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Mom Decides To Homeschool Sons Because They Still 'Couldn't Read Or Spell'
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carissa Getes Simmons
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    What would you do if the school you entrusted to help you educate your child fails you big time? Pregnant mom of five Carissa Getes Simmons had to pull them out of elementary and homeschool them, starting with the basic kindergarten lessons. 

    In 2018, Carissa found out that her Filipino-American kids who were then enrolled in grades one, two, and three in a traditional school had gaps in their education. She was then a single mom and was on vacation from her work in the U.S. 

    "I asked them to read to me and spell out their names, but none of them were able to do so," she shared with Smartparenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger. 

    At that time, her eldest was already in third grade and had a hard time reading a three-letter word. All three kids have not learned their alphabets and phonics, nor did they know how to count over 20. 

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    Carissa didn't know her kids were being passed from one grade level to the next without really learning the core lessons. She admits she's partly to blame because, as their mom, she should have known, right? But she worked overseas and couldn't monitor their schooling. 


    But seeing that she needed to focus on her kids' education, Carissa's first plan was to transfer them to an international school. She thought it was the language barrier that hindered her kids' learning. Her kids only spoke English and very little to no Filipino at all.

    To her surprise, the international school she approached told her that her kids should be placed in kindergarten instead. So Carissa decided to homeschool her three kids. The goal was to retake the evaluation test and re-enroll in a school. 

    It was not an easy decision for Carissa, who still had to leave the country for a few months to work overseas. To add to her anxiety, a few well-meaning individuals had told her, "If the school couldn't teach them how to read, how would you?"

    Before she decided to homeschool her kids, Carissa had formal training for Secondary Education. She never formally taught, though she tutored college kids and taught English as a second language for six years.

    Her teaching credentials didn't make homeschooling easy. "Homeschooling three boys were very tough, having to catch them up on their education," Carissa shared.

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    But it was all worth it. "After two months of crying (mostly me), we have made progress. They were able to learn their letters," Carissa wrote in her Instagram dedicated to their homeschool experience in the Philippines. 

    "After four months, they were able to read three-letter words," she added. Today, Carissa and her kids reading and have even put up a reading nook and small library in their study area. 

    "[My kids] have made so much progress at home that I decided to continue teaching them," Carissa shared.

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    Since then, she's been homeschooling her three boys and has started teaching her 3-year-old son this year. On top of it all, Carissa is taking care of a toddler and is pregnant with her sixth child. "It gets stressful," she admits. When she's away for work, her fiance takes care of the kids. 

    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Carissa Getes Simmons

    Carissa and her four kids just started their new school year last July. After two months of homeschooling, they've been on a week-long break. "Because I'm worn out, the kids are frustrated, and everyone needs a mental break," the homeschooling mom shared. 

    One of the perks of homeschooling is that you can determine your schedule and choose a curriculum for your kids or make your own. Carissa is currently incorporating the Charlotte Mason homeschooling philosophy and revamping their lesson plans. 

    She has also purchased new books. "So far, I'm happy with my decision, but the only way to know if it'll work is when we restart. And if it doesn't work, we are taking another pause and reevaluate," she shared. "And that is the beauty of homeschooling," Carissa stressed. 

    It's crucial to choose the right school for your child. Teachers are your partners in raising your child. But never forget that you are your child's first teachers. You know your kids better and care more about their educational needs. 

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