As one of thousands of homeschooled kids in the Philippines, and one of the many in Palawan, I get asked a lot of questions by parents, friends, and complete strangers that I’m sure a lot of my fellow homeschoolers have had to answer over the years. So, here is a list of FAQs people have asked me:
Wow! You’re homeschooled pala?
- Yes, I’m homeschooled.
How does that work? Who’s your teacher? Your mom?
- My brother and I are both enrolled in a homeschool academy where they send you all the books and lesson plans you need. At the end of each grade you complete, you can send your records of the work you did to the academy and they can give you an official report card. There are many different homeschool groups and academies out there, both international and local. At first, both of our parents helped us out with different subjects, but as we grew older, we became more independent, and now we do a lot of our studies on our own and only ask for help when needed.
So where do you study? At home lang?
- Most of the time, we study at our house but we also study in the garden, libraries, museums, restaurants, the beach, the airport and just about anywhere. We also take field trips to different interesting places and do interesting things like visiting an indigenous boat, going whaleshark watching, and going to the nationwide Homeschooling Conference in Manila, where we met hundreds of homeschooling families here in the Philippines. Vacations also turn into learning opportunities for us, turning the whole world into our classroom. Just because we’re homeschooled doesn’t mean we’re only allowed to study at home.
But how do you make friends? What about your social life? (This is my most frequently asked question.)
- Actually, I feel that being homeschooled allows me to have more friends that have the same interests as I do. The friends I have are diverse in age, backgrounds, and nationality, and yet we are interested in and enjoy the same things. I make friends when I go to workshops or summer camp, when I meet the kids of my parents’ friends, in music classes, when I join sports and extracurricular activities, and when I meet other homeschooling families, some of whom are from different countries. Most of my best friends are also homeschoolers, but I have a lot of friends who go to formal school too, and the fact that I’m homeschooled doesn’t make a difference to our friendship. I also don’t seem to be missing out on any social life whatsoever. Just last Sunday, I went karaoke-ing with a group of friends, and I don’t see how someone with no social life could be doing that.
Is it expensive ba to homeschool?
- I don’t really know the price difference in tuition between homeschooling and traditional school, but I think it depends on the curriculum. There are international homeschooling groups with international standard curricula and materials, but there are also local groups here in the Philippines that I hear follow the same basic curriculum as DepEd, and I guess these are less expensive than their international counterparts.
(And finally,) Why are you homeschooled?
- I first started homeschooling when I was Grade 1. We were moving from Manila to Puerto Princesa in the middle of the school year, so my parents decided that by homeschooling me, I wouldn’t miss out on any of my studies. We had a good time getting to know our new environment, spending most of our time with each other and learning new things together. But for Grade 2, I enrolled in a traditional school here in Puerto Princesa and stayed there until the end of Grade 3. I had a good time in school and made a lot of friends there but since I had experienced both formal schooling and homeschooling, my parents decided that homeschooling seemed better suited for me. So it was back to homeschooling for Grade 4!
That whole year of homeschooling was a period when I got much closer to my parents, learned so many things outside of schoolwork, went to many interesting places, and had a lot of fun. Since then, I’ve been homeschooled for over 6 years now, and I’ve been able to do and learn so much, some of which might not have been possible if I weren’t homeschooled. For example, I accompanied my mom during errands and learned how to deal with everyday people and make transactions at banks and government offices.
My parents say I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t been homeschooled. I wouldn’t have been able to explore my interests, experience new things, and be close to my family the way I am today. This article wouldn’t exist if not for the opportunities I was able to get because of my homeschooling. Even though there are times when I miss going to regular school and taking part in the school activities, making friends, and all the high school drama, I don’t regret homeschooling one bit.
But I think the most important thing I have gotten out of being homeschooled is that I know who I am. Even though my interests might change as I grow older, I know what kind of person I want to be and what kind of person I don’t want to be.
More and more families are becoming interested in homeschooling themselves. I hope my list gave you an idea of what homeschooling has been like for me. Let me know if you have any more questions in the comments section online, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I’ll do my best to answer them for sure.