Last week, I got an e-mail from my good friend, Dave Starr. LiP readers will know Dave, because he is a fellow writer on this site. Dave and I have been friends for a couple of years now, and communicate almost daily about anything in life.
Dave’s e-mail to me read:
As both a live in the Philippines expert resource and a current dad I think it’s pretty appropriate. Have you ever seriously considered home schooling your children here in the RP and if you have been close’ to doing so, would you have been in favor of it for elementary years, high school or even college.
Well, I’m not sure how much of an “expert resource” I am, but I do my best. Anyway, here is my response to Dave:
Actually, I think you asked me this question in a recent e-mail, and I overlooked it. I am bad about doing that. I get focused in on replying to one topic, and forget about other stuff in the e-mail.
In our case, we never considered home schooling, either here or when we lived in the States. I feel that there are benefits to home schooling, and there are downsides too. Of course, the biggest downside that you always hear about is the lack of socialization. I believe that is a problem, but not as big a problem as it is made out to be. As we both know (I am sure) there are groups of home schooling parents he have things like get togethers for the kids and such to make up for the in-school socialization that the kids miss out on. For me, as an expat family, the biggest downside to home schooling (or schooling in a very exclusive “foreigner-only” school) would be the lack of cultural exposure. This is especially true in the case of our family, because I expect that our kids will probably live here for the rest of their lives. Living in a home with expat parents (Feyma is quite American after 10 years there) and not getting exposure in the school to the culture, I believe, would not expose them to enough culture to help them fit into the society as they grow older. Now, if we were a missionary couple or something like that who expected to be here 3 or 4 years and then go back to the States, then I think that the culture thing would be much less important.
Another thing that I consider a downside to home schooling, whether in the Philippines or in the USA, is that neither Feyma nor I are trained as a teacher. In some subjects that might be OK. In other subjects, I feel it would be a huge disadvantage for the kids. One example that comes to my mind immediately is that I know that Feyma could not adequately teach me to speak Bisaya. She is not a language teacher. I feel that an example like this could be extended to the kids on some subjects. I just feel that it is better to have a trained educator do the educating.
If I were leaning in this direction, I would be more likely to look into some of the newer online learning solutions that Tom Nixon refers to often. Tom is a real expert in this area, and I’m not certain why you are asking this, but if you have need to do something along these lines, I think that Tom is a good resource that you might consult. The types of things I am talking about are online High School, even Elementary School and College classes given over the net. I believe this is something that could well become quite popular in the future.
Another factor in our case is that Feyma and I live a pretty busy life. Our lifestyle, I feel, would not fit the home schooling lifestyle. My kids come first, but I feel that it is better to let others educate them for many reasons.
Those are my thoughts. If you have other specific questions that I did not address, please just let me know.
If you are an expat, considering Home Schooling is something that will probably pass your mind (assuming that you have children of school age). For me, personally, this just was not the right move. It is a highly personal decision, though, and must be made on a personal level.