The Homeschooling Application Process

This is a monthly post on 'Homeschooling'. Every 5th week of the month I will interview parents who are homeschooling their children of age 7 up.  This is my final post on homeschooling.

Jan - Homeschooling A High Ability Child
May - Homeschooling 8 Children
Jul - Homeschooling - An Educational Path Less Tread

When your child reaches 6 years old by calendar year, you would need to enrol him/her to a primary school because primary school education is compulsory in Singapore.  This is the direct link to Ministry of Education (MOE) website on the different phases of enrolment.  However, you could also opt for homeschooling if this is your desire.

What if you truly desire to homeschool your child, how should you go about it?  I asked a mum who homeschool 3 of her 4 children (her littlest is still a preschooler) the application process.  & here we go:

Step 1
You must first enroll your child to a primary school of your choice regardless whether you want to send him/her to mainstream school or homeschool.  This is to safeguard a seat for your child in event that your homeschooling application did not go through.

Step 2
Write an email ( or call ( 6879 6458/9) MOE between 1st July to 31st Oct to request for the homeschooling application form.  Beside sending you the form, MOE will also email you the requirements of homeschooling.

Step 3
Upon receipt of the application form, you fill up all the necessary & submit it together with your resume (yes, it is like applying for a job.  You are indeed applying for the position of a teacher based in your home to teach your child).  Other items to be included in the application form are the curriculum that you will use & follow, the daily timetable, the National Education outline (how are you going to carry it out), etc.

Step 4
MOE will send a representative to your house upon receipt of your application to interview you & to talk to your child.  The representative will assess there & then the readiness of both parties (mother & child) to be homeschooled.

Step 5
Your application result will be made known to you within 1 to 3 weeks' time, usually before December.  If your application is successful, you will need to wait for the official Certificate of Exemption to be mailed to you.  Upon receipt of it, present this to the primary school you have applied in Step 1 together with the Birth Certificate of your child.  The primary school will withdraw your enrolment application.

If your application is not successful, you will proceed as normal with the primary school you have enrolled your child in in Step 1, i.e. buy books, uniforms, etc., according to the schedule given out by the school.

Do note that you need to have this minimum academic qualification to be a teacher of your child:
1) A basic degree; or
2) A teaching qualification for non-graduate.

Your child will also be sitting for an exam at 10 years old (calendar year), on top of the Primary School Leaving Exam at 12 years old.  This exam is for MOE to assess your homeschooling progress.  It is only a pass or fail status, there will not be any marks made known to you.  If your child performs poorly in this exam, MOE will 'encourage' you to send your child back to the mainstream (they take it as an obvious reason that you are not doing a good job at teaching your own).

Are you planning to homeschool your child?  I hope this post is beneficial to you.  Please feel free to share this post to parents who are exploring homeschooling.

[Media Invite] Gardens By The Bay - The Garden Troopers! (Junior Horticulturists)

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant
Mar - Gardens By The Bay - The Cloud Forest
Apr - Gardens By The Bay - The Flower Dome
May - The Changi Museum
Jun - Human Body Experience & Nature's Design Exhibition @ Singapore Science Centre
Jul - Literary Trail: In Search of the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Aug - Fun For Free Sg: Gardens By The Bay - The Supertree Grove
Sep - Damnoensaduak Floating Market & Maeklong Railway Market (Bangkok)

When I was staying with my late mother in her 3-room HDB flat, she had a tidy row of plants along the corridor.  Nobody complained, because the neighbours love plants too.  I did help her to water her plants, but my affection towards them didn't grow.  So I grew up believing that I do not have green fingers, butter fingers I have, green, nope.

But I can't shun away from this topic for long.  Next year onwards, AJ will have an additional subject to study in school: Science, & studying of plants is included, needless to say!

Ministry of Education Science Syllabus for Primary Students

Though I did bring AJ to Gardens by the Bay a few times to learn more about plants,  he didn't have any hands-on activities with plants before.  How glad I was to get an invite to Gardens By The Bay - The Garden Troopers! programme where AJ could role play as a Junior Horticulturist!

