Here’s How You Can Send Your Kids To The Best School In The World…

By Bo Sanchez


“But aren’t you depriving him of his socialization?”

Believe me, I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard this line from well-meaning friends when they learn that we don’t send our son to school, but instead teach him at home. (Now, with this article, I don’t have to answer. I can just give them this and say, “Read it. Let’s talk again after you’ve read it.”)

Here are other comments we’ve heard—some with sense, others just plain funny.

“Won’t he become… uh, abnormal?”

“You’re overprotecting him. Let go and let God!”

“He needs to learn how to fight, become tough, and experience the world.”

“Di ba yung homeschool pang artista lang yan?”

I smile at everyone who gives me these comments and then explain these facts:

Today, there are millions of kids being homeschooled in the world.

And test after test (after test after test…) show that the average homeschooler academically beats the national average of all students every time, at every year level, at every subject.

Why? Here’s the truth that has been hidden from you and from the world at large: Homeschooling is the best educational system in this planet. It beats the most expensive, the most exclusive private schools money can afford. Unbelievable?

Read on.

I Bet You Might Know Some Of These Homeschooled “Kids” …

Just in case you think that homeschooled kids may become social misfits and social idiots, let me show you a little list of a few homeschooled “kids” in the world:

Why can homeschool produce world-class achievers?

Because of the core principles imbedded in the system of teaching your own child. Here are the secrets of the best educational system in the world…

10 Core Principles That Will Dramatically Change Your Child’s Life— And Your Life As Well.

Friends, here are the ten core principles of homeschool:

Here’s a promise. If you follow these 10 core principles in teaching your child, you will dramatically change the life of your child—and your life as well!

Core Principle #1: Follow Your Child’s Passions

One of my son’s first words was “Horse”.

I’m not kidding.

It was spoken together with “Mama” and “Mamam” (food or water).

As a toddler, he already loved playing with plastic toy horses, riding his wooden rocking horse, and looking at pictures of all sorts of horses.

So we gave him large books on horses, and he gobbled them up and kept asking for more. Together, we studied the different breeds from around the world, the evolution of the horse, the equipment needed to ride horses, etc. We bought him coloring books with lots and lots of horses. At three years old, he was already riding real horses by himself. Today, he dreams of owning a ranch where he’ll own ten horses—as a business! He said he’d let the kids ride on the horses for a fee. His ranch will also have a restaurant, a “fake” jungle with robotic animals, and a man-made lake with a shipwreck as added attractions.

Because of his passion for horses, he learned the following: To read a lot, do artwork (coloring), study science (horse anatomy), history and culture, physical education, and even business.

Yes, he studied all those subjects—just because of his love for horses.

No forcing. No pushing. No intimidating. No stress!

Because it was his passion, he loved to learn.

That, my friends, is one of the best secrets of homeschool.

Field Trips More Often

We went to the Museong Pambata three times and stayed there the whole day. My son repeatedly explored every section on his own. This developed my son’s interest in science and history. So, together, we visited various museums of science, natural history, and zoos.

Tina Galvez, Quezon City

What Is Your Child’s Passion?
It May Not Be Obvious At First,
But It’s Got History, Science, Math, & Art In There...

Is your child a comic book lover?

Encourage him. That requires reading, too!

Research together on comic book authors, illustrators, and companies. Sign him up for drawing classes. Tell him to rent out his comics for a fee. And through the Internet, find out which comic books sell for thousands of dollars today. Let him draw one and sell it to relatives. Do the math for his small businesses.

Is he a basketball fan? Then read about the history of basketball, go through basketball statistics, study which muscle groups need to be highly developed in basketball, create artwork on basketball players, play ball regularly, and watch some games together.

When my son was four, we started playing Cashflow For Kids, a game where players buy real estate and invest in stocks. We found out that aside from financial knowledge, it’s a great way for our son to learn mental math. We also played his Pokemon cards—and his math has improved because of the constant adding and subtracting in the game.

We recommend more “real” books—like biographies, classic tales, and special interest books. In fact, we recommend “living” books, like interviewing experts instead of just reading facts.

