Being Released from a Decade of Homeschooling: A Teen Shares his Experience

In this category, Precious Partners, HomesCool.ph features entries/posts from  our dear co-laborers in Homeschooling.  They could be parents, teachers, students, pastors, doctors  and experts in various fields of education and child rearing:)  For our ever first entry in this category, a former homeschooler opens up!  Read on and be blessed:)

“The days were ticking by fast, and once August rolled in, there was no turning back. Being homeschooled my entire existence in this world, I had the faintest idea of how it would feel to be attending real school or, as we homeschoolers like to call it, “big school”. During my childhood, my parents decided to homeschool me. The purpose was to prepare me for big school. This was an excellent choice!

My mother was an above par teacher for almost all subjects. It was very easy to learn with my mother as my teacher. This is due to the fact that homeschooling offers a more personal teacher-student relationship. Another reason to homeschool was due to our family’s faith. Being Christians, my parents wanted to educate me about the Bible and instill its teachings and wisdom. My parents wanted to teach these things to me at a young age.

When I reached grade 7, my parents thought it was time for me to go to real school. I entered a fairly small international school. As my first day of class drew closer and closer, many questions plagued my mind, “How would I fit in?” was one of the biggest thoughts in my head.  This and a lll the questions however, vanished during my first day of school. I had so much fun, I totally forgot about what bothered me in the first place.  No kidding!  I think it helped because my batch mates were really a great bunch of people!

I found it really easy to adjust to school! The hardest part, I think, was waking up early in the morning. I made friends quickly and I received high marks in most of my subjects. However,  I still had to work on certain things coming from the homeschool environment.  Let me share what  the adjustments that most homeschoolers will face when the big day eventually comes:

Classmates: Finding and making friends is an important task that homeschoolers will have to be accustomed to. Coming from a small a school with only about 30-40 students per batch, this was not too difficult for me. My advice is to find a group of friends or a “barkada” where you just can be yourself. It shouldn’t be your top priority to be in the “cool” barkada, rather you should try to find people who share similar interests and hobbies with you. I, for instance, am fond of playing basketball and  I just  love everything about basketball. The friends I made in school were mostly basketball players. I also suggest not to just stay limited within your group of friends. Do not look down or even maybe bully those who are different or seem “uncool” to you. Reach out to them and get to know them better!

Teachers: Every school will have a variety of different teachers. Each teacher may have different personalities or teaching techniques. While some teachers may be friendly there are also other teachers who can be very strict. Treat all your teachers with respect and kindness even the ones you dislike. Now that you are in a real school, not all teachers will act towards you like your mother would. In my experience, I had a very strict and even scary looking teacher.

Class: Being in a real classroom is very different from being taught at home. I believe that it is essential to be confident, hardworking and a risk-taker in class to succeed. It is critical to be attentive and to participate in discussions and activities. For me, it is all right to talk or chat with classmates but one should know when he or she has gone over the line. In my school, asking questions is very important. You should take a risk in asking questions and also answering questions, this shows the teacher that you are enthusiastic to learn and gives you a better understanding of the lesson.

Activities: One of the biggest downside of Homeschooling in my opinion is the fact that there are no regular sports teams and after school activities are limited. When you first enter a school, don’t be afraid to try out or join teams or clubs. It will make help you gain many friends and fun memories.

Influence: Another reason why Homeschooling is very crucial to our family is to that,  I believe, it created a strong foundation of values and principles early in my childhood and primary years. This will help avoid from picking up bad influences from other people as we are released to mainstream schooling. This is the reason WHY my parents wanted to prepare me before sending me off the real school. In reality, every school, I believe has a variety of bad influences which commonly come from other students. These may include constant swearing, cheating, lying, perverted jokes, pornography, drinking, smoking and even drugs. As a follower of Christ, I try to avoid picking up bad influences, but I am not perfect. The best way not to get influenced is to avoid hanging around students who are not the best role models. You may think that since a lot of people smoke, swear or drink, these then are automatically “cool” . This is called Peer Pressure and reality, I’m pretty sure God does not think such behaviors are “cool”. Peer Pressure is something that you need to avoid or resist. You CANNOT make use the excuse that “If everyone does it, why can’t I do it?” or “Since my friends are doing it, I think Ill try it”. You must learn how to simply just say “No” and if people do laugh at you then let them. This then ultimately shows how important it is for you to surround yourself with good friends as mentioned earlier. Being a good example yourself can help ward off bad influences.

