We were among the first families in Bacolod who have been very vocal about homeschooling our children. Since this is a novel concept in our city, not too many people were happy about our decision. Handling negative opinion positively had been a part of our lifestyle.
Rise of Homeschooling
Many families in Manila have chosen to homeschool their children because of many urgent reasons. These include the worsening traffic situation, security, bullying, and high costs of a regular school. But homeschooling is still not a very popular choice for a smaller city like Bacolod.
Naturally, we encountered a lot of opposition and discouragement from different people. They have varying degrees of relationships to us, but somehow they feel the need to put in their two-cents’ worth. There was one good-natured lady who asked where we will send Shawna to school. Before I could answer, she politely said, “Anywhere but never homeschool.”
And that’s okay — we are a society, after all. They are just concerned. What will become of our daughters if we take the non-conformist’s path.
Handling Negative Opinion Positively
With different people, we deal with them differently. Most of the time, the questioning is directed at me about homeschooling in Bacolod. So I have sort of a “canned response” already.
Parents nowadays mostly have the mindset that education should be fully entrusted to the school. And the school system has also evolved to cater to such mindset.
There are schools that may be intentional in working hand in hand with the parents. But there is also a need to draw a clear line about the responsibilities of the parents and the school.
One particular concern is the lack in processing regarding what the kids learn in school. If only parents know how to relate or connect all the knowledge to life situations, we can be able to better harness the kids’ potentials.
Common Homeschooling Concerns
Here are some homeschooling concerns that were brought up to us.
- Lack of socialization – Will discuss this in another post. Most of the time, parents prefer that their kids interact with their age group. In a nutshell, our homeschooled kids are exposed not just to kids their age. They learn social skills from grown ups, who are better models in such aspect than peers.
- Handling life problems – Parents have more opportunities to intentionally teach their kids about different approaches to life.
- Building defenses against bullies – We don’t have to expose our children to bullies to teach them to fight back. We can prepare them minus the traumatic experiences. Most of all, we teach them about love, kindness, and forgiveness. These are stronger weapons against bullies.
- Not having best friends to grow up with – I didn’t either. But I got to build quality friendships in life and they are not from school.
- DepEd accreditation – This depends on your homeschooling provider. SOT has procedures for this. If you want to go independent, you can visit the local DepEd office for more information on P.E.P.T. Assessment.
- Extracurricular activities – Together with our kids, we choose the activities that they like.
- Parents can’t teach – Parents are the best teachers about life. Accessing knowledge has become very easy due to leaps and bounds in information technology. This has even made homeschooling a better alternative for acquiring knowledge. But researching in the internet is still best with parental guidance. This is especially true when parents don’t know how to use apps and software to censor questionable content.
Handling Genuine Concern
There are people who are genuinely concerned why we are homeschooling in Bacolod. Life family, for instance, and we need their support. Meanwhile, there are those who are just obviously hecklers and I would know them.
The first group deserve my explanation so I take the time to discuss our choice as well as to address their concerns. I do so politely because there is no need to be defensive about it. Eventually, I know that they will see the advantages and benefits of homeschooling.
Establish Your Family Goals
One tip that I can share with you about handling negative opinion is to set your family goals. Once you know why you are homeschooling, then it’s easier for you to defend your choice.
However, there’s another group of people. There are those who I know are already closed-minded in their opinion about homeschooling. I am well aware that no matter how you explain things to them, they will find fault in your choice. With this group, I would just smile and nod at the points they are raising. No need to argue. It will just spoil your mood and use up your energy.
If ever, I just make it a point not to alienate them while getting my ideas across. We know these people personally and we circulate in very small circles.
No Point Losing Friends
At the back of my mind, this is the “society” that my children will grow up in. Additionally, we do not want to be losing friends just for the sake of homeschooling in Bacolod. This is our choice and we are the ones paying for their education anyway.
But people will have their opinion anyway, whatever our choices may be. So we have accepted the fact that there’s a need for propriety. Handling negative opinion the positive way always has its rewards, whether about homeschooling or life.
Change of Perspective
I think there’s a need for me to mention that the negative opinion was when before we started formal homeschooling. This continued well during the early months.
But now, when people meet our daughters for the first time, they are usually impressed first. Then they would ask where they are schooled. When I tell them that our kids are homeschooled, they are all the more impressed and would ask questions. That’s my cue to introduce how homeschooling works.
And the naysayers before? Well, I guess they realized they were wrong. Or they realized that they can’t do anything to change our decision and have given up. Whatever the reason, we’re fine.
It’s now our sixth year of homeschooling and we love it.
After her Kinder at Bright Kids Preschool, Shane will now be joining her Achi. She’s going to be in Level 1. Both of them are under School of Tomorrow.
I am writing this for new homeschooling families who might be discouraged. Handling negative opinion is part of life. Let’s just do our best to deal with it positively.