Saturday, September 15, 2007

Not about the Dream

If I seem to have a one-track mind, it's because I do, lol. Kidding aside, homeschooling is just something I'm really passionate and enthusiastic about. Do I care about what other people think about my decision? No, but if they'd like to point something out to me, I'd be all ears. There's no growth in thinking that anybody who opines differently than me is wrong. I give a listen, ponder a bit, then that's when I conclude that he/she is wrong(:-p).
Anyway, somebody sent a link to this article
in my local homeschool egroup and I thought, "Man! I could have written the piece myself!". Well, maybe I wouldn't have written it as well, but the sentiments are the same as mine. Like myself, the writer was a schoolteacher. I assume that she had attended traditional school as well. Hence, having been exposed for many years to school in all its doubtful glory and even having been part of both ends (figure of authority and mere "subject"), she has come to the conclusion that it isn't the best place for her kids to learn.
If I may just give you a rundown of some of the reasons why I personally want my daughter homeschooled (what? really? it's my blog and I can do whatever I want to? ooookay... oh, so long as I'm prepared to face consequences, such as violent reactions and lynching? oh)...
1. It's another opportunity to bond with her.
2. At home, she can learn at her own pace more than what a limited curriculum dictates. She can spend more time on a subject and let her interest guide her into potentially serendipitous moments of learning and discovery.
3. There's freedom of creativity and imagination will always be encouraged. Schools have to have control and structure because students are in a group and they have to be mindful of everybody. At home, expression will not be curbed.
4. There won't be need to be cooped up indoors during a beautiful day. I remember looking longingly out the window of my classroom at the sunny fields of the campus (my school was in a beautiful setting in the mountains, so you can imagine the aching we all had to just be outside).
5. Life skills will be learned in the process of living and not as a means to boost GPA. Home economics and practical arts will be concretely relevant.
6. Learning will be more relaxed and natural. My daughter will love learning and will do it for her own satisfaction and not for grades and honors.
7. Field trips can be more frequent and serve their purpose better. We shan't have to follow anybody else's agenda/ itinerary.
8. There's no need to feel competitive and be better than the rest. Self-esteem won't be based on beating the others. Hopefully, this would make for natural self-confidence. Arrogance or inferiority complex wouldn't have room at home.
9. The values picked up will be our own.
Money meant for tuition could go to special lessons and travel experiences.

Now, here's why I don't want her in school:
1. Tuition. We can avoid paying for expensive tuition (especially here in the Philippines) that still doesn't guarantee teachers who can meet my standards. As a teacher, I myself had been forced to teach a subject that wasn't my area of expertise. I know that's what I'd be doing anyway when I homeschool, but a. I won't be giving myself a salary for doing that, so I won't feel shortchanged(:-p); b. I shan't be pretending to know what it's all about to affect the expertise that I lack - the premise in homeschooling is that I teach her what I already know and the rest we can learn together.
2. Teaching style. Schools usually have kids as passive recipients of knowledge.
3. Testing. Good test scores are not accurate measurements of learning anyway. Testing can be done, but in a more practical and relevant way.

4. Teachers. The teachers do not care for all the aspects of my daughter's development as much as I do. There will always be a fear inside of me that my daughter is being ignored or worse, harshly criticized or unnecessarily humiliated and the attitude would be, "hey, all in a day's work".
5. Peer pressure. It is not only oppressive and traumatic, it also limits a person's potentials because of the perennial need to conform. My daughter's aesthetic sense will be formed by her own tastes and not by trends and she will not be made to suffer for it.
6. Schedule. Breaks won't be dictated by the school year, meaning cheaper vacation rates and panic-free sick days (how can one get better if there's constant worry about catching up with the rest of the class?).
7. Socialization. Schools aren't the real world. I prefer a more organic environment with all types of people represented. I don't think the population in a school can be heterogenous albeit the ethnicities and social classes present in it. The dynamics of interaction are pretty much limited to student-student or teacher-student.
8. Socialization. Is it wrong to shield children from bullies and other mean people? If it's a reality of life that there are jerks out there, I don't want my daughter to be jaded about it. I want her to recognize offensive behavior as abnormal and react to it with the sensitivity of a person with good morals.

I have many friends who are teachers or parents who send their kids to school and I don't mean to alienate them. All I'm saying is that I've been blessed with the option to homeschool (I suppose there would be people who'd say that it's not an option to them because of their personality, the time factor, their own educational attainment...), I'm making it my choice and the above are some of my reasons.
There are more, but the sun's up and we've got a busy day ahead


Hilda said...

Is homeschooling supported by the school district in the Philippines? Or are you pretty much on your own? I'm very intrigued as I have yet to met a Filipino who was homeschooled.

spinninglovelydays said...

hi, hilda. there are DepEd(department of education) accredited homeschool programs (they're affiliated with regular schools). the system is very close to traditional schooling with all the usual requirements, except that everything's done at home. for those who have an independent setup and want to proceed to college, they have to take a validation test. i think there were very few homeschoolers from my generation, but the group has been growing steadily as homeschooling gains popularity. i believe the support will be stronger for my daughter's generation.