A first-time homeschooler looks back at her and her daughter’s homeschooling journey and shares how they managed.
Back in March, as I finished my Skype conference with Parent Coach Irene, I felt ambivalent. After discussing Nicey’s academic progress and sharing a good laugh as I told her stories about our last stretch for the school year, I was overjoyed and almost misty-eyed.
Yet, there were also feelings of anxiety and fear. I wondered what would the next school year bring. But memories of how we survived our first year of homeschooling comforted me.
I’m glad I did my homework before Angelo and I finally decided to go for homeschooling and enroll at CFA. We have been exploring the idea of homeschooling for about two years before we actually took the plunge. I did research and attended a homeschool conference, checked the presence of homeschool community where we live, read books and asked friends about it. Ultimately, my husband and I prayed and talked about it.
Looking back, I am inspired to share my journey and some key guidelines that worked for us:
Establish your why. Be clear with your homeschooling goals.
Angelo and I agreed to go for homeschooling because we want to spend lots of time with Nicey and build a strong relationship with her during her formative years.
I imagined moments where we’d go anywhere and learn spontaneously from the places we visit, the people we engage with and things that we see. I thought that was a unique and amazing way to learn.
Further, we want to be the main influence and source of her values. We want to teach, show and transfer our virtues to her by spending time with her.
Since our family frequently travels for work, a non-traditional schooling is our best option because it offers a flexible schedule. We can study anywhere!
I am a mom-entrepreneur managing a salon and a café. At the same time, I’m also overseeing the business development side of our family corporation that’s currently expanding. There are times when I integrate my daughter’s lessons with my work schedule. I like bringing Nicey to my meetings and other work errands and she loves it too.
In the beginning, it wasn’t a walk in the park, what with my work responsibilities. But I always go back to our goals and prioritize Nicey’s homeschool schedule.
When I see her enjoy what we do together and that she’s developing the values we want her to learn, it’s an affirmation that we made the right choice not sending her to a traditional school.
Engage with a homeschool community. This includes the teachers, parents and students of your homeschool provider, or a homeschool community wherever you live, and even in social media to support your journey. Or even just connecting with fellow parents on our Facebook group page does it.
We think Nicey needs to see and feel a sense of belongingness to a homeschooling community where she can relate to homeschoolers like her. And so, I reach out to homeschoolers in Davao for meet-ups and play dates to supplement my daughter’s socialization skills.
Even though we’re based in Davao, we make it a point to attend activities at CFA as long as my work schedule permits. We were able to join the Day of Anointing event at the start of the school year, the Saints of Mercy and the Family Camp, too.
Assess and determine your child’s dominant learning style. I discovered that Nicey is an auditory and kinesthetic learner and less of a visual learner. Hence, I patterned my teaching style for most of our lessons through songs and active movements. It makes it easier for her to understand and remember her lessons.
We get it done quicker and so, we have more time for play and leisure.
Celebrate big and even small milestones. I made a big deal out of every homeschooling milestone I can possibly think of.
Things like: I bought a small cake to celebrate our first day of homeschooling as a family and took Nicey to the beach after our first month.
When we completed our first quarter, we went to Manila for a quick break.
When she learned her alphabets, I treated my daughter to four scoops of S & R mint chocolate ice cream. When she learned how to read three-letter words and when was able to write her complete name, I gave her lots of hugs and kisses and we watched a movie of her choice.
The celebrations are endless. All I want is to imprint on my daughter’s mind that we are very proud of her and her achievements, both big and small.
And that we always want to create the best memories with her as much as we possibly can.
After our first year, I can say that homeschooling is a daunting task but armed with clear goals, strong support system and positive and eager disposition, every parent and child can definitely survive it. The best part of our journey is that I can see the results unfolding every day. And it is beautiful!
Steffani Falcon is a wife to Angelo and a mom to 5-yr old Nicey. Fan loves the simplicity of life in Davao, where she can spend whole morning at the beach at her whim or make her own coffee or cookie at home during the weekends with family.