August 02, 2014 08:17
The emergence of teen duo Akdong Musician has been a refreshing jolt not only to the K-pop music scene but also the education industry. Akdong Musician became stars when they won the SBS TV audition program "K-pop Star" in 2012. They released their first regular album early this year.
Lee Chan-hyuk surprised the audience and judges with his creativity in writing lyrics without knowing how to write or read music. His younger sister, Soo-hyun, also amazed their fans as she remembered all the tunes that her brother improvised by humming and singing them perfectly. The siblings were homeschooled in Mongolia by their missionary parents instead of taking usual academic courses at school.
Their parents recently published two series of books describing their home-schooling experiences.
"Homeschooling wasn't necessarily a choice for us," the couple said. "We just couldn't afford tuition to send the kids to school while doing missionary work in Mongolia, so we had to teach them at home."
They decided to write books with two different themes -- one highlighting their difficulties and challenges as parents and the other focusing on their kids who struggled with their studies in a new environment.
"My wife and I believe that it is more important to have happy children than smart ones," Lee's father said. "We were not sure about the idea of homeschooling, but that belief gave us courage to teach my children at home. Now we realize that kids will unlock their potential when parents give up on their fixed ideas about what children should be like."
The biggest challenge for the parents was determining how to help their children make friends. "We didn't worry too much about it because they are social, but we began to realize how much they missed having many friends," said Lee's mother. "So we invited their friends over to let them have as much playtime as possible."
Although their children have become huge K-pop stars now, the life of the family has not changed much. "For a long time, we set a topic each week and did experiments together," the parents said. "Learning this way is worth so much more than what you learn in textbooks."
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