Support and Encouragement for Your Homeschooling

If you are considering homeschooling, in the trenches of it, or seeking to be a more intentional parent, then you will need all the support and encouragement you can get. 

I remember a season when I struggled to teach my oldest son, Elijah, how to write well. Thankfully, I found a writing program called Institute for Excellence in Writing by Andrew Pudewa — Student Writing Intensive Course levels A to C. 

This program introduces kids to the basics of good writing and works them up to a level of excellence that is remarkable. The focus is on structure and style. Kids learn how to express themselves clearly and creatively.

Although I am an avid writer I wasn’t able to inspire the same sort of interest in my kids. I needed help. Pudewa’s material changed this for my boys.

Today, my two boys, Elijah and Edan, use this for the writing component of their Language Arts curriculum. They are thoroughly enjoying it, too, which is an answer to prayer! 

Sometimes the kind of help we need when homeschooling is a skill or resource to supplement an area where we can’t teach a subject or material effectively. Yet, most of the time, what we really need is perspective from others who understand the challenges and unique adventures that come with being a home school parent.

This is exactly what the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) intends to offer parents this October 22, 2016, as it collaborates with Educating for Life to mount the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016 at the SMX Hall in SM Aura. 

There’s no perfect homeschool parent. We all have our strengths and we come with our weaknesses too. And that’s why we benefit from the victories and insights of others. Furthermore, it’s important to stay connected to other homeschooling families and foster community. This is something we are in together, and going the distance means we have to look out for one another, too.

I am particularly looking forward to this homeschool conference because Andrew Pudewa will be a keynote speaker. His contributions to the larger homeschooling movement have been so valuable. Furthermore, he has had a significant impact on our family’s homeschooling journey. 

It must have been 10 years ago when my husband, Edric, told me about a lecture he attended where Andrew Pudewa spoke on how boys and girls learn differently. Some years later, I met Andrew Pudewa at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Conference in Branson, Missouri. Early this year, Edric and I were introduced to him again during the Global Home Education Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Pudewa delivered a very insightful talk on how conventional schools are an outmodeled form of education in this day and age. He presented compelling reasons to support why homeschooling makes sense given that we have advanced past the Industrial Age and are presently in the Information Age. (He also has great homeschool material on public speaking.) 

He is a gifted communicator and musician, and he is a well-known and sought after speaker in the homeschooling world of America. During the conference, he will focus on motivating children. (He will also have pre-conference workshops). Whether it’s getting them to write, read a book, or finish a task, motivation is important.

“Children like to do what they can do, they want to do what they think they can do, and they hate to do what they think they cannot do. If you want excited and enthusiastic children who learn well, you must understand these key laws of motivation and focus on the essential element of relevancy. If it matters, children will learn it, and if it doesn’t, they won’t.”

ANDREW PUDEWA- Keynote Speaker

Besides Andrew Pudewa there will be other keynote speakers like Bo Sanchez, my mom (Deonna Tan-Chi) and yours truly. I am nervous and excited! Please pray for me! Of course there will be a host of  great workshop speakers who will cover specific issues and concerns about homeschooling, too. Here’s what to expect during the PHC 2016:


7:00-9:00 – Registration 

9:00-9:15 – Welcome remarks 

Keynote Sessions:

9:15-10:00 – Building a Firm Foundation by Deonna Tan-Chi and Joy Mendoza 

10a:00-10:20Strengthening the Foundation Through Financial Planning* by Eric Nicdao 

10:20-10:30 – Raffle 

10:30-11:15Motivation – The Art and Science of Helping Students Learn Well by Andrew Pudewa 

11:15-11:25 – Raffle 

11:25-12:10pm – Wings to Soar: Leaving a Legacy for our Children by Sanchez 

12:10-12:20 – Raffle 

12:20-2:00 – Lunch Break / Expo visit 

Workshop Options: 

2:00-2:45 The Ins and Outs of Homeschooling in the Philippines by Edric Mendoza OR Transitioning from Brick and Mortar to Homechooling by Jenn Punzalan OR Homeschooling the High School Years by Raquel Guevara  

2:45-3:00 – Mobilize to next session 

3:00-3:45Laying the Foundation in Preschool by Milona Barraca OR Paper and Pen: How “Low Tech” Reading and Writing Benefit Students* by Andrew Pudewa OR  Transitioning to College by Ivy and Bernard Marquez 

3:45-4:00 – Mobilize to next session 

4:00-4:45Starting Your Homeschool Journey by Donna Simpao OR The Hows of Interest-Led Homeschooling by Alex Hao OR Homeschooling the Special Needs Child by Jen Bellosillo 

4:45-5:30 – Break / Expo visit 

5:30-6:00 – Major raffle prizes / Closing Remarks 

*Subject to change

For more information, check out Keynote and breakout sessions

There will be various activities for children of all ages should you want to bring your children along. These activities will all take place in the Expo Hall. Please make sure, however, that they are with a trusted adult at all times. HAPI and Educating for Life will not be liable for any untoward incident that may happen to your child during the event.


