By: Bo Sanchez
During the back-to-school season, my sons Bene and Francis go back to our home. No, they are not out-of-school kids. They are back to school–in our home.
Right now, Bene, our eldest, who is 13 years old, is in Grade 8– or what the regular schools may term as Grade 8. That’s because Bene had long learned what Grade 8 students may be learning now. He is learning much more from his mentors — his mother and father.
When it was time for Bene to start schooling, we did something that then shocked some of our friends and relatives: we let him stay home.
At a time when he was supposed to be in grade school, he never stepped inside a classroom.
· He never rode a school bus.
· He never lined up for a flag ceremony.
· He never had lunch in a school canteen.
· He never had to raise his hand for recitation.
· He never had to do assignments at night.
· He never had to go to the principal’s office.
· He never played basketball with his classmates.
· Because, technically, he never had a classmate.
Poor kid. Some of the experiences above are really good stuff.
But life is a choice. We chose that he experience other things by homeschooling him. And my son loves homeschooling.
He would not exchange it for the world. Here’s why:
- He’s able to spend more time with his Daddy and Mommy each day. His relationship with us is tight—and for this alone—I thank God for homeschooling.
- He loves his younger brother and cares for him a lot.
- He can read any book he chooses; he reads five books a day.
- He speaks fantastic English.
- He’s able to follow his passions with more freedom.
- When he was 5 years old, he started a business selling bangus (milk fish) and earned enough money to buy his own toys.
- He attended a gym class. He also joined a painting course—and has produced 12 lovely paintings so far. (So yes, he does have classmates after all.)
- Together with other homeschooled kids in the Catholic Filipino Academy, he’s rappelled from a 30-foot hanging bridge and swam in an underground river! With them, he’s also visited zoos, parks, and factories.
- He has lots of other friends. He meets his playmates each Sunday at the Feast. They play the whole day!
My wife Marowe and I meet with a care group–mostly Feast couples. Bene plays with their children. And believe me, his friends are the coolest bunch of kids you can get on the planet.
- He plays the guitar and composes his own songs.
- He hosts a kids’ TV show each week and is having so much fun. (Catch him on MustardTV, every 7 a.m., Saturdays, on TV5.)
- He also writes for a kids’ magazine, Mustard.
- Because he’s not tied down in school, he travels with me a lot on my mission trips. He’s been to ten countries so far. Again, it’s not so much the places we go to, but the fact that we’re together—that’s the incredible gift.
- He’s great with computers and the Internet.
- He’s writing his own book now.
- He has another project he’s busy with: creating his own “godly” videogame that will teach values to kids. I’m excited to see that one.
- He loves God. He wants to follow Jesus.
My wife Marowe has been Bene’s teacher since his kindergarten years. Now that he is entering his teen years, I am taking over as major mentor.
I’m not putting down regular schools–there are great schools out there. But what I’m doing is making parents consider homeschooling as a valid alternative. That it can be a great option for your kids.
Because for the longest time, homeschooling wasn’t even on the radar of most parents’ thinking. It was unthinkable. “Leave the education of your kids to the experts,” we were told.
I repeat: There are great schools out there. So do your research.
With your research, why not study this option: Teach your kids at home. I’m not going to kid you. It’s not easy. The sacrifices are huge. But I think it’s a wonderful option to consider.
To find out more about homeschooling, check out www.CatholicFilipinoAcademy.com You’ll find articles that will help you decide if homeschooling is for you or not. Or call Rita at Tel. (632) 5336097 (9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays).