Manila, Philippines – While the country scrambles to fill the gap between the number of students going to school this June and the available classrooms that can accommodate them, there are actually families discovering the joys and freedom of learning without the classroom.
These families have made their very own homes a prime education option. Their children, who are products of homeschooling, are reaping the benefits of learning from home, as exemplified by one of the top five in Junior Master Chef Pinoy Edition, Louise Mabulo, child genius Darrell Tan, and cum laude graduate and basketball cager Paul Tan-Chi. These individuals are just some of the proofs of the efficacy of homeschooling, which is now being aggressively promoted by the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI).
The organization, composed of homeschooling families, students, and home education resource providers working with the Department of Education (DepEd), recently staged the 4th Homeschooling Conference with the theme “Laying a Strong Foundation,” underscoring the importance of homeschooling as a transformative force in nation-building.
If your child sits inside a classroom with 20 to 40 other children every single day, do you think that one teacher can successfully meet the individual learning needs of each student? How will he or she compete for the teacher’s attention? How will the teacher impart abstract ideas like wisdom and worth—concepts that cannot be taught in an hour—when she rarely has the opportunity to spend ample time with each of her pupils? These are just some of the challenges that homeschooling parents and advocates present to our traditional education system.
Debra Bell, a recognized homeschooling advocate from the US and best-selling author of award-winning books on homeschooling, was the keynote speaker in this year’s Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) Conference. Bell homeschooled her four children, all of whom have now found success in their chosen careers and are happily raising their own families. She believes that as children grow, they become disengaged from learning. Homeschooling will help instill in children a genuine love for learning. This is important because, according to Bell, “You can’t teach anyone anything, you can only motivate him to engage.”
Mainstream education in the Philippines has been around for more than a hundred years. The idea of sending your child to a conventional school has been so ingrained in our psyche that schools are normally considered students’ second homes, while teachers take over as parents inside the classroom.
By the time children start to walk and talk, parents start to canvas for the most reputable school that will raise them best, and one they can afford at that.
But a new movement led by the Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) is changing the landscape of education by advocating homeschooling in the Philippines. Established in 2009, HAPI is an organization composed of homeschooling families, as well as various accredited schools who offer home school programs.
Its chairman Edric Mendoza quickly clarifies, “Homeschool is different from home study.” Home study is schooling supervised by a teacher or a tutor who drops by a student’s house.
“Home school, on the other hand, is a form of education where the parent is the teacher and the child is the student,” Mendoza says to distinguish the two forms.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – It is said that a child’s first teacher is his mother. Expand that concept into a comprehensive and structured learning set-up: your child studies at home and has you as a teacher.
“Technically, anybody can homeschool,” says Edric Mendoza, president of the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), a non-stock, non-profit organization that represents several homeschooling providers and independent homeschoolers and groups.
Since HAPI’s launch in 2010, it has grown to include approximately 3,000 member parents and children. It works with the Department of Education, aiming to elevate the idea of homeschooling from being an alternative to a prime education option.
“Our idealistic perspective,” he continues, “is that homeschooling transforms the family—in a good way—and, thus, if the family is transformed, society can be transformed; ultimately, the country can truly be transformed. Thus, our tagline: Building the nation through homeschooling.”
When someone finds out we are homeschooling our kids, one of the most frequent questions I get is why did we choose to homeschool the kids? Here are our reasons:
- We believe that this is what God has called our family to do.
- Builds a strong sense of family and relationship between each other.
- We can emphasize the study of the Word of God and character building.
- We believe that individualized instruction is much better than institutionalized education.
- Our schedule is more flexible and we get to adjust with each other’s schedules. This gives enough opportunity for the kids to pursue and develop their God given talents.
Knowing why you are choosing to homeschool your kids would be the most important question that you must be able to answer before finally deciding to homeschool because when tough days come, and they sure will come, these reasons will help you through and bring you back towards the right path for your family.
Here are simple ways to enhance your preschooler’s learning at the comfort of your home.
