Parenting Guide

What you should know about homeschooling in Malaysia

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Dec 15, 2020

Home Schooling

Malaysia is home to a diverse education system, one that makes it challenging for parents in choosing the best education option for their child.

Preconceived notions may be attached with every education system, but it is important to understand  that these systems are widely accepted because of their strengths. For example, a common perception when it comes to Chinese schools is that they are too strict and academic-centric, whereas public schools may be viewed to focus on rote learning and are inflexible in their learning methods. Private and international schools, on the other hand, are often deemed to be highly expensive. Yet, there is a long list of schools for every education system.

Adding to the mix is homeschooling – an option that is officially recognised and offers a new form of flexibility for families. But what is homeschooling and what are the benefits?

The benefits of homeschooling 

Homeschooling your child provides a wide pool of benefits for you and your child to enjoy. Some of the pros of homeschooling your children include:

  • More educational freedom and learning flexibility. 

  • Many public institutions require a classroom to move at the same pace, regardless or whether the child has fully understood the material or not. In a homeschool setting, however, your children can learn freely at their own pace, and therefore may either progress faster or understand the material better than their peers. 
  • Less social pressures.

  • Your child will be free of social pressures that pervade a schoolyard, such as bullying or peer pressure. Moreover, homeschooling isn’t synonymous with isolation – your child can still play with his or her friends as usual.
  • More direct role in your child’s life and education. 

  • As the parent, you oversee – or help to oversee – your child’s homeschooling education. Due to this, you’ll be able to help your child with their studies better, and you and your child might come out of this closer than before.
  • Special considerations. 

  • There are multiple situations that may require special attention from teachers or parents. These include:- children with active co-curricular activities or elite athletes who may be caught up with competitions- gifted children who are able to progress faster in their syllabus- children with learning challenges who may need additional support- travelling families who are unable to enrol a child in permanent school- children who have a phobia of school or are victims of bullying

Teaching your homeschooled child

There are three main ways to give your child the required education at home. Here are three methods of doing so.

  • Parents as teachers:

  • Organising learning activities and teaching children is entirely the parent’s responsibility in this method. This system is particularly beneficial for military families, families who move a lot, or children with health issues that prevent them from having a normal school life.
  • Homeschool co-op: 

  • This is when several parents of homeschooled children come together to form a network and help each other with their children’s education. Through this way, parents have a strong support group to rely on and each parent can teach a subject they’re most knowledgeable in.
  • Learning centres: 

  • Homeschooling centres are an alternative way for parents to ensure their children are taught under the guidance of teachers who are qualified in different subjects. This system is closest to a school setting; but it allows greater flexibility in catering to the needs of students Many homeschool centres adopt the IGCSE curricula.

Co-op and learning centres bring children from different families together, thus debunking the popular misconception that homeschooled children are isolated and socially awkward.

Advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling

Homeschooling can bring a lot of advantages for you and your child. But what about the disadvantages of homeschooling? Surely there are some disadvantages of homeschooling you or your child may experience. Let’s quickly talk about the homeschooling advantages and disadvantages.

We’ve already mentioned some of the advantages of homeschooling already so let’s just list down some disadvantages and compare them. Here are some disadvantages:

  • Lack of social interaction: 

  • Children who are homeschooled are less likely to have a social life and make friends with other kids. Since they are homeschooled alone with their parents, there are not many chances for homeschooled children to mingle around with kids of their own age. This could cause them to be socially awkward in the future.
  • Lack of facilities: 

  • Homeschooled children would be missing out on a wide range of facilities that school children could use and access. These facilities such as a science lab, computer labs, football fields and sports courts cannot be accessed and used if your children are homeschooled.
  • Absence of curriculum structure:

  •  A homeschooled child will not be learning the same curriculum as school children or will not be learning at the same pace as school children. Without a proper curriculum structure, homeschooled children can be seen as lacking behind in their learning as opposed to their peers in school.

As we can see, these disadvantages might sound like homeschooling is not the most optimal choice in your child’s education, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. There are more benefits to homeschooling than there are disadvantages to it. These disadvantages can be avoided if your child is sent to a co-op or a learning centre.

How do I know if homeschooling is the right thing for my child?

Homeschooling comes with a set of unique benefits you wouldn’t normally see in an average schooling system. There are also different types of homeschooling to consider as well. However, every child is different, and what works for one child may not have the same result on another.

It’s therefore advisable to understand what your child’s needs before opting to homeschool. Homeschooling your children is a huge lifestyle change, and you should also take your family’s budget, commitment, and responsibilities into consideration. You should also consider the cost of homeschooling in Malaysia fees and take that into account if you choose to do homeschooling for your child.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong answer if decisions are made in your child’s best interests.

Legalities of homeschooling in Malaysia 

The concept of homeschooling is still new in the country and can still lead to confusion among many parents. Especially the legality of homeschooling.

For example, some of them are concerned that their child may not be able to enter university with a homeschool education.

Fortunately for both parents and students, SPM results are not the only form of qualifications for college. Many homeschool systems use British syllabuses such as Cambridge IGCSE, which is enough to be recognised by an affluent university.

However, the question of legality does come into play. According to Section 29a of the Education Act 1996, 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.

To ease the concerns of parents, the Homeschool Legal Defence Association sent forth the following excerpt:

“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.”

Homeschooling is a significant decision for both your child and you. With proper preparation and research, your child could have the education perfectly tailored for her, in the comfort of your own home.