Again, this cannot happen in a traditional school. There are programmed topics to discuss for every week—and the entire class has to go through them. And thus, boredom sets in. Not because they’re dumb, but simply because their passions aren’t pursued.

In homeschool, you use anything that he’s interested in to learn all sorts of subjects. Because when he’s interested about something, you simply “ride the horse” of his passion, and off you go at 100 kph.

And not only the child’s passion, but you also follow something very important in your child…

Core Principle #2: Follow Your Child’s Learning Style

Your child is a genius.

You just have to know what kind of genius.

Let me give you a very simple example of what I mean by following your child’s learning style.

When my son, Bene, was five years old, he was having problems with his math exercises. It would take him ages to write down his answers. Bene would get totally bored, and we’d catch him stalling and dillydallying in the middle of the writing exercise. His thoughts would wander, sometimes creating a full-length movie in his mind. (We know because we hear him whispering, “Bangbangbang! Shooooosh! Vabooooooom!”)

It would happen every time and my wife would be totally frustrated.

After many weeks of tension-filled homeschool sessions (“Son, finish that now! I said NOW!”), my wife was wondering if math was his waterloo. Did he really hate math?

And then an idea struck her. She picked up the workbook, and she verbally asked the questions—and made it like a game. Bene would stand at the far end of our living room and he’d take one step for every right answer.

Guess what: He breezed through it.

At least at that particular stage in his life (five years old), oral and mental math was better than written math.

Do you now see how only homeschool can make that kind of adjustment?

Because the mother is teaching her child one-to-one, she can change teaching methods depending on the learning style of her child.

Let me tell you what usually happens in a traditional school. Whenever a student is doing well in school, the school proudly points to themselves and say, “We’re the reason why your child is performing well. We’re good.” But when a student is failing, the school points to the child and says, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. There’s something wrong with your kid.”

Okay, they may not say it in that way. But when the child is failing (or bored or restless or uncooperative), it’s always the child’s fault. You’ll hear the experts say, “Your boy isn’t learning because he’s stubborn and has undiagnosed ADHD and probably has a slight form of dyslexia.”

Sure. Gosh, why is the kid always at fault?

Remember This Powerful Rule:
If The Child Isn’t Learning,
It’s 99% Not The Child’s Fault.
Instead, Change Your Teaching Method!

In homeschool, we believe that if the child isn’t learning, it’s not his fault 99% of the time. Perhaps the parent isn’t using the specific learning style of her child.

There are three basic learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) with as much as 27 (!) subgroups. None is better than the other. You simply need to discover how your child processes information—and then deliberately use his preferred choice.

By simply observing how he learns best will already give you clues as to the genius of your child. There’s nothing better than following this simple rule of thumb: Do what works!

Some kids prefer structure and like being told what to do (that’s why there’s room for the structured, traditional school system done at home), while other kids like to do things on their own. And some learn more in particular environments and at particular times of the day—so adjust accordingly. Believe me, this is much better than scolding, shouting, and bullying our kids to fit our teaching methods.

And if you think that this is a powerful principle, wait till you read the next one…

Core Principle #3:
Follow The Learning Pace of Your Child
Per Subject

A traditional classroom with 40 kids has one established pace of learning.

Usually, they try to go mid-speed—not too fast, and not too slow.

Sometimes, this learning pace is too slow for your child—resulting in boredom. (I know many children who are failing in school, not because they’re dumb, but because of the opposite reason—they’re actually too bright and are totally bored by class.) On a few occasions, the pace may be too fast—and your child is left behind.

Here’s something else you’ve got to think about. Your child has different speeds per subject. Your child may go at 80 kph in English and only 40 kph in Math.

In homeschooling, you can simply adjust with his pace for each subject.

Here’s the rule: When you see him bored, usually it’s because he already knows the material. Try going faster and introduce new material.

For example, if your child is totally bored by his Grade 3 English, what’s stopping you from zooming ahead and tackling Grade 4 English?

When my son was five years old, I remember bringing him to the doctor’s clinic, and while in the waiting room, Bene would sit and quietly read his books. And every time, people around would be shocked seeing this little guy reading Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and James And The Giant Peach—stuff usually read at Grade 3 levels.

