Part 2: What It's Really Like to Homeschool Your Child

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Homeschooling is not just about bringing the classroom into your home, donning a teacher's uniform, and wielding a chalk over a blackboard. It is not just about hiring a tutor and having the kids taught at home. Homeschooling is more dynamic and free-flowing than a regular school schedule with a checklist of things to do. It is also deeply personal, as a homeschool family learns and grows together. Homeschooling wraps around the daily rhythm of a family and learning happens as household activities occur. It is dependent on the family unit and as unique for every family as a thumbprint. No two homeschool setups are alike. Some have designated areas for study. Others have learning sessions at the park or plunk their books right at the dinner table alongside the vegetables. Some families have a daily schedule; others don't feel the need for an everyday study routine. Curriculum can also be according to a specified program or custom-designed to support your child's natural interests.

Prepare yourself Homeschool is truly a character-building journey for the family, and it will challenge the way you think.

Joy Mendoza homeschools her five children. She is also a speaker and consultant at The Master’s Academy, a non-stock, non-profit homeschooling program accredited in the Philippines.

Joy observes, ““Some parents aren't willing to change their own perspectives on learning and education. They try to impose school-based methods and expectations on their child without realizing that there are better ways to teach and learn, that learning can be customized for their child to optimize his learning experience.”

Parents who insist on using the school-at-home method may not last very long, she says, especially if they have more than one child.

“There has to be a paradigm shift. What's the best way for my child to learn content that is important? How can I facilitate that learning experience? These questions have to be asked before anyone gets into homeschooling and even during, when challenges appear,” Joy says.

Mec Camitan Arevalo, who homeschools her two kids, didn't have any doubts about her ability to teach. However, she struggled with the discipline of having a system to facilitate instruction.

“When I feel impatient or my son is not getting something, I just change tactics, do other activities or I back off. There are times when I know he isn't really exerting effort, in which case, I let him stew in the activity till he realizes that he's the reason for it being harder or taking longer. However, I always keep in mind that our relationship should outweigh any educational outcomes. But I have blown my top in a few occasions! I'm still a work in progress,” Mec shares.

“Patience is a choice,” says Joy.

“Parents can choose to be frustrated and upset with their child or choose to apply different ways of accomplishing the same goals. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting the same results,” she adds

In such cases, it's just a matter of changing one's perspective, switching methodology, or re-evaluating expectations.

Seek support “I was preggy with Yakee when I felt the calling,” Mec recalls.

“I knew I was quitting my work so it sort of seemed [like] a great idea to maximize my being home. I attended lectures and talks on it and joined a group, she says.

Her husband Jojo soon came around when he attended a homeschooling conference and met homeschoolers.

She says, “When he realized actual people were doing it, he was all for it. Up to now, he is thankful that this is our setup.”

“Many children who are homeschooling belong to playgroups and coops where they connect with children of different ages every week. Or they are enrolled in classes and club sports that allow them to learn important social skills like working together towards a common goal, putting the needs of others above their own, celebrating the victories of others, learning to win and lose with the right attitude, and so on,” Joy says.

She adds, “Homeschooling in the Philippines is probably the last place on earth where children will be in want of relationships! I can't even begin to count the number of social events my children attend where there are other children present. At the very least, they have a number of cousins whom they see regularly.”

Keep in mind though that the concept maybe new to other people so expect a bit of skepticism. It can be quite the challenge especially when it comes from grandparents and other extended family members. However, a united partnership is always the best support system you can draw strength and affirmation from.

Enjoy the rewards Homeschooling provides a family with fertile ground for sowing the seeds of rich and fruitful relationships. Children benefit from knowing that they can always rely on the solid, stable foundation of family.

Armin Concepcion, who homeschools her son Sean, recalls, “There were many things I didn't understand about Sean’s behavior until that time we went back to homeschooling. He opened up more... Now I know where he's coming from and how to meet him where he's going.”

Mec says, “Being able to homeschool is really a privilege because not everyone would have the resources or option to do so.”

In her blog, Tina Santiago-Rodriguez, says, “Kids should be encouraged to have fun, be exposed to books a lot, explore their motor skills and imagination, and most of all, be assured that they are loved and special. Learning can take place anytime, anywhere. As long as we are open, creative, and spontaneous, we can make anytime learning time. However, it does need a lot of patience, planning, perseverance, and faith.”

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