What is Homeschool?
As defined by the internet, homeschool is a way of educating a child at home by a parent or a tutor.
For most homeschoolers, homeschool is not just about academics. Most importantly, it’s about building an intentional relationship with your child while teaching him values that cannot be learned strictly in the confinement of a classroom. You mold him to become a good adult and equip him with all the knowledge he needs to be successful in the field he will choose to pursue. Without borders or walls, learning opportunities are endless and homeschool will give you freedom from the norm.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Parents are given this primary task— to teach their children. There are so many things than can happen to your child outside your home. The principles you teach them can easily get corrupted once they step out that door. We homeschool because we believe that we don’t just need to give them head knowledge but we also need to take care of their holistic well-being and you cannot pass this task to a stranger. You are responsible for this, not the society. After all, we have the bigger influence on them.
Flexibility is another good reason. Homeschoolers can alter their learning based on the child’s readiness and maturity. Some children learn fast and can move on to higher level subjects thus finishing school early. But there are also kids who would rather take their time and learn at their own pace. No pressure. There should be plenty of rooms for kids to play and discover.
Do you know you can homeschool anywhere? Homeschooling families believe that learning can take place wherever you are. You can do it in your backyard, in a coffee shop, in your car while stuck in traffic. Basically, it’s on the go. So if you have a lifestyle that requires travelling a lot, this might be really for you!
Other reasons include: bullying, present day technology gives more ease in self-study, financial limitations, beliefs, lifestyle of the family, health, and some personal concerns.
Is Homeschooling Legal?
If you are going to base this question on the Philippine Constitution, YES it is! The Department of Education is even starting to acknowledge the growing numbers of homeschoolers in the Philippines and they call it the Alternative Learning System or ALS which has minor difference with how we defined homeschooling earlier.
If you are worried about proper documentations, you have an option to enroll your family to an accredited provider (with a fee) and they will take care of all the papers you need and guide you as well. But if you are a bit of adventurous and you want to feel what homeschooling really is, go independent (no tuition fee at all).
In choosing independent homeschooling, you can directly go to DepEd for the documentations needed for higher education. They will just let your child take what we call Philippine Educational Placement Test or PEPT that will know if your child passed a certain level. More details of independent homeschooling are being discussed every day on Facebook groups such as: Homeschoolers of the Philippines, DIY Homeschoolers-unschoolers, and Pinoy Homeschooling.
Amazingly, resources like the K-12 curriculum guide and e-class records templates are available for free download on DepEd’s website.
How to start?
Learning begins upon birth and it never ends for as long as you are breathing. Raise kids who love to learn.
Assess your family. Homeschool is not just about teaching your children. More than anything it will teach you about your kids and will strengthen your family. Ask yourself these questions: Am I ready to commit? Can I adjust on this new life? How about my schedule? What will I sacrifice to give the best to my children?
Next, observe your kids first before jumping into anything. With regards to how old you should start, your child’s age will not define it. It is his readiness and maturity that will matter. There is no point in rushing or pressuring yourself as to whether why your child isn’t reading yet, meanwhile your neighbor’s 3 year old daughter can already read a Harry Potter book. Each child is unique and they will learn more and faster when they are really ready for it.
Once you measured your child’s readiness, observe his behavior. How does he learn best? What kind of learner he is? Visual, auditory, read-write, or kinesthetic? There are several methods of homeschooling available and this methods will help you find what curriculum and materials best suits you.
The methods are as follows:
- Unit Studies
- “Relaxed” or “Eclectic” Homeschooling
- Classical Homeschooling
- The Charlotte Mason Method
- The Waldorf Method
- Multiple Intelligences
- DVD/Video Schooling
- Internet Homeschooling
Remember that homeschool is a family thing, your lifestyle/schedule as a parent teacher matters as well.
What materials do we use?
When you already know what approach fits your family, you can finally search on the web for hundreds of materials. You can opt to buy physical books or settle for e books which most of the time is cheaper. As a homeschool family, we learned to be better stewards of our finances. I don’t normally buy brand new books, I’m that person who enjoys bargains and swapping. And by God’s grace as well, I got to befriend a lot of homeschooling families who would let us borrow their books and some will even give us installment plans for materials that are a bit pricey.
It is also always cheaper to get from US based online shops like Amazon and thriftbooks. If you have relatives in America and they do not mind carrying stuff for you every time they go home, visit the websites mentioned above. There are also plenty of homeschoolers on Facebook who sell bargain books as well. Make sure you join legit groups like PH Homeschool Marketplace, Bookboutiqueph, Five in a Row PH and websites like The Learning Basket and for your montessori needs Montessori on Mars.
If you’d rather buy locally, there are wonderful titles available in bargain bookstore such as Books for Less and Book Sale. They even hold warehouse sales every now and then! National Bookstore offers a lot of locally published books that you might be interested in, but if you want a one stop shop for all your needs, visit Learning Plus PH in Pasig and you’ll find heaven on Earth.
Can I really do this?
If you are committed to giving the best to your children, YES YOU CAN DO THIS! There are also support groups nationwide who can help you in this journey. We call this Homeschool Co-Op. Depends on your area and schedule, you can meet together and teach certain subjects or just simply hang out and learn from each other.
Of course, all of this is possible through our loving Father who will supply you with everything. From patience, wisdom, time, and resources, He will provide, always!
The only time homeschooling will not be effective is if you will not fully trust the system. Enjoy the a-ha moments and take everything one day at time especially if you are new to this. Do not pressure yourself and your kids or you will defeat the purpose of homeschool. Believe in your ability, use your talents in molding your child’s character and be amazed how much you can influence them for their entire life.
Hope you’ll have a blessed and amazing homeschool journey ahead!