I believe we underestimate our kids. If you follow your child’s pace, you may be surprised at his speed of learning.

On the other hand, there’s no point in rushing a child to read (or write or do math) when he’s not yet ready. Tests have proven that kids who learned to finally read well as late as age 10 onwards do catch up very quickly—and surpass the early readers from regular schools. Again, don’t pressure yourself or your child!

I believe that you should avoid giving “study pressures” until kids are age 8 to 12. If you follow their passion and learning pace, you don’t need pressure.

And one more thing about pressure…

Core Principle #4:
Never Use Fear & Punishments As Motivation

This mystified me.

I learned that the expert animal trainers of dogs, birds, lions, tigers, seals, cats, and even dolphins have very important basic rules: Never insult the animal; and never offend the animal; and never hurt the animal. Or the animal doesn’t learn.

But John Holt says that we forget this rule when it comes to training human beings! I agree with him. How many times have I heard parents and teachers (and aunts and uncles and grandfathers and grandmothers) insult their own little children? We scream at them, we call them names, we bully them, we intimidate them, we make them cower in fear—just so they do what we want them to do.

Here’s a rule: The moment the teacher is shouting in anger, true learning stops.

You can use angry shouting for emergencies, but you don't use it in education.

Gentle Firmness

In my nine years of homeschooling, I have learned that using fear and punishment crushes a child's spirit. This deeply hurts a child and diminishes his self-worth. My children have responded better when they are gently but firmly told of their mistakes and what are expected of them. They obey us not out of fear, but out of love and respect. This is borne out of our love and respect for them.

Rita Yokingco, Mandaluyong City Homeschooled her 3 kids

True Learning Means Having Fun.
If It’s Not Fun, Do Something About It!

In homeschooling, true learning has to be fun and exciting for your child.

If it isn’t, you adjust and make it so.

When learning is fun, your child will go 100 kph. But when learning is forced upon him, he’ll go at 2 kph—with lots of dillydallying and delaying tactics.

Banish fear and punishments from your educational system.

They simply don’t work. And in homeschool, you simply drop whatever isn’t helping a child. Why? Because you’re not tied to one way of doing things.

So if you see that your teaching method or curriculum or class schedule or textbook (It could be anything!) isn’t helping but blocking your child’s learning, drop it and try something new. Believe me, it’s much better than forcing it down the little guy’s throat with anger, intimidation, and threats of punishment. (Note: You can of course use reason and persuasion to convince him to read a particular book he doesn’t like to read. That’s OK!)

Traditional classrooms, by their very structure, are inflexible. Even if a student isn’t learning, the activity or book or method has to go on. Understandably, because there are forty other students in class.

My next principle is probably the most controversial of all…

Core Principle #5:
Use Tests And Grades As Tools for Gauging Mastery Not as Tools to Label and Terrorize Your Child

Traditional schools create good “test-takers”.

But do they create good learners and critical thinkers and passionate kids?

Tests and exams create fear, because the results of tests are used to “label” children with a grade.

I repeat—true learning cannot happen in the presence of fear.

Pseudo learning, yes, and that happens quite often.

Kids, under enormous pressure, memorize stuff. And when grades are given, the kids are labeled, categorized, and branded.

I ask: Why? What for?

Why not just go through a series of questions, and when they make an error, teach them the right answer at that moment? Why do you have to give him a zero point for not knowing the answer?

I really believe that we have adults now who are totally un-proactive in their lives because they have a fear of making mistakes—which they learned from school.

But mistakes are important! I’ve come to realize that the most successful people in the world are those who have made the most mistakes!

So in place of traditional tests, what should we do?

Use The Child’s Desire To Tell Stories About What She Knows

There’s something even better than workbooks, fill in the blanks, multiple choices, true and false items, and a list of questions.

Charlotte Mason recommends that we use the power of narration. In other words, why not ask children to tell stories? By doing so, they don’t get bits of information—but real knowledge. (We confuse the two. They’re actually worlds apart.)

Only when kids tell stories—either in written or oral forms—or recounting “plot” behind science, history, and religion—can you instill a genuine love for knowledge. And not a fear for failure, or even a shallow desire for high grades.