Write Pretty by Meg and Maddie (8:30am-10am)

Children ages 7 and up will enjoy learning a new skill with fellow homeschooled children Meg and Maddie Barraca.

Handlettering by Maddie (10:30am-12noon)

Join in the hand lettering trend by learning how to write calligraphy. To be conducted by Meg and Maddie Barraca. For children ages 7 and up.

Just Add Water – A Brush Calligraphy class by Marj Liwag (12:30pm-2pm, 4:30-6pm)

Little Miss Printer herself will teach this class for children ages 7 and up.

Inks and Lines – A Tangling class by Marj Liwag (2:30pm-4pm)

Learn about this relaxing art that creates beautiful images from simple patterns.

Challenge Island (8am-10am, 10:30am-12pm, 2:30pm-4:30pm)

Loosely based on the popular show, Survivor, children ages 5 and up will learn collaboration and cooperation the various Challenge Island tasks that they will be given to their tribe. Are they up to the challenge?

Crochet Along with Crafted Crafts by Marge Aberasturi (7am-6pm)

Marge Aberasturi of Crafted Crafts will welcome children ages 6 and up in her booth for beginning crochet lessons. Additional P250 fee for yarn and hook.

MEET THE ART MASTERS by Likhang Bata Creativity Center (7am-6pm)

Likhang Bata Creativity Art Center’s classes are a fun way to introduce the art masters to the children. The classes will be held in Likhang Bata’s booth the whole day.


Let your kids move and play in our indoor sports play area! Crawl under arch gates. Swing your club in mini golf. Topple the cans with the soft catapult. Play bowling. Practice targeting skills with the Multi Ring Toss. All using SAFSOF safe rubber foam sports toys. For kids ages 3 years to 12 years.


Children ages 1-3 will enjoy the various activities prepared by SMILE Group in the Toddler play area.

For more information see Kids’ Activities.


For adults:

1. Regular rate (With access to plenary talks, breakout sessions and expo)- P1000 per participant

2. Group rate (Register 4 and get 5th ticket at 50%) – P4500 (Payment should be made as a group, not individually, to qualify for the discount)

3. Expo only (Access to vendor booths only; no access to talks and breakout sessions) – P50

4. Walk-in and on-site payment rate – P1200 per participant

For kids:

Children can choose their activities for a fee of P500. Parents can also choose to bundle the activities (except the toddler play area, which is P500 for the whole day) with the following rates:

Choice of 1 activity – P500

Choice of 2 activities – P900

Choice of 3 activities – P1200

Choice of 4 activities – P1550

Materials for the activities (except the crochet lesson, where participants will purchase hook and yarn separately) are only for borrowing. Each child can only register in one Challenge Island slot to give other participants a chance to enjoy the activity.

To register online: PHC 2016 registration

Check out the Facebook page: 

Get the free app!

In summary…Five reasons to attend the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016:


Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready For the World!

Every homeschooling parent needs to recharge and revisit the commitment they have made to educate their children at home. Because we are in the trenches of teaching our children it’s difficult to see the bigger picture. Where are we headed? What is the goal? How do we navigate through the daily challenges without getting lost or discouraged?

Sometimes the best way to regroup is to take a pause from the homeschool teaching in order to be taught for a change! We need spiritual, emotional and intellectual feeding ourselves. The great teacher Howard Hendricks said, “The philosophy that you as a teacher should embrace is that you are a learner. Would you rather have your students drink from an overflowing living stream or a stagnant pool? What have you learned lately?” (Seven Laws of the Teacher)

As homeschooling parents, we need encouragement and fresh ideas, to correct our approaches and perspectives, or revisit the fundamentals that have gotten buried under our doings. Maybe we need to stop doing or start doing something. And of course, we always need more materials, books, resources, and curriculum. But, most of all, we need spiritual reviving from the Lord, and connectedness to other homeschoolers. In short, what we need is a homeschool conference that puts all these elements together for us!

