Because Every Child Is A Homeschooler
“Why not enroll your kids in a real school?”, is the usual remark I get when I say my kids are homeschooled… as if I only said, “home” without “school”. Either that or people believe it is impossible to have a school at home. That those two are separate turfs that cannot exist together. That a homeschool setup is not a “real” school.
Do not get me wrong. I am not saying homeschooling is the best for everyone. I am a product of traditional school since elementary until I graduated from law. Same as with my wife. This is our first exposure to homeschool as a formal education. Before we decided to embark on this journey, it took us a year to think and pray about it, dealing with all types of reservations (and fears) that we have at that time about the homeschool system. We researched on the subject and carefully planned since both of us are career professionals.
One thing I realized is this: the core of homeschool is never new to any family – at least consciously. As a background, the modern school system that started in the United States began only in the 17th century. Before that, other places made education mandatory as early as the 14th century. Even still earlier, Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt have the semblance of formal schools and education as early as 500 AD.
In the Philippines, formal education was introduced by the Spaniards around the 16th century. Before the Spanish period, education in the Philippines was in the form of vocational (practical) training that is community-based supervised by a tribal tutor, specialized members of the community and, guess who? – parents.
We can extensively study history and trace the roots and background of the formal school system. At the end of the day, we have to go back to a constant truth about education – parents are the first teachers of their children. It may be that homeschooling, as a movement, started only in the 1980s. Nevertheless, I believe everyone can agree that a child’s first taste of knowledge transfer (in most cases) came from their parents. Setting aside any concern of a formal system, parents are ultimately responsible for teaching their children. This accountability is so crucial because whatever is learned at home impacts the mental, social, emotional and spiritual growth of a child.
I am reminded of this verse in Deuteronomy 6, which reads:
“4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
The verse may be a narration of what the nation of Israel must do as they transfer spiritual truths to the next generation after they enter the promised land. Nevertheless, the principle resonates and applies until this very day – parents must teach their children about what matters most in life. Do not delegate it to anyone else. This is homeschooling, right?
Due to the pandemic caused by Sars-Cov 2 (or commonly known as COVID-19), classes in most parts of the Philippines were cut short. This made most parents as “homeschoolers” of some sort. Some are able to adjust. Still, others are pressured in “schooling” their children in addition to the burden of practicing effective methods of teaching. And we are talking here of parents that are not used in handling and instructing academic subjects. Almost every parent that I know is brought to the reality that primary (life) education starts at home. Here is my encouragement: Just simply do your best to teach them the academics! Life is more important than academics. And if there is anything that any of us should be pressured at would be this: living a godly life that our children will surely imitate when they grow up.