By Michelle Lim Padrelanan
Homeschooling is a big part of our family life. Ever since I met a few families who homeschooled their children in 2001, I was hooked. The idea that there is a way for me to raise our children to be people who are principled, will carry on with our faith, and will excel in their academics made my heart pound. After attending a homeschool orientation, I devoured all the information I could get my hands on so that I could also start homeschooling my then seven-year-old eldest daughter.
It’s been 15 years since we began and the day that I’m writing this is set to go down as one of the most memorable days in our family’s history. Today, that daughter who I started homeschooling years ago graduated from college. As I participated in the graduation ceremony, I held in my heart the memories of the years that I homeschooled her and how it has propelled her to the success that she enjoys now. Bethany, the daughter I homeschooled from first grade to high school, graduated as her batch’s magna cum laude, valedictorian, and received Treston International College’s highest honor, the Chairman’s Legacy Award.
Today, I also graduate. Though my husband and I still have three children to see through college, our eldest daughter’s college graduation also marks a graduation of sorts for me. The years I spent homeschooling her was truly worth it. I am inspired to keep on homeschooling our other children, and to tell others how good homeschooling is for the whole family.
Let me share the ways our daughter and our family benefited from homeschooling.
When you homeschool, you are literally together with your kids 24/7. Being together all the time has its advantages and disadvantages. Many mothers can relate when I say that there’s almost no private time—even toilet time is not sacred. My kids will come in and out of the bathroom unable to wait a few minutes for whatever it is that they want to say. The lovely thing about it, though, is that you get to know one another intimately. From years of observation, I already know when my children are happy or sad, thinking or bored. In the same vein, our children are sensitive enough to know if Mom and Dad are happy together or having an argument. There’s no hiding our emotions from one another. Because we know one another well, we enjoy one another’s company and often prefer to be with the family than with other people.
Through homeschooling, we have the opportunity to put into practice the command in Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” As the big sister, our eldest, Bethany, learned the value of being responsible early in her life. She was my help in caring for her younger siblings. At the young age of nine, she already knew how to carry her baby sister, change her diapers, heat up frozen breast milk for feeding, and even give her medicine. At 15 years old, she helped me with my small toy store. She knew how to pick the right toys to sell, how to negotiate with customers, and even how to put up and pack down our pop-up stores. Her early training benefitted her well. Her strong sense of responsibility helped her when she became involved with her school’s student organizations. She accepted her role as leader and could be relied on to finish their projects. As team member, she cooperated and did her part until projects came to fruition.
One of the first things I learned about homeschooling is that no child can fail their tests. In homeschooling, we can always give our children second, third, or even fourth tries to keep retaking a test. So during the times when Bethany would get a low test grade, this would only mean that she needed more time to study or more time to understand the lesson, which meant that we would keep on studying until she understood her lessons and could finally pass her test. Through this practice, she learned perseverance and determination. This is what she brought with her when she went to college.
Bethany was not a perfect student—nobody is. But she strove hard to earn her grades and her hard work got rewarded. Aside from her academic excellence, she also applied to and got accepted in several prestigious business leaders programs in the country.
A Grateful Heart
One of the business programs Bethany joined was the AmCham’s Business Leader’s Program. This is an annual program organized by the American Chamber of Commerce, the goal of which is to give 30 of the best graduating students nationwide exposure and opportunities in American-owned companies in the Philippines. Each applicant had to undergo a rigorous qualification process. In one of her interviews, Bethany was asked how homeschooling benefited her and her current stage in life. This was part of her reply: “Homeschooling is the best thing that my parents did for me. I will always be grateful.”
Homeschooling: The Road Less Travelled… But Definitely Worth Exploring
Homeschooling is a hard path to take. The parents have to commit to teaching their child. Learning has to keep going on even if both parents have to work, the family suffers a crisis, the mother gives birth to younger siblings, and other circumstances that normally happen to families. But the blessings always outweigh the difficulties and challenges.
If you want to learn more about homeschooling and hear more about our family’s experience, plus listen to other experienced homeschoolers (both foreign and local), I invite you to join us at the “On Fire!” Philippine Homeschool Convention 2018 on Sept. 22 at the SMX Convention Center at SM Aura Premier, Taguig City. You will receive inspiration to start (or continue) homeschooling through our plenary talks, and be empowered through the practical breakout sessions as well. You can find more information about the Convention by visiting www.educatingforlife.co. I would be delighted to meet you there in person. See for yourself how homeschooling works, and how it benefits not just the homeschooled child but every member of the family!
Michelle Padrelanan has been a homeschooling mom for 15 years and counting. She has already graduated two of her children and plans to keep on homeschooling until her youngest son finishes high school, which will be seven years from now. Michelle is also a staunch homeschool advocate, speaker, and blogger, and is one of the co-founders of Educating for Life, the organizers of the Philippine Homeschool Convention. To get in touch with Michelle, send her an e-mail at [email protected]