One of the concerns that always crop up when it comes to homeschooling is the ability of a homeschooled child to compete with other students to get into a good university. Can they even hack it at our top universities? They definitely do, answers Donna Pangilinan-Simpao, who runs the support group Homeschoolers of the Philippines on Facebook.
“In my support group alone, out of the seven who were homeschooled in their elementary years and in high school, two are now in Ateneo De Manila University, one is in the University of the Philippines, and two are in De La Salle University Taft and one in De La Salle Cavite (Emilio Aguinaldo ). I can name you more.”
She adds, “I don't need to look far. My homeschooled niece and nephew have graduated from UP with honors and Ateneo with a distinguished award. Look at the Tan-Chi children too.”
The Tan-Chi siblings were all homeschooled for their grade school years. Peter Jr. and Paul now run their family's real estate development company. Joy, whom you may know as the wife of TV news broadcaster Edric Mendoza, is the director of The Master's Academy homeschool program. Ruth took up dentistry in the U.S. and Carolyn studied psychology at Ateneo de Manila University.
During a TEDx event held in Hong Kong three years ago, homeschooling dad Joshua Steimlenamed some of the world's top universities that accept homeschooled applicants with open arms, such as the likes of Oxford, Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard.
“These schools not only are saying that they accept homeschoolers, Harvard said it’s actually an asset that they consider favorably,” said Steimle. He quoted the university’s website, “Homeschooling is an educational asset that Harvard considers favorably when making admissions’ decisions.”
He continues, “Ben Swann is an award-winning investigative journalist. He was homeschooled. He received his high school diploma when he was eleven. He got his bachelor’s degree when he was fifteen. He got his master’s degree when he was sixteen.”
Other famous people who were homeschooled include Albert Einstein, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and 14 other US presidents, Thomas Edison and Charles Dickens. The founders of New York Times, Honda and KFC were also homeschooled.
The CEO of an online marketing agency and a Forbes contributing writer, Steimle addressed another concern by those unfamiliar with homeschooling in his talk: teachers can educate a child better than a parent, right?
This isn’t necessarily true, argued Steimle. In a classroom, he said, children learn the same thing, in the same manner, and at the same speed. However, he explained, “Some children learn faster, some children learn slower. Some children learn by listening, other children learn by experience.”
Parents know their child best and can suit lesson plans according to the needs of their child. “You are the expert on your child. Nobody else can take your place.” What’s more, your child doesn’t have to stop learning about a topic just because the school year is over, added Steimle. “There’s more flexibility in homeschooling to provide real world learning experiences and not just experiences that are created in a textbook.”
Pangilinan-Simpao has this to say: "Education is facilitation of learning. Learning is best if done in the safest and most supportive environment. Learning is best if the teacher knows the children well. Learning is optimal if there is relevance and fun. Now, who can facilitate such learning? A paid yet trained teacher or a loving mother willing to learn to be best teacher?"
As parting words in his talk, Steimle said, “My wife and I decided to homeschool because we feel it is the best education we can provide for our children. We’re excited to learn with them. I would invite you to look into homeschooling. To explore it. It’s not the right fit for everybody but it might be the right fit for you. If I can do it, I know you can do it as well. It does take sacrifice. It is hard, but children are worth it.”
If you’re considering homeschooling your child, here’s a list of institutions that can get you started on an action plan.
Educational institutions will require your child to pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT). Like other applicants, she will have to pass the university’s entrance test. The PEPT is conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) annually in November. Find out more about it here.
(Note: If your child is enrolled in a senior high school program in a homeschool provider that is accredited by DepEd, your child may no longer need to take the PEPT. Contact a homeschool provider to learn more.)