Alumni Stories

Alumni : David (NUS Engineering)

Homeschool mum and writer for our Alumni series, Lynda, talks to our first interviewee David about family, his teen years, curriculum and how he got to NUS engineering.

It is 5 pm and the end of another working day. David, 19, exudes confidence as he comes back from his day in NS. I love how he greets his mother cheerfully and gets right down to putting laundry away. He also greets me, much to the awe of my young homeschooled son standing by my side. Later, he asks how the kor kor can ‘homeschool until so big’.

For many Singapore homeschool parents, university and paper qualifications is a concern. It is therefore always encouraging to meet homeschool grads about to embark on higher education. In light of this, I posed David some questions about his homeschooling journey and the process of entering university. His humorous and candid answers both encouraged and enlightened me!

Tell me a bit about your family and a typical homeschooling day in your house!

I have one father, one beautiful wonderful, amazing, sarcastic mother, one younger brother and five younger sisters.

A typical homeschooling day would be: wake up, complete whatever schoolwork there is for the day, and when I am finished, I do whatever else I want.

What difficulties or challenges did you face in your teen years and how did you overcome them?

I was very bored and not interested in the subjects I was learning. However there was no choice and I just had to do things that I disliked. I learnt to complete the tasks faster to get them over and done with.

What curriculum did you use in your teen years and what are the pros and cons?

I used Singapore curriculum for my primary school and Abeka High School for secondary years.

The pros are that it’s easy to follow. You just do whatever lesson you’re supposed to do for the day. Put in the cd and select the lesson number, then just watch it and complete the homework assignments and assessments. The said assignments and assessments are also at a level much easier than the Singapore ones.

Cons – It is very, very boring. The teachers are mostly boring teachers. Only a few actually try to make the lesson interesting.

An extra point to note is that it is all self-motivated, so you have to discipline yourself to do your own work according to the given deadlines. That works well for some people, but you can procrastinate as long as you like unless you have a strict and scary mother/parent/guardian/friendly (or not-so-friendly) robot who breathes down your neck until you complete your work.

As a homeschooling parent, I am concerned about how my teenagers will spend their time outside of schoolwork. What activities did you take part in during your teen years and how do you think they benefited you?

My extra activities included playing badminton/soccer, going for speech sessions with fellow homeschoolers, running a lot and playing musical instruments. I also served on the worship team in my church and thus spent time rehearsing with the rest of the team.

I understand you have a place in NUS engineering. What qualifications did you use to apply for this course? Please share more about the application process.

I applied for my uni place with Abeka Grade 12 and SAT results. I was “forced to apply” because of my wonderful mother, who made me apply as fast as possible. I was recommended to try for an engineering course by a friend of my father because of my interest in physics and maths. So I picked mechanical engineering as one of my choices. To show how “anyhowly” I did my application, I cannot remember which were the choices I picked! But I applied to both NUS and NTU for mechanical engineering, and was accepted by both. I i think I will choose NUS because of the shorter distance from my home.

Many parents are worried about whether homeschooling their children will enable them to achieve paper qualifications required in Singapore. ALUMNI are stories from parents and homeschooling children who are now adults, who have “been there, done that”. Write to us if you have a story, at