Why we decided to homeschool our daughter
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. Public schools here have 76-79 students per classroom, and the books that are being supplied by the Department of Education are so outdated. Private schools are supplied the same outdated books. So even if we pay for a more expensive school that has a slightly lower teacher-student ratio, the quality of education will be the same as the public school since they are using the same said textbooks. 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 different ages and backgrounds. We started homeschooling Justine when she was 5 years old. Of course, in the first year, my husband and I, as well as our her, had to adjust to this new lifestyle. One of the things we had to overcome was maintaining our balance. My husband and I each have our own businesses to manage. It was a big adjustment on how we had to take care of it while scheduling enough time for Justine’s studies. But after a lot of experimentation on what worked and what did not, we finally found a steady rhythm. I, being her teacher to most subjects, 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.
Discovering her musical talents
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.