Happy to homeschool in KL

This article was published previously in February 2016.

After each school holiday pre-COVID times, most parents breathe a sigh of relief as they resume their daily school runs. For some of us, the only change is that we return to strange looks from curious strangers. Homeschool in KL? How does it work? Is it for you? Read on for more.

When you homeschool, life outside of your house has a certain ‘groundhog day’ quality to it. Here is a scenario I live on a near daily basis:

Random person notices I am in supermarket/playground/bookstore on a weekday with kids in tow. Kids are clearly school-aged.

Person: “Why aren’t your kids in school? International school break?”

Me (or kids depending on whose reflexes are faster that day): “Nope, we homeschool.”

Person’s eyebrows attempt to defy gravity followed by polite interrogation. If I am stuck in line, or feeling particularly diplomatic, I will engage and fulfil my responsibilities as a homeschooling ambassador, without the snazzy sash or a tray of Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

The thread is nearly always the same with small variations depending on the country of origin of said stranger.  Mostly it can be summed up in 5 stages:

1. Disbelief: I must have heard this mother wrong.

2. Surprise: But why on earth would you chose to do that?

3. Superiority: “Yes well but you have to be so careful because socialisation…” – at which point I usually need to excuse myself briefly so I can coral my children who have been introducing themselves to complete strangers and lecturing them on their wanton use of plastic bags.

4. Schooling: This is where I school them in the absurdity of their ill-informed assumptions.

5. Curiosity: The point they reach when they’ve put their judgement to one side. Now they can’t contain their wave of questions and often join in enthusiastically debating the finer points of education and the potential benefits of a flexible approach.  

Recent Solar System Project: They decided there was life on Mars…and Jupiter.

Why homeschool in KL?

That said, if you are going to homeschool in KL, and research shows that more and more of us are jumping into that wide ocean, KL is a fabulous place to do it!

  • The city is small. That means that if you hit it off with a particular family of homeschoolers or someone organises an amazing monthly philosophy class on the opposite side of town, you can get there without losing an entire day on it.
  • A small city means it’s also ridiculously easy to escape it! If you are going to pull your kids out of classrooms, you may as well cram in as many field trips as possible. Malaysia is chock full of accessible wonders for all sorts of learning opportunities, not to mention all the surrounding countries. As the Air Asia hub, a basement bargain ticket is easy to find when you can travel outside peak holidays.
  • You can go to LEGOland outside of school holidays. Need I say more?
  • The best part of homeschooling in Kuala Lumpur is the community; it is BIG! There are loads of homeschoolers here.  To give you a sense,  the group I belonged to in Bangkok – a city which is nearly 5x bigger than KL had about 150 homeschoolers, many of whom weren’t actually active. There are a number of Facebook pages in Malaysia, some public, some closed, and the largest one which was inadvertently made secret. This last group  has over 1000 members and tics away all day and night with conversations, coops, events and article sharing. It is a homeschooling treasure trove.

In addition to being large and active, homeschoolers here are super diverse and off the charts creative. People love to make and create. A very strong sense of entrepreneurship is being instilled in these homeschooled kids.

Below is a snap taken at a recent maker fair, which filled over 3000sqft with amazing projects, crafts, and presentations by kids on their ‘making’ experiences.


Here is a picture of my daughter at her weekly archery class. What you don’t see in this picture are the picnic blankets behind, full of parents and other siblings reading, drawing and planning their next educational adventure.

Homeschool in KL

Homeschooling is not for everyone but if you are in a position where one of you can dedicate this time or work flexibly from home, it’s an incredible gift for both parents and kids. And no, patience isn’t a requirement when you first start. Like anything else, it is a skill that improves with practice and time.

I have watched my girls blossom and they have witnessed me learn to become a better and more patient mummy. What most of us overlook when we start this homeschooling journey is how much we end up learning from our kids. They are teachers just as much as we are. And I can’t think of a better place to kick start this kind of educational adventure than KL.

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13 Responses

  1. Thank you very much for this article.

    As an expat resident of Yogyakarta, Indonesia I am thinking of doing the same for my four year old son. If there are others out there who wish to do the same it would be great to establish a community here of those persons interested in home schooling.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the post! I started for one set of reasons and continue for another and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Good luck finding near you. It also tends to be contagious – when one starts others soon follow.

  2. I’ve been homeschooling my daughter for the last year and a half while we travel around the world. We are in KL now and would love to meet other homeschooling kids. I haven’t had any success searching FB and google for local groups. Can you point me in the right direction, please?

    1. Hi Shari, A number of facebook groups are secret so searches yield nothing but there are a couple of pages you can like and or ask to be part of a group. Once you strike up a conversation within these groups, they lead to more connections and pages. One that covers all of southeast asia and has a LOT of Malaysian homeschoolers is ASEAN Homeschooling Network. There is also Malaysian Homeschool Tribe. Welcome to KL and good luck!

  3. Hi.. I have a seven year old and we are planning on moving to KL soon. Just wanted to know how you manage the social development aspect of the child ? I have been teaching the IB curriculum , academics I’d not an issue but I am worried about his social skills, interaction with people, making friends etc.thanks

    1. Hi there! The homeschooling community here is incredibly active, with co-ops, hobby groups and outings happening all the time, so once you find the groups that suit your style, socialising with other kids with similar interests should not be a problem. Good luck!

    1. Hi there! The author of this post educates the kids at home. The references are for networks of parents in Kuala Lumpur, you can find them on Facebook.

  4. Hi not sure if you can help. We are a British family that arrived in August and our daughter (year 9)has struggled to settle in the international school where I work. We are looking at different education options and wondered if there are any other British parents homeschooling children of secondary age that we could meet up with to get some advice and information. We are located in Bangsar but are happy to travel. Any help appreciated as we are completely new to the idea of homeschooling. We have looked at some of the homeschool centres that are around but these not really what we had in mind.

    1. Head over to our Facebook Group Out and about with kids in KL and ask your question on that forum, there are a couple of parents in the group who have some knowledge of homeschooling. Also check out the homeschooling community via Facebook: Ibu family resource have content and maybe some support regarding homeschooling and another may be homeschooling Hub Malaysia. Good luck.

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