This October 17, Homeschool Association of the Philippine IslandsManila Workshops and The Learning Basket bring you the largest homeschooling conference this year – “The Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready for the World!”

As a precursor to the “Global Home Education Conference” (GHEC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March 2016, two well-respected homeschool advocates and speakers from the United States will be gracing the event as keynote speakers: Michael Donnelly, Director for Global Outreach of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Secretary of GHEC 2016, and Rachael Carman, mother of seven and best-selling author and publisher of popular homeschool curriculum Apologia. Rachael’s husband, Davis, the President of Apologia, will be speaking as well.

Other speakers include Edric Mendoza (Homeschool advocate and host of ANC’s On the Money) who is my wonderful, and motivational speaker and wealth coach, Chinkee Tan.

Homeschoolers and those exploring this educational option will be inspired, informed and empowered in this biggest homeschooling event. Definitely bigger than the past years’ homeschool conferences, “Ready for the World!” will be held at THREE venues at SM Aura Premiere. Keynote talks will be held at the Samsung Hall, while smaller workshops and the much awaited homeschool expo will be at the SMX Convention Center.

An All Access Pass (pass to go in and out of all three venues, including the exposition venue) is at Php 1000 per person for the early bird rate. Aside from the inspiring talks, there will be a huge expo of the various learning providers, educational tools, toys, books, etc. that will help homeschooling parents and aspiring homeschooling parents in their daily lives. This expo will be open to the public for a minimal amount of Php 100 per head, but this fee is already included in the All Access Pass.


Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), a non-stock, non-profit advocacy of Filipino homeschoolers, together with Manila Workshops, a company dedicated to continuing education for professional and personal goals, and The Learning Basket, an advocacy that inspires parents to be their children’s first and best teacher, offers an event jam-packed with information and inspiration about homeschooling that will help parents get their kids ready for the world.

To register, please visit: Manila Workshops

For inquiries, please contact:

Visit or Instagram @manilaworkshops for updates and info.


Homeschool Providers — Filtering Through the Options

As the homeschooling movement grows in the Philippines, there will be more and more home education programs available to support families. But how does one go about choosing the right homeschool provider?

Personally, I recommend a homeschooling provider that is run by a good team of homeschoolers and educators, but gives parents liberty to customize their child’s education. No one knows homeschooling like someone who has been there and done it. Yet, an academician’s perspective and input is also a helpful check and balance.

Secondly, look for a program that has a good track record. Where do their graduates go? Homeschooling may still be in its budding stages in the Philippines, but there are providers out there who have been around for several years. TMA, for example, was the pilot project of DepEd for Home Education Providers and has good accountability with DepEd NCR. (Because of my affiliation to TMA that sounds like I am plugging! Sorry about that!)

Third, parents should consider a provider that connects them to other homeschooling families. The support of other families is very important. Does the provider have organized coops? Playgroups?

Fourth, parents should check out the curriculums that a provider offers and see if they are aligned with the goals for their own children. Are the materials flexible enough to give their child individualized instruction? This is a key benefit of homeschooling and if a program only offers one type of curriculum, parents need to find ways to supplement and enrich it.

Be wary of any provider that merely duplicates the school experience at home. Children learn differently and have varied learning styles. Insisting that there is only one method to homeschool will not maximize the learning potential of a child. However, if homeschooling is a short-term option for a family, then a school-at-home method might be the best because it will keep a child from having to make too many drastic transitions.

Fifth, investigate what kind of “after care” and commitment the provider has to its families, especially in the area of progress monitoring. Does the program regularly evaluate its enrollees? Some programs allow parents to be very independent but do not have an established and systematic way of assessing children’s progress. Assessments equip parents to better teach their children. And remember, assessments aren’t limited to academics only. The best assessments consider the total person — spiritual, emotional, mental, social and physical.

Sixth, rely on word of mouth as better advertising than actual promotions done by providers. Homeschool providers are, for the most part, offering a unique service to families. So good service matters. Ask around and do some investigation to find out which providers are well “rated” by families. But, take into consideration the fact that some families may just be impossible to please, too! So don’t base evaluations on the opinion of just one or two persons. Send out a Facebook query. That ought to generate some responses.

Seventh, call the Department of Education, NCR, for a list of accredited home school programs. Parents who value accreditation do not want to finish a year of homeschooling only to find out that all that work will not be considered as valid.

