DAVAO

Homeschooling: Benefits and challenges (Part 2)

AS A parent who homeschools her children, Xyza Dalisay said there is not really a typical day for her and her two daughters -- Snoe and Hayle.

"One day is different from the other. But we have established routines, no strict schedules, that help us get through our day," she said.

She and her husband, Titus, have been homeschooling their two daughters for a year now. The two kids usually start their day with a chart to look at.

"When all those to-do lists are ticked off that's the time they go to their playroom or homeschool room. Normally, they read their books, do their puzzles, or just play anything. In the afternoon, that is where I incorporate lessons... Since they are still young, I give them lots of freedom to explore and be independent," Dalisay said.

She, along with other homeschooling parents, are in for a ride as they embark on this journey with their children. Each parent faces different challenges when they go into homeschooling, whether it is learning the subject at hand or adjusting with this form of education.

"A challenge because as we say, homeschooling teaches the parent first, before the child. Teaching the parent patience, new skills, gentleness, and developing other character traits," Dondi Alentajan said. He and his wife homeschooled their three sons.

Harmony Mae Quines, who homeschools her three kids, said one of the biggest challenges she regularly faces is learning the subjects that need to be taught to the kids.

"I always deal with this. You feel competent teaching preschoolers but if it's a grader (grade 5 and up) it's a whole different ball game," Quines said.

She also said there is a challenge of burning out.

"When you do a lot of things day in day out, burning yourself from both ends of the candle, you will easily burn out. You become grumpy and, as my daughter puts it, 'mean mom'," Quines said.

Despite these challenges, these homeschooling parents in Davao City were able to surpass with a little help from the community and the internet.

Quines said parents should avoid putting pressure on themselves when teaching the children and it does not hurt if you need the help of those who are experts on the subject.

"I believe that you don't have to do it all alone. If you think of yourself as the teacher, you will have an added pressure of knowing and being an expert on one thing. You are not. Just accept it and the sooner you can accept it, the better will be your relationship with your kids," she said.

Quines said it is okay for a homeschooling parent to hire tutors.

Technology can also assist parents in meeting the educational needs of their children.

"We do Khan Academy, Moby Max, Udemy, and Youtube for some things I can't explain to them," Quines said.

Junjun Gabayan added, "This is the best time to teach your children. Everything's already available, the lessons and materials you need to teach your children are just a click away. All you need is dedication and perseverance."

As mentioned by the homeschooling parents in the previous article, homeschooling the children is also a role shared by both parents.

For Alentajan and his wife, Tara, it is she who handles the academic learning while he handles the values, faith, and physical education parts.

"My husband is the resident math-guy and he also helps me with chores if I need to catch up with homeschooling or work. He also homeschools the kids when I tell him I have something else to do," Quines said.

Being part of a support group or system also helps the parents.

At present, Dalisay is part of the Arrows and Quivers support system.

"They assign you learning coaches who can help you in your homeschooling," she said.

The Arrow and Quivers support system is based in Davao City and provides parents with a homeschool program, accredited by the Department of Education, in partnership with Hope Integrated School. It also provides support for independent homeschooling and other homeschool arrangements.

Gabayan said since the main challenge for homeschooling parents is teaching the lessons, especially math and science, being a part of a support group was a big help to them.

"Because we have a support group, we were able to develop coop classes where we gather children of almost the same age to have lessons as a group with a teacher - hired with a special skill or knowledge on a particular subject where most parents are having difficulty in teaching," Gabayan said.

Benefits

Despite its challenges, homeschooling also has its fair share of benefits. On top of the list of the parents is the ability to spend more time with their children and inculcate values to them.

"You see your children grow up with deep sense and value for God. They will become mature, insulated, and ready to face the world in front of them," Gabayan said.

For her part, Dalisay said, "The fact that we are together most of the time. That we learn and unlearn together. That we can develop each other’s characters through it (homeschooling). And lastly, we get to experience the faithfulness of God."

Quines said homeschooling has eased the pressure on her eldest, who was enrolled in a traditional school previously. She recalled how before the exams, her son would have bouts of sleepwalking.

"It dawned on me how much pressure these kids undergo academically for achievements," she said.

She added, "I wanted to trim down and strip down education and learning in the most basic sense. No pressure of grades but only of learning, no exam anxiety, and no peer pressure."

Likewise, homeschooling parents are able to discover the interests of their children.

"We can also discover their strengths and weaknesses and tailor-fit their lessons and how to approach them based on it," Quines said, adding that her children now have the time to do their passions and develop hobbies.

One of my Quines’ kids is learning about coding and is eventually eyeing the development of an application. Her other child also loves flags and is musically inclined.

"This could have never happened if they spent the majority of their time at school where we can't see them and are busy doing school requirements," she said.

Quines also said homeschooling has also allowed her children to stay healthy. They noted how the children have become healthier as the risk of communicable diseases is lower at home.

"We can also model to them and impose on them the discipline of eating right and keeping active since my husband and I try to control food intake, educate them about it and stay active at home," she said.

For many homeschooling parents, this form of education, allows them to take a holistic approach in bringing up and educating their children.

"Overall, our kids come out better, smarter, more secure, and more God-fearing through our homeschooling journey," Alentajan said.

Getting into homeschooling

The process of getting into homeschooling is also no easy feat because of the many things parents have to consider.

Dalisay said parents do not need to rush things before deciding to homeschool their children.

"Know your 'Why.' It is important to know your reason or reasons for homeschooling because this will serve as your anchor when the going gets tough. Then read, research, talk to a homeschooling family, and establish your goals and your philosophy," she said.

Deciding to get into this alternative form of education must also be decided upon by the family.

"Talk to your husband and children. Your husband is your partner in this," Quines said, adding that talking with your spouse allows the two of you to prepare a budget for the homeschooling of the children.

If you already have children and plans to shift them to homeschool, Quines recommends that parents talk to their kids.

"Please talk to your children. Especially, if they are older and have stable friends. Respect them and give them time to decide after explaining to them your whys," she said.

Quines also recommends explaining the decision to the grandparents or the in-laws.

Alentajan said it is important for the family to decide together on the objectives of going into homeschooling because this will guide the parents in their research.

Parents must also prepare their home for the learning of their children. Quines said parents will need to designate a space for the kids as to where they will study.

"They don't necessarily have to stay there for the entire duration of their homeschooling schedule but it will help them to know that they have a space for that purpose," she said.

There are also homeschool communities or network parents can join or inquire about homeschooling.

"You are not alone and you can always ask for help," Quines said.

In Davao City, there are Arrows and Quivers Homeschool and the Lighthouse Homeschool Network (LHN). The two groups offer recorded webinars and materials that will help parents get into homeschooling.

"They can message us (LHN) on our Facebook page. Homeschooling parents would be so happy to answer their questions and guide them through," Gabayan said.

Getting into homeschooling is no easy decision because of the many things parents have to consider and deal with. However, careful planning and research will allow the family to find the road to start their homeschool journey.

"Homeschooling is a journey. Don't be too focused on the end result. Just enjoy your kids today, and show them God's love for them. The rest will follow," Dondi said.

Despite the challenges parents will face along the way, Gabayan assures that seeing the growth of your children is all worth it.

"The best is yet to come. Seeing your children grow and succeed in their endeavors is worth the time and effort," he said.


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