Details of Garden Troopers here

The programme started off with designing of name tags & an ice-breaker game.

AJ really put his heart & soul into designing his name tag.

Ice-breaker game.  Can you guess what game were we playing?

After that we proceeded to World of Plants for our 1st activity - 'It's All in the Name', where the children find out the scientific names of plant in Latin.

We then proceeded back to the room for activity 2 - 'Grow and Multiply', where the children were introduced plant propagation by stem cutting.  The children were pretty excited at this stage because it was a hands-on activity.  Everyone had a chance to transfer the soil to a small pot, cut the stem of the plant, plant the stem with its roots into the soil & water the plant.  In the process of it, the children not only learnt that stem cutting is 1 of the few ways that plants can multiply, they also got to learn the types of plants suitable for stem cutting.

Cindy, the trainer, demonstrated the steps of doing stem-cutting

At the end of the session, the children were allowed to bring back the pots of plant they have helped multiply.

Are you in the midst of planning school holiday programmes for your child?  If your child is between aged 9 to 12, this is 1 programme which you could consider.  In this 2-day adventure as a Junior Horticulturist, your child will get to experience exclusive 'behind-the-scenes' tours & hands-on activities.  Kindly click on this link to register, & the programme outline is in this link.

I guess my fingers weren't that black too.  The pot of plant we brought back is still alive after 3 weeks!  Yay!

Computer Coding For Kids

This is a monthly post on 'Book or Web/Mobile Application for Children'. Every 3rd week of the month I will post on a review on books that AJ has read or web/mobile application that he has tried on.

Jan - Sherlock Sam & the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Feb - UpToTen (Boowa & Koala) Online Educational Website for Pre-Schoolers
Mar - Sherlock Sam & the Vanished Robot in Penang
Apr - How To Think Like A Scientist
May - The Rock & The Bird
June - 君伟上小学
July - Young Scientists Reader - Integrated Thematic Science Series
Aug - JJ's Science Adventure: Magnets
Sep - Bangkok Guide For Kids By Kids

AJ is very much into computer coding, & he has completed a few projects on Scratch.  Scratch is a simple coding program developed for children by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.  Scratch is available free online, so anyone can use it.

If your child is new to computer coding, or has the interest to pick up this skill, here's a good book to start with.

As you can see from the content page, this book 1st introduce what is coding, then Scratch, & lastly Python.  It also covers what's inside the computers.

Every page is full of colours, & explanation given in words & shown in pictures, this book is easily read & understood by kids as young as 9.  Best of all, it can be borrowed from the National Library Board!  :)

Here's a real life story that may inspire you & your child.  You may click the link here to read.

If you are keen to send your child to holiday workshops on computer coding or web design, please see my previous post here.

Coding & Web Design for Kids

Does your child love playing computer games or games on mobile phones?  I confess: AJ has been on the laptop quite a lot lately.  But, wait!  It is not because he is playing computer games.  For your information, he doesn’t even play Angry Birds, Candy Crush or Minecraft.  Well, he has been busy doing computer coding & updating his blog.

Yes, I am aware that many parents view technology as ruining the ‘essence of childhood’.  But nowadays even the children's toys are digital & many are programmable, like Legos & Leapfrogs. I think the challenge for parents is in finding applications that can help their children develop new skills while still having fun. We do not deny the fact that we are living in the digital world now, & we can never escape from having computers & handheld devices.  The amount of technology & our reliance on it will increase over time.  Especially for the older kids, it is not something you could avoid totally.  On the other hand, tablets or smartphones do allow children to access a wide range of educational apps & services that can help boost their maths & logic skills, packaged in the appealing form of a game.  Of course, we must have control over the usage of the computer. You may like to click here to read a post I have written previously on setting limits on computer usage.

