I’ve recently finished 3 E-books on homeschooling.
I’ve long fell in love with the concept upon getting to know 3 homeschoolers who impressed me with their character at their very young ages of 5, 9 & 10 years old — their understanding of the Word of God & their relationships with Jesus, their parents & their families, their above-par ability to go forward to speak or participate, and the genuine quality of their confidence & attitude in relating to people of different ages, status & nationalities.
I have seen beautiful children who are regular school-goers and I applaud their parents for their evident involvement in their children’s character formation, but I firmly believe that God has led our family to trek the road of homeschooling.
The Rigid Beginnings
Armed with a very few internet literature and some recommendations from other homeschooling moms, we began Pablo’s home schooling at the tender age of 2, primarily to aid him with his language development.
It started as rigid, having grown up in a traditional school set-up (my mom used to own a school) and practically ignorant about home schooling.
Later on, I began to seriously read and study the different approaches and the process involved. As I read more, I gradually eased up on my child and gave him more room to explore, discover, learn and have fun.
Reading helps a whole lot!
I really appreciate all the reading materials on the subject made available for us. They help us remain firm on our choices or prod us to reconsider some of it to better the learning atmosphere for our children.
Even as a preschool homeschooler, I have already encountered many critics and sometimes, a bit of pressure to conform to established standards. I don’t mind the inquiries of curious people who want to understand our whys somehow, but there are also some really annoying, intrusive side-commenting of people who obviously do not know what they are talking about!
Clearly still practicing the art of patience (for myself), I try to veer away from conversations leading to these senseless (and time-wasting!) exchanges. I’m assured that our children will grow up in ways that we have hoped, prayed, believed and lovingly labored for.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1.
Some of the sound principles that I have personally learned from reading up so far are (not necessarily in order as I’m typing it off the top of my head):
1. Every home school is different. Although families may share the same faith, each family also has its own accepted standards and needs that differ from other families. What applies to many may not apply to some. So know your goals, priorities and have a mission-vision for your home school.
2. Values, Habits & Attitude training is a necessary prerequisite to everything else.Having a good amount of stored biblical values, habits and attitude gives your children a good head start in life.
3. Know the law and what the state requires. There are ways to comply to the requirements set by the educational measurement institutions, in the Philippines, that would be Dep-ed or CHED, without having to sacrifice your priorities & goals as a family and your control over the education of your children. Chapter VII of The Relaxed Home School by Mary Hood gives a good overview of how to go about it.
4. Curriculum is a process and not a standard. Your choice of materials may vary from year to year based on the development and progress of your child. It’s senseless to stubbornly stick to your choice of materials if it’s not working for your child!
5. Be connected to your Center. Always pray, read your bible and never make decisions without seeking the will of God for your children and for your family. Letting God lead guarantees a stress-free home school experience.
6. Don’t stop reading & researching on literature on Home School. And share these materials with your spouse! It’s wise to discuss the ideas with him before you act on it.
7. Focus on the strengths of your children and give all that you’ve got to support their strong interests. Do not be pressured to sign up your children for activities based on a passing whim or external pressure.
8. Every child has a natural learning ability. What he needs are parents who sincerely believe that he is destined for greatness and will lovingly and patiently prepare him for it; not someone breathing down his neck on awards, stars, stickers, contests and other pointless external motivational factors.
9. Lead them to the joy of literature. Learning phonetics is not the ultimate goal (and is not the only way of teaching a child to read!). Let books be readily available and accessible to them. There’s no point in keeping them perfectly intact if they will not be read and enjoyed.
10. In making decisions, always ask yourself “why?” Double check your motivations.
There are still a whole lot more to ponder on but these are the notes that have moved us to re-evaluate & re-assess on our home school plans & activities. I hope that these notes will somehow encourage others who are currently home schooling or are considering it for their families. Happy Homeschooling to us!