Eighth, observe the “products.” The families in a program will constitute the peers of a child who enrolls with that program. Find out what kinds of families are enrolled. Will the values and behaviors of their children be a positive influence? Parents can ask the provider if they can attend a coop meeting just to check it out. A good provider should allow families to sit in one or two meetings even if they are not enrolled.
Observe the way the children interact with one another and with their parents. Hopefully, parents will end up coming away from these meetings thinking, “These are kids I would like my kids to grow up with!” instead of the opposite.

Ninth, does the program have a clear mission and vision? Do they have a big picture perspective on homeschooling and are they moving towards their goals? A clear mission and vision statement with a team that is aligned to it means that the organization is healthy. And a healthy organization can organize quality music, art, pe classes, events, give proper child assessments, bring homeschool parents together, etc. The provider’s orientation ought to reveal the mission and vision to parents, and the heart of its team.

Tenth, pray! Don’t just jump. Ask for clear signs and confirmation from your spouse, God’s word, and people whom you trust. Homeschooling with a provider is very different than homeschooling independently. Providers require a certain amount of structure and accountability that will test a parent’s commitment levels. And monetary costs will be involved.

At the end of the day, believe me when I say, there is no perfect homeschool provider. I have talked to so many parents about their homeschool experiences and the reality is parents do get disappointed with their homeschool providers. The good news is that parents who homeschool out of conviction do not make the shortcomings of their homeschool providers the basis for whether they will homeschool or not. They keep going and stay positive!

So research and filter through the options. And remember, the key benefits of homeschool providers is accreditation, support, assessment, access to homeschool materials, and community. But the key benefits of homeschooling, such as quality time together, customizing the educational experience, raising achievers, passing on family values, focusing on character training, and raising children who love and follow God are benefits that families can experience even if they are not connected with the “perfect” provider.

Debra Bell’s Key Factors for Homeschooling Success

Debra Bell, author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, was a plenary speaker at the recently held Philippine Homeschool Conference.

She was a pioneering homeschool mom and educator who was instrumental in legalizing home education in Pennsylvania back in the 1980s. Her book has been an invaluable tool to homeschoolers around the world. I read my mom’s first edition copy years ago when I was researching about homeschooling.

Her book and testimony is of even greater value to me at present because her children are all grown up, married and successful. They are committed followers of Jesus, accomplished in their occupations of choice, and they all remain close as a family. They are living proof that Debra and her husband, Kermit, made the right choice by homeschooling. I was blessed to spend some personal time with her and hear stories about her family and her walk with God. She is a remarkable woman.

During a smaller gathering of parents that was organized a day before the conference, she shared six key principles for homeschooling success. In the decades that she has taught her kids, been a certified educator, and served the homeschooling community, she has narrowed down the success factors to six non-negotiables. Regardless of culture, these factors are elemental to gracefully surviving homeschooling:

1.Your family relationships are healthy.

Do you and your spouse prioritize your marital relationship?
Do you pursue your children relationally?

She recommends reading books like Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp

2. Your home is educationally stimulating. Children’s natural curiosity is God-given and never intended to be extinguished.

What value do you place on education?
Are you convinced that God wants you to invest in the intellectual gifts of your children?
What do you expect your child to devote his or her time to?
Are you willing to invest in the best resources you can afford?

3. You have a biblical conviction that God has called you to this.
How did you make your decision?
Do you trust that God will make His will known?

“A double-minded is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8

Homeschooling is born out of a biblical conviction and is sustained by faith and grace.

4. You are committed to Christian maturity
What is your commitment to progressive sanctification in your own life?
Are you growing in spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness?

Expect homeschooling to be uncomfortable, but by God’s power, you can do it!

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:3-8 NLT)

5. You have a support system.

Do you have people with whom you can build a homeschool community for the benefit of your children?
Can you share resources with family and friends?

6. You are willing to seek help.

Do you acknowledge that you need others?

God gives grace to the humble. No homeschooler is an island. You will need to supplement and augment your weaknesses by enlisting the help of others.

Here is the encouragement, if these factors are in check, you can be confident that you are providing the best education you can for your kids.

I love this quote of Debra Bell. If we built a school from the ground up based on how children learn best, we would build a home. May this inspire you!

Connect with her here: Debra Bell



Where Do I Start?

About a month ago, a reader expressed that she was interested in homeschooling but didn’t know where to start. I wasn’t able to see her comment until today and I feel horrible about it. But this post is dedicated to her and her very important question.

