Archive for the ‘Examinations’ Category
21 April 2012
Last year, Sandra Martin-Chang of Concordia University and her colleagues recruited Canadian participants from both the homeschool and public school populations to study their academic achievement. It’s not a big sample but the research does offer an interesting look at how students educated at home compare with those from conventional schools. I have reproduced an extract from Parenting Science that summarises the researchers’ findings.
Is education achievement all that matters in homeschooling then?
Obviously not. But for education to equip a child academically for future pursuits, it must be seen in demonstrable results. If anything, studies such as Sandra Martin-Chang’s assure homeschoolers that parents need not fret that an education an home is somehow inferior to conventional schooling.
Here’s what the researchers noted in their participants and how both groups compare academically.
18 April 2012
A LITTLE DATED, BUT AN INTERESTING INFOGRAPHIC ANYWAY. I’m not much for exams and tests, but admittedly, in the real world they do count for some things (but certainly not for everything). Asian countries on the whole showed the most improvement. If you’re looking for Malaysia, see under ‘Least Improved.’
I suppose one can make a case that test scores for math and science means nothing since not every kid is going to be a mathematician or scientist. Anyone knows how homeschoolers are doing in these subjects?
1 December 2010
Quite a few people have been asking about IGCSE and how a homeschooler can sit for these exams. Thanks to a homeschooling mom, I’ve uploaded a simple FAQ that should help you understand what your homeschooler has to do if he or she is thinking of next steps after high school. Go to our RESOURCES tab and click on Homeschool and IGCSE.
30 March 2010
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Examinations.
On 22 March, we began our series on college-bound homeschoolers with observations by a homeschooling mom Swee Bin on her son’s experience with public exams. In this post her 17-year old son Jian Eu shares how he made the transition to formal education at a tuition centre in preparation for IGCSE O Level exams.
AFTER BEING HOMESCHOOLED FOR FIVE AND A HALF YEARS I left home and enrolled in a centre to do my IGCSE. I went to two centres, the first one through the latter half of 2008 and the second one throughout 2009.
I am seventeen this year. I took my exams last November at age sixteen. I did quite well too.
The two centres I went to were very different. The first centre was much more relaxed and much smaller, only about 15 students most of whom were homeschoolers. The second centre I went to had more than 130 students, only two of whom were homeschoolers, and was run much more like a school. This is the centre that I will be writing about.
Being a homeschooler in such an environment made me different. I came from a different background and I was unused to being in a school. There was quite a lot of pressure. Not only was there the pressure of the exams, but some of the moms of other school kids were constantly comparing and sizing me up! One of the moms gossiped about the only two homeschoolers at the school, my friend and I: “They may have done well in their mid-year exams but success in life is only 30% academic and 70% social.”
There is a popular conception that homeschoolers are social misfits. I may have been different from my classmates but we got along fine. One of my classmates told me, “Eh, I thought homeschoolers are supposed to be like weird.” On a side note, I have learned from my experience that weird people, people who don’t quite fit in, can be found among both homeschoolers and schoolers.
Going to school was a very different experience for me. My homeschool had been very relaxed. We didn’t follow any curriculum and we were left to pursue whatever we were interested in. Now I had to study according to a timetable, from a pre-set syllabus!
Getting used to the school hours was hell; I never quite got used to it. Every day I would try to escape home early. School hours were ridiculous, eight hours per day. The worst part was that half of the time we didn’t have any classes on!
I was one of the top students in class but I never got along very well with the teachers. I think homeschooling had given me a confidence to speak out if I felt something was wrong. As a result, over the year, I have had a one-on-one discussion of my behaviour with one of my teachers three times.
Homeschooling had given me the backbone to discuss my differences with teachers and not shrink away. I may not have been chummy with the teachers but I respect them. They are good teachers. The quality of their teaching is good.
Looking back, I think my IGCSE experience was the baptism of fire for my homeschool. All the rhetoric about me having time to develop was tested. The test was not just a test in academics but in character. My exam results came out in January this year. I passed. Not just with C’s and B’s but with 4 A*’s and one A.
Photo: Jian Eu (pictured with sister Jian Lin) is happy that he can have his, uhm, chocolate ice-cream and eat it too!
If you want to know how other homeschoolers moved on from home to formal education, read their stories here:
22 March 2010
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Examinations.
One of the big questions about homeschooling is, “what next?” For most of us whose children have been educated at home, SAT and O Level have been the way forward, if college is where they’re heading, that is. However, although SAT is a legitimate college entry pathway, more and more, IGCSE O Level has become the preferred option.
In the coming days, you will be reading about homeschoolers who went from wading pool to the deep end of IGCSE exams. Today’s post features homeschooling mom Swee Bin who shares how her son’s unconventional education experience was no obstacle to doing well in exams.
One did the AOP programe after leaving school in early primary. One did Sonlight and assorted Singapore books, also after leaving school in early primary. My son did a mixture – private school for Std One, AOP centre for next two years, came home to unschooling for 6 years.
