Homeschooling: Our Journey Begins

I’ve learned about homeschooling back in 2009. I just gave birth to T, and K just turned two. I was very active with my blogging back then and found several mom blogs that talks about it. Out of curiosity, I did some research about it and tried to see if such exist here in the Philippines. It did, but in most cases families are independent or are using a foreign curriculum. Also, a few providers that I found are very strict about their acceptance criteria. If I remember it clearly, they only accept kids who have valid reason not to attend school such as medical reasons, special needs or kids who work in the entertainment industry or serious athletes. As appealing as it was back then, I dismissed the idea because both my husband and I work long hours. It would take me 6 years before revisiting the idea of homeschooling again.

Should I homeschool the kids?

In 2015, we moved to Cavite and the kids started attending a public school. They were placed in an SSES class which I thought was a good thing since they are both advance for their age. Unfortunately, my son T had difficulty adjusting in class. He refused to do any work in class that the teacher had to call me in several times to address her concerns. After a few meetings, I decided to take him out of school for a week. I told his teacher that I would try to figure out what’s the problem and go back when he’s ready. This was when I started considering homeschool again. Luckily, there were more information available online and there are several providers that are DepEd accredited that we can actually go to. I even contacted some of them to learn about homeschooling. But in the end, my son decided to go back to school and idea of homeschooling got buried again.

Mom, can you homeschool me next school year?

Despite the kids going to school, I did keep myself updated on homeschooling here in the Philippines. I joined online groups, follow homeschooling mom blogs and just continue reading about teaching methods and kids’ learning styles. The more I read, the more I feel like I should be homeschooling my kids. Every now and then I would drop the idea to the kids and to my husband, but none of them are interested. Well, not until a few months ago. Out of the blue, my daughter asked me, “Mom, can I be homeschooled next school year?”

I knew that something was bothering her since they went back to school after the New Year, but for her to ask to be homeschooled sounds serious. We had a long talk about what’s happening in school and why she doesn’t want to go back next year. She told me that every morning when I wake her up to get ready for school, she doesn’t have the urge to go anymore. That she just goes to school because it something she needed to do. I asked her to elaborate, and she said:

  • The teachers are always busy with something else that they often don’t teach and just leave some exercises.
  • She had to figure out a lot of the lessons on my own.
  • Because the teachers are not around, she has so much free time in school and too many homeworks to do when she gets home.
  • She learned more things on own or when she asked me for help.
  • Group work is a pain especially when there are a lot of members.
  • Her classmates makes her feel bad when they are criticizing her work especially those that got high marks from her teacher.

Listening to her, I can tell that she was really frustrated about her school life. She was almost in tears as she talks about her reasons.

I told her that we should think things through before making any decision. I gave her the pro and con of homeschooling and what it would mean not to go to school. I especially pointed out not being with her school friend as often. But she told me straight, “anything would be better that going back to school.”

What happened to the girl who loves going to school? The girl who wouldn’t miss a class, despite a bad weather or being sick? The girl who is always eager to work with her classmate to finish a project? She’s gone…

Please homeschool me

My daughter continued to asked me to consider. We only have a few weeks left before school ends, so I told her to focus on finishing grade 5 first, while I try to research about homeschooling and try to convince her dad. Hubby wasn’t sure we can pull it off. He is not totally against it, but he wants to be sure that we have considered every aspect of homeschooling – how it would affect our lives, how committed I would be, what would happen when I have too much workload, etc. It the end, I got him to agree with the condition that we try it out for a year first and that we (my daughter and I) are not allowed to quit mid-way. Once we start, we have to see it through to the end of the school year.

It’s not you, it’s Us

I don’t want to blame the school or the teachers. I’m sure they are doing their best to teach the kids with the best of their ability and within the boundaries of the educational system. But unfortunately, my kids (yes, even T) are some of those who don’t really fit into the system. Being part of the SSES program, my kids are considered bright students. However, the classes and activities they do in school don’t seem to help nurture their strengths nor help them overcome their shortcomings. T is happy just to get by and keep his grades within range that I asked of him (even if I knew he could do way better) and K does her best just to get over the lessons (para tapos na lng).  “There are so many things I want to learn and try but can’t,” K said. “I think homeschool would be so much better.” I’m sure the current system does work for some, but it’s seems not for us. And my daughter realized as such a young age that she needs to get out of the system, if she want to explore a bigger world.

Our journey starts now

So yes, we are going to start homeschooling K for her 6th grade. Many think that she should finish her elementary in a traditional school since she only has one more year left. But my daughter is determined and I very much support her. I like to take this opportunity to help her master some of the things she needs to know before she starts high school and at the same time give her, her well deserve break from the stress of going to school.

As for T, he said he wanted to keep going to school. And that’s okay.  Just like before, I just need to be ready to provide him with supplementary activities based on stuff he wishes to explore.  That has always been the case for both of them since they started school.

Getting ready to homeschool

Right now, we already visited the homeschool provider that we wanted to enroll to. It’s called Gopala Learning Haven, a DepEd accredited homeschool provider, which practices interest-led learning. K, Hubby and I all agreed that we liked everything we heard during our consultation, and we are definitely enrolling once we get K’s class card.

For the meantime, we are doing homeschooling simulation for the summer. We came up with a few lessons that we want to learn over the summer and the kids and I decided on what and when they’ll do each day. This is also my way of keeping their T.V. and gadget time to the minimum. Luckily, the kids are willing enough to follow.

I’m also reading up on everything homeschooling. Getting as many ideas as I could to make sure K can complete grade school and still enjoy the things she loves doing. I would usually share what I read, and she’ll give me some input. She also shares things that they did in school that she likes, and those that she thinks are not really effective. That makes it so much easier for both of us to prepare possible lessons in the future.

Want to know more about homeschooling?

Here some good reads and local blogs that you can check out if you want to know more about homeschooling in the Philippines:

https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/tag/homeschooling?ref=article_tag
http://www.filipinohomeschooler.com/
http://trulyrichandblessed.com/
http://www.thelearningbasket.com/blog
http://www.beyondbooksandwalls.com/

My kids are incoming grade 4 and 6, so I tend to read mom blogs with kids that are about the same age as mine or maybe a little older.  There are many more blogs that you can find that talks about homeschooling.  Just typing “homeschool” and “homeschooling Philippines” can help you find out all the information you need on how homeschool works and how homeschool families are doing it here in the Philippines.  But be warned, so much information can get overwhelming, so try to keep calm and focus on your homeschool goals.  That can help you filter through all the information you’ll encounter online.