Breaking the Silence: Stop the Stigma in Homeschooling

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If you want to homeschool you must have a brave soul, because you are going against the norm. – Liz Chang

I have hesitated to publish this post that in truth, it had been sitting in my Drafts for more than two months. This post was actually meant to be published last March 3, in celebration of National Homeschooling Day in the Philippines, as a means to have a petition to stop the stigma that envelopes homeschooling.

It’s June, and it’s a fact that here in the Philippines aside from Wedding Bells and Rainy season, the opening of the new school year in traditional schools is very much expected. Yesterday I saw a post in one of the Homeschooling Groups in FB about the toughest question they have to deal with, which was “Saan mo inenroll ang anak mo? (Where did you enrol your child?)”

And I could totally relate with their answers.

You see, answering this simple question can lead to further questions that transform the homeschooling parents to defensive mode. I still remember in our early years of homeschooling, with all honesty, I despise that question. Because it’s so hard to explain to people what home education is. To those who were really naive and could not even comprehend the concept of homeschooling, sometimes I just explain that it’s just like their favorite actor/actress, some of them don’t go to regular school and homeschool instead. And well, it seems in that level of explanation they kind of understand.

But what doesn’t sit well with me is that there are some people (those who are very traditional and close minded) would look and talk to my eldest with pity as if her world has been shattered and that she won’t have any good future (In which by the way, they had a hard time expressing themselves to my then 6 year old child whose first language is English.).

One comment that I could never forget was in the last school where we retracted her enrolment, one of the ‘Admins’ said, “Paano na siya? (What will happen to her?)”, in a very degrading tone, you know like in the movies/drama, where a young girl gets impregnated. I confidently answered, “Mag-hohomeschool po kami, hindi naman po niya sinabing ayaw na niyang mag-aral. (We will homeschool, she did not say she doesn’t want to study anymore).”

And it doesn’t stop there. Months and years passed by, I/we would randomly bump into my daughter’s former preschool classmates. Then there goes the question, “Saan na sya nag-aaral ngayon? (Where does she study now?)” To be fair, there are modern moms (open minded ones) whom I could genuinely feel their sincerity when they say they admire our homeschooling decision. But there are also some rude ones, especially the ‘Lolas’, who would just say out loud, “Homeschool pa rin? (Still homeschooling?)” with that disapproving look and tone of voice.

But you know sometimes what hurts most is when negative comments come from people you care and love. Which sometimes when I’m not in a good mood and I will have tirades like that, it leads to a heated argument and I will just give names of people who went to traditional school and where they are now. Period.

So before I turn to a grouchy homeschooling mom, below is my supposed to be blog post for the National Homeschooling Day last March 3 (See how homeschooling is now being recognized!).

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[Let it be known that this is not an easy blog post for me and I have had hesitancy or had double thoughts if I should do this. But maybe through this way, I’ll be the voice of those who can’t speak up or just sulk in silence or anger whenever other people look down or question their decision to homeschool. I am breaking that silence.]

I know such stigma exists anywhere for Homeschoolers but I would like to address specifically such stigma here in the Philippines.

Patience. One should arm themselves with lots of patience should they decide to homeschool their kids. Patience not only for their kids but for the people who will question and give negative remarks or downright imply that what you are doing is wrong. Sometimes it is inevitable to always answer and act in defense whenever we are confronted as to why we are homeschooling our kids. Disapproval and criticism  may come from complete strangers, from acquaintances, and yes, from your well meaning relatives and family members.

Though people are more aware now about home education (Thanks to the Internet and Social Media), still many Filipinos do not seem to even grasp the concept of its possibility.

Nowadays, there is a vast of information and support groups that you can find online and offline.

Be informed that homeschooling is an alternative and a viable option. And yes, it is legal. You may refer to Home School Legal Defense Association Website.

So many things can be tackled about homeschooling. Its types and methods, whether as to which curriculum to use or to get a provider or be bold and go independent, Unschooling, it’s legalities. Oh my favorite,  ‘How about Socialization?’,  amongst others.

Just because we homeschool, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with our kids. It doesn’t mean we are limiting them and their capabilities. Truth to be told, it might be quite the opposite as it liberates them from the confines of the four-walled room.

I have nothing against parents and families who opted the traditional way for the education of their children. I respect their decision and so just the same, do respect homeschooling families like us who went the unconventional route. After all, I am sure we all love our kids and all of us, parents strive to raise and nurture our children the best possible way we all can.

Homeschooling is a radical move and out of the norm path. Sure there are pros and cons, just like traditional schooling. Parents homeschool their kids due to varying reasons.

But first things first, Awareness.

I want people to be aware that Homeschooling does exist and it is an option. A valid option for parents and students that should be respected and accepted.

 

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