Archive for the ‘Extra-curricular Activities’ Category
13 January 2016
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Extra-curricular Activities.
Ed: 14-year old homeschooler Fara Ling’s speech at a recent public speaking competition won the audience and panel of judges for her maturity. Here’s what Fara said:
A COLLECTION OF TROPHIES by Fara Ling
We live in a society where winning competitions and ace-ing eleven subjects are a big deal. We live in a society where job positions and earnings count for a lot. We live in a performance-oriented society, where failures are typically thought of in terms of our abilities and achievements: in terms of the exams we take, the grades we get, the money we make, the career we end up with. But we do not often think about failure in matters of integrity, or moral courage, or responsibility.
We think we have failed when we get a Pass for a music or ballet exam, but compromising integrity is not treated as a failure. We set standards for ourselves, then, because we are infallibly human, we fail those standards. We make excuses: “we tried, didn’t we? No-one’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Besides, there are always second chances!” We persuade ourselves to excuse our shortcomings, later we dismiss them. And once we’re lax with ourselves, we’re lax in our dealings with others. Promises lose their gravity. Thoughtless but weighty mistakes are brushed aside. If academic excellence is so important to us, what more matters of integrity?
Another failure we lack to recognize is the failure to speak up for what is right. We fail when we allow our fears to prevent us from standing up for someone who is being bullied, because so often we don’t realise that these experiences aren’t just relevant to our schooling years. If we don’t sum up our courage and speak out against what we know to be wrong now, what makes us think we can campaign “illegally” against unfair elections and siphoned funds in the future? Will we have the courage to condemn what is wrong, when we know we could end up like Karpal Singh and Kevin Morais?
The third kind of failure: neglecting our duties as citizens of Malaysia. We talk about the responsibility to attain a good, stable career which covers the family’s economic needs, yet we ignore, the burden we carry as citizens of a country. Because Malaysia is our home, we have the responsibility to be involved in its governance. By keeping informed about what’s happening around the country. By voting; participating in general elections. And if you wonder why the government can afford to tamper with lights and ballot boxes, it is partially due to the fact that people a few generations back did not do enough to address arising problems. Regarding the TPPA, are we even aware of it? What are we doing about it?
Our performance-oriented society stresses aptitude, expertise, and resume, and it downplays matters of conscience and duty. There is so much emphasis on what we can do, and so little on who we are. We work ourselves dead sometimes for projects and concerts because we’re so afraid to fail.
So why don’t or can’t we worry about honesty and courage and responsibility? It’s time to turn our scrutiny to the failures that truly demand our attention – the failures in our character, because character is what makes us who we are, not accomplishments. And I choose be a person of integrity, strength, and conscience, even if I were to fail at everything else; rather than just being a collection of trophies.
About Fara Ling Shu Sean: Fara loves ballet, guitar, singing, reading, and of course, writing. She’s involved in a million and one things and loving every moment of it!
2 September 2014
BY ALL ACCOUNTS, THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED HOMESCHOOL SCIENCE FAIR WAS A ROARING SUCCESS. The crowd was encouragingly large and supportive. If you follow the conversation on Facebook as well as the photos uploaded, you will get a pretty good picture of what an enthusiastic bunch of parents and kids can do when given the opportunity.
The fact that most of the participants at the Fair were children under 12 years speaks volumes! These are kids who are educated at home, unschoolers from various backgrounds, whose parents are ordinary Malaysians (and blessed with extraordinary passion and conviction). Thank you Florence and Martha, for organising this outstanding event. Well done, all of you – organisers and homeschooling parents and kids.
FLORENCE WONG (Co-organiser)
I have been homeschooling for more than 6 years. Our son Reese loves science, but I noticed there were hardly any science activities among homeschoolers. So 2 years ago, I set up a science co-op. Then I met Martha who felt we should both organise a Homeschool Science Fair, and as they say, the rest is history.
Over 12 projects were exhibited, from forensic science to astronomy. Our children learned many invaluable skills working on their projects for the fair. Besides increasing their interest in science, they learned project management, presentation skills, and how to interact with visitors. Some enterprising homeschoolers made science kits for sale too. Most participating parents felt that it was a worthwhile effort as it encouraged our children to explore science more seriously. I hope to make this fair an annual event besides developing other science related activities for our community of homeschoolers.
