It’s One Of The Best Decisions We’ve Ever Made
We know. We’re nuts.
We don’t send our kids to school.
Let me tell you why.
When our baby was growing up, we watched how everyone did the schooling thing—and we didn’t like it.
This is what we saw:
Early morning, parents send off the kids to school while they both go to work. It’s rush, rush, rush. At 7am, everyone is out of the house, plowing through morning traffic.
At around 7 in the evening (if there’s no overtime), these exhausted parents arrive home like dried prunes. They have dinner with the kids but have no energy to talk to each other—so they put on the TV and watch telenovelas together. After dinner, Mommy helps Junior with homework.
Let’s say today, the kid’s got homework in Math, English, and Filipino. In Filipino, Junior’s project is to put the photos of 12 National Filipino Heroes on a cartolina. Because it’s already 10pm, Junior is now asleep. So Mommy is cutting photos of the heroes from old magazines, and Daddy is pasting them on the cartolina. The day ends at midnight. Another long day awaits…
We Wanted Another Kind Of Family Life
We asked ourselves. Is this the lifestyle we really want? Or do we want something else for our kids and our family?
We decided to do something radical: We won’t send our kids to school. Instead, we’ll teach them ourselves.
Result? We’ve been doing it for four years now and my son Bene is in 3rd Grade.
That means my wife and I are his teachers, our home is his classroom, our kitchen is his canteen, and our street is his school yard.
Poor kid, right? People tell me he’s missing a lot because we homeschool him.
Hey, I agree.
What My Son Is Missing
Let me give you a partial list of what he’s missing.
· He doesn’t have to wake up at 6:00am everyday to catch the school bus. He doesn’t have to experience being dressed-up and “toothbrushed” by his mother while asleep so he won’t be late for school. He doesn’t have to wolf down his breakfast while rushing out.
· He doesn’t have to ride a school bus. (Ow, shucks.) He doesn’t have to wade through traffic twice a day.
· He doesn’t have to fight with forty kids for the attention of a teacher.
· He doesn’t have to waste a lot of time waiting in school. (Which I feel consumes 30% of school time each day.) He doesn’t have to wait for everyone to line-up for the National Anthem. He doesn’t have to wait for everyone to quiet down before the teacher starts teaching. He doesn’t have to wait for the teacher to explain the lesson a second for those who weren’t listening…
· He doesn’t have to eat sugary snacks in the school canteen.
· He doesn’t get bullied. No jeers. No barbs. No meanness.
· He doesn’t have peer pressure to buy the latest rubber shoe, the newest cell phone, the coolest shirt. He doesn’t have to compare his daily allowance with his classmates.
· He doesn’t have homework when he arrives from school. Nada. None. Zilcho. Zero. He doesn’t have school projects that mommies end up doing anyway.
Should I go on?
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Gosh, my son is missing a lot of things.
Instead, Here’s What My Son Has…
So instead of these things, what does my son have to endure in homeschool? Let me see…
· He wakes up at 8:00am. If the entire family attended a prayer meeting the previous night, he wakes up at 9:00am. No problem.
· He has time to say his morning prayers in bed. He joins his mom reading the Bible together. He then takes a relaxing breakfast with his little brother Francis, reads his books, plays the guitar, and the two of them clown around the house.
· He starts class at 9:00am. Each morning, he sings the Philippine National Anthem, says the Panatang Makabayan, and prays his morning school prayer on his own.
· In every subject, he has the undivided attention of his devoted teacher. He can ask any question he wants, anytime he wants, and his teacher will answer him. When he doesn’t know the answer, he says, “Let’s research for the answer now.” And they log onto the internet, read a few books, and viola—the answer is found… together.
· He and his mother love talking about their faith. They also like singing together.
· He can tell his teacher, “Mommy, I want to know more about stars. Can we read about that tomorrow?” And his mother will say, “Let’s make that our science class for today!” And because it’s his interest, he needs no prodding to study. He wants to learn. He loves it.
· He can tell his teacher, “Mommy, I don’t understand this math problem. Can we slow it down a bit?” And his mother will say, “Sure thing. Let’s go through it one more time…” until he’s totally satisfied.
· Classes are only from Monday to Thursday. Because every Friday morning, he meets other homeschooled kids. They play together, do art work together, sing together, and just have enormous fun. (Yes, homeschooled kids have shown to be very sociable and confident, due to high self-esteem.)
· Every Tuesday afternoon, he attends a gymnastics class. Again, we don’t force him to do it. He loves tumbling, cartwheeling, and running around with the other kids.
· Each day, his class ends at 2pm or 3pm. But that’s because class was so exciting, both mother and son didn’t want to stop.
· After his class, my son goes out and rides the bike with his cousin or they play with the computer together. In the evening, since there’s no homework, he reads whatever books he likes to read. My suspicion? Because he’s interested in reading the books he chooses, he probably learns more in his free time than in his formal class time!
· When I’m free, I teach him how to compose songs and improve his guitar playing (That’s his Music Class), how to write short stories (That’s his English elective), and how to expand his bangus or milkfish business (That’s Entrepreneurship 101). Yes, he sells fish to our friends, and he divides his profits to tithes, alms, savings, and toy money! (Personal Finance 101). When my son hit 7 years old, I taught him how to read the Business section of the Newspaper. He loves asking about the stock market. He knows that we have to buy “low” and sell “high”.
· In all these, the greatest benefit is really having an incredible relationship with our kids.
We love homeschooling. Aside from all these benefits, we save a lot of money. We also don’t spend on daily allowance, school bus, etc. So we’re saving a bundle.
I know homeschooling is not for everyone. But it should at least be looked at.
I’ve trained myself that we shouldn’t live like everyone else if we believe that there’s a better way out there.
Explore. Search. Look at options.
You’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover.
I remain your friend,