And please: Don’t grade their narrations with an A, a C, or an F.

Instead, engage them in conversation. Ask questions. Talk some more. Tell your child where he was excellent. Point out where they can do better. But most importantly, enjoy the conversation. (Note: I started a Homeschool Provider called Catholic Filipino Academy or CFA. It’s the first Catholic Homeschool Provider that does purely homeschool services in the Philippines. And for DepEd requirements, CFA will give quarterly tests to measure the child’s grasp of the subject matter—but without the threats, the fear, the negative competition, or the labelling usually involved in tests.)

Believe me, that’s when real learning happens.

Core Principle #6:
Nurture A Great Love For Reading

The Catholic Filipino Academy’s goal is self-directed learning.

You want your child to start learning on his own, because of his sheer love for knowledge. (Yes, every child has an insatiable hunger to learn. You just have to connect to that, release that desire, and see her conquer the world.)

But self-directed learning can happen more easily if a child develops a love for reading as well.

A fair warning: Some children develop late at reading. Don’t worry! In a few years, homeschoolers catch up quickly and surpass the reading abilities of children going to regular schools.

How do you nurture that in a child?

How My Kids Love To Read

When I started home schooling my eldest son “J”, we always read fiction books together with his two younger brothers, John and Jaimy. Soon after, he learned how to love reading all sorts of books — even encyclopedias. After a few months, his younger brothers followed him and they now enjoy reading books together.

Mayette A. Salvedia, Quezon City Homeschooling her 3 children

Read To Your Child Books That Interest Them. And Surround Them With Books, Books, and More Books…

Find out what interests a child.

When your child can’t read yet, set a special time each day where you read to them. Ham it up. Play act. Put drama. Get into the role and let your child laugh and have a great time.

There are four types of readers, depending on their preferred subject matter. (No time to discuss this now, but this will be included in the Quick Start Training Program we give parents in CFA.) Surround your child with the books on her preferred subject. Buy, barter, and borrow—do what you must, but those books have to be there for easy reach.

Tip: Get those “Series” books. Because when your child gets hooked on one book, he’d want to read every other book in the series. (My son read 34 books of the Magic Tree House Series.)

And parents—your kids have to see you reading books as well!

Cut TV watching and computer games to a minimum (we allow those on weekends only) so that there’ll be generous time for reading everyday.

Reading for pleasure is so important to learning. I’m saddened at the huge amount of “homework” kids bring home from school.

That’s the benefit of homeschool: Class is only three to four hours a day, so your child can read books for an hour or two each day, for the sheer delight it brings.

By the way, did that little fact surprise you? That homeschool takes only three to four hours a day? Here’s the reality: Most of the hours in a traditional school is spent on waiting: waiting for the classmates to arrive, waiting for everyone to settle down, waiting for the bell to ring…

In homeschool, you skip all that, so that you have more time for what I call “ordinary life events”.

Core Principle #7:
Make Ordinary Life Events
As Your Classroom

Trust in your child.

She learned how to smile, crawl, walk, talk, run, dress by herself, and understand her world before starting school.

Because each child loves to learn. For them, it’s as natural as breathing.

Kids learn the way adults do: By their interests and by their curiosity.

So why teach them in a different way? In fact, that’s why John Holt coined the term, “Unschooling”. Because ultimately, you don’t really “teach” your child. (We use that word loosely.) You merely provide the learning environment and resources so that your child self-learns.

In the end, true learning and living cannot be separated.

There are three things that you can do to use ordinary life events as your classroom:

1. Let Your Child Get Involved In Your Adult World

Kids love to get involved in the adult world—with what you’re doing.

So get them involved!

Usually, your child will be passionate with what you’re passionate about. Whatever your concerns are, she’ll pick that up, latch on to that, and be passionate about that too.

So whenever feasible, get them involved in your world. Bring them along when you work (if your work situation allows for this) and let them observe, help out, and do stuff for you—yes, even if they bother you and slow you down.

For example, John Holt recommends that Math be learned by opening the financial books of the family, and teaching children how the household money is earned, spent, and saved.

