Our Homeschool Singapore website started out as a blog in Nov 2013. Its purpose was to gather information about homeschooling from the community, and to share with others who needed it.
Who were the others? They could be :
- fellow homeschoolers who may not be connected to a group,
- homeschoolers who were interested to collaborate on a shared platform,
- educators who were interested in homeschooling as research,
- local and expat parents who were looking for an alternative education for their children in Singapore.
The website was a small and slow affair, managed by one person. Behind the scenes, my time was focused on building our Homeschool Singapore community of like-minded parent educators and their families.
Homeschool Community Events
As our community grew to know one another better, we collaborated on events small and large like the Children’s Craft Fair and the Homeschool Convention. We helped to continue some of the traditional events like the Not Back to School Picnic, the Homeschool Sports Day and the Curriculum Fair. The media reached out to us via our website to understand more about homeschooling. Our growing community efforts attracted like-minded organisations. Cassandra Shepherd and I were invited to speak at the Philippine Homeschool Convention in 2018 and 2019 respectively. I was also invited to speak at Galileo’s Homeschool Global Summit in 2020 and 2021.
Contribution to National Causes
When Covid-19 hit, thousands of parents all around the world found themselves to be “accidental homeschoolers.” When the Circuit Breaker was instituted in Singapore, we felt that homeschoolers were in a position to give back to the national landscape. We offered ideas on activities that parents can do with children at home through our Covid-19 special. I wrote to the education minister at the time, Ong Ye Kung, to ask him to move the holiday period forward because the solution to a pandemic had to be psychological, not academic. I believed many people also felt the same way. Eventually, the holiday was moved from June to May. It gave the educators some breathing room to cope with their family situation at home too. Because the education minister was very kind to respond to my letter, I felt that maybe, homeschoolers could rise up more to speak up for the various demographies in our hearts. At the end of the day, we are all citizens and we should look out for one another.
Growth of Independent Portfolios in 2020
In 2020, the Homeschool Singapore community underwent a change in direction. We gave voice to our educational dreams as individuals and a collective. We set about to start projects that would open up collaborations with other groups outside of homeschooling. All our projects are with fellow homeschoolers who see a purpose in the demographics they want to reach. Little U moved from an in-house homeschooling project to an independent portfolio that will offer homeschooling-inspired classes for the public. New portfolios like ParentED.sg, Changing Mindsets and the Alumni Program reach parents at large, homeschooling dads and our graduate children. The Homeschool Library SG helmed by Wan Ling is an independent program to grow resources for the global parent-educator community interested to know what the Singapore homeschoolers use. The Homeschool Consultation service which we started in 2018, will grow to include homeschooling consultants from around the world. In a post-Covid world, you can learn from anyone and anywhere. As the portfolios grow into their identities, homeschoolers who lead the projects may choose to register them as independent entities, and scale them according to the visions they have for the portfolios.
Meet the New Leaders
While we think big, we also focus on the small and intimate. The homeschooling community will always be an anchor for us to grow deep with – online and offline. In 2021, two new and able leaders run the Homeschool Singapore community. Sue Tan and Mark Lim have a big heart for connecting people and meeting them where they are. Sue and Mark share the same value as I do, that people care should be above programs and relationships matter at every stage. Regardless of how the Homeschool Singapore community changes, people care is at the forefront of everything we do.
As for the website, I am pleased to say that it has taken a better shape through the work of the website team. Kalsum Harun, our HomeschoolSingapore.sg editor has plans to continue the work of connecting homeschoolers and their communities through stories and a range of perspectives. Beyond homeschooling, we want to reach educators and parents who share like-minded values in caring for the whole child.
With community teams heading a range of portfolios and projects, we are now ready to invite more people onboard. Join us at Homeschool Singapore, we would love to connect with you and grow together. Do check our About section for updates on the community teams and how to write for our website!
By Dawn Fung, Founder of Homeschool Singapore (2013-2021). Written 2 Aug 2021.