Setting up an International Homeschooling Lending Library

Posted: November 29, 2010 in In the beginning
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Dear all,

Thanks for your interest and engagement in Penang’s very own co-op center.  On Friday Dec.10th we would be having a meeting somewhere in town beginning 7pm on to gather feedback to the following suggestions outlined in this post.

An International Lending Library / Rental of Venue for library

One of the things we need to find confidence in is whether or not we will be able to afford homeschooling.  I have taken the initiative to have some books shipped over to start us off.


The intention is to eventually have us review several “packaged” curricula to get an idea of what is possible for our co-op especially books that are used to prepare for high-achieving and self-paced learning.  It would be beyond the reach of the average family to purchase several brands of curricula to review and compare especially since curricula designs can differ in both grade and difficulty when compared against grades.  In my experience teaching ESL I often get up to half a dozen or more books across all levels to review and then match them with my students’ interests and ability. Each time I conduct a review the materials, CD-roms, etc cost a few thousand ringgit before I even start ordering small number of books for my students’ use so I understand how difficult it would be for parents who have never had experience reviewing a wide range of available texts.

We would also see how much we can afford to rent a space at 1-stop to store our library.

Co-operative advantage

Often I don’t use one particular syllabus across all levels and mix and match them throughout time. This is usually the best way to extract maximum benefit from learning and the advantage of homeschooling ; to not have to die of boredom or be underchallenged / overwhelmed by sticking to one particular way of learning over years.

A frame to discuss around.

While it is not mandatory for homeschooling parents to depend on or “outsource” their lesson planning by using a packaged curriculum I believe it would be a significant benefit based on the following :

  1. to gain experience of how to design lessons and benchmark learning. While I design half of my own lessons I also find it very helpful to use packaged curriculum that can be taught off the book, improvised and to learn with the beginner student.
  2. to have an idea of the level of difficulty and how our child could progress through each.
  3. to have an idea how to spread learning so that they are assured of a smooth life or scholarships for college.
  4. to help parents transition with security and confidence and to slowly train themselves up as teachers.  On one extreme there is the regimented, dull, dumbed-down curriculum of public schools and on the other extreme is the “DIY” and “do nothing” style of homsechooling. The only “middle ground” parents today seem to have is the AO and Sonlight curriculum.

My guess at the costing?

Packaged curriculum per brand per grade could range from a few hundred to over 1,000USD.  Assuming that we can have a mix of top three curriculum at USD1,000 per grade level x Year 1 – Year 12 the cost would come up to

USD1,000 x 12 = USD12,000 x 3.1 = Rm37,000+

The questions at hand would be :

1. Can we find at least 40 families to come up with RM1,000 each?

2. Can we find a way that would benefit the parents who are willing to invest in the start-up? i.e. that we limit membership just to cover our cost and then the membership can be sold to or rented out on a time-share basis to another family while the Principal Family is away on holiday / moves away?

3. That the cost of membership also serves as a prepaid service to borrow books?

4. After 2 years of, say, a cost of rm50 per month, (depending on size of family) the prepaid amount for borrowing would be used up but the membership can still be resold (like a Club membership) for a gain.

Accounting & Participation

Your attendance in this discussion would be very important to get this off the ground as soon as possible.

We would also need a volunteer accountant and Secretary to keep track of this and all future meetings.

If you are interested to attend this discussion on Friday, Dec.10th please leave a comment with your contact email on this post.

Date : Friday, Dec.10th, 2010

Time : 7pm onwards

Venue : NP Office, MAA building, Argyll Road.

Cost : RM10 per pax to be paid for by Penang Community fund.

*If you have a suitable office that can host our meeting for free please contact latest by Dec. 5th.

  1. Mabel Ong says:

    Hi there, I am very interested to know what the parents community for homeschooling programs in Penang are coming up with. My son is currently on the AOP -> Alpha Omega program which is available at one centre within the reachable location from where we are currently residing. He has been on this AO program since the start of 2010. And prior to that was on the School of Tomorrow program for an average of 6 months.

    On personal, I am not very happy with the management team of his present centre/academy, and would be glad to know if I can find an alternative solution to this concern.

    On the contrary, if there’s a parent/teacher co-ed option on homeschooling here, I would be glad to join in the community as it would allow me to know what other options I could have or leverage from as a parent. Let me know on how can I get myself involved. Thanks!

    • SC Mak says:

      Dear Mabel, thanks for your comment! In reply to your questions :

      1. It takes time for communities to find each other and come together. By posting your comments here you have made yourself “reachable” and part of the community.

      2. One motivator to organize a parent-led “coalition” is because many homeschooling and potential homeschooling parents are in your dilemma. If I were happy with the standards and management offered by “homeschooling” centers in Penang there would not be a need for me to try and organize a parent-led collaboration! I am sure people would be willing to pay for quality and it’s only when money can’t buy certain things that we need to do something about filling that void.

      3. We currently have about 3-4 parents-as-teachers on “standby” mode who are able to teach all the subjects (including higher Math and Science) and a couple more who are able to contribute in cash or kind.

  2. Maria says:

    Just need to know what’s the latest from setting up a homeschool. Have you heard about Penang ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) located in Tanjong Bunga.

    Let me know how can I get involve so we can fast track setting up and launch the soonest.

    Thank you & regards.


    • SC Mak says:

      HI Maria,

      Hope you are subscribed to the comments thread.

      The latest : wow, I would have to blog about that. Basically, waiting for all of you to say GO!

      Yes, heard of ACE and many other such centers and I am not a fan. In fact, a personal good friend of mine runs one of these for-profit centers but personal opinions cannot always pander to diplomacy and superficial goodwill.

      I guess I am in the same club with people like KV Soon of Learning Beyond Schooling, David BC Tan of Homeschool Frontier and Alicia Ling-Horseley of Homeschool Malaysia and many such others that we do not consider those centers as “homeschools”. I

      My personal opinion they are just schools without the advantage of tax money and indoctrinated differently, with Christianity. I think those centers provide a service for certain kinds of parents who are not really looking at homeschooling as much as they are looking for private school without the KBSR/KBSM.

  3. Angie Ho says:

    Hi, I am a working mother, currently my eldest daughter,aged 6, doing AOP grade two in one of the homeschool center, but I would like to know more about advantages of setting up this international homeschool center, and to look forward more resources to help my children to achieve higher in academic.

    I would be very please to know any information regard setting up this center and I would be glade to join in.

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