If you’re interested in business, I’ll go even further and recommend that children start their own businesses—and practice applied Math right away. Believe me, when your child wants to know whether he can buy his favorite toy from his business profits for the month, he’ll become a math wizard right before your eyes.

2. Do Real Projects Together!

Would you be happy if you did something totally meaningless everyday?

But that’s what school is to many children.

Let’s face it: Even adults hate it when we do something that has no relevance with real life. So why do we ask our kids to do it—and scold them when they get bored?

Here are examples of what I mean by “Real” Projects:

For those mechanically inclined, let your child build stuff with you for the house. Stuff that you actually need and will actually use.

For children who love music, prepare a “mini-concert” for the next family get-together. Create invitation cards with silly artwork, cook pasta together, practice your child’s welcome speech, and have a musicale complete with costumes and dance numbers. (In one blow, you’ve had art lessons, music lessons, speech lessons, and theatre lessons. But more importantly, you’ve built character and confidence in your child.)

And instead of listening to a lecture of loving the poor, volunteer to build a house in a Gawad Kalinga village, or help in an orphanage each month, or go to the province and work with farmers. At the end of the day, real education isn’t information, but transformation. And that’s what will happen if you use ordinary life events as your classroom.

3. Finally, Don’t Program Everything. Let Your Child Be!

Please set aside enough time for your child for his play and imagination everyday.

Don’t try to do what some overzealous homeschool moms do—cram a ton of activities, workbooks, games, projects, songs, and chores into their child’s life from dawn to dusk. Not only isn’t this beneficial to your child, it will also burn you out!

Let your child be for long stretches of time everyday.

Without you telling them what to do!

Just so that he could be himself. And think. And read. And ponder. And imagine.

Fantasy is his way of learning how to cope with the world.

These times are very important for his own self-learning.

During these times, you’ll find out that he’s trying to figure things on his own. How stuff works. How the world works.

That’s a crucial part of homeschooling—when you’re not around.


And this also includes…

Core Principle #8:
Make Work And Service Essential
To Your Child’s Education

I repeat our philosophy: The best way to learn is to actually do it. It beats any lecture, any book, any field trip, any counseling.

For example, our son has a Bangus business and has gained much confidence because of it. At the age of five, he handed out flyers to our visitors at home. He went around in his three-wheeled bicycle and delivered them to his grandmother’s house. I asked him for suggestions when we designed that leaflet. He also wrote down his first “prospect” list of 10 people who’d buy from him (mostly our family!). As he grows older, we will slowly give him more and more responsibilities to his growing business.

According to The Moore Foundation (a pioneer in Homeschooling), education should not just be (1) Study. It should also contain equal amounts of (2) Work and (3) Service—Thus forming the three basics of a good Homeschool education.

By Work, we mean household chores and entrepreneurship.

Believe me, when you give your children responsibility for certain parts of the household and certain parts of a small home business—you’ll see him rapidly grow and mature before your eyes! You solve many character and personality problems spontaneously—better than all your scolding, homilies, lectures, and punishments.

And don’t give cash for household chores. Or you program them to become employees. They need to produce or sell something in the business to earn something—and you program them to be entrepreneurs.

And what does Service mean?

Let your kids regularly serve among the poor, in an orphanage, in a soup kitchen, in a home for the elderly. Set a daily schedule for service in the neighborhood if possible. You’ll find your child growing in love, character, kindness, and integrity. Their sense of compassion and nobility of heart will increase.

And now—for one of the most important things in your life…

Core Principle #9:
Build Your Family Relationships
(The Greatest Reward!)

In homeschool, you spend each day with your child playing games, swapping stories, taking adventures, reading stories—and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Yes, you bond with your child in an extraordinary way!

And if you have more than one child, you bond the siblings together, too. The older children teach the younger children (and because teaching is the best way of learning, everyone benefits).

On a whim, my wife can bring our two children for a trip to wherever. They can visit a sick friend or attend a birthday party. They can go to the zoo, a museum, or a movie.

My Teenage Son Isn’t Ashamed Of Expressing Love

My son is 14 years old today, but because we’ve bonded enough through homeschool, we could still walk in the mall holding hands. Even with his classmates and friends around, he’d greet his Daddy and me with a kiss and a hug.