Guest post by Teachermama Tina Rodriguez
Whether your children are in regular school or are being homeschooled, here are a few suggestions on how you can incorporate learning into their everyday routine:
1. Read, read, read.
a. Set aside a specific time every day to read aloud to your child. The single most important thing that you could ever do to instil a love of learning in your kids is to read to them.
Even as early as the infancy stage, children can learn to appreciate the beauty of the written word, and pick up the skills they need for language and speech development. Your baby or toddler will be soothed by the sound of your voice, and books with interesting pictures will keep her entertained for good chunks of time.
b. For little ones in the preschool stage, spend time every day reading aloud and teaching your child the basics of phonics by introducing beginning letter sounds at every opportunity you can get. For example: When reading together, say “We’re going to read a book now. Book. Book begins with the letter sound “buh”. “Buh, buh, Book.” You can also do this during other parts of your child’s daily routine – eating, bathing, playing, bedtime routine, etc.
Can I really homeschool? Read this article on homeschooling misconceptions and decide for yourself.
My encounter with homeschooling began as a child, at about the age of 9, when my parents decided to pull my siblings and me out of a Chinese school so we could all be homeschooled. After praying about it for a year, my mom waited for my dad’s “go” signal to do it. Though initially reluctant about the radical move, within a year’s time, God moved in his heart and he wholeheartedly gave my mom the blessing to homeschool.
It was one of the best decisions my parents made for our family. From this point on, the homeschooling experience rooted itself into the core of my being. I believed then as I believe now that it is a superior education with superior benefits. Yes, this may sound like a biased opinion, especially since my siblings and I transitioned and navigated through high school and college without difficulty. However, I have also met hundreds upon hundreds of other homeschooling families who share the same sentiment because they have seen the results in their own children. The conventional school set-up cannot compete with the tailor-fit, customized education that homeschooling provides.
Since this was my perspective from the moment I first became a mom, homeschooling was my number one option for my children’s education. So when I was asked to write an article on the misconceptions about homeschooling by HAPI, I must confess that because I was sold on it from the very beginning I wasn’t one of those parents who had a whole lot of fears about educating my own children. But these misconceptions do exist and they need to be addressed. Often times, it is these very misunderstandings about homeschooling that prevent people from doing it. (Please be aware that these misconceptions are localized to the Philippine setting but include data from the Philippines and the US.)
Here are some tips to get you started on homeschooling your preschooler.
Guest post by Teachermama Tina Rodriguez
The preschool years are a precious time, not only for children but their parents as well. It is a time of wide-eyed wonder, discovery, gaining independence and learning life skills that will help one survive the sometimes-stormy years of adulthood.
It is no wonder then that for many parents, sending their children off to preschool during the tender years has been replaced with another option: to homeschool preschool, or, in the words of homeschool preschool mom, writer and advocate Susan Lemons : “homepreschool.”
Quoting from Jane Claire Lambert, founder of Before Five In A Row, a homeschool preschool “gentle learning” curriculum:
“Now is the only early childhood you will ever be able to share with your child. These are golden years. It might be worthwhile to once again thoughtfully consider how you really want to spend your time. What could you put off until later in order to maximize and preserve these few precious years with your child? Your sacrifice today will mean a stronger academic and emotional future tomorrow. Your love, time and attention mean so much. In a child’s world, there is simply no substitute for you!”
He was born 1805, the only son of a washerwoman and a shoemaker. They were very poor, but his dad brought him to the local playhouse, developing his creative side by making him his own toys. He went to school occasionally, but spent most of the time reading and studying by himself. His fondest memories were that of his father’s work bench, which held many books and songs. The boy grew up to be tall, lanky, and awkward, with a love for singing and dancing, and an vivid imagination. Though he began writing at an early age, it was only in 1827 when first poem was published, and launched his career as a writer. His fairy tales of fantasy became popular around the world for their moral lessons. Some of his well-known works include The Little Match Girl, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, among many others. He became known as the famous Hans Christian Andersen.