It was a sunny Tuesday morning at the first day of swim camp. The coach guided the boys and girls to the other side of the pool, while their moms settled on the benches nearby. One mom initiated a conversation with another mom, “So where does you child go to school?” The mom would then reply with a smile, “Oh, he is homeschooled.” She paused for a while before replying while the other moms listened in the conversation. “Oh, home school,” she looked puzzled. “How about his socialization,” she further inquired. The homeschooling mom asked back, “What about it?”
Socialization starts at home
As a homeschooling mom now for three years, the question on socialization would always be raised whenever I reveal that we are a homeschooling family. I would patiently explain that socialization is never an issue with homeschooled kids as some would assume. The Encarta dictionary says that to socialize means to take part in a social activity or behave in a friendly way to others. ‘Social activity’ and ‘behaving in a friendly way to others’ is not confined solely inside the classroom amidst 40 or so classmates. A child can be friendly in any social setting, may it be in the kitchen with mom and the helper, in the playroom with a younger or older sibling, in the neighbourhood, in church, in family get-togethers—name it, there is always a place where a child can “socialize”. I believe that socialization really starts at home, as soon as the baby is born. The baby’s first connects with the mom, the dad, brothers or sisters, the grandparents, helpers, relatives and friends. The parents’ values, behaviour and manners are unintentionally or sometimes intentionally modelled to the children. Homeschooling encourages bonding with the family and for parents to teach and model character traits that teach independence, responsibility, confidence and respect.
Math in the Kitchen
One homeschooling program’s slogan says, “The world is my classroom!” How fun would that be if the whole world or the universe is your classroom! Our son and I studied Science in the garden as we planted new seeds, cared for them and watched them grow. He appreciated the lesson about caring for the earth so he practices the three R’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at home. He is fond of creating artwork from old cereal boxes, cans or disposable containers. We learned fractions in the kitchen by cutting one slice of bread into small squares and putting different spreads on top, 1/6 has peanut butter, 2/6 has strawberry jam and 3/6 has Cheez Whiz. Our son loves to write love letters, so his grammar and writing skills are being developed constantly. One homeschooling family shares that for social studies, they took a trip to Kawit, Cavite to visit the Aguinaldo shrine, the site where our country’s independence was declared. Joy, another homeschooling mother of 4, takes her boys to the park along with crayons, paintbrushes and lots and lots paper to draw and paint whatever they see. Homeschooling can be done anywhere. Homeschooling families are not prisoners of the home.
Homeschooling accredited by DEPED
The Department of Education has allowed homeschool programs to operate provided such programs are under the umbrella of a formal or traditional school. Prospective homeschooling families can choose from a variety of homeschooling programs available including The Master’s Academy Homeschool Department located in St. Francis Square Ortigas, Pasig City (www.tmahomeschool.org), The Catholic Filipino Academy in Chicago Street Cubao, Quezon City (http://catholicfilipinoacademy.com), Victory Christian School in Parkway Avenue Bonifacio Global City (8171212), The Living Heritage Academy of the Philippine School of Tomorrow located in Levitown Executive Village Don Bosco Paranaque City (8224433). For more information on other homeschool programs, visit the Department of Education website www.deped.gov.ph.
More time to develop child’s skills and gifts/talents
The concept of homeschooling allows the children to spend more time in special skills or interests. Since DEPED requires that homeschooling program adheres to the government curriculum, Music, Arts and P.E. (MAPE) classes are required. Whether the child is interested in sports, music or art, he or she can attend any classes offered by the homeschooling programs or elsewhere. MAPE classes are a venue for homeschooled kids to meet other kids. Since these kids meet regularly they eventually become friends and can schedule playtime with them outside the MAPE classes. Support whatever interests the kids are inclined to. Who knows they might turn out to be the next Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Eric Buhain, Lisa Macuja or Lea Salonga. Aubrey, a homeschooling mom of two, says that homeschooling gave her daughter the freedom to explore her dreams of becoming a ballerina. During her elementary days, Alex would have school in the morning with mom and pursue ballet in the afternoons and sometimes including weekends. Now Alex is part of a prestigious ballet company in the country and has also been competing internationally in ballet competitions.
Character is priority
When my mother who is in the U.S. learned that we plan to homeschool our first child, she was not really enthusiastic about it and I understand why. She would argue that my brothers and I grew in traditional schools and we ended up okay. But growing up in the 80’s is far more different than growing up these days. Kids these days are so in a hurry to grow up that you can’t keep up with them. An 11-year-old girl would beg her mom to allow her to have a boyfriend. Young boys think it’s cool to smoke and tease other boys who don’t. Sad to say but in the generation that we are living in now, it’s not all academics, it’s not how intelligent you are or whether you got a 97 or 98 in the card. In one article I read about hiring employees, the interviewer does not really focus on what school you went to or what were your achievements, but the employer is looking at how you can deal with the people around you, they are not looking for IQ but for EQ. Tita Girlie, who is one of the pioneering homeschooling families in the Philippines just sent his son to one of the well-known universities in Quezon City. Before entering the university, Josh confidently spoke in front of a panel of heads and professors of the university he is about to enter. He shared with his mom that he is quite shocked by the way his schoolmates dress in school but he adds that he is thankful for the Bible verses and the lessons he and his mom studied in his homeschooling days. Once Josh was asked who are his best friends, he proudly said that his best friends are his mom and dad.