Hubby and I started discussing about Bryce’s education when he was just two and half years old. Most parents send their children to school as early as 2 years old. Personally, I don’t believe in sending very young children, below 5 years old, to any educational institution, formal or informal like day cares for the following reasons:
- It’s expensive! We are so not willing to shell out P20-30k for 2 hours of supervised play time. Yea, I know, they’re not just playing, they’re learning. But I work at home and I know I can teach my son his ABCs and 123s. In fact, he learned the alphabets via YouTube. Haha!
- They’re still slowly adjusting to schedules at home such as proper meal times, bed time, play time, etc. Going to school at a specific time each day is quite a burden for them. Come on, they’re basically babies that have unpredictable moods. You can’t expect them to be in learning mode everyday at 9-11am!
- It’s expensive! 🙂
When Bryce learned the alphabets before he was 3 years old, he wanted to learn to read. But since reading is a very fundamental skill and neither I nor my husband had any idea how to start, we decided to take advantage of Kumon 2-week free trial on September 2012. He just turned three on July and we weren’t sure if he’s ready for a systematic learning program. surprisingly, he was, so we enrolled him.
He is turning 5 in less than two weeks and his reading and math skills are already in Grade 1 level. We cannot enroll him straight to Grade 1 because DepEd requires all incoming Grade 1 students to have at least 1 year in preschool level. Knowing Bryce, we are certain that he would get easily bored with typical pre-school curriculum. So we need something that can offer flexible curriculum or would let him study at his own pace.
Given those facts, we were leaning towards homeschooling Bryce because we certainly cannot afford progressive schools. I’ve asked around our area and they cost between P70-100k for Kinder 2 only! How much more for elementary level?!
It was my husband who was 100% sure on homeschooling. I was a bit hesitant because I have a job and since Kenya is less than a year old, she is still fully dependent on me. I didn’t think I could handle teaching a pre-schooler on top of these. Also, most of the time, we find ourselves struggling to stick to a certain schedule. So, I told my husband to just enroll him in a traditional school just for this school year and I’ll take this year as a segue for retirement. It was already the first week of June, so when I inquired, the only available spot was for A.M. group which starts at 7:30. Too early for all of us!
We just decided then, to attend TMA’s Homeschool Orientation just to see if homeschooling really is for us and we were glad to do so. Although I already did my research on the benefits of homeschooling, TMA explained it really well.
TMA defined homeschooling as:
… the education of children, based at home by parents (and in some cases with professional tutors), with the end goal of helping them achieve true success.
Homeschooling is not a supplemental education. The child is enrolled in a school too (in our case, at TMA Homeschool) except that it is based at home and the curriculum is taught by the parent. Therefore, the child cannot be involved in a traditional school and be home schooled at the same time. Otherwise, it is like being enrolled in two schools at the same time.
I believe that our children’s education is the parents’ primary responsibility. We don’t want Bryce and Kenya to be mere degree holders or to acquire titles for themselves. In fact, it’s not even important for us. We want them to be well-rounded individuals, putting their spiritual needs first instead of seeking fame for themselves. We, as parents, would feel successful in rearing them, if they grew up adhering to the values we taught them because they understand that it is for their best and not because it would make us happy.
Academically, here are the reasons why we prefer homeschool to conventional school:
- Because Bryce is already advanced in his grade level, we want to tailor his curriculum according to his interests. We notice that he isn’t a textbook person. He doesn’t last 5 minutes with me teaching the lesson from the book. But if we’re just casually discussing the topic, supplement it with YouTube videos or general info books, he effectively retains the information. Just sharing… He already knows the concept of friction, gravity and metamorphosis (he can even spell it! hehe) all because we injected it in our conversations.
- Each child has different learning capacities. If one cannot catch up with the lesson, he eventually loses interest in school. If one happens to be a fast learner, he eventually gets bored. With conventional schools’ number of students per class, this is a common problem. Since we know Bryce best, we know exactly what can keep his interests in school up. Teachers may be doing a fine job, but I doubt if they know what’s best for our son more than we do.
- As I’ve mentioned earlier, young children’s mood to learn varies. With conventional schools’ fixed schedule, we may be wasting money because like I’ve said, it’s not every day at 9am-11am that Bryce is willing to learn new lessons. According to TMA, pre-school to grade 2 pupils only have an attention span of 15 minutes. If that’s the case, would 2 hours in school be really beneficial for them?
- Considering the preparation and travel time, going to school might take 4-5 hours. It is alright if he were in high school or college, but he’s just 5 and I would hate to put him through such stressful routine. He could be playing/exercising or resting properly instead of being stuck in traffic.
- Like most parents, our children’s safety is our priority. I’m sure you’re aware of the news. Being outside isn’t as safe as 20 years ago. So as much as possible, we would like to keep our eyes on Bryce constantly.
- Homeschooling can save us money. Curently, TMA’s tuition is P30,000 for the first child and then P5,000 for each succeeding child. So if we were to enroll Kenya, we would only pay P35k plus books! We can use the money saved from their tuition for “educational” travels. Woohoo!
I know you may ask these questions because we’ve been asked many times by our friends and relatives.
1. What about socialization? He won’t have any classmates so how would he learn to deal with other people?
TMA answered that beautifully. In conventional schools, students interact most of the time with kids the same as their age. With homeschoolers, they get to interact with people in different ages, mostly people older and more matured than they are. So what can you expect from children who spends most of their waking hours with other children? They think and act like the other children. Remember, young children are like sponges. They absorb everything from good to bad to worst. In school, you can’t always be sure that the students have good moral values.
But if the child is with the parents and other who try to exhibit proper values at all times, the child will most likely develop into such individual. After all, in the real world, we interact with people of all ages.
Socialization is just the ability to conform, while social development is the ability to choose the right behavior at all times. Clearly, we do not want our children to just do whatever the majority is doing eventhough it’s wrong (talk about peer pressure?). We want our children to have conviction to do what is right even in most challenging situations.
Not to brag, but when you talk to Bryce, you wouldn’t think he is just 5 years old. His vocabulary is vast and he reasons out like a teenager! He is never lost for words that’s why he never had a problem communicating what he wants to say. He can pull a no non-sense conversation with people in their 40s and yet he can play with children younger than him. So I conclude that Bryce is not socially inadequate.
2. How do you teach your child? Don’t you need a teaching license?
Well, no. TMA requires the teaching parent to be at least college graduate.
We have the recommended textbooks for the four subjects (Math, Science, Reading and Filipino). We use it as curriculum guides. Since Bryce is just in Kinder 2, our teaching process is kind of informal. Honestly, we are still in experimenting stage.
3. How long are you going to homeschool him?
For as long as we can. Ideally until he finishes high school. 🙂
Again, these are our reasons. I know homeschooling is not for everyone. It has its own challenges and downside. We may need to sacrifice a lot, but this is what we think is best for our children. 🙂