In June-July 2008, all three signed up at a tutorial centre to prepare for the IGCSE. In January 2009, my son and his best friend (the AOP one) enrolled in Sirius Scholar, a centre/school newly opened in USJ to prepare students from Form 1-5 for the IGCSE. The Sonlight one opted to study for the exam with the help of his parents for most of 2009.
The Nov 2009 IGCSE results were released in January. My son did well, as did two other homeschoolers. The three of them scored straight As, with quite a few A-Stars thrown in to boot.
What struck me about the three boys was how they embraced the learning. Their minds and hearts were ready. There was real interest in the material. That was nice to see. For my son and his friend, the school principal and English teacher was most struck by their general knowledge and reading habit. Their classmates too noticed how they seemed to “know so much” or “they know everything.”
To my mind, these boys were prepared in the basics – language (English) was strong (which also means reading/comprehension skills) and math skills were in place. These enabled them to handle specialised content, including material they had not handled before. Eg, physics, chemistry and additional math. The starting months were tough as they grappled with the many gaps (total zeros, knowledge-wise) but, they quickly overcame these.
All three also attacked past year papers with a real earnest (an excellent website is freeexampapers.com which comes complete with marking schemes). Between my son and his best friend, they did more past year papers than their 9 other classmates combined. I had told my son to think of kungfu: you may know the moves but will only be good if you fight and get to practise what you know. Every exam question is like an opponent’s blow – left, right, centre, you don’t know how the blows will come. But, you’ve got to deal with them. And, the more blows you deal with, the better you become. He was quite challenged by the questions. The harder, the better.
I remember him sitting in front of the notebook, intently working through the online question papers. Then, excitedly checking his answers. The more he did, the more confident he became. The more confident he became, the more questions he wanted to do. He would burst out with his score, with a big grin.
On his school experience, “one year is enough.” He didn’t like the regimentation of time; he didn’t like having to do things he had no interest in; he felt much of the school day was a waste of time. He’s glad though for the two new good friends he’s made during his year there and for the two excellent teachers he had.
Having achieved his results, he feels the value – especially when he went recently for some interviews for part-time jobs (he is now a waiter in a noodle shop). He is spending this year and maybe next to discover more of himself. He has just turned 17. There is still so much time and we certainly prefer him to go out and explore the world a bit before he thinks about college.
A qualifier before I end. We’ve always known that our son was academic-minded, with the capacity to study. Hence, taking the education pathway he did was right for him. Not all children are academically inclined, in my humble opinion. As their parents and stewards, we ought to recognize that and guide them where their God-given gifts and strengths lie. It does take all types to make the world!
If this post was helpful, you might be interested in the following:
18 March 2010
Here’s an interesting bit of news for those who missed it in the Sun.
16-year old homeschooler Adrian Kumar Vendargon wants to sit for the SPM Bahasa paper as a private candidate. Unfortunately, there are obstacles in his way. Chief of which is the fact that Adrian has not gone through the system or sat for the PMR. The other is that he does not yet qualify as he is just 16 years old and the SPM is only for those who are 17 and older. Adrian, who turns 17 in December this year, is fond of the Malay language and has been home tutored on it since he was 14. Why is Adrian aiming for an exam in the Malay language?
“My fondness for the Malay language started when I was in primary school. I realised it is a good communication language in small towns and plus it is the national language,” he said.
“I got good grades in my BM in school and I am ready to sit for the SPM BM paper this year. It is preposterous that the examination board is not allowing me to.”
Adrian began homeschool back in 2007 “because he wanted to progress academically without being bound by a particular system.” But we do not know if he was educated at home or in a learning centre – one of those commonly touted as ‘homeschooling’ centres, providing ‘homeschool.’ Nevertheless, you can read the report which came out in theSun on Wednesday March 17.
Meanwhile, Adrian has decided not to leave any stone unturned in his bid to sit for the exam. He left a comment on PM Dato Sri Mohd Najib’s 1Malaysia blog and here’s what the homeschooler wrote:
Dear Dato Seri, I am a Malaysian, homeschooling doing the iGCSE at the British Council. I was born in December 1993. I will complete my iGCSE’s in June 2010. I am not allowed to sit for the BM paper as a private candidate this year, because I am not 17 as at 1-1-10, and I don’t possess an SPM/PMR certificate. However, I have already sat for and obtained grades in 6 iGCSE subjects as at June 2009. There is no age limitation for sitting iGCSE’s, ‘O’ levels or ‘A’-Levels. I would like to appeal to Dato Seri to intervene so that I can register as a private candidate for the November intake, as I wish to proceed to my ‘A’-Levels next year in college. I intend to work in Malaysia,therefore I need a credit in BM. With all due respect, I think we need to scrap this age limitation for the SPM, as it only holds students back. Such a move is essential in improving our education system to the level of that in developed countries.
Way to go Adrian!
This is certainly a story to follow. It would be interesting to see if Adrian’s woe is due to his age or to his being homeschooled. Either way, we’ll want to see if if this cracks open the door that keeps Malaysian homeschoolers out of the system. Watch this space.