Instead of being just an end user of computers, we thought we should let the boy understand the logic behind how these things work & learn to create them too.  Instead of allowing the child to bury himself in those computer games, about a year ago, we introduced him to Scratch, a simple coding program developed for children by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.  Scratch is available free online, so anyone can use it. 

We believe coding is a fantastic way to strengthen logical thinking & problem-solving skills.  Ever since we introduced Scratch & Python to AJ, computer coding has become 1 of AJ’s passions.  During the school holidays, we allowed him to devote more time to explore coding by himself.  He has thus finished up quite a few projects.  He has also been reading books about coding.

Since he has been coding for more than a year, we thought he should take coding more seriously.  I am hoping that he could spend the year-end school holidays learning something more in-depth on computer coding & setting up of websites.  Lo & behold!  As I was googling for more information, I found The Kid Coders.  Yay! They have holiday workshops for both these topics as well!  

AJ will be attending these 2 workshops & I'm pretty excited to find out what he will be going through.  What's more, they have good feedback from children who have attended their previous workshops, which is further confirmation that these are the right workshops for him!

"I created lots of things. Making the games is interesting and very cool. I am most proud of creating my games." Ryu, 9

"(It is interesting) because I like to see my very amazing characters move as if they have a life. I learnt to give the computer instructions." ~ Ian, 9

"I like everything and all of the projects in the bootcamp because they're so cool. The teacher is awesome!" ~Nicole, 11

If you have children who are interested in computer games, computer coding or website design/blogging, why don't you consider these workshops that are more structured & thus able to provide your children with a more in-depth understanding?  Besides, if you sign up before 2nd Nov, you'll get to enjoy quite good savings!

For more information, please visit The Kid Coders at:
Tel:  9691 8603 

*This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

The Ring Bearer

Last Saturday AJ had the chance of being a ring bearer for a wedding couple in church for the very 1st time.  He was very excited about it because he thought he looked very handsome in the suit.  Do you think so?

Smart bo?

The couple had 2 page boys (including the ring bearer) & 2 flower girls.
Children were added with eye masks via photo editing to protect their identities.
The big boy at the bottom left is a very popular church wedding co-ordinator.
The bride marched in with her dad at bottom right picture

The couple also invited AJ to play 2 hymns during their wedding dinner.  We felt very honour that the little boy had this privilege to share the hymns with the non-believing relatives & friends during the dinner.  This was part of the couple's evangelical plan to reach out to their relatives & friends who have yet-to-believe in Christ.  They also sang a gospel song together.  How meaningful!

I didn't take a video of AJ playing in the dinner because we could only transport a digital piano to the venue.  But I have taken the videos at home.  I really love the arrangement of these 2 hymns, especially "Be Thou My Vision".  Hope you'll enjoy as much as I do.

My Career Mentor - Patrick Hoe

This is a monthly post on 'Inspiring Individual'. Every 2nd week of the month I will post on individual who has crossed our path & how we were inspired by him/her.

Jan - The Music Conductor, Adrian Tan

Feb - Investor, Entrepreneur, Author, Success Coach - Ismail Gafoor
Mar - 儿子的华文老师 - 颜清碹老师
Apr - Man of God - Rev. (Dr.) Prabhudas Koshy
May - 新加坡教育界的杰出华人 - 张美香校长
Jun - Trading Master, My Mentor - Robin Ho
Jul - Top-tier Remiser & Stock Trainer, Collin Seow
Aug - Face-to-Face with Janet Doman
Sep - An Extraordinary Mother, Pamela Lim

Almost every ex-colleague of mine from SH who has worked under him before would concur that he is a good boss, a good career mentor too. 

I remember when we first met at work, we didnt quite like each other.  Not long later, i had to be placed directly under him due to corporate restructuring.  *fate*  Was it the beginning of my nightmare? I had thought so. But it turned out to be the sweetest moment of my stay in that company.

It was a blessing to be able to work under his guidance.  Though not highly educated, he has wealth of working experience to share with us.  He is always full of ideas when we often ran out, always full of energy even though he sleeps very little when we could bearly stay alert at less than 6 hours of rest.

