Education plays a vital role in everyone’s life. Growing up, most people are sent to school to learn and be guided by teachers who become second parents throughout their academic life. Once one becomes older, he is weighed down by responsibilities, and ends up looking back to the days of school and how fun and carefree that time was.

Homeschooling is a concept that is new, at least for the common folk, in Cebu. However, society boxes this format of education exclusively for the rich and famous. Catholic Homeschool Network would tell you otherwise.

Established in 2010, this group of homeschooling parents and their children are breaking away from the traditional way of learning and education and are taking matters into their own hands. Catholic Homeschooling Network comprises families from different walks of life. They are mostly regular families that took the time to devote their time and resources for their children, to teach and learn alongside them.

This notion breaks the stereotype that homeschooling is only possible for those who are financially well-off. Joanne Antiquina, a homeschooling parent of her four children, argues that “anyone who can send their children to a private school can comfortably afford a homeschool program. It would even turn out to be more economical than sending them to a regular private school.”

One might question why one would embark on such a journey? Joanne says, “I decided to think outside the box for an alternative way of schooling together as a family; we took the risk!”

A risk it was indeed but one worth taking. However, that didn’t mean that there weren’t any obstacles to be hurdled as Sheila Elle, a homeschooling mom of two, said: “Challenges mostly consist of those which are outside the home. Back in 2009, when we started, most people had no idea what it was. We were met with a lot of objections from well-meaning relatives and friends.”

Despite these difficulties, these parents have zero regrets and are incredibly proud of what their children have become — God-fearing and capable individuals with a vigorous zest for life.

Pio Gerard F. Antiquina is a proud homeschooler as he has been homeschooled for most of his academic life. Now 19 years old and taking on more responsibilities, he has made it clear that he wouldn’t be the person that he is today if it weren’t for his parent’s dedication to homeschool him.

“Homeschooling changed me internally as a person,” he says, “because it has bestowed upon me responsibilities of the household and has formed me into the struggling-towards-Heaven Catholic that I am today.”

Pio points out that one of the best things about being a homeschooler was you were your own boss as he said, “Time has always been my best friend, as I never have to worry about deadlines, and I could set the deadlines myself and study at my own pace.”

Another product of homeschooling is psychology major Inna Elle. Homeschooled since 2009, she shared that she learned how to be more independent as a learner. “Through the years, I learned to plan and direct my lessons, study on my own and evaluate my performance.” Inna also had her own fair share of obstacles that she needed to hurdle. Like everyone else, she struggled with maintaining self-discipline. She goes on to say, “Since students are not strictly bound by rules and a timetable, it was easy to fall into the trap of procrastination and deviate from my schedule, especially when the growing demands of the program were a bit overwhelming.”

Everyone can take a lesson from these wonderful individuals — their courage on treading uncharted waters is proof that if you have your heart set on something, the sky’s the limit, and that is the real tea on homeschooling.