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Homeschool e-Convention 2020: Making the Virtual a Reality

Editor’s note:
I’ve been in contact with Mark Lim since THG began its partnership with Homeschool Singapore. I asked him if he would share all about his side of the convention with our readers as we don’t often know just how much is operating behind the scenes. He’s been an amazing point person for myself and the Spotlight column, and for many others involved with the convention. Uncle Mark is the Media Liaison for Homeschool Singapore and organiser of the Homeschool Convention 2020.

Jessica Shepherd,

Spotlight Senior Editor

The Homeschool Convention has been a staple in the Homeschool Singapore calendar since 2017. I was in the Organising Committee this year, its fourth, and it seemed that we were all set to go. The venue had been booked, the speakers were in the midst of final preparations, registration and kids’ programmes had all been planned. Everyone was all ready to get right into the thick of the action.

And then things began to take a turn for the worse on the global front. A previously unknown virus had been causing a wave of infection in Wuhan, China, and many people were dying. Worse, people in Singapore were beginning to come down with the virus, and the numbers were rising.

As March 2020 drew nearer, the situation on the ground became more and more unstable, and a decision was made to convert the convention from a traditional face-to-face format to one that was completely online. This meant that the keynote speeches had to be pre-recorded and the team members had to learn new tools of online facilitation. All these decisions were made independently of major government plans which were yet to be made known to the general public. But on the day after the last High School Day speech was recorded, it was announced that Singapore would be on a de facto lockdown. The series of so-called “Circuit Breaker” measures were starting to take effect.

In retrospect, we didn’t have the space to worry about what would have happened if we had not gone virtual. All we were thinking about was the PSLE, which would have taken place in the later half of the year, and hence incapacitated a number of homeschooling families if we had delayed the convention.

But once it was all systems go, all the organising teams charged ahead at full steam. The Homeschool Village facilitators organised numerous Zoom practices to ensure that everyone would know what to do when the time came. The registration team re-worked their entire administrative system to ensure that ticket holders would be able to get their Village choices in the most optimal of ways. Even the Kids’ Drop Off Zone team came up with a virtual programme on the fly. And the Curriculum Fair took on a life of its own with its mind-blowing number of concurrent virtual sessions–all open to the public for viewing at their personal pleasure!

Looking back, it was an exhilarating experience. Everyone on the organising team closed ranks to support each other in order that the convention could be rolled out virtually and without technical or logistic glitches. It has been a most phenomenal experience and I am proud to be part of this wonderful Homeschool Singapore community!

The Homeschool Village facilitators, all of whom had a blast during the preparation as well as the execution of the programme!

Mark Lim is Media Liaison for Homeschool Singapore. He was the organiser for the Homeschool e-Convention 2020, handling media matters and also serving as a facilitator for the Homeschool Village component of the convention. In his spare time Mark enjoys travelling the world and enjoying all the cuisines the globe has to offer. He loves spending time with his family and playing board games with them. Mark is married to Sue and has two sons who will be 10 and 8 this year.

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