“I’m interested in homeschooling, but where do I start?”

Attend a homeschool orientation. Homeschool providers usually give free orientations about their programs and an overview of home education. Attend several if necessary to get a big picture perspective on home schooling in the Philippines. Here are some providers to choose from:

Get connected to other homeschoolers. Join their social networks or email groups. Homeschoolers are very friendly and accommodating. They don’t mind being spied on! You can ask your questions and get answers from a number of people who have “been there and done that.”

Attend the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2012 on May 19, 2012. This is an annual event organized by  HAPI (Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands) for homeschoolers and parents.

Be in agreement with your spouse about making the decision to homeschool. Homeschooling is a way of life more than it is an education. When a family decides to homeschool, every member of the family participates. Fathers may be in charge of devotion time or physical education, and mothers may handle the majority of the subjects, but at the end of the day, both husband and wife must be 100% committed to home education.

Read and follow blogs by homeschoolers in the Philippines. Homeschooling blogs have useful review on books and curriculum that you can use for your own kids. They also talk about upcoming homeschool events, and give practical tips on parenting and teaching. Most of all, they make people realize that homeschoolers are normal people who have their own struggles, shorcomings and frustrations but manage to successfully educate their children (by God’s grace!).

 Do your homework.

  • Read up on homeschool teaching methods.
  • Call the Department of Education (NCR) to get an updated list of accredited homeschool providers. 928-0104; 921-4274
  • Check out the latest facts on homeschooling by Dr. Brian Ray’s National Home Education Research Institute. NHERI
  • Be aware of the Philippine government’s legal stand on homeschooling

Homeschooling and Open Universities in the Philippines 
Homeschool Legal Defense Association on the Philippines

Consider the cost. Homeschooling will require your time, energy, effort, and positive parenting.

  • Instruction Time: Pre-schooler (1.5 to 2 hours daily); Elementary (3 to 4 hours daily); High school (4 to 5 hours daily)
  • Energy: Being with your kids all day can zap you! Realize, however, that you are making an investment in your relationship with them and their future success.
  • Effort: Homeschooling involves goal setting, planning, scheduling, and actual instruction. You have to prepare for your lessons. Some subjects can be done spontaneously and without much planning ahead. But when you have projects or experiments, you will need to have all your supplies and materials ready. You will also need to understand certain lessons and subject matter before presenting these to your child (especially for older children.)
  • Positive parenting: A good relationship with your child will greatly help your homeschooling. Children naturally respond to parents’ teaching and instruction if they feel loved, accepted, built-up, and when they are disciplined appropriately. A Christ-centered home is the best environment for homeschooling.

If you have the opportunity to, spend a day with a homeschooling family that you know and observe how teaching and instruction happens in their home. See how they set-up their “homeschool area.” Ideally, this should be a family whose children are “good products” of home education. 😉

Pray about it! Make a list of your fears and apprehensions. Surrender these to the Lord and ask him for confirmation and clear leading about whether you should homeschool.

Have the right motivation. Why choose to homeschool? Don’t let your number one reason be an economic one. My husband, Edric, and I decided to homeschool because we want our children to grow up to love, know, serve, obey, and worship God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Every family that wants to homeschool needs to ask themselves the why question.



Really Good Smart Parenting Articles on Homeschooling you may also find helpful:

Homeschooling In the Philippines – FAQs and Tips for Parents

How to Choose a Program for Your Child

Why Homeschooling Is Best for Your Preschooler

Homeschooling Your Big Kid – 6-to-7-year-old

The Benefits of Homeschooling Your Child

What It Takes to Homeschool Your Child


Wanted: Teacher Mom

Can I really homeschool? Read this article on homeschooling misconceptions and decide for yourself.

My encounter with homeschooling began as a child, at about the age of 9, when my parents decided to pull my siblings and me out of a Chinese school so we could all be homeschooled. After praying about it for a year, my mom waited for my dad’s “go” signal to do it. Though initially reluctant about the radical move, within a year’s time, God moved in his heart and he wholeheartedly gave my mom the blessing to homeschool.

It was one of the best decisions my parents made for our family. From this point on, the homeschooling experience rooted itself into the core of my being. I believed then as I believe now that it is a superior education with superior benefits. Yes, this may sound like a biased opinion, especially since my siblings and I transitioned and navigated through high school and college without difficulty. However, I have also met hundreds upon hundreds of other homeschooling families who share the same sentiment because they have seen the results in their own children. The conventional school set-up cannot compete with the tailor-fit, customized education that homeschooling provides.