I am still young and will face a lot more challenges and adjustments. It’s only my 4th year of being released from Homeschool. Since then, I have moved to a much bigger and more mainstream High School. But I am thankful for my Homeschooling Years. These, I totally believe, were one of the best experiences that I will ever encounter in my growing years. “

Fab Finds Batch 5

1. Found TIME to teach the kids how to play mahjong- Chow!

I grew up in 2 families playing mahjong.  Both my grandparents’ houses of both sides were “Mahjong venues”.  Several square Mahjong tables filled their living room and we would often criss cross as kids checking out the tables or the feast in the buffet table. I can still hear how the mahjong tile or pieces hit each other when you do the mixing before you build those walls.  So we had our own set and table in our own home in the 1970s/80s. Our summers were always filled with Mahjong games with siblings and cousins.  I had taught my eldest son to play Mahjong during a few visits to the beach where we brought a set.  Finally, I found the time to teach our 2 younger children how to play.  It was actually funny!  Imagine my kids’ horror when the mahjong set we used had no numbers in the Chinese Character tiles.  Now,  I hope to play the card game called  “99” next. We should play more. Maybe time to bring down the mahjong table from the attic (yes we have one!) .

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2. Giant Washi Tapes

Raya loves watermelons.  So guess what I found?  Toys R Us!

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3. Oh my.  Salted Caramel Brownies in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Coffee Shop!

This is so yummy.  So rich, it must be shared with a friend over a hot cup of coffee.  It’s a chocolate, moist brownie with a little coffee taste!

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4. Reward Stickers and cool tags  in National Book Store for less than 100.00 !!!

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5.   Reasonably priced Art Materials in Toys R us as gifts to your budding artists!

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6.  She finally gets her cacti ( apparently “cactuses” as plural for cactus is also accepted)

Remember Raya’s painting?  She loves cacti and was asking me where we could get some.  I guess, she couldn’t wait so she decided to paint some to display in her room.   And then her birthday came along and her sweet Tita Nenette and Tito Boogi got her own “real” cacti:) IMG_8538

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7.  Nice crocheted throw pillow cases from Kultura for Php 250.00 each

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8. Found time to do a quick art work for the blog.  Just watercolor and a pen:)

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9. Found a homeschooler who created  two designs for Homeschoolers of the Philippines (FB) community group logo!

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So thankful to Homeschooling Mommy Milona Barraca and her sweet once homeschooled daughter, Meg.  We love her work of Art and Heart! We are now working on cleaning and simplifying using a digital app so the logo can be more effective for use in shirts. pins or streamers!

10. Hole in a Wall in Century Mall in Makati

Entering this “food court” will remind you of the modern  yet cozy food courts in  high end malls in Singapore, Hongkong or even the modern airports of Europe.  We only tried Bad Bird for their Umami Fried Chicken and  Scout’s Honor Make Your Own Cookie stall . We hope to go back and try other “holes” in this great wall. The place has an indie feel as there are no fast food chains or famous restaurants .

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My arm wasn’t long enough. Not yet good in taking the whole gang… Famselfie?
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Photo Credit: http://gluttonshopper.blogspot.com/2014/12/hole-in-wall-find-phobobo-pho-king-de.html
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Photo credit: http://www.joeiandme.com/2014/11/hole-in-wall-in-century-mall-makati.html