Homeschool – n. A school operated outside established educational institutions, especially in a home (The Free Dictionary). Use it as a verb, and I call it the art of homeschooling. Teaching the children outside of regular schools – could be done best at home, or wherever you may be! It affords you the flexibility of time and venue while keeping a good balance with discipline and time management.
This year, we have decided to homeschool our children , ages 12 and 8 , incoming Grades 7 and 3 ,respectively. This was not an overnight decision, not even months, but years! When our eldest Dana was just in her Kindergarten years in a Montessori school, we were introduced to homeschooling by our former pastors in Cagayan de Oro , our home for the past 7 ½ years. We have seen the joys and challenges of homeschool through this wonderful family and we were also blessed seeing how their 3 children have grown up in a godly way and exhibited excellence in their studies. Two are now in their internship years in prestigious universities pursuing college (the other, with master’s ) degrees while the youngest in her high school years. Even if my research points me to the likes of Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Blaise Pascal, CS Lewis, and more recently, the game-changer , Tim Tebow, who were once homeschooled; we need not look that far for we have friends who homeschool their children, are still able to manage their household and do worthwhile jobs while their kids are doing very well in their studies, even excelling in sports and the arts!
It took us 8 years to be able to do it, which meant letting go of a state-funded scholarship for Dana as she enters Grade 7, having passed the rigid National Competitive Exam (NCE) of the Philippine Science High School System (PSHS). ‘’Why now?” The School Directress of the Every Nation Leadership Institute (ENLI) Homeschool asked us when we were being interviewed as parents. Members of our family and friends also asked the same. Or maybe if it’s your first time to know about it, this may also come as a surprise! We believe that for the past 8 years, God has already planted a seed in our hearts and just allowed it to grow over time so that when we considered it as an option this year, it was an easy decision – well thought of and prayed about. We also chose the ENLI Homeschool because we are part of the Every Nation spiritual family which makes us feel right at home. Not only that, we know they can also pray with us as we embark on this new journey.
Really, why now? As homeschooling advocates, never a school year passed by without considering it before enrollment season kicks in. God’s timing is always perfect. And the right time is now. PSHS for Dana was very ideal (we are confident that she will be able to hurdle the challenges in a Science school) but a change in our family circumstance made us forgo that opportunity. Debating the pros and cons and praying over it, we believe that family, and our Christian faith values far outweigh the benefits of sending her to a Science/ boarding school at this point. The decision also came at a time when our country fully implements the K – 12 Basic Education Program. There have been a lot of orientations regarding “bridging programs” for the incoming students. It is our personal belief that we (most especially, the kids) will be spared from the ‘’institutional birth pains’’ that come along with its implementation. To be clear, this is not to discount the capability of the school where our children were once enrolled. In fact, we have been very vocal about our admiration of the school and its teachers. Even the ones in the past ( Dana has been through Progressive, Montessori and Traditional schools, while Boj from Progressive to Traditional) , we only have good words for each school and for each method of teaching.
What about our own “birth pains”? Surely, we will experience such. We won’t be considering homeschooling if we have not counted the cost. That means, we have to be updated with the subjects, do our own research as teachers (especially me as the Primary Teacher!), be able to manage time fully well especially that we also attend to our jobs. But most importantly, be able to partner the Holy Spirit and welcome God’s amazing grace in every single day as we set our priorities straight!
If you have been considering homeschool, pray about it. Only God can tell you when the BEST time is. After all, He is the one who made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun that knows when to go down (Psalm 104:19). If we heed Him well, we learn to live contentedly in the seasons marked for us. Remember, 8 years was the perfect waiting time for us. Do your homework. Research, scout for providers , or if your local church has a partner-provider (Victory Christian Fellowship as part of Every Nation has ENLI Homeschool ; CCF has The Master’s Academy; Roman Catholics may also consider the Catholic Filipino Academy ; some schools adopt the School of Tomorrow, etc. ), ask around. Homeschool is legal in our country . Do not hesitate to ask even your tiniest concern. The people behind these are far more willing to help you appreciate homeschool even more.
If this is your first time to hear about homeschool and it interests you, do the same that I have enumerated above. If you are living abroad, this might also work best for you. Each family is unique, the demands are quite different from the other, but the universal truth is, as loving parents, we want the best for our children. Know also that our Father in heaven has the best for us! “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”( Matthew 7:9-11)
I promise to write along as we progress with our own journey. I meant to inspire you in some way or another and share with you the joys and challenges that come along with it. Because I have allowed you to take a look into this part of our lives, can you do us a little favor? Please pray for us as we start this wonderful journey.