PERSONAL STATEMENT REGARDING ALLEGATION OF HOMESCHOOL SINGAPORE (HSSG) AS A BUSINESS
Released 4 Apr 2022
As a community of volunteer families, the HSSG community has been serving the homeschooling community via projects like Children’s Craft Fair and the Homeschool Convention since 2017. Any funds that have been raised from the events have been donated back to the running and logistical costs of those events. We have levied charges for some of these activities in order to cover overheads, offer a token amount to those who have often sacrificed many hours to be involved, and plough back excess funds into future events. It is the same as the ticketed Sports Day or Homeschool Curriculum Fair in the past. All volunteer families are also active in other homeschooling groups of their own choice, from co-ops to structured programs. Not all volunteer families within HSSG invest the same amount of time or effort. Yet we all belong and help one another out when possible. When we organise events for the community, it is our time and effort that is freely given.
The Homeschool Convention alone costs 300 man hours for me. I don’t have anything to show my family except appreciation. “Thank you for taking care of the kids while I do this,” I tell my husband. My husband wonders at times why nobody sees the effort, yet expects the sky when I cannot involve everyone, or not everyone is invited to be the keynote speaker. It is just.. exhausting, to plan everything from start to finish. Every organiser surely deserves some love.
So it saddens me when the community I founded, HSSG, has been accused of being a business, milking money off homeschoolers and hence, anything promoted by HSSG means promotion of its business. This is not true. HSSG started out in 2013 as a group of like-minded parents who homeschool our children. It remains so today. We are still volunteers today. There is a UEN of a Singapore Homeschool business. It is not affiliated to HSSG. It is not mine. Sometimes, you need to understand people do use the word “homeschool” in a different way from others, and it may be the furthest from how you define it.
On the other hand, HSSG has always been supportive of homeschooling businesses. We have done shoutouts for mums and dads who run homeschool activities and paid programs. Why not? If they are doing something legitimate, and they are offering something good, we should cheer. A business is incredibly difficult to run. Small business owners run into financial issues. We should do what we can do to give our fellow homeschooling parents a leg up. Some of our community members have started businesses that were originally projects. We encourage members to continue in their work and not to give up. There is a season for everyone, including starting up businesses, leaving them dormant or closing down. Who are we to dictate what people can or cannot do with their lives?
As homeschoolers, we understand the frustrations of caregiving while you run a business. We also understand money does not come easily. We do whatever we can at HSSG when we see homeschoolers need help. We have shouted out for two board game companies, a clinic, and home bakeries. We have used the Convention to platform entrepreneurial homeschoolers who deserve to be heard. This year, we use the Curriculum Fair to encourage vendors and homeschoolers to collaborate. There should be lots of opportunities for homeschoolers to try different things, for parents and for children. That is a real community at work.
My stand is that homeschooling families are free to self-organise whatever they want, whenever they want, and no bullying or discrimination should be allowed towards any person out of respect and human decency. Conflicts should be resolved in a mature manner befitting of adult parent-educators who tout the values of their educational insights.
My view of the homeschooling landscape is that every single community that exists in whatever form (religious group, whatsapp chatroom, fb group etc) has a role for the people in the group in that season. It is not for us to control who goes where. It is for us to celebrate when people find their tribe and stay rooted. It is for us to think well of one another despite not agreeing with one another’s pedagogy or choices in parenting. All of us are unique. Divisions are unhealthy and make us look at one another poorly. This is not good for parents and children. Nobody should be afraid of anyone. Nobody should be fearful of bullies in the community.
In closing, I would like to share a story about the Homeschool Convention (that is just 3 days away). The Homeschool Convention was started in 2017 with the intention of bringing homeschoolers in Singapore together for an annual event. In 2017, Shan Chua, who has organised past events for the Singapore Homeschool YahooGroup, spoke to me about combining the Curriculum Fair with the Convention. It was a brilliant idea. It brought the kampung spirit of Singapore Homeschool group with a professionally executed event of the Homeschool Singapore group. The tickets were used to cover the costs of a major event, including venue rental. When the Convention went online, the money helped to cover the costs of a video platform rental and miscellaneous costs in production. (You may view the documentary of the Homeschool Convention (2017-2019) for a glimpse of the communal work behind the event.) Shan and I organised the annual Homeschool Convention voluntarily – without pay, without asking for anything in return except the joy of serving.
This year is my last year organising the homeschool convention (to help the alumni). The curriculum fair has always been the space where everyone mingles. You don’t have to pay for the keynote if you don’t want to. You can show up for the FREE curriculum fair and enjoy what is being shared.
This year, the Curriculum Fair at the convention reaches not only Singapore but other Asian countries. The Homeschool Convention 2022 – ASIA EDITION is featured in various homeschooling communities in Asia. This is where the homeschooling community has grown to: being neighbourly to others outside of SG, to enjoy the stories that one another brings. (Come for it this Saturday. The program is robust, and the vendors and homeschoolers featured are excellent. Get your schooling and homeschooling friends to check it out.)
In closing, I urge everyone to fact check and not jump to conclusions without finding out.
I wrote this statement out of my own accord. It is separate from HSSG. To get the official word from HSSG, email the team at email@example.com if you have any questions or issues.
Homeschool Singapore Founder | Community Leader, 2013-2020
Homeschool Convention Organiser 2017-2019, 2022 (with the HS Alumni SG)
USEFUL LINKS from HSSG
- Our Vision https://homeschoolsingapore.sg/2021/08/01/vision/
- Our History https://homeschoolsingapore.sg/2021/08/02/our-community-story/
- Our Community https://homeschoolsingapore.sg/2021/08/02/our-community-story/
- Our Children’s Protection Policy https://homeschoolsingapore.sg/2021/08/05/childrens-protection-policy/