AMY DELPH (Participating parent)
My daughter Katelynn participated in the Homeschool Science Fair with her topic on crystals and how they grow. It was a very powerful experience that I feel allows for a more meaningful and integrated approach to learning that stretches a child’s abilities in a fun and exhilarating way.
Besides science and public speaking, there’s writing reports and informative text, you learn how to do research, graphing results and calculating costs and expenditure, how to make eye-catching information displays, and how to attract people to your stall to try the activities and buy your merchandise.
And then the opportunities – requests for more crystal merchandise and crystal making workshops. Katelynn could probably start a business! To be honest, we did very little of anything beyond this project those six weeks leading to the Fair. Looking back at all the skills we were learning (and I’m sure I’ve left out many more) I don’t think we needed to!
AMY WAN-RATOS (Parent, visitor)
I went to the Homeschool Science Fair with my two children and we had a great time! We did the whole works – from reading all the research boards, heated Q & A with the exhibitors, shopping for science merchandise. Lea was most fascinated with the DNA display (she’s a fan of NCIS), while Mayern loved the crystals. Meeting familiar homeschool moms and their children gave us some good contacts to follow up. My children definitely want to be participants and exhibitors next year!
30 October 2012
Here’s a fun morning you don’t want to miss. It’s a homeschooling concert staged by homeschoolers and you are all welcome to join in the fun. Homeschool mom Siew Hoong who’s the brainchild behind the concert, writes:
“Concert participants range from 5- 13 years old. There will be skits, songs, readings of original writings and a dance or two. Like most homeschool events, expect to see the unfurling or young talents, lots of laughs, some errors and heaps of enthusiasm! Do come and watch these children put up a good show. Come and cheer them on, fellow homeschoolers!”
When and where: Nov 13th, from 10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m at the Dream Centre, PJ.
Please email Siew Hoong at email@example.com to confirm your attendance, preferably before the 5th Nov. If you need directions or a map, click here.
19 July 2012
Homeschoolers to stage Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Below is the poster for the Shakespeare play that a troupe of homeschooled students are performing next month, directed by a talented teenager, Joshua Kam. The cast/production crew are all students ranging in ages from 11-18 and hailing from 3 different countries. They make up a newly-formed Histrionia Acting Troupe. Visit their website here.
The play is in modern English, and has been edited/shortened to approximately 90 minutes long. It’s recommended for ages 8 & older.
To purchase tickets, go here.
Hope that many of you can come and cheer on these young homeschoolers in their debut production!
Thanks Kristen Anderback for the notice.
5 June 2012
Guest Writer: Amy Delph
THE HOMESCHOOL SPORTS DAY STARTED WITH A PUSH from Chong See Ming and Chan YeeSend in the Facebook page for the Malaysian Homeschooling Network. YeeSend does a lot of events and parties for children so she had almost all the equipment and ideas we would need for games. See Ming coordinated the volunteers and before you know it, we were off and running, so to speak! The date for the event was set for 28th May.
To add to the fun, stalls to sell things were added and we had a great response. I think we had at least 10 stalls selling various things from crafts to freshly squeezed juice, ice lollies, brownies, sandwiches, noodles, etc. This was a great opportunity to give children the chance to practice their entrepreneurship skills. My daughter, Katelynn, has vowed to set up a stall for cinnamon rolls the next round. She and I also noted what makes a stand successful based on our observations and experience, so even though we didn’t sell anything we learned a lot for our debut next time!
The field in section 5 P.J. was perfect with enough shade, and a nice large flat field. The activities this time around catered to younger kids – primary age and mostly 10 and below. Each age group (except 2 & 3 year olds) had a relay (team event) and an event where everyone of that age competed against each other separately. The team work of setting up, judging and organizing the children to compete worked beautifully. The Facebook page created for the event helped tremendously. We had all sorts of races from egg and spoon to obstacle course. Just check out the pictures!
There was also an event for parents and their children to compete together in a three-legged race and the tug of war. After that we broke for lunch. No need to bring a lunch because there was plenty to choose from at the various stalls.
After lunch we had the medals ceremony and then everyone hung out, socialized and played for awhile before we all pitched in to clean up.
I think what this shows is that homeschoolers are starting to come together to organize much bigger events and social media is really helping to make it possible and easier! I also like the fact that it opens greater possibilities to meet more homeschoolers and introduce an element of healthy and friendly competition which is an important part of learning that many times is absent. I hear there is now a homeschool science fair on the cards for 17th June. Katelynn and I are looking forward to participating.