He taught me many things along the way. I was new to retail operation but he didn't let that hinder my progress.  He held my hand & walked with me, coached me & guided me. I spent a wonderful 4 years working with him.  If ever i could relive my working life in SH, i would still want to work with you, Patrick.

Today is your birthday. I dedicate this post to you. To the best boss I have ever worked with!

[Review] Aileron Wellness (Sentosa)

I remember the awkwardness when I 1st stepped into a gym many years ago.  The multitude of fitness equipment was overwhelming - I didn't know which was for what purpose though there were instruction panels.  So I didn't dare venture to use many of those machines whenever I go to gym, I only stayed with those I was familiar with - the treadmill, stepper, ski machine & stationery bike, to save myself from the embarrassment.  I was also afraid that those equipment, if improperly used, might result in serious injuries to my body.

Not only have I not tried other equipment in the gym, I never thought of engaging a personal trainer as well.  Cost is 1 concern, ignorance is another.

So you can imagine the excitement when I was invited for a personal training session by Aileron Wellness.  To think that it is nested in the heart of Sentosa Island, at the Amara Sanctuary Resort, made me yearn for that day to come quickly.

Indeed, I fell in love with the place the very morning I visited it.  Unlike most gyms which are usually in the commercial buildings or shopping malls, Aileron Wellness sits on a hill in Sentosa overlooking the South China Sea.  I was surrounded by nature, with birds & crickets chirping, I could immediately feel the sense of relaxation, a renewal of my mind & body.  The strategic location of Aileron Wellness indeed offers an ideal private escape from the bustle of everyday city life.

I was given a quick tour around before I started my training officially.  I stumbled on this & came to realise how true it is.

Wen Liang was my personal trainer.  His life story was an inspiration.

Wen Liang started me off with the Power Plate, a machine which uses whole body vibration technology to achieve better overall result.  The benefits of using Power Plate ranges from healthcare to fitness.  For more details, you may read up on it here.

I had thought that I have pretty long hamstring, which enables me to do sit/stand & reach easily.  Little did I realise the power of Power Plate.  Before doing 3-dimensional stretching on the Power Plate, I could bend & reach the 3rd line of the platform.  But after just 5-10 mins of 3D stretching on the Power Plate, I could reach the 5th line. *Power*

Before stretching on Power Plate

After the 3D stretching on Power Plate

Wen Liang also introduced some training tools like the ViPR, the Sandbell & the Kettlebell to me.  The ViPR is used as a whole body workout, which helps to build muscle & burn calories through strength & movement training.  Thus, it is supposed to be more effective than traditional weight training.

The ViPR, the Sandbell & the Kettlebells

He also brought me to the TRX training corner.  The TRX is an innovative suspension systems that uses your own weight as leverage to increase cardio & metabolic strength, boost endurance & effectively tone all areas of the body.  You can see me doing planking below using the TRX suspension system.  It is certainly not as easy as the usual planking we do on a mat on all fours.  This one requires a lot of balancing using my core muscles.


After the session with him, I am truly convinced of the benefits of having a personal trainer.  A personal trainer can indeed help me to improve my overall fitness as he/she will monitor my progress & fine-tune my program as I go, helping me work my way off plateaus.  A personal trainer would also focus on my unique health concerns such as low-back pain, rehabilitation from injury & pre/postnatal training.  As such, I will be able to achieve maximum results in minimum time with a program designed specifically for me.

Beside providing customised training regime through Personal Training Programme, Aileron Wellness also provides effective group exercise classes specially crafted based on individual fitness objectives.  I was fortunate to meet Sylvia, the Yoga instructor of Aileron Wellness, who did some tension release for my very stiff body.

The 2 yoga instructors here: Kai Ying (left) & Sylvia (right)

The video below invited many envious exclamations when I posted it on my Facebook personal page.  Even the husband was surprised that I was able to hold my ankles & bend my knees that way.  It was definitely a good stretch, without a doubt (thanks Sylvia!).


