In recent weeks, the Department of Education announced that they are preparing for a distance learning approach so that classes may resume on August 24. However, as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic still looms, parents are looking for alternative ways to educate their child. One of these approaches is homeschooling.
Homeschooling has been gaining a lot of attention in the Philippines even before the pandemic happened. Despite this, many people are still not aware of what homeschooling really is. Now that typical classroom setups may not be viable soon, you might want to know more about homeschooling as an educational option for your kids.
My Pope Philippines talks with the founder and directress of Headway School for Giftedness (HSG) Maria Luz Estudillo. She has completed a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling at the University of the Philippines and has been practicing counseling for 25 years. She also specializes in Individual and/or Group Psychological testing, ADHD, Children’s Behavioral Problems, Parenting Education, Child Abuse and Sexual Harassment Issues, and Inclusive System. (Read: Raising a Child With Autism: What This Mom Wants You to Know)
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a progressive approach in education where parents educate their children at home instead of sending them to a physical school. The beauty of homeschooling is that children can learn at their own pace, and parents who are new to homeschooling are encouraged to keep this in mind. Homeschooling offers flexibility and assures the learner that they there is no need to rush and that they can take their time in understanding the lessons. (Read: An Expert’s Tip to Instilling Faith in Young Children)
When is the perfect time to homeschool a child?
There is no perfect time to homeschool a child. As long as both the parent and the child are emotionally prepared for this kind of learning modality, they can hop in this kind of learning approach.
What are the benefits of homeschooling?
Self-paced Learning – Homeschooling provides children with the opportunity to figure things out without the added pressure of trying to keep up with their peers. Additionally, it is best that parents not be the source of this pressure to do well and keep up with the lesson as well. (Read: 5 Daily Prayers to Teach to Your Children)
Parents must learn to understand and accept their child’s current abilities. There is nothing shameful about experiencing difficulty in a lesson; If this is the case, go back to the basics and help your child grasp the fundamentals first before moving on to more difficult content. Conversely, give your child more challenging content when the current lesson is proving to be too easy or if your child is showing signs of boredom.
Integration – Part of the flexibility of homeschooling is the freedom to integrate more than one subject area into one activity. For example, if the lesson in math is about weight, the child can measure the weight of the different people in the household. English can also be integrated by providing word problems suitable to the child’s level. Want to take it a step further? Translate the word problem into Filipino. (Read: This 12-year-old Filipina ballerina is dancing her way to the world stage)
Creativity in Implementing – While the materials for the homeschool program are already provided to the parents, it still pays to exercise creative to make integration and experiential learning work for the child. Parents may learn that it’s not always so simple to hold and maintain a child’s interest especially when learning a new topic, and so they are also challenged to be creative and flexible in exploring ways to engage their child based on their child’s interests.
How can parents ensure that the child is learning?
They can use both written and performance-based assessments. Written assessments are the typical pen and paper tests that assess a child’s grasp of knowledge and concepts. It can be objective or subjective. Performance-based assessments are tests where children have to produce outputs as an outcome of the knowledge and skills they gained out of a particular lesson. Parents can also keep a portfolio of their child’s works to see how their child is progressing over time. (Read: Meet the Pope’s Favorite Teachers)
What’s your advice to parents who will be homeschooling their children this year?
It takes a lot of patience to home school a child. Hence, it is really best for parents to condition themselves emotionally, physically, and mentally as implementers of the program. Before delving into this kind of learning modality, they have to be ready to commit to teaching their child. (Read: This Pinay teacher shares how My Pope inspired her to pursue her craft)
Setting a routine and expectations at home will be helpful. There may also be issues on familiarity; hence, it is important to learn to change roles at home, so that children can see their parents also as a teacher. Setting up a comfortable environment where children can focus on learning is also another component to make homeschooling successful.