It is equally important to consider whether the non-academic routes are more suitable for our children. Close observations of their interests and strengths are key. We need to stand back and allow them the space to explore beyond their formal studies. Depending on what our children exhibit, we can support them in different ways and work towards different goals. This article offers parents some suggestions on how to develop their children’s potential in non-academic areas in the post-primary education years.
NON-ACADEMIC CHOICES FOR POST-PRIMARY EDUCATION
Some children may not show preference or strength in any particular area of academic or non-academic subjects. They are serious in taking their time to rest and discover their interest, and not desiring to be pegged to any career or examination route beyond their readiness.
As parents, our job is to continue encouraging and stimulating them with various subject matters and skillsets. Parents can guide them to learn about themselves, understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify their learning tendencies and provide them with the relevant opportunities accordingly.
Eventually, when they are ready to pursue a particular course of study, you can prompt them into actualising their learning into activities for which they earn certificates. In the meantime, help your child build their portfolios in place of traditional qualifications.
Technical and Vocational
Some children love hands-on projects or taking things apart and putting them together.
In such cases, parents ought to encourage their children to deepen their interests and skills by giving them the resources and space to explore. Observe them for what could be their strengths and preferences.
Parents can discuss with their children if they are more inclined towards learning particular trades or monetising their skills. Work towards a skills-based resume to document their relevant experiences to gain academic enrolment or work apprenticeships.
Innovation and Entrepreneurial
Other children may love the idea of doing business from the start and are always looking for something to sell – sometimes based on their creations.
For these children, we can provide space (and sometimes, capital) while guiding them to think about the basics of doing business. Modify the Unit Studies approach that some of us applied during our children’s elementary years by picking out relevant case studies to probe over pertinent business and innovation aspects.
We can reflect with our children on the skills required to run a successful business – from marketing through social media to website building. Identify some role models together and discuss their journeys in actualizing their visions. Explore with them how they can develop their portfolios in seeking academic enrolment, employment or even investment!
Celebrate Unique Abilities
Non-academic pathways are less discussed in parenting circles in Singapore. If we peel back the layers of negative labels ascribed to students who choose to delay attaining formal qualifications or those who pursue “blue-collar” skills, we can see their unique abilities for what they really are. Only then can we best facilitate their learning. and honour these qualities such that they may build equally rewarding futures.
Parts of the content of this article have been presented at a public webinar, “Choosing the Right School for your ADHD Child” organised by Unlocking ADHD on 14 November 2021. For any doubt, please refer to this article published by Homeschool Singapore as the most updated version.
If there are errors in this article, do reach out to us for ways to improve and to grow our community knowledge.
Featured Image credit: Kalsum Harun and Grace Tan from Homeschool Singapore.