Tuesday August 21, 2018

Homeschool is cool!

INTENTIONAL parenting is what motivates the growing number of Dabawenyo parents who decide to homeschool their kids.

“More than the academics, we want to develop the character of our child,” intimates Reginald Cua, an industrial engineer and Rhoda Cua, a pharmacist. Both are also real estate brokers who committed their 13-year-old son Gershon Josh to homeschool for three years now.

Homeschooling is defined by the Department of Education as “a home-based education which relies on the active participation of the parent as a teacher to his child. This is a one-on-one tutorial type of teaching”.

“Our son is able to learn what he wants and loves to learn. Except for few subjects that are deemed necessary (English, Math and Science), we are flexible as to what other areas he wants to explore,” explains Rhoda.

For the Cuas, the best things about homeschooling include getting to know your child better and being able to correct mistakes on the spot.

Learning is fun

Marty and Katherine Ponla, both registered nurses, opted to homeschool because it allowed them to instill Christian values to their two kids, Kirsty, 15 and Jesse, 13.

Aside from this, when they were still U.S.-based, Kirsty and Jesse were assessed to be with “high ability” or gifted kids. But, their regular school then could not properly accommodate their giftedness.

“They didn't want to accelerate me or give me more advanced subjects, so I unwittingly ended up becoming a troublemaker,” laughs Kirsty.

“Because homeschooling is very flexible, my brother and I were able to study whatever we found interesting. We weren't limited to learning about things just through books. We were able to utilize many different resources in many different formats. In addition, being part of a homeschool support group allowed us to go on field trips and take classes in group settings, while online resources gave us the option to learn about whatever, whenever. Being able to use all of these, plus regular school books, made sure that learning was never boring. I guess that's what made us love learning - learning was fun!”, relates Kirsty.

Insulate not isolate

Dondi Alentajan, a businessman and his wife Tara, a consultant, pursued homeschooling in 2009 after they observed how remarkable the homeschooled children of their friends were.

"How confident, talented, smart, and obedient these children are! We found these homeschooled children to be so self-assured, with some of them exhibiting talents way beyond their years. My wife and I thought then, ‘We want our children to be the same!’,” shares Dondi.

What the Alentajans love most about homeschooling is that their children’s values and self-esteem are kept intact. They have four kids, Kahil, Bu, Uno and Seia, who are aged 14, 12, 8 years old and 8 months old, respectively.

“With homeschooling, we don't isolate our children but rather "insulate" them. We build up their values so when they go out into the world, they can better discern what a good decision is and what is not. They do not face peer pressure at home to be who they should or shouldn't be, and therefore grow in a nurturing environment that allows them to grow to be who they can be, within the limits of good moral values”, they happily reveal.

“Yes, you can homeschool”

The Cuas, Ponlas, and Alentajans were just some of the families who participated in the recent “Yes, You Can Homeschool” conference at the NCCC Mall Activity Area. The well-attended event was organized by the Lighthouse Homeschool Network (LHN), a local organization of more than 30 homeschooling families in Davao City, and Homeschool Global.

The homeschooling event aimed to increase awareness of what homeschooling is and debunk the popular myths about homeschooling.

The conference was composed of three sections, namely: The “Kidpreneur” Marketplace, The Science Fair; and The Homeschooling Symposium by homeschooling advocates Edric Mendoza, the president of the Homeschoolers Association of the Phil. Islands (Hapi), and Joy Tan-chi Mendoza of the popular blog,

“One of the highlights of the homeschooling conference for us was seeing our children experience managing their own store and business on their own. My wife and I were truly amazed at how well our children did their roles, with our eldest exhibiting excellent salesman skills, even selling out his display. On the other hand, our 8-year-old son enjoyed patiently waiting for customers and properly executed a sales transaction including data recording and stock replenishment. It was such an eye-opener for them and they have since continued to pursue their business concepts”, says proud dad Dondi.

The Cuas appreciated the discussion about college preparation during the homeschooling conference as they have a teenager who is preparing for his college life.

“The presence of the Mendozas, likewise, made an impact as they are seasoned homeschoolers and it is heartwarming to see them share their personal experiences on homeschooling”, discloses Reginald.

Kirsty, who has been homeschooled for most of her student life, sums up her learning experience: “Homeschooling doesn't have any limits - you can learn whatever you want to learn, wherever you want to learn, whenever you want to learn. It doesn't dictate specific or rigid school hours, but it also doesn't mean you can slack off. Homeschooling is definitely not limited to staying at home and studying. It's an amazing experience that I'm blessed to have had for the past eight years of my life!”

The “Yes, You Can Homeschool” event was made possible through the support of Bounty Fresh Chicken, Brainfit Studio, NCCC Mall Davao, Barbra Pearls Cosmetics, Luxe Lab and Vita Lab, Ysha Marie, and Lebosada Dental Clinic.

For inquiries about homeschooling, you may contact Rhoda Cua at cellphone number (0918)9251355 or Kathie Ponla, (0928)7207711.

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