Brave, New World of Homeschooling

Here is an old news article about homeschooling I would like to share with those who are curios about homeschooling, what it means and what it takes to homeschool, and most importantly, if you’re cut out for it. This was penned by Cathy S. Babao-Guballa, for Inquirer Lifestlye.

MANILA, Philippines – In the 2004 teen movie “Mean Girls,” Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has just moved to a small town outside of Chicago from Africa. All her life, up to the time she enters the public high school where she meets the mean girls who make her life miserable, Cady has been home-schooled. Her unique education makes her stand out in two ways: she is academically advanced but the general population has a hard time accepting her as well. “She’s a Home-what?”

In the United States and in most countries around the world, homeschooling is legal and before 1900, homeschooling was the most common and accepted mode of education. Ten United States presidents were homeschooled by their mothers.

In the Philippines, homechooling has started to gain some ground though it is not as popular as it is in the US. The Master’s Academy (TMA), a Christian school set up by the Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF), has been running a homeschool program since 1999. Its homeschool program, from preschool through grade school, has been accredited by the Department of Education.

There are other institutions that offer homeschooling as well, The School of Tomorrow Philippines http://www.sotphil.org/index.htm helps provide training and curriculum materials for those who wish to homeschool.

Many parents who have opted to homeschool their children are quite happy with the results. Among the most popular homeschooling graduates in the country are the Tanchi children Peter, Joy, Paul, Ruth and Caroline. They all excelled in academics and sports when they entered high school and college. They were all homeschooled by their mother Deonna Tanchi, who helped set up TMA at CCF.

Their father, CCF’s senior pastor Peter Tanchi, would help out in those early homeschooling years by teaching Bible lessons and math.

Katrina de Jesus, administrative coordinator for organization of TMA’s homeschooling program, says there are several benefits to a homeschooling program, foremost of which is the spiritual heritage that parents can pass on to their children.

“This helps the child know God in a more personal way, as he appreciates the world God has created as he internalizes Christian values,” she says.

Quality of life is another benefit of the program. De Jesus says parents are able to spend quality time with their children during the most formative years, and in families with more than one child it is common to see siblings share the experience of working and studying together at home.

Socially well-adjusted

And contrary to popular belief that homeschooled children tend to lack social skills, research has shown that socialization in the home is more real, natural and varied.

Children who are in schools are segregated by age and are horizontally socialized with their peers. They have little opportunity to relate to adults or children of other ages, which results in the tendency to conform to the immature behavior of their peers because of their lack of older role models to emulate.

Studies on self-concept or self-esteem of homeschooled children showed that 50 percent of those surveyed fell into the 90th percentile. De Jesus says co-ops for parents and their children also offer opportunities for socialization and extra-curricular classes like art, music and PE.

Then, of course, there is the academic edge that homeschooled children get.

Ani Torres, administrative coordinator for academics of TMA, shows me studies from the book, “The Right Choice: Homeschooling” by Christopher Clicka, which cites a study conducted in 1998 where 20,000 homeschooled children in the US were tested and compared with students in private or public schools. Results showed homeschooled students did exceptionally well in comparison with the nationwide average. In every subject and at every grade level, homeschooled students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts.

Commitment

What does it take to homeschool your child?
Grace Zorrilla, who has homeschooled her daughter Bea for the last four years, says that commitment plays a huge role in the success of homeschooling.

“You really have to be diligent and committed to give your time to your child. It’s a daily thing you need to prepare for,” she says.

Zorrilla adds her greatest joy has come from learning along side Bea, who is now 12. “It really is such a thrill for me to be studying again with her!”

De Jesus and Torres agree that one does not have to be a certified teacher in order to homeschool successfully. The DepEd only requires that the parent-teacher must be at least a college degree holder though not necessarily an education major.

“A parent also needs to allot at least four hours (for K5 to Grade 7) and two hours (for K4) of instruction time every weekday,” Torres says. This does not yet include the time that must be set apart by the parent-teacher to prepare for his or her lessons.

class schedule must be set apart each day and given priority to protect the routine of instruction and study time. At TMA, parent-teachers are required to submit their proposed schedules and are provided with support through workshops and seminars throughout the year.

Quarterly examinations and final examinations are given by the parent-teacher and evaluated subject to the standards set out by the DepEd.

The cost of homeschooling ranges from P20,000-P35,000 per schoolyear.

At TMA, the current cost of tuition for a first grade student is at approximately P35,000 per schoolyear. For those who opt to homeschool on their own, the cost ranges from P20,000-P30,000 per year. It is substantially less expensive than a traditional school where tuition plus books averages between P50,000-P80,000 per schoolyear. Multiply that by the number of children and you will see why savings are another benefit in homeschooling.

Zorrilla’s daughter is now set to enter the traditional school in preparation for high school. The young girl has aced all her entrance exams but her mother says it has not been easy to find a school that would be a good match for Bea. “At one school she got bored while she sat in,” she says.

Zorilla recounts how last year they had tried to put her in one of the private schools in the south of Manila, but after one month the young girl told her mother: “You better just pull me out of this school because I already know everything they are teaching me so let’s not waste our money.” So it was back to homeschooling for Bea and mom.

This year however, the Zorrillas are set on placing her in a traditional school in preparation for high school and the world outside.

True enough, Bea has had her fair share of mean girls (and boys) while sitting in some of the classes her parents are considering for her.

Moving into the real world and out of the confines of home is a reality she has learned to accept and prepare for. Over the summer she has asked her dad to enroll her in a taekwondo course. Now, that’s one smart homeschooler!

Is homeschooling for you?

Check out the following websites and books to decide whether you and your child are ready for the brave, new world that is homeschooling:

Homeschool Nanay! A homeschooling mom talks about how it is to homeschool in the Philippines. Visit http://homeschoolblogger.com/deleonpt

Homeschool.com talks about anything and everything you wanted to know about homeschooling. Visit http://homeschool.com

Alpha Omega Publications at http://aop.com/home/ or Bob Jones press at http://bjup.com shows you a sampling of the homeschooling books and curriculum.

“So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It” by Lisa Whelchel

“The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child’s Classroom” by Mary Griffith

Call The Master’s Academy Homeschool Department at 6353410 or visit http://tmahomeschool.ccf. org.ph/index.asp

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