Written by DK Bato
Before eyebrows are raised and I’m judged as a know-it-all, let me make it clear that I am nowhere near being an expert or a veteran in the world of homeschool. In fact, I was also lost and confused about the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the ins and out of homeschool, and I still am. But if you will count all the workshops, talks and seminars I’ve attended plus the people I’ve encountered in this journey – then I assure you this article is worth your time.
It actually took a LOT of convincing before I finally gave in. You see I grew up believing that the only way to learn is to enroll in a traditional school, stay there from 8AM until 4PM, surrounded by the same age group and the same set of people every day; it was after all what they call the “normal” way of learning.
To be fair, I did turn out “okay”, I am working now, I can feed my family. But I can’t deny the fact that most of what I’ve learned are already forgotten and there’s still this little trauma from all the bullying I received in school. I felt like I was a soldier (aka student) sent to war (aka school) without proper training (aka enough time at home with my parents). You see children need to be with their parents until a certain age until they can handle their emotions and make decisions (let’s save this for another article shall we?)
So naturally, I enrolled my eldest (now 10-year-old) son in a private school here in our area. I was so sure I was giving him the BEST since I was paying almost half a million (wow! I didn’t know I had that much money!) for his 3-year stay there. Feelings of doubt began when in those 3 years, all I got was a “I don’t know”, “nothing” and “I don’t remember” responses whenever I ask “how’s school?”. But God has an amazing way of turning things around, I met people who were already homeschooling their kids, and I was amazed! It was also so timely since our youngest is about to enter Kindergarten last year. It was the perfect time to explore a different path. So I equipped myself, read all the blogs, vlogs and posts about the possible homeschool providers we can partner with. I was pressured and surprised by what I’ve learned. They were different.
1. START WITH THE HEART – I’ve always been so focused on the outcome and the academics without really paying much attention to my son’s feelings and the process. Deadlines and outputs are my main goals for the day and it started to wear me out. After reading some books and blogs online from experienced homeschool parents like me, one thing I noticed is that they are not at all focused on the academics. Sure they write stuff down, read books, and submit grades, but more than that it is their will to shape their children to become better individuals. Their definition of learning is sharing their beliefs and doing things together. Through these activities, their children’s hearts were shaped in a good way, therefore learning comes naturally. Their children are not forced; and therefore, they enjoy and remember their lessons.
2. LEARNING STYLE, DOES IT MATTER? – when I was researching about homeschool, one of my main concerns is adjusting to my son’s learning style (he’s a kinesthetic learner, by the way). But a year into this journey, I realized that though this is an important factor to consider, my teaching style should not revolve around it. I should instead present him with different options of learning. And in just a few months, I noticed that kids have the ability to adjust in their environment. They are not limited only to the abilities that they have, but they can adapt and survive almost anything you hurl at them.
3. REMEMBER YOUR “WHY” – It’s true when they say “patience is a virtue.” And how I wish I was there when it rained “patience” over the earth! So yes; moms, you are not alone! My patience runs thin whenever one of my boys wouldn’t get a simple 1 + 1 equation. It’s crazy going over and over something I’ve already known all my life! So PAUSE. Remember WHY you are doing this – is it because you want your child to learn the concept or do you want your child to learn how to handle a situation? If you show your “She-Hulk” side now, will he finally get it? I assure you; he won’t! So take a deep breath and handle it with grace. You are here because you want your child to see how you will handle difficult situations in life. And yes, tomorrow or maybe the next day, he will know and find out the answer.
4. LEARN WITH YOUR CHILD – This is something I wish I experienced with my mom when I was little; but circumstances did not permit us to do so. Now, God made a way for me to teach my kids. I want to share that so far the best lessons that we had are the ones we did not know too. Yes! We all love it when mom (aka me) is also clueless about the lesson. Hubble Telescope, Rove Beetle, Prepositional Phrase, etc. etc. We read, we research and learn all of these together. It’s one way of letting my kids know that we do not need to know everything; but we have to be able to learn how to discover these things because eventually at one point in our lives we will encounter them.
5. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES – To be honest my boys are still learning how to accept failure. I feel guilty for being hard on them sometimes. But with all successful individuals, I believe the most important lesson they’ve learned is to never be afraid to commit mistakes. I’ve heard it, read it and seen it with all those Top 10 Successful Men or Millionaires of all time. These people got to where they are now because they are not afraid to fail. As with anything in life, most especially in learning, we should welcome mistakes in order for us to learn and grow. My list could go on and on but these I think are the most important things I’ve learned so far. Our homeschool journey will still be long. More challenges will surely arise; but as long as I have my boys and they have me and their dad, this trip will be the best one they will ever have!
Make yours a memorable one too! This pandemic surely made us realize that life is short and the best way to spend it, is with the people who matter most.