I stayed home right after I delivered John in April 2000. With Rebecca arriving only in 2003, I had 3 good years with John. We did a lot of things together – we talked, sang, read, played, did craft work, cleaned the bathroom, went out to parks, libraries, museums etc. I also taught him to read and write. When he was more confident in his reading, we read the adult’s NIV Bible together. Being curious, he asked many questions and I answered him to the best of my ability. I was amazed at John’s desire to know God and I was very thankful and privileged to read with him and teach him the Word of God. I realised that a child will be what he’s fed. I prayed that I would diligently feed him God’s Word.
When Rebecca was born, we managed the confinement on our own – Chee Meng took two weeks of leave and I ordered in my confinement meals. John loved Rebecca and he was a wonderful helper. I taught him what to do and he eagerly obeyed. He would read to Rebecca, play with her and when she got older, teach her many things. I appreciated John and saw the results of teaching John at home. I began to ask myself what education is all about – is it just doing well academically?As I prayed, God helped me to see His perspective.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
I believe that education is, first and foremost, character building according to the Word of God and then, academic achievement. Hence, it has to begin with teaching obedience. Until a child obeys, he cannot learn effectively. I saw the realisation of this principle when I was teaching in an all boys primary school. The real test came when it was time for John to begin formal education in a primary school.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer the year we were due to register John for primary school. While there were pressures to send him to school because of my health, we chose not to veer to the left or right but to continue to obey God’s calling to homeschool. God provided my parents to look after and supervise the children while many good friends helped us with our meals during the trying months of my surgeries and treatment. There were also the numerous others who accompanied me for my chemotherapy sessions and also the faithful prayer warriors who fervently prayed for us. John was very motivated as he worked on his exercises, he had a lot of time to read and play – both of which he enjoyed tremendously and we were able to delve more into the Bible. Li-Ann also had to miss her weekly lesson at Rainbow Centre. In spite of this, LA continued to develop very well. My mom was also instrumental in Rebecca’s receptivity to the learning of the Chinese language. Having a peace in his heart, Chee Meng was able to go to work daily without much interruptions and he didn’t have to take too much annual leave. We also bond together closer as a family and the children felt secure with the daily routine despite my frequent absences due to trips to the hospital.
Homeschooling has also given us more time as a family. We go to church together, have weekly family devotions and communion, pray for one another daily, kissed and hugged one another at least twice a day, talk a lot, play lego, doll house, board games, puppet shows and animals etc, swim, cycle, go for holidays and learn many things together as a family. The children have come to appreciate what what we’ve done for them too. They thank us verbally for their food and gifts and also make us cards and little things. John even made a card for his daddy because he’s the ‘Best Handyman in Town’. We treasure these precious moments and are encouraged by their thoughtfulness.
The synergistic outcome of homeschooling was even more visible when Li-Ann was born. On hindsight, I saw how God had paved the way for her arrival. John and Rebecca loved her very much and would want to talk and play with her. Li-Ann was constantly stimulated and most of the time, all her senses were actively engaged. This impacted LA’s growth and development a great deal; she saw what her siblings could do and wanted to catch up with them – that in itself provided the impetus for her to pick up the necessary skills so she can be on par them. She ran where they ran; when they pretended to fall, she did the same; she wanted to try what they eat; if we buy something for the older two, she would ask for it too; as John/Rebecca washes the dishes, she also wants to observe and help; in the midst of our conversation, she often queried, “What are you talking about?”. I am encouraged and excited by her curiosity and level of energy. I pray that as I teach and train LA, she will be a good witness and glorify God in all that she does.
When my children obey me, I am able to impart not only values but knowledge. At home, in addition to their work, the children are expected to help out in the daily chores such as meal preparation, washing up, doing of laundry, folding of the clothes, packing their own table/toys etc. As they gain independence, they also learn to serve one another. I’m grateful that they have learnt to love and look out for one another and take care of themselves. As I teach, I’m learning too. Oftentimes, I realise there are many things I do not know; there are many things I need to learn; and there are even more things I need to relearn. It’s a very humbling process. Thankfully, in spite of my imperfection, God Himself will teach my children.
All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.