Since this was my perspective from the moment I first became a mom, homeschooling was my number one option for my children’s education. So when I was asked to write an article on the misconceptions about homeschooling by HAPI, I must confess that because I was sold on it from the very beginning I wasn’t one of those parents who had a whole lot of fears about educating my own children. But these misconceptions do exist and they need to be addressed. Often times, it is these very misunderstandings about homeschooling that prevent people from doing it. (Please be aware that these misconceptions are localized to the Philippine setting but include data from the Philippines and the US.)

Misconception # 1: Homeschooling is only for out-of-school youth, sickly children, actors or actresses who need a flexible education, or conventional school rejects.

When Edric and I attended the Homeschooling Forum organized by the Department of Education last year, it felt like we were sheep among wolves. We were there with representatives from TMA Homeschool and other homeschooling organizations to present best practices for home education. Sadly, the opinion of educators is that homeschooling is an alternative – when no other option makes sense or exists. Edric did a great job of presenting a case for home schooling by sharing achievement test scores and giving a profile of homeschooling families in the Philippines.

Facial expressions changed as school owners, principals, and Dep Ed officials realized that homeschooling is a superior education. From sceptically uninformed, they became curious and wanted to know more.

A majority of the time, parents choose to homeschool because they believe it is a better education. But the journey to this point may vary for each family. Some will do their own research. Others will attend orientations (and attend again). Or they will observe other homeschooling families whom they know and see a positive difference in the children. Still others will proceed with sending their children to a conventional school but never quite feel peace or satisfaction with the outcome. A good number will actually be disgruntled with their child’s school experience and seek out homeschooling as an option. And yes, there are those whose children need special learning conditions because of health reasons or because they are professional athletes or in the entertainment industry.

Families may homeschool for a number of reasons, but more often than not, it is a choice made with considerable thought, planning, and analysis of pros and cons.

Misconception # 2: Homeschoolers are deprived of healthy social interaction.

This is a favourite. I have yet to meet a homeschooled kid that does not know how to make friends or engage in conversation. In fact, the longer a child is homeschooled, the more confident and outgoing he becomes. Now, there are some aberrations. If parents are teaching an only child and they live in a remote provincial area cut-off from the rest of humanity, then yes, that child may struggle through the friend-making process. Yet, the majority of homeschoolers attend playgroups, coops, see their friends often, and are enrolled in all kinds of enrichment classes.

On one occasion, my eldest son, Elijah, had a neighbour friend over to play. They were talking about school and this friend of his said, “You should go to school so you can have many friends.” Elijah responded, “You have no idea how many friends I have. I have so many friends I can’t even count them.” And it’s true! My children may not be with their friends every single day, but they have many opportunities to socialize.

Yet this is not the most important consideration. As parents, we need to correctly understand social development. It is different from socialization. A child sitting in a classroom with 8 year olds all day long, every single year, is not in a normal social environment. This isn’t the condition of the real world he will one day be a part of.

The most natural social environment is the home – where children develop healthy relationships with their parents and siblings, with the Lord, and then with others. Sharing, deference, respect, kindness, forgiveness, and submission to authority are key traits of good relationships. And when these are learned at home, they are applied outside of the home.

Misconception # 3 – Homeschooling is cheaper than conventional schooling.

To this statement, I have to say that homeschooling is as reasonable and as expensive as you make it to be. It can be cheaper because you eliminate the high cost of tuition, transportation, uniforms, daily allowances, and packed lunches. But as a homeschooler you can also spend alot on field trips, music, art, PE classes, books and materials, or an umbrella program. You decide on what is worth the cost.

My family may spend less or more than others. The education we pay for goes beyond books and materials. We expose our children to activities that enrich their learning experience. Some families, however, will spend even more. They will take their children on quarterly trips out of the country or they will enrol them in so many different classes so they can learn art, several musical instruments, and different sports. It’s really a matter of personal preference when it comes to cost. Spending more or less, however, does not spell the difference between a better education and a lesser one. A parent’s involvement and teaching is what makes homeschooling a better education, not cost.

Misconception # 4: Parents can’t teach their children if they aren’t professionally trained.

