The thought of homeschooling in Singapore – long-term – doesn't have to be daunting. With the right support, guidance and advice from like-minded parents and professionals, you can embrace homeschooling in Singapore.
As every parent knows, each child is unique and has different needs when it comes to learning and education. Most of us opt for a traditional learning environment because we believe school is best for our child. But not all children benefit from the rigidity of a Singapore school environment. Instead, a small number of parents opt to keep their children out of traditional school and give them an education at home. Yep, we’re talking homeschooling in Singapore – and it’s something that has we’ve all been faced with during the Covid-19 pandemic and this recent Phase Two (Heightened Alert).
What is homeschooling?
As the name suggests, homeschooling is the education of children in a home environment by parents, tutors or a mix of both. There are many reasons why parents may choose to homeschool their children. For instance, the child may have special needs, or the parents may want to maintain a religious focus, or to be more involved when it comes to the type of education their child is getting.
Is homeschooling in Singapore legal?
Yes. Homeschooling in Singapore has been legal since 2000.
Homeschooling for Singapore citizens
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Education, parents wishing to homeschool their child (in normal, non-Covid times!) must apply for Compulsory Education exemption. They’ll need to provide details of their planned curriculum and subsequent educational outcomes, including instruction in National Education.
Homeschooled children will still need to sit the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in four subjects (English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Mathematics and Science) at standard level. They must also meet the PSLE benchmark pegged at the 33rd percentile of all students in national primary schools in that same year. Finally, they must sit for the National Education Quiz before the PSLE.
Homeschooling for foreigners in Singapore
Foreigners are not legally compelled to send their children to school in Singapore. You may want to check the rules and requirements of the schooling in your home country if you intend to repatriate during your children’s schooling. Or, if you plan to integrate them into a Singapore international school at some point, you should definitely check if the school has their own admission requirements.
Where to start your homeschooling journey
There are loads of online resources to help you get started on your homeschooling journey in Singapore. We suggest you seek out support groups here in Singapore as a first port of call.
Homeschooling support groups in Singapore
- Homeschool Singapore is the biggest community for homeschooling in Singapore. It has a comprehensive website, where it talks about the benefits of homeschooling, shares resources and hosts annual events. Homeschool Singapore also has an active Facebook community where members can share all things homeschooling.
- Singapore Homeschool is an informal private Facebook group run by parents who homeschool their kids. The group aims to provide a supportive, inclusive platform to share information, ask questions and make friends. All nationalities and religions are welcome, as long as you’re currently homeschooling a child between two and 18.
- A smaller, more intimate group exclusively for expats homeschooling in Singapore is Expats Homeschooling in Singapore. As the name implies, you must be an expat whose child’s education is not covered by a spot at international or local schools. This group is for homeschooled children aged five and over.
- Exploring Homeschooling SG is a good starting point if you’re exploring your homeschooling options. Unsure about where to start, or if homeschooling in Singapore is the right option for you? This group is a safe, nurturing environment to ask questions, find information and share homeschooling resources.
- Homeschool Families with Teens Singapore is a group specifically for parents of homeschooled kids aged 12-17 years. It’s a forum to share events just for teens.
If you’re still weighing up your education options, whether it’s homeschooling, local school or international school, load up on information and advice at the Singapore Expat Schooling Forum on Facebook. It has nearly 3000 members, all seeking out the best education options for their children.
Homeschooling curriculum information and resources
Singapore Homeschool Curricula Share and Swap offers a marketplace for families to share, sell or buy used or new homeschooling materials.
If you want to adhere to an Australian-based curriculum, Complete Education Australia offers Mathematics, English, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Health and Physical Education and Languages programs from Foundation to Year 10. Australians can contact the Education Department within their home state for further information on distance education.
Similarly, New Zealand citizens can follow the New Zealand curriculum via a distance education provider, like Te Kura.
US citizens should check with their home country about eligibility for distance learning.
For preschoolers, Habitat Schoolhouse offers a membership service that provides wholesome resources for other parents looking to educate their children. It’s great because it takes away all the guesswork in researching, planning and prepping for homeschooling lessons. It even provides worksheets and book lists on top of fun, hands-on activities perfect for your little homeschoolers.
Special thanks to Singapore Expat Schooling Forum for providing some of the information for this story.
Top image: Mi Pham via Unsplash