Menagerie Menagerie Feature

Two sides of the same coin: Homeschooling and formal education

In the formal education system, many students finish their schooling without experiencing a learning environment void of loud school bells, multiple classroom introductions, and required school uniforms. Homeschooling is a learning system that is vastly different from what many are familiar with.

Back to basics

As a seven-year-old, Therese Paman was homeschooled after her parents believed the school environment was contributing to her older brothers’ use of foul language and displays of bad behavior. Because there weren’t a lot of homeschool providers when she was young, Paman was homeschooled by her mother—who is genuinely passionate about teaching—for 12 years. Now an Industrial Design graduate from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), she recalls her experience, “I think compared to [formal] schooling, my days were more relaxed. It started when I’d wake up. Since there were no school buses or classes to get to on time, I usually woke up on my own.”

Similar to Paman, Kamille Bautista was homeschooled for four years. Now a first-year student in Performing Arts and Dance at DLS-CSB, she looks back, “I wanted to be homeschooled because my parents and I felt like my school then was not the kind of environment I could grow in.” 

Back then, her schedule consisted of four hours of studying at home followed by dance training in the evening. After one year of self-teaching, the aspiring dancer started attending a tutorial center regularly for four years to avail of a Hybrid Homeschooling program, which is comprised of teacher-assisted studying for four to six hours. She spent the latter part of the day in dance lessons. Now, her hobby has turned into a budding career. 

Although both women were homeschooled, the flexibility of the homeschooling process is shown through their two stories. Homeschooled students have the option of enrolling into the program of a homeschool provider, wherein they are given a list of books and subjects they are required to understand and learn. The decision to avail of tutoring services, which Bautista had opted for, remains in the student’s hands. Children can also be homeschooled without enrolling into a program if they study under their parents’ guidance and devote time to self-learning or accomplishing the curriculum of their year level.

As easy as ABC

“Regular schools have strict structures already, so a student just needs to follow what is set before them,” Paman explains, adding that homeschooling is more personalized, seeing how the subjects taught were either dependent on the decision of the student or parent, or on the homeschool provider. 

The students are also still expected to accomplish specific requirements, such as written examinations and portfolio presentations to assess their acquired knowledge and competencies. Given this arrangement, they tend to develop stricter time management skills and a greater sense of responsibility to make sure their choices effectively accommodate both their needs and interests. 

“The beauty of homeschooling is you get to make your own decisions, to add curriculums to programs and mix syllabi if you wish,” Bautista says, citing how they have the freedom to choose subjects they want to take instead of following standardized curricular sets.

Paman points out that in the homeschooling system, “there is no smart and smarter kid.” Academic achievement is based on how well the lessons are understood by the student; therefore, she did not feel the need to be better than other students, but to be the best at her own space. She also comments, “You can excel [in] the subjects that you’re really good at, and you have more time to understand the things you have difficulty with.” 

First class

With a structure that is quite different from a formal education system, many have an oversimplified image of what homeschooling is like. “I think the misconception people make is that they try to put [homeschooled] people in a box,” Paman says. She herself testifies to having met other homeschooled individuals who are incredibly talented in the realms of arts and sports, as well as in academic fields, such as literature.

Bautista also mentions how people usually expect them to have difficulty mingling with other people. “That has never been the case with any one of my homeschooled friends and [me],” she says, believing that, on the contrary, homeschooling helped her gain a better understanding of herself and gave her confidence in conversing with others. Despite being able to make friends easily, both Paman and Bautista also admit that there were school events that they missed out on, such as prom. 

Although intramurals and field trips are not evident in a self-learning education system, children in homeschooling programs do have opportunities to interact, socialize, and attend events much like students do in formal school activities. As Bautista notes, “I didn’t feel like I needed those things to make me a better student, so I didn’t feel that bad about it.”

Proud graduate

When asked if they would still want to be homeschooled given the chance to change their upbringing, both responded with a resounding yes. For Paman, homeschooling taught her to be introspective. For example, at the age of 12, she recounts how she had begun to think about her future when her friends didn’t really understand the need to.

Likewise, Bautista says, “I just felt like most of my self-growth happened when I was homeschooled.” With the freedom and malleability that a homeschooling schedule offered, she was given opportunities to explore dancing as an extracurricular activity, a benefit she looks back on with utmost gratitude. “I think it was one of the best things my parents have decided for me and my siblings. We really grew as individuals,” she states.

Homeschooling had not only taught the two in terms of lessons and concepts, but also let them learn at their own time through self-reflection and the pursuit of personal interests. 

“Some people thrive better in a homeschool environment while others thrive in a conventional school environment. There is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’,” Bautista emphasizes. For homeschooled individuals, their process is just a different approach to learning. In comparison to what many have come to understand education to be—it is a learning method that deviates from the established conventions of traditional schools but ultimately has the same goal of educating and teaching for the students’ holistic growth.

Isabelle Santiago

By Isabelle Santiago

Yanna Zhang

By Yanna Zhang

Leave a Reply