Now that it's school-hunting time for most families, some are considering homeschooling their child for the coming school year. I have been seeing inquiries on homeschooling groups on Facebook on how they can start homeschooling their children. It's good to know that there are also lots of orientations and seminars organized about homeschooling to set the parents' expectations before they finally decide to homeschool. I am glad that homeschooling is now being considered by Filipino families for their child's education.
However, as I observe and answer questions about homeschooling, I also noticed that there are still some parents who have this twisted ideation about homeschooling. Stereotypes and misconceptions about homeschooling still stand until the present time. I have also been asked thru private messages on how to prepare for homeschooling and I have been very frank to tell them that homeschooling is not an easy road to take. I know that I have broken hearts of some because I told them the truth but there are also some who took it as a challenge and prepared themselves for homeschooling.
Now, to help families to prepare themselves in homeschooling and to break false impressions about it, I came up with a list explaining what homeschooling IS NOT. This is to help families to really assess if homeschooling will fit in their lifestyle or not and to correct whatever misbeliefs and reasons they might have in homeschooling their child/ren.
1. Homeschooling isn't for the rich. We have already heard for so many times that homeschooling is only for rich people. I don't know the root cause why homeschooling is associated with the rich people. And yes, I have also encountered such comment when I said I am homeschooling my son.
We're not rich; we belong to the working class. The idea of homeschooling my child was a joke at first, but when I immersed myself on learning the nitty-gritty details of homeschooling, I fell in love with it and decided that I will homeschool my son until I can (see my blog here).
Homeschooling is for all, regardless of social class, nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation. While everyone can homeschool, it is only for those who are called to homeschool. Homeschooling is great and ideal, but there's also a great responsibility in educating your child.
2. Homeschooling isn't cheap. And yes, homeschooling isn't expensive either.
The amount of money you will spend on homeschooling depends on how much are you willing to spend. Some families really give everything to provide the best learning experience to their child, and some families also source out alternative learning materials to their child by looking for free resources online, by buying second-hand books, or by using hand-me-down materials. Some families, apart from the academics, also expose their kids to different extra-curricular activities or go on field trips regularly. Some families chose to enroll their child to a homeschool provider and some chose to go independent.
It really depends on each family on how they will design their homeschooling experience and how much money they are willing to shell out for these experiences.
3. Homeschooling isn't your last option. The recently-concluded school year might not be a wonderful experience for your child, but immediately choosing to homeschool this coming school year is a suicide.
Whenever people would ask me how to prepare for homeschooling I would always say to prepare themselves for a year or two. People wonder why it takes a long time to prepare for homeschooling. Homeschooling is a commitment, a calling, a lifestyle. Some people like to homeschool JUST BECAUSE but their reason isn't enough for them to embrace the challenges of homeschooling; thus, they fail and put back their children to regular school.
Don't make homeschooling as your last option, because homeschooling requires commitment.
4. Homeschooling isn't for children with special needs. In movies, we often see homeschoolers being described as someone who has no social skills, with physical, mental, and emotional challenges, and as out-of-this-world individual. There are cases that a child needs to be homeschooled because of these limitations but it doesn't mean that homeschooling IS ONLY for these types of kids. Homeschoolers can be regular kids too. It is unfair to immediately think that the reason why a certain child is being homeschooled is because there is something wrong with the child.
5. Homeschooling isn't "school at home". Families get too excited to start homeschooling their child that they dedicate a specific part of their house to be their classroom, complete with whiteboard, table, bookshelf, etc., everything that you can see in a typical classroom in school. Homeschooling shouldn't be stiff and restricting; it should offer a relaxing environment for the children. While it is ideal that you have a special place at home to do lessons, but in reality, you can study everywhere! My son and I have tried studying at the stairs in our home, in the car, at the cafe, on the bed, at the airport, just basically anywhere and everywhere when there is an opportunity to do so.
6. Homeschooling isn't your trial period for regular school. When parents discover homeschooling as an option to educate their children, they IMMEDIATELY consider it for the following school year without really preparing themselves and the children on what they're getting into. In addition, some parents only homeschool their children only for the short time, just to prepare their children for formal schooling in preschool level.
When you decide to homeschool, prepare to do it on a long-term basis. Homeschooling requires commitment for both parents and the children, so by doing it on a short-term defeats the purpose of homeschooling.
7. Homeschooling isn't all about doing extra-curricular activities. You might be seeing homeschooled kids being busy doing sports, traveling, arts and crafts, performing arts, among others, and people wonder if these kids still have time to do academics. Yes, homeschooled kids still read books and learn new concepts because they still need it when they go back to regular school. Their only advantage is that homeschooled kids learn these new concepts without time constraints and on a more relaxed atmosphere.
8. Homeschooling isn't the answer to bullying. One of the reasons why some parents pulled out their kids in regular school to be homeschooled because their kids are victims of bullying. It is not a guarantee that homeschooled kids will never be bullied anymore. There are cases the homeschooled kids are being ridiculed by other kids and adults because these people find homeschooling as abnormal and would hamper the child's normal development, thus the pressure to prove that homeschooling works is high.
If your only reason why you homeschooled is bullying, I would advise that you think of your decision for a couple of times. Homeschooling is more than avoiding bullying; it is also molding the character of the child to withstand other challenges that he/she will encounter as he/she grows old.
9. Homeschooling isn't about shielding your child to failure. Homeschooled kids are often viewed as having a perfect life because for other people, they see them to be carefree individuals and do not have real ambitions in life.
While homeschooled parents tend to give the best learning experience for their children, they also expose their kids to the realities of life when there is a chance. Homeschooled children are taught life skills, and just like any other parent, they also subject their children to discipline when they commit mistakes and when they do not follow instructions.
Just like what I advise to parents when they are considering homeschooling their children, prepare for a year or two. Ask seasoned homeschoolers, read materials about homeschooling, attend seminars about homeschooling, and most importantly, pray if homeschooling is the best option for you and your children.
May the good Lord continue to guide you and give you wisdom in all decisions that you will do for your family.