Teaching their own
Who knows best about their children than parents...
Source: Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation
By: Rachel C. Barawid
May 17, 2012
MANILA, Philippines — Even amid the lure of e-classrooms and modern schools equipped with high-tech gadgets and facilities, homeschooling is fast becoming an attractive option for most families.
Since the homeschooling movement took off in the 80s in the United States, and consequently in the Philippines, more and more people are starting to see the benefits and value it offers over regular schools.
Edric Mendoza, chairman of the Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) cites a triple growth increase in homeschooling in the Philippines in the last four years. Based on consolidated figures from top Home Education Providers (HEP), Mendoza says that from a thousand, the number of families who are homeschooling have roughly increased to 3,000.
With the impending implementation of the K to 12 program of the Department of Education, he projects that more and more families may even shift to homeschooling as a practical option.
“A lot of parents are already thinking of homeschooling their children to save on tuition and the number of years which will be added with the K to 12 program. I think homeschooling will work well regardless of any system,” says Mendoza.
PARENTS KNOW BEST
One of the real-life benefits of homeschooling is that the parent-teacher naturally knows what is best for the child.
“As parents we have a built-in desire to help our children. There is no school where we send them to learn how to use the toilet, use the fork, to say please, po or opo. We teach them naturally and instinctively. It’s part of our lifestyle. The challenge for many of us is that the school system has been around for awhile so we think by default that it is not our job to do it for our kids. But we need to dispel this idea that you need to have a school to do the teaching for you,” argues Mendoza whose wife Joy, homeschools their four children.
He adds that parents must first embrace this paradigm of becoming their children’s teacher. One doesn’t need to be a professional teacher or take Education units to be able to teach effectively as there are many HEP or institutions that can guide them throughout the entire homeschooling process.
Since homeschooling really depends on the learning style of the child and the teaching method of the parent, the latter can choose from various programs being offered by HEPs. Other hands-on HEPs, adds Mendoza, even provide consultants who can walk parents through the process for the entire schoolyear.
There are also parents who homeschool using a very rigid structure. This school-at-home type of structure involves traditional school practices such as wearing uniforms and an I.D., raising the flag, writing on a desk, and teaching with a blackboard.
According to Mendoza, another type of homeschooling is one that follows a slightly flexible schedule of two to three alternating academic subjects a day and extra-curricular activities held in the afternoons.
“On the extreme side, there is also the “unschooling’’ family, someone who does not want to do anything that is being done in school. There are no textbooks, no schedules, no regimen. When the kids wake up, they will do whatever they feel like doing on that day. It’s very radical,” he says.
Parents, Mendoza adds, can also choose from Department of Education-accredited homeschooling programs which fall in the middle to structured types, as well as the radical programs offered by independent homeschoolers. The evaluation and measuring of the progress of a child can also be done using the testing centers that comply with DepEd standards or the own set of tests created by the parents themselves.
SEAMLESS TRANSITION TO MAINSTREAM SCHOOL
Contrary to perception, homeschooling does not affect the child’s social and skills development. In fact, most homeschoolers are exposed to a lot more people and three or more activities in a day which range from various sports, art activities, theater or musical lessons. Hence, when they assimilate to big campuses, they are not overwhelmed by the people or the environment.
HAPI president Gerry Argosino and his wife Girlie homeschooled their only son Joshua from Grade 1 to third year high school. They got him involved with a youth group in church and enrolled him in a tutorial service so he will get used to working in a classroom, taking notes, and dealing with classmates. So far, now that he is at the Ateneo de Manila University, Joshua is finding it easy to adjust to his new environment.
GOOD TEACHING IS GOOD PARENTING
Parents of homeschoolers attest that the best part of homeschooling is the 24/7 precious bonding time of the parent and child.
“The most valuable thing we got out of homeschooling is the time I spent with my son. I’ve seen people who lost their kids to vices, and the influence of peers when they were teenagers. But I had the privilege of standing alongside him and helping him in the process. I think up to now, I can say we’re good friends, more than just parent and child. He opens up to me about his struggles with girls and that is priceless,” shares Argosino.
For Bambi Lazaro, HAPI treasurer/project director and working mom, she went through all the challenges while homeschooling her daughter. She has had her share of mistakes in the five years that she has been doing it but she feels that it is still the best decision that she has ever made.
“It’s more of the dynamics between us, the discipline, and the character she acquired without me deliberately teaching it anymore. These for me, are the real values we get out of homeschooling,” Lazaro notes.
Mendoza believes that good parenting and good homeschooling are synonymous. When one is a good parent, naturally homeschooling will become very natural and effective, he says.
“I realized in raising my four kids that I only have one shot at parenting, and one shot at being the main influence in their lives. For true success, we have chosen to follow God and enable our children to pass on this important value and legacy,” Mendoza says.
More testimonies from parents and successful children and individuals who are products of homeschooling such as Junior Master Chef Pinoy Edition top five winner Louise Mabulo, 10-year-old genius Darrel Tan, and former Ateneo UAAP basketball team captain Paul Tan Chi will be shared at the Philippine Homeschool Conference on Saturday, May 19, at the St. Francis Square auditorium in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.
The confab, themed “Laying a Strong Foundation” will also feature homeschooling expert Debra Bell, inspirational speaker and author Bo Sanchez, as well as the leading home education providers and suppliers.