For former lawyer Karen Ong-Tan, homeschooling seven-year-old Kara was something that happened organically. It was also a decision that she and husband, Samuel Tan—who manages personal and family investments, felt very strongly about.
“This path of homeschooling resonated with us as it allowed for more shared family experiences, and helped us fulfil our responsibility as parents to impart good values to her, especially at an age when children face increasing amounts of outside stimulation,” explains Karen. “This is also the time of Kara’s life where both of us, and her grandparents, are still able and mobile—allowing us to share a wider range for experiences together, including more physical activities such as hiking and travelling.”
Being a full-time mum and primary caregiver accords Karen a lot of precious one-to-one time with her only child, which is one of the pull factors for many parents who choose to homeschool their kids. “I’m at a stage of my life where I’m not only excited, but also fortunate to have the opportunity to rearrange my commitments to make time for our little one during the precious early years. I’m also blessed to be able to do so because of the love and support of my husband,” she attests.
Judging by Kara’s bubbly personality, boundless energy, heightened confidence and unbridled enthusiasm (just like Mum!), we see the profound effect homeschooling has had on this talkative little Miss. “Kara has always been a vivacious and fiercely independent little girl with an infectious passion for learning, so teaching her brings us lots of joy,” says Karen. “We’re surprised when she started reading and writing confidently and independently by three, and that has proved to be a milestone that has shaped our little journey.”
We ask Kara if she has any subject she doesn’t like, and she quips without missing a beat, “No.” Not even Mandarin? “I enjoy it very much!” she replies in an almost Queen’s English accent, then marches off wearing Mummy’s heels despite Karen telling her not to do so.
The moment of realisation for me when was Kara was about six, when overnight, she developed this raging hunger for knowledge which prompted more co-learning. That motivated me to learn more and accelerate her teaching.— Karen Ong-Tan