***Disclaimer: Long post ahead!
Schooling is something parents always have in the back of their minds from the time their child is born. Knowing that this is one of the most important responsibilities they need to get right for the future of their child.
That’s what both me and my hubby have in mind for seems to be the longest and shortest (all parents can relate on how time flies!) time when our eldest daughter turns 6 years old and would be attending Primary 1. It’s crunch time!!!
For those who don’t know, both me and my hubby are Filipinos which also means it won’t be shocking news if we decide to send our daughter to either of our parents for them to raise her while we stay abroad to work. This has been the most common scenario of OFW(Overseas Filipino Worker) families ever since I was born (i think?!). I myself grew up with this kind of setup with my hardworking parents and I can’t thank them enough for the good life they’ve given me.
Let’s just make it clear though that its not that the parents choose their careers over their kids. It’s more of choosing the source of income they know that can give a brighter future for their children over seeing them grow-up which is very heartbreaking on both parties. Deep inside, I know, that as much as they want to go back home, the income in the Philippines for the same type of work you’ll be doing abroad really isn’t sufficient enough to give your family the good life that one envisions.
STILL A FOREIGNER
We’ve been living in Singapore for almost a decade now, very much blessed and loved everything about living in this Little Red Dot. Both our daughters have been born and raised here and to tell you frankly, they’re more Singaporean than a Filipino if not for their blood. They’ll cheer for Singapore in any International competition we watch like a true Singaporean will do!
Despite all that, we can’t deny that we’re still foreigners and in cases like schooling, the rules of the government prevails. We’re in the bottom of the list and the chances of our daughters to be accepted in their local school is near to none. We were still quite optimistic though and still tried our luck last year in June when we submitted our Indication of Interest for our daughter through the MOE Website. There’s nothing wrong trying, right?
As the months passed by and October comes nearer, the more we became anxious. Lo and Behold, mid-October the email we never have wished to been received came. “….we are unable to offer your child a P1 place in our national schools.” Even if we somehow knew this could happen, it still made a mark on our hearts as parents especially when we told our daughter about the news. We don’t want her to get the impression that she wasn’t good enough that’s why she wasn’t accepted. =(
We knew that what we’re facing is like any other problem which has a solution. We just needed to find that solution…fast! My husband and I already made the decision even before my first daughter was born that we’ll do whatever we can for our daughter/s to be raised wherever we are based. We would always come as a pack no matter what. This is why the idea of sending our daughter back to the Philippines (like what most Filipinos do) for schooling is a NO-NO from the start.
Anyways, we as parents can’t just stop there. That day, I made an excel spreadsheet (yes! that’s what we always do with everything. Put in excel!haha) of all the International Schools here in Singapore. I know, in your mind, you’re saying, “You should have done that months before!”. We’re the optimistic ones, remember? So we kinda really hoped for the best and just waited for the result….our bad!haha
Upon seeing the school fees…waah!!! Thinking about it now while doing this blog still makes me a bit dizzy. As I go on and filter and the results, I was left with two great schools that we can afford our daughter to go but still left us with an even tighter budget to manage.
FINDING THE SCHOOL
That’s when we tried to explore other options. Last year, 2020, has been a very unusual year for all of us. Changes are made in many things we’re used to doing most of our lives. Schooling is one of them wherein Virtual Schooling became the only option to go to so that children would still have that sense of normality and not to compromise their learning progress.
That’s when we found Southville International School and Colleges. Not only is it based in the Philippines, they also got a program called VOLT (Virtual Online Learning and Training Program) which is basically a virtual schooling. What’s more amazing with it is that the school started this program even before the Pandemic so they already figured out everything from the system and flow of lesson and how the teachers would teach. How cool!
Here in Asia, at least, homeschooling is still an unusual type of schooling for parents to choose for their children. As parents who both attend the traditional face-to-face schooling, to be honest, we never envision our daughter attend a virtual school or anything near to homeschooling for that matter.
For us, it felt like a given thing that they’ll be attending a normal school. It’s only normal for us to feel VERY uncertain and anxious putting our daughter in a school setup that we ourselves aren’t that familiar with. But as mentioned earlier, the world changed drastically and we needed to adapt.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
As we learned more about VOLT and knew right then and on that it’s the solution we’ve been looking for. The kids would not only be able to stay with us here in Singapore but their studies wouldn’t be compromised either. It’s a win-win!!!
What’s great with this too is that the school fees fits just right with our budget. Still expensive but if you compare it to the International Schools here in Singapore, the fees are way much lower. Not bad since Southville International School and Colleges has almost the same accreditations like being an IB and WASC member. Let me just add that since most children nowadays do virtual schooling because of the Pandemic, our daughter never felt different after all.
There’s a lot of Pros and Cons with this decision before we went ahead with our decision to enrol her to Southville which I’ll be listing in another blog post.
You might be wondering why it took me a year before I post this blog. There’s two reasons actually.
First is, as a parent myself, I know that schooling is a big decision you need to do for your child’s future. I don’t want to recommend something to someone that I truly not believe in and which I myself isn’t satisfied with the result. I must say that, we’re very much satisfied with Southville.
The Teachers who my daughter and I can easily send a message with any question about her subjects have been very helpful throughout the school year. The Administrators too are so welcoming even if my daughter was a term late when she enrolled. We never had any issues scheduling her “Audit Tutorials” to make-up for all the lessons she missed and even with payment transactions which we only communicated through emails.
Second is of course how my daughter would be able to adjust to her new normal. Surprisingly, her transition from traditional schooling to virtual came so smoothly. I remember being the one who’s anxious and asking her almost everyday during her first few months how does she find her new school. Is she enjoying as much as she was in her former school even if she only gets to see her classmates in a screen? Does she feel too isolated since she seldom goes out of the house? Things like this that is beyond learning yet still an important skill growing up.
I’m proud to say that she accomplished her 1st Grade with flying honours. She gained some friends as well. Aside from that, seeing her become more independent doing things (doing homework on her own) and being responsible (like taking care of her laptop) and even teaching her younger sister about the topics she learned from school which makes us much more proud.
Now I’m sure that her lil sister is as excited as we are to follow her sister’s lead this coming August as she’ll be attending VOLT at Southville too!
I’m sure this set-up won’t be for everybody and most parents would still choose the traditional way of schooling. Like everything that you do that’s new, it’s not wrong to feel skeptical and have doubts about it. Nevertheless, I’m also pretty sure there are other families like ours who’s looking for solutions to keep their family intact without compromising the studies of their children.
Hope you find this helpful!
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