It took years before we actually dove in and homeschooled our daughter. Aside from not knowing whether or not it was the right option for us — although it was something we really wanted from the start — we just didn’t know how to start homeschooling. But thank God for the internet. (Every time I think of that, I remember Lucy Liu’s line from Charlie’s Angels. If you know, you know.)
Research is key
After reading lots and lots of articles about homeschooling in the Philippines, we were able to settle on the kind of set-up we want for our family. Why is this important? Because just like picking a “regular” school, picking a homeschool provider — the most crucial part in how to start homeschooling — is hard. There are also different types of homeschooling.
Different types of homeschooling
One of the most popular types of homeschooling, the Classical method is basically rooted in the guidance of the “Great Books” and “Applied Trivium.” It sounds fancy schmancy but the major idea for this is that all other subjects are interwoven into a reading plan.
Based on homeschooling pioneer Charlotte Mason’s ways, this method splits up learning times for children into tiny chunks per day (15-20 minutes for younger students per subject). These periods are also partnered with nature walks, journals and portfolios. It also incorporates bible stories and studies because it’s Christian-based. It’s also pretty heavy on memorization, observation and narration. With this method, the child is the one who leads their learning rather than having lectures.
Inspired by Maria Montessori’s ways and teachings, this method has a more humanistic, student-based approach that focuses on a person’s individual learning. The sessions are untimed and can be multi-grade in level. The children are instructed indirectly, using tools and toys.
This one’s a bit controversial because it’s the most un-structured of them all, in a way. It’s still child-focused but also very interest-based. It honors the child’s pace so the learning process is very experiential and activity-based. The basic skills are still taught but the conventional testing is usually not administered.
As the method’s name suggests, it’s basically how a child might learn in a traditional school but in their home instead. You follow the provider’s curriculum and accomplish everything that is needed just like in a traditional school.
How to start homeschooling with homeschool providers in the Philippines
Since we still didn’t know what works best for us and truthfully, we still don’t have the luxury of time to try out different methods, we chose the School-at-Home method. We wanted our daughter to still have records with the Department of Education should she wish to transfer to a traditional school in the future. So that’s how we started looking for a homeschool provider. There are still not a lot of them, but the industry is definitely growing.
Another consideration for us was location. We live in Southern Tagalog, so proximity was important. A non-sectarian provider was also important, so we tailored our search based on that.
After researching, we found Gopala Learning Haven. They’re not actually a provider but more like a coordinator. We enrolled our daughter through them to one of their partner schools, which is based in Bukidnon. So she has a DepEd record. The curriculum we follow is the one provided by DepEd and we’re free to choose our own materials. They also promote interest-led learning and a focus on activities.
We’re still on our first year so it’s quite early to tell if there will be changes in how we homeschool (or if we will continue to do so next year), but so far we don’t regret our decision to take our daughter’s education into our own hands.