I love to explain this one. Personally, I believe that parents make the best teachers because we know and love our children better than anyone. We have the motivation to help our children succeed and we have the sensitivity to detect whether they are “getting it” or not. Besides, homeschooling is not like teaching a classroom (teachers are better at this because they have been trained to manage large numbers of children). Academic instruction in the home, however, is done one is to one. It is tutorial in nature.

A parent sits down beside her child to explain concepts, dialogue, interact, monitor, and encourage the learning process. She doesn’t need to be an expert at every subject. The greater challenge is being patient, unconditionally loving, positive, flexible, and having the wisdom to address character and heart issues. Most of all, a parent needs to have a higher purpose for teaching. These are more important qualifications than having a teaching degree.

Removed from the institutional learning environment where the pressure to excel and succeed is very high, it is actually easier for a parent to encourage the love for learning in the relaxed environment of a home. In school, a child must keep up with the pace. A teacher cannot suspend the lesson plan to cater to the minority in the classroom who are falling behind. Each child is expected to learn the same way everyone else does and to cope. If he does fall behind, he must be tutored at home or by a professional, or he is put in another “section.”

In contrast, a parent is better able to respond to her child’s learning needs. She knows when her child doesn’t get a topic, when he is struggling through a lesson, or when it’s too easy for him so that he gets restless and bored. A parent is very much aware of the facial expressions, gestures, posture, disposition, and attitudes of her child. She can spend more time on a topic or go quicker through a lesson. And because she is the parent, she can prioritize the instruction of her child’s heart – his character – which will, in turn, make him more receptive to her teaching.

I often challenge parents to ask themselves, “What is the goal of my instruction?” Is it merely to teach required subject matter? Is it to make sure they get a good job, profession or business that will provide for their needs and for their future family?

All of us need to define what life success is for our children and teach them in that direction. In our family, Edric and I have based our definition on God’s word. In Deuteronomy 6:4-7 it says that parents are to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to teach this to their children. Therefore, the goal of our instruction is beyond academic success. It is to raise our children to love God with all their heart and live for him, which will impact everything they become and do in the future.

Misconception # 5: Homeschooling is only for religious people or Christian conservatives.

In the past, I would have said this was true. The homeschooling movement in the Philippines began with Deuteronomy 6:4 to 7 as its originating conviction. But, as the movement has grown, many families are choosing to homeschool because they believe homeschooling is a superior education, and not necessarily because of a biblical mandate. They want their children to learn outside the context of a four walled institution. Or, they want to have control over what their children learn. Recently, Newsweek published an online article entitled, Why Urban, Educated Parents Are Turning to DIY Education, that explains how parents are opting to educate their own children because they believe that family is important. (

In the US, for example, homeschooling is no longer limited to Bible-believing Christians. It is gaining popularity because of its benefits, which are relevant to all families. Dr. Brian Ray, who is the foremost researcher in America for home education presented the latest findings on reasons why parents homeschool:

  • customize or individualize the curriculum and learning environment for each child,
  • accomplish more academically than in schools,
  • use pedagogical approaches other than those typical in institutional schools,
  • enhance family relationships between children and parents and among siblings,
  • provide guided and reasoned social interactions with youthful peers and adults,
  • provide a safer environment for children and youth, because of physical violence, drugs and alcohol, psychological abuse, and improper and unhealthy sexuality associated with institutional schools, and
  • teach and impart a particular set of values, beliefs, and worldview to children and youth.[1]

Misconception # 6: My children’s academic future will be compromised.

I can present data and facts about how well homeschoolers do academically. But there are certain realities that parents also need to consider. Parents may opt to homeschool independently or under an umbrella program. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Independent homeschoolers run the risk of getting denied entrance into conventional schools that require report cards and grades, regardless of how well they do on their entrance tests. Independent homeschoolers must also take and pass the Department of Education’s Validation Test if they want to receive credit for the levels they studied at home. But independent homeschoolers can fully customize their child’s education which many parents find desirable. They are not required to follow the grading system or an organization and have a free hand to choose curriculum and materials. Many independent homeschoolers also band together and share best practices with one another.

Families who are connected with an umbrella organization or homeschool program often have to comply with the program’s requirements for promoting a child to the next level of instruction. They also have to subscribe to the organization’s philosophy of education. While certain programs offer flexibility in terms of curriculum choices, not all programs have this option. But families can easily transition into the conventional school when they feel their children are ready. Umbrella programs have a relationship with the Department of Education which allows them to credit the work accomplished by a child enrolled with them. Children are issued report cards and documents that schools require. Homeschool programs also offer a sense of community for families and a support system that includes trainings, events, and even music, art, and PE classes.

