After my daughter, Justine, finished kindergarten, my husband and I contemplated about homeschooling her. We were considering it for so many reasons, and we had a long discussion about it. Not only did we believe that we would be the best teachers for her, but we both agreed that there were some flaws in the schooling system in the Philippines, where we currently reside. This was not a decision made overnight. We thoroughly researched on the homeschooling lifestyle; gathering the pros and the cons. Finally, we decided to give it a try.
We had a few challenges on our homeschooling journey, one of them is that our family from both sides are firm believers of the traditional schooling system. Some relatives were insistent that we put our daughter in a regular school. There was, and still is, a stigma around homeschooling. Homeschooling was not well known in the Philippines at that time. Many seemed to think that having no exposure to other children (as they would if they were perhaps in regular school), would make them timid and unsociable. However, this is simply not true. Even though it is termed as “home”schooling, it does not mean that my daughter is locked up in the house all day. In fact, it is the complete opposite. We go out, we travel, and not only does she mingles with other children her age, but she also communicates with confidence, and learns from people of all different ages and backgrounds. Of course, in the first year, my husband and I, as well as our daughter, had to adjust to this new lifestyle. But after a lot of experimentation on what worked and what did not, we finally found a steady rhythm. I, being her teacher, was able to adapt to lessons for her specific learning style. In addition to the general school subjects, she has the freedom to learn and gather knowledge on whatever she is interested in.
It all started when she was two years old. I had played the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, for my own personal pleasure, while she was doing her usual two year old activities. As she scribbled with her crayons, there was a part in a song where the opera singer had hit the highest note, and to my amazement, so did she! After a moment of shock, I repeated the song, and asked her if she could try to sing that song again for me. And for the second time, she had amazed me by effortlessly singing the highest part of the song. From then, I slowly introduced more operatic songs to her. And being an early talker, she easily sang those songs, surprising most who watched and listened to her sing.
At three years old, I taught her how to play the guitar, which she picked up as easily as her singing. At four, having seen a violinist play at a house party, she had announced that she would like to play the violin herself. Violin lessons began shortly after that. An instructor would go to our home once a week to give her lessons. Piano lessons followed when she turned six. Same as the violin, an instructor taught her at home.
As the years flew by, she grew even more interested in music, picking up yet another instrument, the ukulele, at the age of nine. She improved and honed her singing, and until recently, she had been completely self-taught. At the age of eleven, it was apparent that music and singing had transformed into a full blown passion of hers. She wrote her first song at twelve, and she is currently working on another.
Last year, we enrolled her in a singing course specifically geared towards soprano voices. This delighted her tremendously! She had not only learned new vocal techniques, but she also got to socialize with other women, for it was a group singing class. She was fortunate enough to even be able to participate in a concert with all of her fellow classmates after she had finished the course. This, she greatly enjoyed. Now, at fourteen years old, she is interested in taking even more singing classes, this time delving into the world of theatre. She continues to grow even more passionate for her craft. And although music is her passion, she loves art and writing too! I would say that homeschooling plays a major role on her ongoing development. The wonderful freedom of homeschooling allows her to truly spend as much time as she desires on her passion. But homeschooled or not, I believe that instead of trying to mold our children into a specific person of what our society wants, we should just teach them how to be true to themselves. Children should have the freedom of exploring different fields and developing a passion of what they truly enjoy and want to pursue. It is our job as parents to support and offer guidance to whatever that may be. We should just allow our children to spend time to focus on what they are truly interested in. If this were the case, then perhaps the world would be filled with more happy and creative souls.
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