Our tweener will soon graduate from sixth grade and my husband and I have been discussing for months now where to enroll her next. We agreed that the standard of teaching at his alma mater, where both our daughters are currently enrolled, has declined and we have no desire to enroll her in the same school for high school. Not to mention we have seen very little improvement in our daughters’ school facilities and management over the six years that she’s been with the same school. I have also been on the lookout for better schools near our place, but have not found any that would really convince us that it’s good enough; there’s always a flaw that we could simply not overlook.
I must admit that I have always secretly wanted to be my daughters’ best teacher in the world. To homeschool them would be a dream come true to me, but I have also always doubted my ability to teach them effectively. After all, like many moms, I, too, tend to be exasperated and get impatient with my own children as much as I love them. There were even times when I would say/do things that I would utterly regret, sending me to my knees to ask for forgiveness from God because my character was unbecoming of a Christian mom. For me, this was the biggest obstacle that I had to contend with, especially with homeschooling. After all, I would not only be transferring my knowledge to my child, but my values as well. And I have to model good character all the time.
My husband, on the other hand, does not doubt my ability to teach our kid(s), except in one area: mathematics. He knows that I’m not a fan of numbers. In fact, I would always require him to help our daughters with their homework via Facetime or Skype. Some days, he’s happy to oblige, but other days, well, he’d go to bed early. (Yup, that’s the downside of being in a long distance relationship, a.k.a. OFW family.) With regard to my temperament, he’s positive that I’ll still be able to handle things well, plus he’s aware that our daughters’ attitude, especially our tweener, could really get on our nerves sometimes.
It took a while then before I was able to overcome my own negative thoughts about me homeschooling our daughters, especially our 12-year old one or tweener. I started reading the Bible more often as well as parenting books, subscribed to devotionals for mom, and even bought a Bible for Moms! By the grace of God and with the help of other homeschooling parents, whom I have been interviewing regarding their own experiences as a homeschooler, I am now ready to embrace the idea of becoming a homeschool mom.
Yesterday, as I attended the orientation at The Master’s Academy (TMA) for their homeschool program, I felt that my husband and I are not just making a huge decision that would greatly impact our firstborn daughter’s life, but that decision would also truly define my role as a mother. I would be a teacher, not to strangers’ kids anymore, not to foreign students who seek to advance their knowledge and help bring growth to their countries’ economies, but I would be a teacher to a child that God has specifically entrusted to me to help become a godly woman.
I couldn’t help but get a little emotional and teary-eyed while I recounted to the Academic Adviser why my husband and I would like to homeschool our tweener, realizing that the desire of my heart is being revealed and satisfied. Here, let me share with you some of our WHYs for choosing to homeschool our daughters, particularly our firstborn child:
- We see that our tweener is easily influenced by her peers and she no longer seems to uphold many of the family values that we have been trying to instill in her. It’s time to take her out of that kind of environment and start over again;
- We have lost confidence in our daughters’ school system. We no longer see their school as an educational facility, but a business organization;
- We do not think that our daughter is learning enough; she didn’t have a rather solid educational foundation and it was partly our fault as parents, since we weren’t around much during her early years to guide her in her studies. Now, we would like to make things right and I/we would personally be the one to teach her;
- Although my husband and I are not licensed teachers, we both used to be college instructors (my husband was even vice-chairman of a college department), and we feel that if we had taught hundreds of students in the past, then we owe it to our daughter to be able to teach her as well and help her succeed in life;
- She seems to resent her younger sister most of the time, and this is one issue that we are hoping to resolve when homeschooling. Since I’d be able to spend more time with her and focus on her needs, we hope that whatever insecurities she might be harboring would disappear; and
- I love my daughter so much and I am willing to spend more time with her, teaching her not only the academics, but the things I learned about life and God. Every day, I am faced with the fact that I am not just raising girls, but godly young women, and I need to pay more attention to their spiritual and emotional needs, especially our eldest child.
Right now, I am rather torn between homeschooling our 9-year old daughter and letting her stay in their school for at least another year. She seems to be more emotionally stable than her older sister and her educational foundation is rather solid, having studied preschool at a bonafide Montessori school. It must have also helped that I was already a full-time homemaker when our youngest child started going to school and I was there all the way to assist her in her academic endeavors. I would also be the one to bring her to school. Besides, since one of the behavioral issues that we would like to address is our firstborn’s apparent insecurity, it might be a good idea to just focus on her, especially as we go through some adjustments during our first year of homeschooling.
On the other hand, homeschooling our youngest child might just help the two girls’ relationship with each other improve, since they’d be spending more time with each other, too. Moreover, we’ll have fewer expenses when it comes to tuition fees, since we only have to pay PHP5,000 for our second child’s tuition fee at TMA (full tuition fee of PHP30,000 only applies to the first child enrolled). The PHP30,000.00 that we would be able to save on tuition fee if we homeschool our youngest child could be spent instead on imported books. (Note: Tuition fee at their current school is PHP32,500.00–36,000.00 depending on the grade level, plus books and a list of school supplies that must be started at the start of classes. And then, of course, there are other expenses such as school uniform, monthly school bus fees, food allowance, etc.)
After seeing the books that we could choose from, my daughters and I became more excited to homeschool. I can’t wait for my husband to come home, so I could bring him to meet with the academic adviser (AA) and see the learning materials too. It breaks my heart though whenever my youngest daughter would plead to be homeschooled too. She would even promise to do her best and study well, even study all by herself. Maybe husband would change his mind. Maybe it might be a good idea to homeschool both of them at the same time. Besides, at homeschool, we are given up to 12 months to learn everything and complete one level; we have enough time for adjustment then. I also hate the thought of bringing my eldest child at a place for learning, like a museum, anyway, while the other gets left behind because she’s attending a regular school.
Like Edric Mendoza, President of TMA Homeschool/TV host/businessman, I, too, believe that the world is a classroom. In fact, that’s the primary reason I make sure that we visit a new place or travel (abroad) as a family at least once a year. As for choosing to partner with TMA when I have been told that there are cheaper homeschool programs available, my answer’s simple: we do not want to make the same mistake again. We want to partner with an educational institution that holds the same values. ❤