Mommy Talks is featuring different homeschooling parents. Our guest for today is Winnie Lopez. I personally know Winnie as we are part of the homeschooling support group that meets here in Santa Rosa Laguna. Through the years, I have been blessed to know her and have her as a friend. I am honored to feature her and her family in today’s Mommy Talks.
I am helpmeet to my husband who is a lawyer by profession, homeschooling mom to our five children (ages 15, 13, 9, 7, and 3), and keeper of our home.
In the year 2000, five years into our marriage, my husband and I migrated to Canada along with our girls (then 3 and 2). The Lord blessed us with 3 more children during our 9 years abroad. We have been back in the Philippines almost 3 years now.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO HOMESCHOOL YOUR KIDS? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN HOMESCHOOLING THEM?
We officially (I bought curricula and taught formally) began homeschooling when my oldest daughter was 4. I heard of homeschooling from our pastor’s American wife back in the 1990s. When we migrated and I was faced with the option to enroll my daughter in public school, it was clear homeschooling was something I ought to give a try. We did and there has been no looking back ever since. That was 11 years ago. The Lord continued to confirm to me that this was, for our family, the best way we can parent our children intentionally, disciple them, and ignite in them the love for learning.
FOR THE PAST YEARS THAT YOU HAVE BEEN HOMESCHOOLING, DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS ABOUT IT?
No regrets. Doubts, yes. This happened when I decided to home school or fulfill my duties as wife, mother, and manager of our home on my own strength or wisdom and not on the Lord’s. The closest I came to giving up was when we recently looked for alternatives for my oldest child who was doing high school work. Unfortunately, it was not as easy to move her to a local school and continue the work that we have begun. The Lord also confirmed in my heart the calling to continue home schooling through high school for now. It is a blessing that as an alternative to traditional school, we can home school through high school with the option to enlist outside help such as tutors or online/correspondence courses.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING?
First, educating our 5 children at home has allowed us to do with God’s command (Deut 6:7) as He would like us: “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” It seems that homeschooling allows us to effectively transfer to the children our worldview and values.
Second, if parents are given the freedom to take charge of their child’s education and parents accept that responsibility wholeheartedly, the quality of that education will no doubt be for the best interests of that child. Parents know their children better. Homeschooling is the closest we will ever get to a one-on-one type of learning. The home is the natural and safe place where children can grow and learn with parents who, though imperfect, are motivated by love for them.
Third, children who have been taught how to learn (for this is hopefully the aim of homeschooling as children grow older) will be motivated to learn anything that they grow a passion for. Photography and learning to play the guitar are some interests that my teens have taken the time to self-learn recently. If guided by coaches or music tutors, I have always received feedback of how noticeable in them their motivation to learn, their discipline to progress quickly, and their respect for teachers making them a joy to teach.
Lastly, there are practical advantages too. For our family, homeschooling means I don’t have to be shuttling back and forth taking children to school and extra curricular activities. My mom used to do this a lot for my siblings and me, I recall. The flexibility of homeschooling allows us to schedule errands, appointments, trips, etc, during the week when there are not too many people or during non-peak hours to avoid traffic. Also, school locations or school schedules do not dictate how we live our life.
HOW HAS HOMESCHOOLING AFFECTED YOUR FAMILY?
Home schooling inevitably presumes that parents as agents take their role as authority instituted by God in the family and train their children accordingly. Thus, it seems, we have children who are more easily influenced by us, are disciplined to heed our instruction, and therefore recognize God’s very authority in their own lives. Relationship-wise, the bonds among our family members are stronger than bonds formed outside our home. We enjoy a lot of things together such as reading even to my teenagers, sports such as tennis and swimming, family trips, preparing food together (and eating, of course!) or just hanging out at home. As the children are secure in their relationships at home, it seems they are also able to relate well to other adults and children, especially as they mature. There is constant request for neighborhood kids and families for our children to come visit their homes.
Since homeschooling for us means training the children to help out at home, there is camaraderie among siblings despite age gaps, the children take responsibility for household chores at a young age, and we all develop a servant attitude in the context of family. Hopefully, even as we train them at home, they will apply what they learn in whatever context they will find themselves in the future.
ANY TIPS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH THOSE WHO ARE CONSIDERING TO HOMESCHOOL?
When I first began homeschooling, I was not fully aware of everything it would entail. All I knew was that it was something the Lord was prodding me to do. From the outset, anybody considering homeschooling will undoubtedly know that to be in charge of our children’s education personally will take a lot of sacrifice. It is not some sort of fad or something we go into lightly. As someone open to the very idea of teaching, I was also willing to educate myself about the whole new idea through books, websites, home school suppliers, forums, support group, and other people’s experiences. Information about it abound. And, one will learn along the way.
Homeschooling is a journey that will slowly open up to you depending on your family’s unique situation. There are so many known approaches to homeschooling and even if you adhered to one, the way you do that in your circumstance will still be different from someone else. There is also an enormous amount of curricula available to meet the goals and specific learning styles of each family. There is no one-size-fits-all in homeschooling. That is precisely why there is this alternative. And there is no right or wrong way to home school. Moms don’t need to go to school so they can teach their children in exactly the same way using exactly the same methods and materials. That would definitely be an irony! So, for those considering this exciting adventure, may God go with you for from Him flow all grace and provision!
Follow Winnie and her family’s journey as they homeschool through her blog at http://winniewith5.wordpress.com/