Homeschooling in the Philippines: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
By Tina Santiago Rodriguez
Homeschooling has been gaining more and more attention here in the Philippines lately, especially with recent social media posts by celebrities like Bettina Carlos, Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, and Cheska Kramer, who have all decided to homeschool their kids.
But the truth is that homeschooling has been going on in the Philippines much longer before these recent news—it’s not just a “trend” among celebrities but it’s a lifestyle that many families have chosen even in the 1990s (or earlier!). In fact, I personally know a few people who were homeschooled when they were younger, and are now homeschooling their kids or are about to start doing so.
However, it’s a given that many people are still not aware of what homeschooling really is. If you’re one of those people who are curious about homeschooling, or if you’re a parent who might want to know more about it as an educational option for your kids, here are some FAQs for you.
What is homeschooling? Is it even legal here in the Philippines?
Homeschooling is an educational option (or lifestyle, to many families) where the parents become their children’s main teachers in every aspect of life, including academics. They teach their children at home and everywhere else they see fit. “The world is our classroom,” as most, if not all, homeschoolers like to say.
There are different philosophies and methods in the homeschooling scene. Some parents opt to have their children study the same lessons and subjects that private or public school students learn. Others prefer a less conventional approach and base their children’s lessons on their own readiness and skill levels.
Homeschooling is legal in the Philippines based on article XIV, Section 1(2) of the Philippine Constitution, which states that the country will “Establish and maintain a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels. Without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children…”
Under the last phrase, “Without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children,” religious groups, mission boards, and families can branch off from public education to create their own private education. However, the Constitution also provides under Section 4 (1) that “the State recognizes the complementary roles of public and private institutions in the education system and shall exercise reasonable supervision and regulation of all education institutions.”
Also, the Department of Education (DepEd) Memo no. 216 s. 1997 entitled “Home Education Program” states that if a homeschooled student wants to transfer into a conventional school, he or she must first be accredited by DepEd.
Speaking of DepEd accreditation, how will my child have DepEd records if I homeschool them?
Here in the Philippines, we have what we call “homeschool providers.” These are DepEd-accredited institutions that help parents get accreditation for their homeschooled children. They handle all the formalities and paperwork for enrolled families who wish to homeschool their kids, and provide transcripts and other records needed when the time comes for the homeschooled kids to enroll in a conventional, brick-and-mortar school.
Others, though, choose to take what is known as the “independent” route. This means that the parents do not enroll their kids in any institution but choose to homeschool them using their preferred curricula and resources.
Some independent homeschoolers still follow the DepEd curriculum while others do not. When the time comes for their kids to go to conventional brick-and-mortar schools, they take DepEd exams like the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) or the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Exam under the Alternative Learning System.
What do parents need to do if they want to homeschool? Where should they start?
This is a common question I get as a homeschooling parent, and I have given talks about homeschooling that go into more detail. But for the sake of this article, I’ll share what I usually say to inquiring parents:
First, start with your “whys”—why do you want to homeschool? List down your reasons. This will be something you’ll go back to time and again once you’ve chosen to take the homeschooling path. (And if you consider yourself a person of faith, I also encourage you to pray about your reasons.)
Second, do your research. Fortunately, there are many more blogs and online articles about homeschooling in the Philippines now compared to some years ago, when our own family started our homeschooling journey. You can also join different Facebook groups that aim to support homeschoolers and “wannabe” homeschoolers in the Philippines and ask for more information from actual homeschooling parents.
Are there any workshops or events that I can attend if I want to homeschool my kids?
Yes! More and more people and groups are organizing talks, workshops, seminars, and other events that can help you understand what homeschooling is about. In fact, my friend Michelle Padrelanan, a veteran homeschooling mom, regularly gives her “Ready to Homeschool” workshops in different parts of the Philippines. You can check out her website www.eventdetailer.net for schedules.
You can also attend big events like the Philippine Homeschool Convention (PHC), which is set to take place on September 22 this year at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City.
Michelle and I, along with two other homeschooling moms Mariel Uyquiengco and Sanne Unson, are organizing the PHC under Educating for Life, in partnership with SMX Convention Center. Our theme “On Fire!” draws its inspiration from the quotation commonly attributed to the poet William Yeats, but is said to originate from Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch’s original words that say, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”
Thus, the PHC aims to gather Filipino parents and provide them with inspiration and encouragement to keep the flame burning as they fuel and kindle their children’s passion and purpose. Our line-up of speakers consists of both international and local speakers who will leave the participants inspired, encouraged, empowered, and equipped to start or continue their respective homeschooling journeys with even greater passion than before. You may find more info about them, and the Convention as a whole, on our website www.educatingforlife.co.
What about socialization? Do homeschooled kids know how to socialize with others?
I could write a whole series of articles about homeschooling and socialization but for brevity’s sake, let me just assure you—when it comes to homeschoolers being “unsocialized,” it is a big myth!
In fact, homeschoolers benefit from two “levels” of socialization, i.e. “vertical” (socializing with people who are older and younger than them) and “horizontal” (socializing with peers or people around the same age).
This is because most, if not all, homeschooled kids don’t just stay at home to learn—they learn everywhere, as earlier stated. Many join classes with other homeschoolers and even non-homeschoolers, and are able to relate well with adults in the “real world.”
What materials do you need to homeschool?
This depends on the family’s chosen homeschooling method or philosophy. Of course, almost everyone will need basic school supplies like notebooks, pens, pencils, and the like.
When it comes to homeschooling supplies, our family always visits National Book Store because of the variety and affordability of their learning materials and tools.
Other materials would be the chosen curricula/books per child, paper, and a good quality printer. Super useful for printing materials found online—there are so many good homeschool resources and many are even FREE!
More than the materials, the most important “resource” in your homeschool is YOU, the parent, and your commitment to teach your child.
What if I’m not a patient parent? Can I still homeschool? I don’t think I can!
Many of the parents I know tell me that they could never homeschool because they are impatient. Well, the truth is, parenting itself already requires great patience! I myself am not the most patient of moms. However, I believe that homeschooling is part of my vocation as a mother, so despite my impatience and imperfections, I still choose to do it.
Actually, homeschooling has taught me to be more patient with my kids, among other things!
Now, I know that these are certainly not the only homeschooling-related questions other people might have. So if you have other questions, please feel free to reach out to me via Instagram @tinasrodriguez or email me at [email protected]. And remember, whether or not you homeschool your kids, we parents are still our kids’ teachers when it comes to real life!
About the Author:
Tina Santiago Rodriguez is a Catholic wife and home educating mom by vocation, and a writer and editor by profession. Drawing from over a decade’s worth of experience serving as a fulltime mission worker, and over 12 years of married life with children, Tina also gives talks on topics like parenting, homeschooling, and family life, and is currently working on her first book. She is also part of Educating for Life, the team behind the Philippine Homeschool Convention and other events that support homeschoolers and wannabe homeschoolers. Tina is also the founder of TrulyRichandBlessed.com, an award-winning inspirational blog that aims to help others discover and grow the “riches” they already have.
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