Malaysia is no stranger to multiple school systems, including public, private and international. But ensuring the child is taught and trained to reach their full potential, regardless of the school system they are enrolled in, is of utmost priority for most parents.
Parents, thus, must make tough decisions and from sending children to tuition classes after school to enrolling them in Chinese vernacular school for learning an extra language, to sending children to private or international schools to gain better global exposure, the choices are endless.
However, these choices come with both pros and cons, where some parents believe public school education leaves much to be desired, some are of the opinion that Chinese vernacular schools are too strict and academic-centric, while private and international schools cost a fortune.
Because of these reasons, there is an increasing number of parents looking to home school as it not only offers parents more control over their child’s education but also flexibility.
Education for your child’s benefit
TheHomeSchoolMom, a website for homeschool resources shared a list of home-schooling advantages when compared to a normal school.
The listed advantages include the facts that home education can be tailored to suit a child’s capabilities and personality, additional education excluded by schools such as life skills and vocational training can be integrated into learning, and parents can prioritise the child’s mental, emotional, behavioural and physical health among other things.
Homeschooling also helps families save money in terms of uniforms, transportation and school fees.
There are three ways parents can conduct homeschooling:
1. Parents as teachers: Parents will teach and organise learning activities for the children. This setup works well for unconventional family situations such as military families, those who move frequently, or if the child lives with health issues that prevent him from attending a normal school.
2. Homeschool co-op: A network of home-schooling parents comes together and taps into the skills and qualifications of the parents. Different parents take up the responsibility of teaching the subjects they are most knowledgeable in.
3. Learning centres: Home-school centres is another way for parents to ensure their children are taught under the guidance of teachers who are qualified in different subjects. While it may look like a school setting, these centres differ in the syllabus, teaching styles and activities.
The co-op and learning centres bring children from different families together, thus debunking the misconception that home-schooled children grow up to be socially awkward.
Is homeschooling right for your child (and you)?
At the end of the day, it depends on how your child learns in different situations.
Therefore, before deciding to homeschool your child, make sure to take steps in understanding your child’s individual needs and capabilities as well as your current family circumstances such as budget, commitments and responsibilities.
There is no right or wrong answer if decisions are made in your child’s best interests.
Legalities of homeschooling in the country
The concept of home schooling is still fairly new in Malaysia, leading to potential confusion among parents.
Some parents worry their child may not be able to enter university if they are homeschooled.
However, students need not stick to only SPM to further their studies. Homeschooling utilises internationally recognised syllabuses such as the UK-based GCSE “O” Levels and the US-based Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT).
Nevertheless, the legal status of homeschooling does come into question. Section 29a of the Education Act 1996 states primary education is compulsory, and every Malaysian parent must ensure their child is enrolled in a primary school when the child is 6 years old.
The Homeschool Legal Defence Association shared this excerpt to ease parents’ concern on home schooling in Malaysia:
“Home schooling is legal (in Malaysia). Although the Education Act of 1996 (Act 550) made primary education compulsory, several home school parents met with the Minister of Education to clarify the effect on homeschoolers.
“The Minister stated that fines for not sending children to school only apply to parents or guardians who neither send their children to school nor educate them in any way at home.
“However, homeschoolers must apply for school exemption from the Ministry of Education, and stringent regulations have developed that often prevent families from obtaining official approval.”
Hence, with proper preparations before applying for exemption from school, you should have no issues homeschooling your child.
SchoolAdvisor.my provides information on private and international schools, extra-curricular activities as well as other education-related topics in Malaysia.