I really like Aileron Wellness a lot.  1st, the location is already a draw.  If you drive here after work, or come here on a weekend, this place provides a break away from the bustle of everyday city life, which is also important to our soul & mind.  Being fit in the body is one thing, being able to break away from stress & find peace & tranquillity is another.  Aileron Wellness has the advantage over the rest of the fitness centres in terms of its strategic location.  It is a sanctuary on its own.

2nd, the instructors here are down-to-earth, friendly & knowledgeable.  As far as I know, they have a few clients who are on rehabilitation programmes.  The physical conditions of their clients are closely monitored & many actually experience great improvement to their physical well-being.

3rd, they have a wide variety of classes besides personal training.  Aileron has customised personal training, fitness classes (such as Fight Club, Yoga & Pilates), rehabilitation, pre-natal workouts, sports conditioning, food & nutrition education, train-the-trainer course, public workshops, etc.  They serve a wide age group due to the diversity of their services, from teens & kids to the elderly.

Look!  They even have a class exclusively for mummies!  Mums out there hoping to start getting fit need not be shy about it any more.  I am quite keen on this class too!

If you are looking for a gym, why not Aileron Wellness?  From now till 31 October 2014, Aileron Wellness is running a promotion for any new sign-ups or renewals.  They are giving away $100 vouchers from Singapore’s home-grown leading brand, Spa Esprit Group.  Details are found here:

Aileron Wellness
Operating hours: Daily 7.30am to 10pm
Address: 1 Larkhill Road Block 43 #02-38/39 Singapore 099394 (within Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa)
Telephone: 62747138

[Media Invite] Ricciottino Piccolo Chefs

AJ's birthday is about a month away & I have nothing concrete yet.  I'm kind of stress now, having so many things hanging in the air & nothing crystalised yet.  Then Ricciottino's Piccolo Chefs invite came & gave me another option of birthday celebration for the little boy.

The little boy went with me on 27 Sep to experience how it was like to be a Pizza Chef.

Here we are!

The spread for making the pizza - tomato paste & cheese

The boy was totally hands on.  Mummy didn't need to help at all.

The finished product!  Looks yummy!

The boy was eating the fruit of his labour. Of course, it has to be nice!

Each little Chef will get a Certificate of Participation & a Polaroid shot with the actual Chef :)

If you are interested in having a birthday party or join the Piccolo Chefs activity, kindly call the respective outlets to book.  They need a min. of 8 children.

The Ricciottino outlet in China Square is located in CBD & thus a perfect venue for dinning if you work in CBD.  After knocking off from your work, you could have an Italian dinner with your family before heading off home.  Being in the CBD also means it will be relatively quiet on Saturdays, it is when you can relax for a good meal without having to shove in the crowd.

The disposal place mat adds as kids activity for the children to keep them entertained while waiting for their food.

The Ricciottino Italian restaurant serves quite a wide variety of food.  Do check out their website for promotion & menu.

Ricciotti Riverwalk
Opens daily, 9:30am - 11pm
20 Upper Circular Road
B1-49/50 The Riverwalk
Singapore 058416
Tel:(65) 6533 9060 Fax:(65) 6535 5915
Website : 

Ricciottino China Square Central
Open Mondays to Fridays, 11am - 10pm
Saturdays, 4pm - 10pm
Closed on Sundays 
3, Pickering Street,
#01-36/37 Nankin Row, 
China Square Central
Singapore 048660
Tel:(65) 6438 8040 Fax:(65) 6327 8230
Website :

Ricciottino Star Vista
Opens daily, Sundays to Thursdays, 11am - 10pm
Fridays and Saturdays, 11am - 11pm
1, Vista Exchange Green,
#01-33 # 01-K2,
The Star Vista
Singapore 138617
Tel:(65) 6694 4101 Fax:(65) 6694 4102
Website :