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Homeschooling vs unschooling

To be honest, I am still toying on the idea of unschooling our teenager. Unlike most parents, I guess, our journey in homeschooling was born out of a need more than of an intention to take her out of the regular school system.  In my last post I mentioned that we decided to homeschool our now 14-year-old last year to unburden her of pressures from regular school. After being in and out of the hospital, not to mention the countless outpatient treatments, we thought it would be best for her to rest.  Initially, we agreed with our teenager that we would finish her curriculum from the regular school.  The administrators were kind enough to give us a special arrangement — our girl would study at home and she would only go to school to take the tri-mestral exams when she was ready.

But home study didn’t work for us. We were struggling in our new journey.  She had issues brought about by her medical condition on top of the usual teenage issues. She was constantly not feeling well. Indeed, it was a tough time for her. So we allowed her to take her time and decide when she was ready to go back to opening her books.

star bakes

Star at her baking class.

One day, a friend who stayed with us for a few weeks brought her to a baking class. At the end of the workshop, our girl got so into baking that she convinced me and her dad to enroll her in the next workshop. Seeing her enjoying the new learning experience, we decided to forego her curriculum.  Thus started our unschooling adventure.

For the rest of the year, she took several baking workshops. She became good at baking and we helped her sell her products. By Christmas time, she made quite a fortune (for her age, of course) that she was able to afford a VIP ticket of P11,500 (around US$270) to her favorite KPop group’s concert!

Baking became both a passion and motivation for our teenager. We could see she enjoyed baking.  She researched new recipes, tried them and look for new ones again. On top of it, she realized she could make money!  On the other hand, I realized that she was learning life skills that she would not have learned had she continued in the regular school.  For example, she has become skillful in choosing the right ingredients for her products.  She does not compromise at all no matter how much I convince her.  (Me, for economic reasons.)  She now knows how to do the grocery and compute the costs of her products.

products

Star’s products.

There had been ups and downs, of course.  In fact, I was at the verge of giving up on the idea of homeschooling or unschooling. But our girl enjoyed her new learning method and promised to be more focused this year. We enrolled her in a homeschool curriculum and so far, she’s doing good.  She attends a weekly meet-up. I promised her that once she’s done with her academics, she could enroll in baking workshops again.

But the downside to the homeschool curriculum is that you won’t really know if it fits your child’s needs until you have actually started it. Sometimes she finds the program boring. It might be too early to say for sure since we’re only on the first month. We’ll see how it goes in the next few months and decide if we want to proceed with homeschooling or go back to unschooling. One thing’s for sure — we won’t go back to regular school. ***

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Homeschooling a high schooler for beginners

I wrote this last year in my other blog after we decided to un-school Star.  I’m reposting this here as some of the information are still relevant. 

This is it.  After discussing and weighing the pros and cons, we have decided to embark on a road less traveled — homeschooling.  Our decision really started out of a desire to unburden Star of added pressures from her health issues.

Please don’t get me wrong.  Homeschooling is NOT always the solution to long absence in school. Nor is it the only option for children with health issues. In fact, a few years ago, when our son got sick and had to be on leave for three months, we never considered homeschool.  What we did was home study to make up for the lessons he missed in school.  After three months, he went back and started attending classes regularly again.

Our journey now is different.  There are several factors that led us to the decision which I will share in the future.  But for now, I just feel good about homeschooling and I think I’ve found a new advocacy on top of hemophilia.

I promised to share tips for beginners like us.  So here we go:

  1. Research.  When we started toying the idea of homeschooling, I read articles and blogs on its advantages and disadvantages.  With my very crazy work schedule, I had always feared I couldn’t succeed in homeschooling.  My notion before of homeschooling was that it is like traditional schooling but in a home setting with mommy and daddy  as teachers.  But I read some articles that said it doesn’t have to be that way.  While there is a curriculum to follow, you can choose how you embark on the learning process with your child.
  2. Consult other home schooling parents.  While homeschooling books and internet resources are very helpful, nothing beats hearing from other parents their first-hand experiences.  There are many things to consider when homeschooling, like schedules if you’re also working, who teaches what, and the curriculum to enrol your child in.
  3. Involve the family in decision-making. The decision to homeschool does not lie solely on the homeschooling parent or on the child involved.  It has to be a family decision.  If the child is transitioning from a  traditional school to a homeschool setting, you need to consult how he/she feels towards it. Homeschooling is not for everybody.
  4. Find the best curriculum to suit your needs.  We’re blessed that Star’s school has allowed her to continue the curriculum at home.  So we don’t have to find a new curriculum for her.  But not all schools allow homeschool arrangements.  In fact, Star is the only one allowed by her school and only because they know her condition.  But there are already many curricula available for homeschool.  Choose one that you think will best suit your and your child’s needs.

It’s still too early for me to share successes or difficulties.  After all, we just finished our first week.  But so far, Star and I are both having fun.   The advantage of homeschooling a high schooler is that the child needs very minimal supervision.

Also, I can take my “student” to work.  In fact, we agreed that three times a week, she will be my “apprentice.”  For our first week, she attended two client meetings.  I asked her to take down notes and make a report.  In between, she worked on her bucket list, her first project under “mommy’s school.”

For starters, here are some helpful links:

http://hapihomeschooler.com/

http://catholicfilipinoacademy.com/

http://www.successful-homeschooling.com/homeschooling-pros-and-cons.html

There are unlimited resources on homeschooling online.  Be sure to read both the advantages and disadvantages before deciding to embark on your homeschooling journey.##

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It’s never too late to homeschool!

Photo from VisualPhotos.com

I’m relatively new to homeschooling.  Last year, our youngest daughter was in and out of the hospital because of a rare bleeding disorder called von Willebrand Disease. After her last confinement in August, we told her she didn’t have to go back to school yet if it would relieve her of stress. We could do un-schooling and she could go back to regular school whenever she feels like.

At the end of the school year, she learned baking and became good at it.  She started a small baking business with her siblings and even earned money to buy a US$280 ticket to her favorite KPop boyband.

But we thought going back to regular school or enrolling in a regular homeschool program would be much better for her.  She decided she wanted to do homeschooling this year. And so here we are, in our first year of homeschooling.

This blog is my journal of our homeschooling journey. I will be posting here my personal thoughts about homeschooling, as well as useful information for homeschooling parents or those thinking of homeschooling their children.