Part 1: Is Homeschooling for You?

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Homeschooling is fast gaining ground in the Philippines. Some parents opt for the unstructured, eclectic approach while others go for a more traditional setup. But how would you know whether homeschooling is really for you? We ask homeschooling moms to share their insights on how they arrived at their decision. Hopefully, these will help you decide on the best course for you and your children.

What are your goals? Mec Camitan Arevalo, who teaches her children Yakee and Yamee, says, “We can take advantage of the privilege of spending more time with our kids. We can have more influence in what and how they learn, hopefully arming them better to stay good in a world filled with ambivalence and declining morals and priorities. We want them to truly succeed in life, realize their potentials, and make this world a better place.”

Liv Reyes, mom to Andrea, agrees, “For us, it was the intent of molding and strengthening our child's character.”

Joy Mendoza decided with her husband Edric to homeschool their children from the get-go. She is a speaker and consultant at The Master’s Academy, a non-stock, non-profit homeschooling program accredited in the Philippines.

She explains, “We wanted to teach our children to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Homeschooling provides us with the environment to greater influence our children towards this goal because of the time we spend together, the liberty to choose what we teach and emphasize in our instruction, and we don't have to be at odds with conflicting world views from peers, institutions, teachers on a daily basis.”

Joy was homeschooled herself so she knew exactly what they were getting themselves into.

It is thus important to check your reasons for going the homeschool route, making sure that they are aligned with your family's goals and priorities.

What's your plan? Homeschooling is not an easy task, and there are realities to be faced. Joy says, “For example, will at least one parent be able to give guided, daily instruction in a quality manner?”

This can either be mom or dad with their own designated subjects to teach. Budgeting time and money wisely comes into play here, if both parents work (yes, it has been done!) or if only one parent works. How are you going to balance daily and yearly activities with homeschooling? What are you willing to pay and spend for in terms of fees, books, learning experiences, and field trips?

You will also need to decide the approach and curriculum appropriate for your family. Joy asks, “What subjects are you going to focus and place emphasis on? Do you want to homeschool under an accredited program which provides support systems and a sense of community that your child can belong to? Or do you want to homeschool via the independent route, giving you more flexibility in submitting reports and grades but may come with other risks, like having to get your children's progress validated by DepEd to be recognized?”

Apart from lifestyle, medical conditions can also affect your decision to homeschool. Because of an accident, Armin Concepcion's son Sean had to go on medical leave. Armin homeschooled him for a year. However, her work eventually made it impossible for her to continue homeschooling Sean.

Katherine Fernandez, a pianist, homeschooled her eldest Joseph for a year as he was then recuperating from a pulmonary condition. But Katherine suffers from insomnia, and she recalls, “There are weeks when I can barely function and I end up sleeping the day away because I couldn't at night. I can't think straight when I get those episodes and it’s the kids who really suffer.”

When Joseph was diagnosed as a gifted child with borderline ADHD, the development pediatrician recommended that the homeschooling be discontinued.

Katherine says, “She said he needed an environment where he could normalize into a routine and now he exhibits self-control and self-direction that a more laid-back environment could not have given him then. Plus, I still teach, perform, and train.”

Whether or not you decide to homeschool your child is up to you and your husband. It is a decision which must take into consideration a lot of factors including your goals and priorities, your attitude and lifestyle, and your well-being and health.

HOMESCHOOLING RESOURCES The Master's Academy www.tmahomeschool.org 2F Fun Ranch, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ave., Pasig City (632) 234-0432; (632) 502-7027; (0917) 800-8257 info@tmahomeschool.org

Catholic Filipino Academy http://catholicfilipinoacademy.com (632) 710-7039; (0915) 668-8577

Living Heritage Academy under the School of Tomorrow www.sotphil.net (632) 822-9663; information@sotphil.net