Mon, Feb 23, 2009
The New Paper
School's out for kids

By Charlene Chua

Celebrity couple spurn primary schools to teach two kids at home.

SHE gave up her career to be a full-time mum and now she's a teacher to her children as well.


Former actress Evelyn Tan plans to home school her daughter Kristen, 4, and son Jairus, 2, all the way to Primary 6.

Evelyn, 33, and actor husband Darren Lim, 37, are expecting their third child - she is currently four months' pregnant.

The pros and cons of home schooling have been debated here.

Evelyn and Darren say they believe in it and are not worried their children will fall behind kids who go through the national school system.

Darren said home schooling was his idea because as a student, he used to feel like an 'outcast'.

The self-confessed 'non-mathematically-inclined' actor said he wanted his children to have a more 'hands-on learning approach' to schooling.

For that, Evelyn uses the Accelerated Christian Education phonics-based programme, which uses role-playing and storytelling.

The programme, which covers subjects such as maths, science and social studies, focuses on language skills, morals and values.

Evelyn has been using the syllabus to teach Kristen for the last three months, for two hours a day, and has found it very effective.

Lessons are in the morning in Kristen's playroom, with her Barbie dolls, wooden blocks and play dough all around.

The walls are lined with posters showing numbers and letters of the alphabet and show-and-tell cards that Evelyn makes using pictures of animals downloaded from the Internet.

Kristen also attends ballet and art lessons once a week.

She enjoys one hour of television every afternoon.

Said Evelyn: 'The curriculum that I have set for her trains her to be independent and literate.

'She's curious about everything right now. This coupled with her strong learning ability makes teaching her an easy task.'

Evelyn said she turns to friends and other home schooling mothers' blogs for help with educational tips and resources.

The couple also emphasised that they recognise that 'each child is different' and would prefer to tailor an educational curriculum to suit each child.

So, for Jairus, 'if he can't sit still like Kristen, I will look into changing the curriculum', Evelyn said.

'If that still doesn't work, we may delay home schooling till he's one or two years older like Kristen is now.'

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School's out for kids
Benchmarks for homeschooling students