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There’s no place like home for learning

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
By: Stephen Norries A. Padilla
March 18, 2012

What do Albert Einstein, Serena Williams, George Washington, C.S. Lewis and the Jonas Brothers have in common? The answer: They were all homeschooled.

Home schooling is a customized or do-it-yourself (DIY) educational experience, where the parents decide to take full charge of their children’s education at home.

Although still new in the Philippines, more and more urban parents are considering homeschooling as a better option for their children’s education, according to Edric Mendoza, president of the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI).

Aiming to be a catalyst in nation-building by advancing home education and unifying and empowering home educators across the country, HAPI helps parents by pointing them in the direction of the right experts, training and resources.

Only the best

Mendoza, who has four kids, said it was important for children to have only the best influences when growing up. “When I look at my sons, and I think about their future, I realize I have only one shot.

“We, as parents, must be the main influence in shaping our children’s value system,” he added.

HAPI believes that for a DIY education to be successful, it has to use the “five tools”—ruler, hammer, sandpaper, sharpening steel and plumb line.

The ruler represents the learning context. Parents decide whether they will enroll their kids in an accredited organization, homeschool providers, or do it independently. Although the approaches are different, both schemes are supervised by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The hammer represents learning content or curriculum. It deals with the “what” and “how” of homeschooling. Parents choose and create a curriculum tailored to their children’s needs and adapted to their learning styles.

Sandpaper represents enrichment activities that children can undertake. Activities like music, art, sports, home economics and other life skills programs will refine and round out the children’s rough edges, giving them a well-rounded education.

The sharpening steel represents support groups. Just as iron sharpens another iron, support groups allow parents to share experiences, offer encouragement and exchange insights, ideas, techniques and best practices.

Finally, the plumb line represents the standard of measurement. It is an important tool to determine successful outcomes, helping parents to answer the question, “What is your ultimate measure of a successful child?”

Well socialized

While many parents are still skeptical about the effect of homeschooling on their children’s social and interpersonal skills, HAPI says homeschooled kids are actually very sociable.

Mendoza explained that socialization happened when homeschool families met at least once a week through support groups.

Some “graduates” of homeschooling attest to the effectiveness of DIY education.

Paul Tan-Chi, cum laude graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and former team captain of his school’s basketball team who was homeschooled for three years, said, “I loved homeschooling. It was not easy but it was worth it.”

Tan-Chi said he loved the time he spent with his siblings and the flexibility of the program that allowed him to finish a day’s schoolwork early, giving them more time to play and learn outside the class.

The father of three is a real-estate developer and is the incumbent president of the 200-strong Subdivision and Housing Developers Association.

Another homeschool graduate, Louise Mabulo of Junior Master Chef (JMC) fame, said homeschooling allowed her to have more time for herself and her family.

“I was always with my mom and dad when they traveled in the Philippines and to other Asian countries, and witnessed the beauty of God’s creations. I was also able to make more friends than I could ever imagine,” Mabulo said.

She said DIY education helped her cope with the demands on her time when she was competing in JMC. The show started in June, the opening of the school year. “Everyone had a problem with school except me,” she said.

A homeschool conference, with the theme “Laying a Strong Foundation,” is scheduled on May 19 at St. Francis Square in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. Keynote speakers are Debra Bell, a homeschooling expert from the United States, and author Bo Sanchez.

Education Assistant Secretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Tonisito Umali is also expected.







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