another turning point. big, bold decisions, one after another.
Beginning April 2013, we will be embarking on a whole new educational journey for our children. We are not yet 100% confident nor 100% ready, but both Turo and I have decided firmly that homeschooling is the best way for us to form and mold our children into the kind of persons that we want them to be.
Deciding to homeschool is the first step towards homeschooling, but it is not an easy first step. And so far, this step is the farthest we’ve gone. Although we do recognize that homeschooling is going to be a long and continuing process.
So why did we decide to homeschool?
Because we couldn’t find a school whose goals match ours. Believe me, we tried. We really did. We went from school to school, and went back to each school, twice or thrice. We interviewed school teachers and principals. We looked at the school’s mission and vision boards. We observed school children in their school setting. But we weren’t satisfied. Not that we have too high standards. We don’t. In fact, we felt that a lot of the schools we’ve visited were too academically superior, to the point of being extremely competitive. Unfortunately, academic superiority is not on the list of things we look for in a school. We wanted a school that offered a well-rounded curriculum. We found one, which had a great sports, music and arts program and was very strong on academics at the same time. We wanted a school that had a short duration of school hours. We found one, where a school day lasts no more than 3 hours. We wanted a Catholic school that emphasised values and religion education. We found one, where it felt like the school became a caring community for all children. What we didn’t find is a school that offered all of these things. All of these are important to us. And when it came to our children’s education, we weren’t willing to compromise.
Because we felt we can provide the kind of learning environment that we want our children to be educated in. We are going out on a limb here just by saying that. But the thing is, if we, our children’s parents and family, cannot provide the appropriate educational environment, then who else can? We needed to trust ourselves that we know what is best for our children and that we are willing to do everything we can to be able to give it to them.
Because we want to instill a love for learning in our children. One of the reasons why we never cared about science high school passing rates, or student averages among the schools we’ve visited is because we never believed that these are an accurate measure of real learning. If there was a school that measures inquisitiveness or curiosity in children, we would have been sold pretty easily. The thing is, apart from wanting our children to learn new things and new concepts, we also want them to develop an innate habit of always wanting to discover, or try something new, or attempt understand what seems perplexing to them. We want this process of discovery and understanding to come out naturally to them. Even without teachers or school requirements nudging behind their backs. We want our children to love to learn, all the time.
Because we want flexibility. We are the type of family who takes long, spontaneous vacations. Or extend scheduled vacations without notice. We cannot stick to a highly structured regimen for long periods of time. We always feel the need to take a break in the middle of something serious or stressful or hectic. We cannot fit ourselves in a box, though we sometimes try just to keep with the norm. This is our secret to productivity. Otherwise, we just end up dawdling around wasting away precious time and energy. While we are not sure that this is always the right thing, we are certain that this is the way things work for us. And if we can make our children’s education just as flexible, then maybe homeschooling could work for all of us too.
Our homeschooling journey has begun. We realize that it’s a long long way to go, but we are counting on the support of the people around us, and our commitment to this as a family, to make this work, and become the most exciting and enriching adventure our family will ever take.