Jan 30, 2012

Is Homeschooling for Your Child, Part III: Other Reasons

(Graphics by nornir)
So far we've talked about (1) bullying and (2) ADHD. For me, those are major reasons to homeschool your child. Here are other reasons:

3. Other exceptionalities. If your child has been diagnosed with retardation or giftedness, your child might benefit more from personalized instruction (in the case of the former) or independent learning (in the case of the latter).

Keep in mind that a child with retardation's greatest needs are to learn basic life skills (e.g., cleaning oneself, fixing up one's own room and surroundings, crossing the street safely, washing the dishes, following instructions) and a vocational skill that will let the child earn her own money when she grows up (e.g., handicraft, maybe clerical work, depending on the degree of retardation), and basic literacy, depending on the degree of retardation (e.g., reading, writing, counting, color and shape identification).

A gifted child, on the other hand, can learn well enough by herself. All she needs is the right environment -- the necessary materials, the necessary time, the necessary freedom. Instead of putting her in school where she will need to wait for the rest of the class catch up to what she already knows, why not let her study at home and use the time (and money) you save to enroll her in ballet class or gymnastics or astronomy or whatever she's interested in?

4. Transport issues. Either school is too far from your home or your child is too sick to travel the distance.

Some kids have to travel an hour to reach school, and I'm not talking about kids in far-flung barrios with no roads and no cars. When I was in high school, I rode a school bus that had to make 30 stops from the time I got in to the time we got to my school. That's an hour and a half, one way.

Or maybe your child is ill and too weak to travel to school. That does not mean you have to stop her education and let her run after lost time when she recovers. Let her have her schooling at home instead.

5. Religious conviction. This is not so much an issue in the Philippines, where religion has not been outlawed in the classroom. Still, some parents would like a little more religion in their child's education, or maybe a little less, or maybe a different sort of religion.

In our family, this is one of the primary reasons why we homeschool. I wanted my children to learn more about religion than I felt was being taught in our regular schools.

The best part is, as I am teaching our children about our faith, I am learning too -- I am learning things about my faith that they did not teach me in school.

6. Financial flexibility. The big difference between homeschool and conventional schools is that in conventional schools, costs are dictated. The school decides not just how much to charge for tuition but also how much you need to spend on field trips, graduations, etc.

In a homeschool setup, you can spend as little or as much as you like, and you decide when to spend. If you have a lot of money, you can choose the most expensive curriculums available -- some are even more expensive than what you pay for tuition in conventional schools. You can go to Bohol and Beijing for your field trip, so that your child can see the Chocolate Hills and the Great Wall of China personally. You can enroll your child in Ballet Manila for PE class. You can buy her a microscope and telescope for science.

Or you can use a free curriculum downloaded online, take the ALS exam for validation (very cheap, almost free), go to PAGASA Planetarium for your field trip (P25), and let your child improvise materials for art and science to strengthen her imagination and creativity.

No one will make you pay P800 to go to Enchanted Kingdom and SM Mall of Asia for your field trip. You don't need to pay P200 for a hard-bound diploma holder for your preschooler if you don't want one.

Okay, lecture over. Any questions? Please feel free to ask in the comments box below. I always reply within 12 hours.

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