Tina Galvez, Quezon City Homeschooled her only son

Probably the first question people will ask about homeschooling is, “What about your child’s socialization?”

Here’s the answer: On average, homeschooled kids have been known to be more socially adept and more socially confident than other children.

Shocked? Here’s why: In homeschool, kids get the right kind of socialization. Because you want your child to learn character, morals, and manners from you, and not from his peers.

My Kids Are Open To Me

Home schooling our children blessed me with the opportunity to spend 24/7 with them. This precious time during their formative years cemented the bond between us. We've come to know each other's strengths and weaknesses and this has helped us understand and appreciate each other deeply. In fact, now that our two elder children are in regular school, their classmates are amazed that they are unashamed to hug and kiss us in front of them. And more amazing to them is that our kids are able to tell us everything (and I mean everything - heartaches, triumphs, disappointments!) that goes on in their lives. Our children are secure in the knowledge that our family will always be there for each other.

Rita Yokingco, Mandaluyong City Homeschooled 3 Children

Offer True Love.
Not Anti-Socialization.

This is the most asked question to me: What about your child’s socialization?

Here’s my answer: Many times, large schools today offer our children anti-socialization.

Without meaning to do so, they open our kids to the meanness of other kids. The bullying, the snobbishness, the peer pressure…

Kids don’t need that daily pressure to grow into healthy, positive kids.

Let your child grow in a place where his self-worth and confidence is established. Once that’s settled deep within, he can conquer the world. (Sometimes, I think they can conquer any planet.)

Does your child need to relate with kids his own age?

Yes, he does. He needs two or three of them, but not necessarily forty. Perhaps cousins and neighbors he can play with everyday. Find ways where he can compete in sports and be with other kids.

We enrolled our son in a gym class where he goes once a week. And because of our regular prayer meetings in our Catholic Community, he gets to have many friends among the children of other members.

Core Principle #10:
Personally Share Your Faith & Values To Your Child

Today, many kids have tepid faith and weak values—and one reason for this? Parents are no longer seriously taking their spiritual responsibility to introduce the Lord to their children. Instead, many parents pass this spiritual responsibility onto the school. But that doesn't work! How can a school do it with hundreds or thousands of kids under their administration?

Dearest Parent, you’re the priest in your home and one of your most important roles is to bring your child into a vibrant relationship with God. Of course, a teacher or priest can do this—but only as an added support to you. Ultimately, that’s your job.

Faith and values aren’t taught as much as “caught”. Homeschooling is the perfect context where this “contaminating” can take place.

In our own Homeschool Program at CFA we wish to deepen the Catholic faith of our children. (This will be our specialty, however, children from other denominations are always welcome. After all, their parents will pass their faith to them.)

Friend, you need to deepen your own Catholic faith. For how can you give what you don’t have? (If you’re not yet a member of the KERYGMA FAMILY, sign up now at http://www.kerygmafamily.com/ and get all the resources you need to grow spiritually: Daily Bible Reflections, spiritual books, inspiring audio and video talks, etc. We give you a mountain of powerful stuff so that you keep growing in the Lord.)

If you think that’s not enough, there are more benefits to homeschooling your child…

Call us at (02) 721-1088 or 0915-6688577
You can also email us at cfainquiry@gmail.com

I remain your friend,
Bo Sanchez
Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA)

A fair warning: Not all Homeschool Systems or Providers practice all ten core principles. I’ve noticed that some of them merely transplant the traditional “school system” into the home. I’ll explain later why I don’t agree with this set-up and feel this is a terrible waste of the essential power of homeschool.

People have been asking us why we put up our own Homeschool Program. One of the main reasons is because we wanted a Catholic Program. We wanted CFA to provide children with a Catholic environment. We wanted our activities to be always God-centered and values-driven. We wanted CFA to provide children with the best local Catholic textbooks in the market—and even Catholic “homeschool” textbooks from abroad. And we wanted to help children receive the Sacraments—their first Confession, first Communion, and Confirmation.

Call us at (02) 721-1088 or 0915-6688577
You can also email us at cfainquiry@gmail.com