I always look forward to the annual Philippine Homeschool Convention by Educating for Life team. I love listening to the speakers talk about their own experiences in homeschooling, and the methods and strategies they’ve used to accomplish their goals. And I always go home fired up and fueled, and ready to take on another year with my kids.
This year, though, I was only able to siphon wisdom from the morning sessions because we couldn’t stay the whole day. We’ve been up to our necks with stuff the past few weeks and we badly needed to rest.
Among the many speakers that morning, it was Dawn Fung and Marla Taviano that we were most eager to hear from. Foreign speakers always seem to bring the freshest perspectives for us, maybe because they’re not from here and do not have to conform to the set standards of education in the Philippines.
Homeschool veterans, Donna Simpao and Michelle Padrelanan, also took the platform to share some of the many things they’ve learned in their own journeys.
And popular motivational speaker, Jayson Lo, enumerated the different types of personalities – Dominant Eagle, Influential Rooster, Steady Carabao and the Corrective Tarsier – and their respective strengths and weaknesses.
From him, we learned that while we all love our kids the same, we cannot treat them the same, simply because they are different from each other.
Giving up the ideal child
Dawn Fung, who is from Singapore, shared about how her life has changed since she decided to have kids and more so, give up a promising career as a teacher to homeschool her own children.
She points out that if she doesn’t take her place as their mother, no one else will.
But I think that among those that made an impact to the audience was when she talked about the sacrifices we need to make to homeschool our children, including giving up our idea of how a perfect child should be.
I think this is pretty common among homeschooling families to put pressure on their children to become poster homeschoolers that we can boast of, when we should be taking this huge opportunity to allow them to discover who they want to be and help them figure out how to become the best versions of themselves according to how God designed them.
Unschooling in Cambodia
Marla Taviano, on the other hand, talked about unschooling her kids while living in Cambodia. She shared how they first came to Cambodia and living among the locals, and being blown away by the things she learned in the real world.
She said that she grew up in a privileged environment where she had no idea on what was going on outside her bubble, and that she didn’t want that kind of upbringing for her children.
And true enough, she showed us pictures of her and her husband, and their children, building relationships with their Cambodian neighbors, learning life skills and serving people. Wow!
More than just producing smart kids
See, that’s the thing I observed from most of the speakers — they’re raising their kids to go beyond their personal successes. They teach them to be involved with their communities, to reach out to those in need and to serve in humility.
I now follow Marla Taviano on Facebook and I see her updates on how they bring the Jesus Storybook Bibles to remote areas in Cambodia so that people (and even adults) can also know Jesus and hear the gospel.
As far as I know, Michelle Padrelanan’s kids are involved in Rotary Club where the youth is encouraged to take part and contribute in the community through outreaches and fund raisers, and other things.
Donna Pangilinan-Simpao and her children are doing outreaches and helping out in relief operations.
Dawn Fung is more than just a homeschooling mom. She founded the homeschoolers organization in Singapore and has been instrumental in helping build strong families, which in turn, will build a strong nation.
It got me into thinking, what am I homeschooling my kids for?
Our homeschooling has produced three exceptional kids – three musical kids who have shown natural aptitude in Technology, Science and the Performing Arts, and no parent can ever be as proud as we are with all they have accomplished the past few years.
But is it really all there is to it in our homeschooling?
Not that I think we should sign up for some do-good organization straight up. I still believe that each family has his individual calling that we are designed for. And sometimes training men who will impact their generation using their gifts is enough.
So where do we go from here?
I think the answer is in what my friend, Lorrie, said to me the other day when we bumped into each other at SM Aura. She said that we should write down our goals for each person and each child, and list down all the things we’re doing at the moment.
Lorrie and her husband, Gene, homeschooled their three daughters who are now making a mark in fashion, design and arts fields respectively. Oh, you should hear their story! I was so encouraged to know where God had taken them from their unconventional homeschooling journey to where they are now. Their story is an epitome of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in the future of our children.
Lorrie advised that we pray and seek God on where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do.
She reminded me that not everything that looks good is what the Lord wants us to do. We need to hear from God and do as He instructs, which means, if something is not aligned to the goal that God set for us, we need to take it out or give it up, no matter how good it looks.
She told me not to listen to the world because the world can really confuse us. The standards of this world is usually not the same as God’s standards.
What she told me brought so much clarity and reminded me that our children’s future is not defined by the standards of this world. As my husband always say, ”…on the mountain of the Lord, it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)
When we are aligned to the will of God, He will not only supply us our material needs. He will also provide purpose. And when we know God’s purpose, we will be able to raise our children in such a way that they will be more than just ”successful,” but that they can use their gifts in avenues that will help them make a difference in other people’s lives and bring glory to God.
I refuse to accept that our homeschooling is meant for anything less than that.
This is our family’s homework at the moment. To find the time to sit down and write down our goals, seek God again in our homeschool and realign our family and our homeschooling to his will.
How about you? What was your takeaway from the PHC 2019?
”But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6:33.