To view more photos, please visit Amy J. Delph’s Facebook photo album titled, Homeschool Sports Day May 28
About the author:
Amy Delph who resides in Malaysia is mother to two homeschooled kids. She is also the founder and director of EDISON Enterprises, a company that specializes in critical and creative thinking for children, youths and adults.
23 May 2012
Every so often I hear news of a homeschooler who discovers her passion and excels, and I am thrilled! 5th Grader Clarissa Chee from Penang who is home educated using distance learning resources from Dalat International School is also a champion swimmer. Here’s the story:
Clarissa is a fast learner.
Like gold medal kind of fast. Like Malaysia National Swimming Champion kind of fast. It took her less time to start a sport and climb to its national peak than it did to finish 5th Grade.
Clarissa won the 100-meter breastroke at Malaysia’s National Age Group Swimming Championships last month in Bukit Jalil, less than a year after she began competitive swim training.
“I think I did pretty well,” Clarissa said of her performance.
Pretty well is pretty impressive.
Clarissa won her race by 2 hundredths of a second over the second-place finisher from Selangor. She also competed in other events like the backstroke and 50-meter breastroke with mostly top ten results.
She trains for three hours a day, six days a week to get this kind of success. Although it takes up much of her time, she said she enjoys the daily grind.
The homeschooled 5th Grader started swimming about a year ago on her mom’s suggestion. Before she knew it, Clarissa began shaving seconds off her time and competing for gold medals in several events.
She attributes part of her success in swimming to homeschooling.
At a local public school in Penang, her parents felt all her time went toward studying for exams. They knew Clarissa had passions and they wanted her to chase those dreams, but at school, she didn’t have the time nor the energy.
“I felt she wasn’t gaining knowledge,” her mom ChekLi said. “Now we give her freedom with what she wants to pursue. She can go in depth rather than on the surface.”
With a flexible schedule as a homeschooler, Clarissa can work on her swimming every day, which is clearly effective. She also trains in Tae Kwon Do and competes in gymnastics at local MSSPP events. After spending most of her childhood in Arizona, USA, Clarissa wants to focus more on her English so she can return to the U.S. to attend college.
When it comes to sports here in Penang, Clarissa considers herself a Dalat International School athlete.
Her family is closely associated with Dalat’s Distance Learning Resource Center, run by Jonathan Steffen. The center has a full library of textbooks and resources intended for homeschool kids like Clarissa. Steffen provides curriculum guidance for parents who aren’t sure where to start when it comes to homeschooling their kids and Dalat allows these kids to compete in sports here at the school.
For Clarissa, this gold medal in Malaysia is quite an achievement. But it’s not the end.
Like all her passions, Clarissa has big goals she wants to accomplish. For swimming, she wants to compete in the ASEAN age group championships. She has to wait a couple of years in order to qualify. She also knows she has to reduce her swim times and that takes hard work.
But looking at her history, it took her one year to win gold in Malaysia. Imagine what she can do with two more.
(Reprinted with permission from Dalat International School)
You can also read related posts on other homeschoolers and their achievements:
22 August 2011
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Extra-curricular Activities.
15-year old homeschooler Joshua Kam was one of the participants at the Ethos Debate Camp in Singapore, organised by US-based Ethos Publications. Joshua was one happy camper when the grueling 5-day event was over. Here’s his report.
IN EARLY JUNE MY MOM AND I ATTENDED THE ETHOS DEBATE CAMP in Singapore and loved it – every gruelling, chaotic, kan-cheong, hilarious moment! It was an intense five-day camp that stretched both the limits of my cognitive stamina and the weary nib of my 2b pencil. But here I am, nearly two months later, reviewing my old notes from that week, and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
The camp was run by a group of Americans from the Ethos group, a Christian organization that emphasizes critical thinking coupled with sound, reasonable faith. So it is a Christian debate workshop to teach kids (in this case, homeschoolers) the basics of good debating. And that, I must say, was a badly needed foundation for many of us – myself included!
My mom and I arrived at the camp (held in a church) on the 6th of June. There were about sixty people in all, counting facilitators, students, and parents, who were encouraged to stay in and learn with the kids. After registration and a little bit of mingling, Tim Snyder who was one of the teachers got the older half of the camp together and off we went!
