say. Yes, of course, that goes for other languages too but is it worth the detriment of losing one's identity, confidence, ability to explore and think independently, and ability to speak/write good English, the lingua franca of the world, which Chinese schools often do not provide?

For parents like the writer of this blog, she has to 'supplement' so much more on her own to develop a more well-rounded child in terms of character, personality and academic ability, especially in the English Language subject.

While it's a given that parents should supplement by putting in personal effort to develop their kids in all areas of life - morals/values, life skills, talents, etc, regardless of what schools their kids go to - Chinese, Tamil, Kebangsaan, private, international - I would think starting right from the very beginning would make the work easier for parents compared to starting wrong and then having to correct and change them later. Our education system is way behind and just so very wrong in everything that's been done so far. I'm no education expert and what I write here are simply my feelings and thoughts. I could be biased or narrow in perspective.

Whatever the choice of school is, since there's no 'perfect' one especially in this country, parents should be aware of what is lacking and do as much as possible to curb the negatives and build the positives. Based on this premise, I believe the homeschooling concept is a good one where you start on a clean slate and the world is yours to explore. You are not dictated by what the school syllabus limits you to, and you can progress as fast as you wish or go slower if you need to. Teachers don't brush you off when you ask a question and don't treat and turn you into a robot. Education should be holistic (it's cliched by now but seriously, it should) and not just academic...

And if socialisation is a concern, I think there are ways around it. Some kids still don't get proper socialisation even if they go to school. It starts with the parents. If parents don't teach their children how to relate to the world outside, are you sure they will be able to learn good socialisation skills from their teachers and peers? If parents don't take their children out and expose them to the world around them and arouse their curiosity and interest in things, how will the kids come to know, discover, explore?

We may say it's too hard to do all these, it's just too much work, or my plate is already so full being a working parent, I have three active kids and they're such a handful, etc etc...I can't even take them out to a restaurant because they just can't keep still, I'd rather stay at home than take them to a mall, otherwise they'll want to buy this toy and that toy....I'm not good at Math or Science to homeschool, I don't have the patience, I want to avoid additional hassles so that life is easier for me. I've been guilty of these myself.

I need to look into the mirror and ask "What do I want my child to learn and what kind of person do I want my child to be now and in the future? What can I do about it?" Will you look into your mirror too?

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