Dawn Fung interviewed Michele Wee, who used to work at NLB and now homeschools her only child, Kyle. Her husband, Paul, is Canadian.
Dawn : The uniqueness of her family is how they go against the flow of everything consumerist. Items at home are vintage (not from the marketplace but beautiful, sturdy hand-me-downs from the extended family), in fact, it speaks more of heritage than trend.
I was also amazed by her cooking skills. My kids were hungry so she decided to make scones for us on the spot. Watching her make is akin to watching a craftsman at work – the measurement of flour, kneading, shaping into the oven is part of her body memory. Of course, the scones went very well with her home made peanut butter.
The message I got from her the day after also speaks of her generosity: ‘Dawn, after we sent you off with the scones on Tuesday, Kyle and I just had to bake a double batch of scones on Wednesday because we had forgotten how good they were and just didn’t get enough. Now, we have tons and gave some away to friends.’
Michele’s Homeschool Routine
– Mondays are different because we head to my grandma’s at 10.30 to have lunch and then take her to the dialysis Centre at 12pm (Kyle does schoolwork at the Centre while I care for grandma)
– Thursday afternoons are spent with my parents on outings or they come over to play games or watch movies.
– We often do a play date with homeschooling friends on Wednesdays.
Michele’s Reflection on Homeschooling
Talking to you also made me reflect on our homeschooling and what defines us. I think what I said to you was “if you want something done well, do it yourself” and I think it captures what we are about as a family.
And yes, that is a primary reason why we homeschool because I want the best for my son. I may not be the best trained, but I believe that my passion and complete commitment to his education will far outweigh any shortcomings.
This is especially so as Kyle has been diagnosed with dyslexia which is quite severe. His psychologist said that by homeschooling him, without knowing it, we were actually doing intervention at a very early age and that is why he is able to read so well despite his disability. In fact, homeschooling was completely the right thing to do for him but we did it without even knowing.
My husband who is a brilliant and experienced teacher, says it this way, “The onus is not on the student to learn. It is on the teacher to teach in such a way that the student can learn.” So for example, if Kyle is struggling to learn something, it is my job to find a way to help him learn it. And I spend hours researching how to help him. It all relates back to how if you want a job done properly, you do it yourself.
I know that in the mainstream schools, there is no way for the teachers to help Kyle in this way. He was a struggling reader in P1 and yet by the end of P2, he was like reading 5 levels above grade level. And I just don’t think this would have happened for him in a school.
As part of our DIY philosophy, we homeschool Kyle in everything that we can. I teach him piano and Paul handles all art and physical education. Paul taught Kyle to swim when he was four and he swims like a fish. Most Saturday mornings, they swim laps at the polytechnic pool.
And as I also explained, we made as much of our own food as we can. This includes breads and all baked goods, strawberry jam, kaya, yogurt, ice creams. Sometimes, we even take our pasta maker and make fresh pasta from scratch. This means, like in homeschooling, the quality is good and I love the freedom and control we have and how we can customise everything.