The first and second days were mainly instructive sessions. The teachers Luke Juday, Josiah McPeak, and Tim Snyder, taught us the basics of policy debate – how a standard tournament works, the art of critical thinking and developing smooth, eloquent speeches. My Mom and I remember how easily half of our notebooks got swallowed up in a combination of notes, questions, and reminders. We certainly learned a lot.
We soon found out that we’d only be studying policy debate in this camp. Policy debates are arguments over what should be done in a given situation (e.g. should the government arrange peace talks between Israel and Palestine? Or, should Malaysia make an alliance with the Czech Republic?).
The instructors then explained to us about the four stock issues that needed dealing with to make a logical plan-of-action in a policy debate. In layman’s terms, this means that your argument has to answer four crucial questions to make sense:
1. Topicality: Is this proposal/argument relevant to the discussion –are you really dealing with the issue?
2. Significance: Do the benefits of your proposal outweigh its costs?
3. Solvency: Is this proposal even plausible?
4. Inherency: Will this plan help us, or end up being the same if we had maintained status quo?
If you can defend your proposal clearly in all these areas, then you have a solid argument. I admit this is just a small sample of what our lively company discussed since I’ve barely scratched the surface. But I am sure you have a rough idea what we did there!
This intense, comprehensive crash-course was followed by opportunities for us to put those newly acquired skills into action. Throughout our last three sessions we prepared and practiced to debate the colourful controversies of Singaporean politics. Our topic was, ‘Singapore needs major changes in its electoral system.’
Already somewhat restless after two days at our desk, we were finally set free to hone our clumsy blades by battling against one another. Being Malaysian put me at a disadvantage as I had to research lots to make a decent case for either side of the debate. I think this explains why I lost two out of three rounds of debate in the final tournament that was held on the last day. But once I got over the mild ignominy of this loss, I left the camp feeling quite satisfied with myself.
To be honest, this was one of the most rigorous camps I’d ever been to. There’s some homework involved, and the debate rounds can be awfully stressful. But if you are willing to work hard, think on your feet, and do not mind researching late into the night on any given topic, I strongly, strongly recommend you attend the Ethos Debate Camp when it comes around next year!
About the writer: Josh is a fifteen year old homeschooler who likes cookies, good books and tearjerker movies. He counts Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy among his favourites books. He is also the current President of our own Junior Public Speaking Club KL/PJ which meets once a month in PJ.
5 January 2011
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Extra-curricular Activities.
Homeschooling gives a family so much flexibility to accomplish things that really matter. While new homeschooling parents are understandably anxious about categories of work and play and ‘schooling’, veterans have long learned that one can sometimes do all that in a happy overlapping mess of activities. Now try imagining all this with 6 children in tow. I think that’s what you call real-life education in the real world!
Adrian and Jessy Yeong are parents of 6 lovely children. Mom Jessy will tell you it’s not easy juggling everyone’s needs, but that has not stopped the family from making the most of their homeschooling adventure. In the closing days of the old year, the Yeongs travelled up north, and among other things, hiked up Maxwell Hill. In the process, they did not only bond more deeply with one another, they built wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s their report written by Jessy that was first posted on her Facebook page.
OUR FAMILY’S MAXWELL HILL CHALLENGE
By Jessy Phuah
Today, we had a family outing, a trip to Taiping to makan and jalan-jalan. We took on a family challenge: we are going to walk/ trek up Maxwell Hill covering a distance approximately 13 kilometers.
Walking on the road was pretty boring except for a few small waterfalls along the way, some wild flowers to look at, pink, yellow, white and purple, an army of giant ants… listening to horns of the oncoming jeeps blazing as they were breezing through. Our little ones waving to them caught their attention as they look in amazement with their thumbs up. We walked and walked. We walked past the station where some locals stopped and rested at the end-point of their walk up. Some were having tea there, they starred at us and cheered us on. I guess that’s about 2 – 3 km which took up about 30 minutes of our walk.
So different from our normal jungle trek, here we had stretches of road and bends, and it goes round and round winding itself all the way up, it not mistaken a total of 92 bends. Ah, suddenly we chanced upon a jungle trek and decided to climb. We had good progress, we ended up at another road and had noticed that we had fast-forward 10 bends and appeared at bend no 22.
