Why You Might Consider Homeschooling in the New Normal? Or Not?
I wrote lately a blog post asking about the readiness of a family with kids to start another school year. Considering the current pandemic situation, many parents have fears and uncertainties about enrolling their children in a school.
Then, there's suddenly a lot of talk about homeschooling. Since most schools would be implementing a study from home arrangement, would it be better to just adopt homeschooling?
So, for this blog post, the topic is 'Should your family consider homeschooling today?' In connection with that, there are five questions that I would answer:
1. Is it safe to go outside now?
Until now, there is no available vaccine or cure yet for COVID-19. In addition, because of the opening up of the community after the quarantine, the number of COVID cases continues to rise. There is also news that the current coronavirus spreading around is more infectious because of the mutated virus. So, as much as possible, it is still best to stay home. Children 20 years old and below and seniors 60 years old and above are still not allowed to go out.
2. Is studying from home the same as homeschooling?
Let's take a look at the different educational options available to students right now in the Philippines.
For students who are enrolled in private schools, tuition fees mostly remain the same if not a little lower. That is despite the fact that students will not physically go to school.
Students will still be under the mentoring of their teachers, but parents or guardians will have a major role in the education process, especially those who have younger children (K-Grade 3 levels). Most will have virtual classes and homework will be submitted online so having the proper gadgets and internet connection is necessary.
For students who are enrolled in public schools, I'm sure the mode of studying will not just be online as not every student has the device and regular access to the internet.
I have read some news, particularly from the DOST (Department of Science and Technology) that radio and TV will be used as channels of teaching the students. They already have a number of 30-45-minute video classes ready by September.
Most likely, public schools will also use printed modules to deliver the lessons. Students will still be placed under a class adviser who will be in charge of setting the pace of learning.
The DepEd (Department of Education) also currently has the ALS (Alternative Learning System) in place. The ALS is intended for out of school youth to get a basic education. If an ALS learner passes the exam, he/she can enroll even in college.
For students who opt for homeschooling, there are two general options.
First option: The students can be enrolled with licensed entities offering homeschooling programs. These entities provide a system and curriculum to facilitate the child's school records and coverage of learning. The child's teacher is the parent or a guardian/tutor if the parents are not available.
Second option: The student is not enrolled in any homeschooling program. The parent-teacher chooses the curriculum and learning resources for his/her child. In case the child wants to enroll in a school, whether in elementary, high school, or college, he/she will need to take the PEPT (Philippine Educational Placement Test) at the DepEd main office in Pasig City.
To answer question #2, almost all students at this time will be studying from home, also called distance learning. But not all are considered homeschooling as described above. In homeschooling, the parents are the teachers. In the private and public school set-up, though the parent or guardian is overseeing the learning of a child from home, the teachers will still be preparing the curriculum, mentoring and giving the grades of the students.
3. Is homeschooling cheaper?
The cheapest learning option is enrolling in a public school because it is free.
Homeschooling may be cheaper or more expensive than some private schools. Enrolling with a homeschooling program ranges from P15,000 to P70,000 depending on the homeschool provider and grade level of the student. See this page for a helpful list of homeschool fees.
If you homeschool without enrolling your child in a homeschool program provider, there will still be minimal expenses like buying the books you need or internet provider fees.
4. Do you have the time and skills to teach your children?
If you're considering homeschooling your child, you should make time for it, especially if you have younger kids. Older kids who can study on their own do not need as much monitoring. Homeschooling won't take the whole day but it needs scheduling to ensure the child completes his/her learning topics.
Making time is a problem for many parents at this time because almost all students will study from home. But not all parents can teach their children either because they have to go to work or they are not able.
The result of this year's education program will be interesting. There are still a lot of gray areas in implementation. I wish there will be back-up plans in case of system failure in certain parts.
5. Why should your family consider homeschooling?
From what I've heard from relatives and friends who have children going to a private school in the past years, they either transferred their children to a public school or they are homeschooling them.
The main reason is MONEY constraints. Because of the pandemic, not all have enough money to send their children to a private school. Also, since there will be no physical classes, and the parents will mostly be teaching or monitoring their children, they find the school fees unreasonable.
Personally, my husband and I have decided to retain the enrollment of our children in the schools they attended last year. Our grade-six daughter enrolled in the same private school, while our grade-9 and grade-10 children enrolled in the same public school.
We made that decision for three reasons.
One, we don't want to go through the hassle of changing schools at this time.
Two, we think that our children are old enough to manage distance learning under the mentoring of their teachers. They did that just fine in the fourth quarter of last school year when the pandemic started and physical classes were suspended. Anyway, I am working from home, so if they need help, I'm just around.
Three, we have enough budget to let our youngest daughter finish her elementary education from the same school (Her private school is not that super expensive kind and she also got a little discount). She can transfer to her sisters' school next school year if she passes the entrance exam.
I have nothing against homeschooling. In fact, I think it is a great learning option if the parents can make time for it and can manage to teach their children. I like it because of its flexibility. I homeschooled all of my kids though just during their early education (Kindergarten for my 5 kids and up to Grade 2 for some).
Here are my final thoughts about all the discussion:
*Option 1: If you don't have the means to pay for private schooling, consider enrolling your child in public school this year. Basically, the mode of learning is distance learning.
The parents will mostly look after the studies of their children. Of course, there may be requirements that sometimes not just the children have difficulty doing but also the parents.
What's good about enrolling them in public school is the provision of some resources like the curriculum, which the student needs. Even if there are things that must be bought or paid for, the amount is minimal.
Then next year if the situation is better, you can enroll your child in the school you prefer.
** Option 2: If you failed to enroll your child in a public school, you can try homeschooling. If you choose to go with an affordable homeschooling program provider, enrollment is quite flexible. Ask the requirements or procedure from the homeschool provider of your choice. See the link under Question 3.
If you choose to homeschool on your own, here are a few reminders:
- You need to decide on a curriculum. You can search online or ask other homeschooling parents. No need to buy books. You can borrow some old books from families and friends. Make sure to choose books that are appropriate for your child's grade level.
- Designate a space where your child will study. Be sure it has minimal distractions.
- Use a homeschool lesson planner for setting goals and scheduling the topics, seatworks, projects and quizzes/exams for your child's classes.
- Then, at the end of the school year, let your child take the PEPT from DepEd to assess if your child passed his/her current grade level.
A child’s education is very important. There are many considerations when making a decision to homeschool or enroll in a public or private school. Wisely choose an option that is fitting for you and your child.