Academically speaking, homeschoolers do just fine. They often excel when they enter the conventional school because they are self-directed learners who are motivated to work hard and have acquired good study habits. Results borrowed from TMA Homeschool’s achievement testing, for example, show that nearly 50% of homeschooled kids perform 2 grade levels higher than their school-going peers in Math, Language, and Science.[2] And most of their students get into their school of choice.

U.S. homeschooling statistics show that…

  • The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.)
  • Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
  • Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
  • Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
  • Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
  • Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.[3]

Personally, I believe that academic success is a natural by-product when parents focus on teaching their children character and values. Responsible and disciplined children study well and do their best!

Misconception # 7: Homeschooling my children will mean giving up my job, career, or business.

I’ve often been asked the question, “Can I work and homeschool?” If you are a supermom, then yes. But I will be honest with you. Homeschooling is a full-time job. I’ve got four kids and if I had an 8 to 5 job I wouldn’t be able to commit what is necessary to give my children quality instruction time. But I have known some pretty incredible women who homeschool and have a part-time job, or at least a flexible one that allows them to control their own schedules. However, it is not the ideal set-up. Something gets sacrificed in the process because it is not easy to manage homeschooling, work, motherhood, wife duties, etc and give your 100%. It can be done but it is exhausting. Moms either burn out or have to make a choice. A better option for a woman who wants to supplement her husband’s income is to start a home based business. This keeps her accessible and available to her children, and allows the children to contribute and help out in the business.

When Edric and I conduct pre-marital seminars or counseling, or when we speak at marriage retreats, we share a simple principle. PRIORITIES. Priorities will determine whether homeschooling + working is the best choice for a family. We encourage people to follow this order of priorities — God, spouse, children, work/ministry, friends. If work or ministry makes a woman unable to follow her order of priorities than something has to change. But if she can efficiently manage homeschooling and work, without compromising her hierarchy of priorities, then why not?

Misconception # 8: I’m not patient enough to teach my own children.

Welcome to the club. Honestly, no homeschooling parent has perfect patience. I’ve interacted with hundreds. This is a common struggle.

I never realized I was impatient until I started homeschooling! Homeschooling my children exposed my weaknesses and failings. It made me want to be a better mom, to make the changes necessary for maximum impact in the lives of my children. However, this was not enough. I had to come to a point of recognition that I am limited. If I do not walk with God or have a personal relationship with him that is deep and intimate, I do not have a reservoir of grace to draw from when I teach my kids.

A parent who enters into a personal relationship with Jesus experiences victory over weaknesses and sin, and receives his enablement. Some of the most effective homeschoolers I know are committed followers of Jesus who understand that parenting is a spiritual journey that requires spiritual empowerment.

Last September 2011, Edric and I were able to attend the HSLDA conference in Branson, Missouri. (The HSLDA conference is a gathering of homeschool leaders across America that happens yearly.) I felt intimidated at first. Edric and I were much younger than everyone. I met and listened to families who have been homeschooling for over twenty years. Some had homeschooled for thirty years! (The average number of children per family was 7.) What made these parents effective homeschoolers was not their perfect attitudes or personalities, it was Jesus Christ in them. That is the secret to good parenting and good homeschooling!

So can you homeschool? I definitely think so! But this is something you have to weigh and consider carefully. Now that you have had the misconceptions clarified, it is time to research, attend parenting seminars, homeschool orientations, talk to other homeschoolers and their kids, discuss the possibility with your spouse, and pray for discernment.


[1] Brian Ray, RESEARCH FACTS ON HOMESCHOOLING (as of January 2011.) National Home Education Research Institute.

[2] TMA Homeschool’s Achievement Testing as of December 2011. 198 elementary students tested.

[3] Brian Ray, RESEARCH FACTS ON HOMESCHOOLING (as of January 2011.) National Home Education Research Institute.


Have Home, Will Learn

This is the article I authored for Smart Parenting. It came out in the March 2011 Issue. I hope you will find it helpful.

When people ask me where my kids go to school, my answer is, “They don’t. They are homeschooled.” More often than not, I get a follow up question like, “What’s that?” Being a die-hard advocate of homeschooling, I enjoy answering that question. It helps that I was homeschooled myself, I homeschool my own kids, and I ran a homeschool program in the past. I have seen homeschooling from a 360 degree angle and experienced the benefits first-hand.

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