We are nearing the end of the 3rd quarter in our first year of homeschooling, and it has been just wonderful! We were relieved of the time and expense of having to ferry RD back and forth to the next town which is 30 minutes away (well, it’s an hour now due to the on-going road construction), and RD has been exempted from having to wake up early to get ready for school – something he’s always loathed doing. Now, he gets up at 8 o’clock, has breakfast, then we start classes at 9:30 with him “going to school” in his house clothes. No more cranky, crying RD.
Through homeschooling, he’s been able to do some travelling without having to contend with asking permission from school authorities or not getting permission altogether. RD has enjoyed a relaxed curriculum of 4-5 subjects each day (that’s 8-9 subjects every 2 days) rather than tackling all 9 subjects a day, and he gets to bond with Dad (who does his Math and PE classes) and Mom. What’s more, we get to do science experiments together! RD loves science and doing experiments is always an enjoyable undertaking for him. Sometimes, when we feel like it, we re-arrange or move class schedules especially when there’s a particularly good program or educational show on Discovery, National Geographic, History, or Animal Planet Channels that he can learn from. We’ve made a rule, though, that cartoons and video games are a no-no during class days.
We know we’ve made the right decision to homeschool him when, out of the blue, he just runs up to me, hugs me and says, “Thank you for homeschooling me, Ma. I love homeschool!” That is more than a confirmation for us that we did the right thing. It amuses us that our eldest son (who is 20 years old now, and is living on his own) would sometimes comment, “I wish we had homeschool during our time. I would’ve loved to be homeschooled!”
Months ago, when we were still considering homeschooling as an option for RD, many well-meaning friends told us it would be bad for him especially where socialization was concerned. However, we have found that opinion to be unfounded. RD’s thinking is mature beyond his age although he is still exhibits child-like actions and thoughts, but he possesses knowledge and insights that we never had when we were his age. His interaction with kids, teens, and adults alike, have given him knowledge far more than what he would learn by dealing and interacting only with kids his own age. He has also been shielded from picking up bad language and bad habits and behaviour from kids his age – which was something we had noticed when he was still attending a regular school from age 3 until he graduated from Kindergarten.
Homeschooling has even elevated RD’s confidence to a level where he is not shy around people of any age. He can confidently hold a conversation or interact with anyone of any age or social status. We noticed this one day when we were taking a walk at the Capitol Grounds in Malaybalay. Two kids approached us and asked if we would like to buy peanuts. RD likes sugared peanuts so we bought some and sat down on one of the benches to eat while RD went off to play. Pretty soon, we saw him running around with the very same kids who had sold us the peanuts. They’d hung their wares up on a pole and were playing with RD! It was funny, because he was talking to them in English and they were answering him in Visayan – we never really knew if they even understood each other but they all had a fun time! In other instances, when he’s intrigued by or interested in someone, he’ll approach the person, introduce himself and strike up a conversation. So, are there socialization problems in homeschooled kids? None at all! That, to us, is a total misconception, a myth!
The only disadvantage we have found with homeschooling is time; you have to have time to study, time to teach, and time to take care of administrative stuff. However, we don’t see that as a bad thing. Rather, it’s precious time spent investing in a young kid’s future. It’s making sure he will learn things that will allow him to flourish in his adulthood. It is providing him with skills that will make him a successful individual. In homeschooling, you can choose his books, and tailor his lessons and the curriculum to his needs. Another benefit to homeschooling is that you – the parent – is in control of what your child is learning. You know what he is learning and you know if he has learned it well or if he needs reinforcement in a particular area. If RD was in a regular school, I would never know what the teacher was “feeding” him. In fact, there were several things he had to unlearn when I started teaching him because he had been taught the wrong way. We’ve also been able to do a lot of travelling, which is something we wouldn’t have been able to do if RD was in a regular school. These trips have proved beneficial to his education; not only were they fun but learning experiences as well.
In retrospect, we’ve never really found any disadvantage to homeschooling. However, when a parent embarks on homeschooling, he/she must have enough time on his/her hands to do research, to study, do tutoring, and most of all, he/she must have a love for teaching. Otherwise, it would be a burdensome experience for both the child and parent-teacher.