We walked till we reached the Tea Garden (8km)…. finally for some coffee and tea and cake and scones whatever they may offer as we were tired after the long walk, only to be disappointed. They have nothing to offer, not even the toilet to our dismay, they were closed for renovation. We sat down at the stairway for 10 minutes, I had nothing much to offer them, only a few slices of bread so kids munched on whatever we had, a few slices of bread and a drink of water. We had to go on and so we walked on.
At this point, my 3 year old Joshua was getting tired so on and off I carried him. Andre helped too. After walking about a kilometer away, it started to drizzle. We weren’t prepared and were caught in the rain. At this point, 3 jeeps zoomed past us, we tried to hitch a ride but they had no passenger space to oblige us. Not desiring to be drenched, we prayed and asked God to hold back the rain and bring it to a stop. It still drizzle on and since there weren’t much shelter we decided to walk in hope that we might reach the peak soon enough.
Adrian walked fast and soon disappeared out of sight. Fit as he is, he backpacked little Joseph and wanted to make sure his little one won’t get wet, God is good, though it drizzled about 20 minutes we weren’t really wet at all, and the rain eventually stopped. Our spirits were lifted up, we were glad and thanked God, we continued our ascent to the submit.
The sweet aroma of coffee drifted by and tingled our noses, the concrete signpost ahead stated 1 kilometer to Bukit Larut, I was excited and told the kids we were fast approaching our destination. The signboard misled us – it took us longer than a kilometer before we could reach the actual submit, but we did it! Ah … My first stop, the toilet finally.
The kids had some chocolate coated cake and water. After a while, we were glad we had bought tickets earlier for the jeep ride down. Adrian commented that since we could do a 13 kilometer, we might be able to scale up Mount Kinabalu, from the mid-point to the submit which is 17 kilometers up. Will we do it ? Well, I don’t know, as for now, I am going to sleep…good night!
10 June 2010
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Extra-curricular Activities.
FRONTIER LEARNING CENTRE (FLC)- that’s what the homeschool co-op is called. Started by several homeschooling moms, it was set up to help our teens prepare for their O Levels. It’s a simple informal set-up (fee-based) and from what we hear, things are going pretty well.
Although the co-op began as an initiative by homeschooling parents for homeschoolers, half of the enrolment drifted in from elsewhere. Recently, the co-op celebrated Teachers Day with a brunch at Cinta Ria Restaurant in PJ, and you can view the photos on our Facebook page. Enjoy.
17 May 2010
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Extra-curricular Activities.
[HERE’S A PLUG by 15-year old Joshua for the Junior Public Speaking Club, an initiative of homeschoolers in Kuala Lumpur. Although homeschooled kids make up the majority, we’re getting quite a number who aren’t – and we’re so glad for it! ]
I’m Joshua, from the Junior Public Speaking Club. Just wanted to invite you and kids (aged 12 & above)all to our club meeting this June! The meeting will be held in the EaglePoint Covenant Fellowship building in Puchong, on the 4th next month!
The Junior Public Speaking Club (or JPS Club) was started 6 years ago by Amy Ratos. Basically, it has been about creating a friendly platform to encourage kids in the much-needed skill of public speaking. Parents stay throughout the meeting, and take on roles as mentors and speech evaluators, giving the kids constructive criticism and encouragement. Now, we’ve about 30 members, including parents, and we get together monthly to, well…speak!
Ever since, we’ve gotten busy. We’ve had themed speeches, debates, games, skit days, and on special occasions, even mini mock-trials. If I recall right, the last mock trial involved an accusation about whether Gingerbread Man killed Humpty Dumpty (I’m serious!) Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough evidence, and so Gingerbread Man got away scot-free.
Our meeting for next month will be themed “SPIES.”
Some of the kids will be giving prepared speeches, jokes, and games this month, so do be there to hear them! Of course, if you’re just visiting, your children don’t have to prepare any speeches – just bring yourselves, your kids, and hands ready to clap.
The meeting, as I mentioned, will be held at EaglePoint Covenant Fellowship, on Friday, the 4th of June, at 2:30-4:30 pm. Our club meetings happen, at the same place and time, every first Friday of the month. Here’s the address to the church building:
No. 2, Jalan Rajawali 3,
Bandar Puchong Jaya,
Do feel free to email any of us for more info about the club:
Joshua – joshuakam1996 (at) yahoo.com
Eshan – orcapromethana (at) gmail.com
Elliot – qwertyelliot (at) gmail.com