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Homeschooling in the Philippines
Interested in homeschooling your child but not sure how to go about it? We got you covered, here are some of the most common questions and answers you need to know about homeschooling.
What is homeschooling?
As the name suggests homeschooling is education for your child at home with you as the teacher.
Homeschool is not a fad or some interesting trend. It is actually one of the oldest ways children are taught. Think about it, before schools were common, children were taught at home by their parents. This way of teaching children slowly eroded when schools became institutions and education became part of the whole system (regulated and standardized).
The homeschool movement gained its way back to American homes in 1970 although there is only a small percentage of families who homeschool their children according to public records. Similar to the US, homeschooling is legal in other countries like UK, Australia, New Zealand although registration varies depending on each country.
In the Philippines, the homeschool movement is slowly gaining momentum. You can homeschool your child for as long as your family follows certain government standards and regulations.
Why do families homeschool?
Families usually decide to teach their children a home for the following reason:
Dissatisfaction with regular schools – either due to religious preference, safety concerns, school-related stress like peer pressure and bullying or too much focus on academics some parents just want to be in charge of their child’s upbringing and education.
Need for Flexibility – one of the things that homeschool offers is having a flexible schedule. This is usually true for expat families who are always moving in different countries. Enrolling and pulling out children in a school for each destination may be a grueling process for the parents and may become traumatic for the child especially if he barely had time to adjust with the crowd each time.
Homeschool can also benefit children who have other interests other than academics. For example, a child who regularly competes in athletic or artistic endeavors may benefit more from the flexibility of a homeschool schedule than follow a traditional one.
Individualized instruction – all – regular, gifted, special needs – children can benefit from being homeschooled because their everyday lessons can be made especially tailored for their needs and interest. No more classes that are fit for most of the “ideal” group but might leave out your child because this time, the main focus is your child alone.
This, of course, is what homeschool should be although the number of available resources online may overwhelm first time homeschool parents causing them to cram everything and forget the main reason/s they are doing this. Hopefully, after getting over the jitters and focusing on the goals, the whole process is meant to give homeschooling family a stronger bond.
Who is it for?
Be warned that homeschooling is not for everyone.
First, in the Philippines, a homeschool teacher/parent should at least be a college graduate.
Second, most homeschool curriculum providers will require you to attend a seminar. This seminar will hopefully help you realize if you are really up for the job.
Third, homeschooling requires a lot of patience and time. Most providers will require that at least one parent should be the full time homeschool teacher. Teaching children can be a demanding job and since it is done at home, being a teacher becomes a 24-hour job in a sense that the parent need to be a good role model all the time. On the other hand, isn’t this what good parenting is all about?
For most, homeschooling is both a privilege and a blessing. Privilege because not all families can afford to live off one parent income alone. Blessing because homeschooling your child can really be a fulfilling job.
What do I teach?
There are actually different ways to do homeschooling. Like choosing schools, there is no one way to go.
In the Philippines, parents can choose from several local and foreign homeschool curriculum providers or not follow any at all.
If you choose to follow a local homeschool provider, some better known providers are The Master’s Academy (TMA) and The Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA). These providers are DepEd accredited. If you have other providers in mind be sure they have registration and/or accreditation (local or foreign).
If you are like other parents who want to “unschool” their children and focus on life skills and the child’s interest, this is also possible. Focusing on these things are actually better because these things actually matter in real life and your child’s.
What if I want to enroll my child in a regular school in the future?
Most local providers are K-12 compliant. They usually have modules and assessment so there is a record of performance.
For those who plan to follow a foreign curriculum, your child may undergo a Philippine Validating Test (PVT) with DepEd. Dealing with DepEd may need lots of patience, time and hard work. Also, they may require you to bring documents like answered textbooks, portfolios and other recorded proof that your child was home schooled. For more of DepEd assessment and accreditation for homeschoolers you may read more from Nanaynotebook.
“Unschooled” children, on the other hand, may take the path of DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS). Children ages 12 and 15 can take the ALS exam for Elementary and High School equivalency tests respectively. Contact DepEd or the nearest public school to find out more about ALS.
If, in the future, you plan to enroll your child in a High School that does not allow homeschoolers in, then think about homeschooling him only up to a certain level and give at least two years regular school time so your child can take an entrance exam to the High School in mind.
Whether or not you plan for your child to enroll in a regular school in the future, the assessments above are ways to make sure your child is at par with government standards. It is also a way to “credit” the years of homeschooling as proof that your child finished elementary or High School level.
What if I can not teach a subject?
It is not uncommon for parents to hire a tutor for a specific subject or ask an older sibling to take over teaching.
Some homeschool curriculum providers and homeschool co-parents can provide support in different ways. One may be by arranging small group classes by one parent for a certain subject.
How does a day go?
Depending on what curriculum or approach you chose, a homeschool day can be as structured as a regular school classroom or as natural as your regular home setting.
Some of the difference that parents can definitely feel is not having to wake up at dawn to prepare for school and going through the traffic to and from school, the mountain of homework from different subject school teachers and seeing your child succumb to peer pressure.
How about my child's social development?
Unlike what most people usually believe, homeschoolers are not social outcast. On the contrary, children who are homeschooled by loving parents grow to be confident individuals who can definitely communicate and carry themselves well in varied social situations.
Local homeschool providers usually provide days when homeschoolers are invited to meet in school for certain activities and events.
Parents are also encouraged to look for other activities outside of “school” that may interest their child and help them develop more holistically. These may be artistic, athletic or socio-civic activities. The flexibility of a homeschool curriculum allows children to immerse themselves fully in whatever activity/activities they engage in.
Will you consider homeschooling your child?
Is it expensive?
Comparing tuition cost to good and well-known schools in the country, homeschool curriculum is more affordable. However, all providers warn parents not to make this fact the only reason for homeschooling. Although families can save on tuition, uniform, gas money/school bus fees and lunch money, most homeschool families invest in having a library of resources both physical and online.
In addition, most homeschoolers are engaged in other activities (like art classes, piano lessons, ballet etc) that may require additional fees.
GMA News: Ilang magulang, mas piniling mag homeschool
Homeschool is another option for families out there who are looking for the best way to educate their children. It may be the one you are looking for all this time. If you think homeschooling is for your family, research for the best curriculum/approach, invest in resources, practice patience and teach with love.