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FAMILY LIFE: The Struggles and Benefits of Teaching Children at Home, Part 1

THE PANDEMIC has forced parents in situations where they have to oversee their children’s education. Our sharers, Ben & Gladys Togonon, made the difficult decision to homeschool their 3 older kids instead of the private schools they attend. It was not an easy decision when you have a brood of five boys aged 2 months, 1.7, 5, 8, and 13 years old! Gladys shares her struggles, courage, and conviction to do the difficult task of homeschooling.

Early last year my husband kept on telling me to homeschool our kids because we noticed they were becoming persons we least expected. I knew this was the right thing to do to help our children improve, but I wasn’t 100% sold out to the idea. Questions filled my mind and heart: Why will I pull out my kids who excel academically? What if I screw them up? Are they going be too sheltered to be well-rounded? How about their socialization? What if I had them tested at the end of the school year and find that they actually learned nothing under my care? I was scared, I was not fully equipped, was I ready.

After much prayer and thorough deliberation, we lifted up all our anxieties, fears and doubts to the Lord. So we finally took the plunge into the road less traveled of homeschooling, holding on to God’s promises and design for our family to educate our children. We believe the family should be a child’s primary influence. We believe that education is more than just about awards and academic achievements, as Charlotte Mason says, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”

As we have our daily routine, we get to catch certain habits, bad behaviors and negative attitudes first hand that need proper attention and correction from us. Being with our children gives us the opportunity to parent them and model the right values and traits that we want to instill. We are not perfect; sometimes we fail them, we commit mistakes, we ask for forgiveness, and we are fully dependent on God’s mercy and grace. Aside from academics, we incorporate essential life skills to our curriculum starting from housekeeping, technical, survival, money management and some old-fashioned skills. We enjoy having spontaneous teaching moments in an informal everyday setting. We learn alongside our children as we feast on learnings based on their strengths, weaknesses, and personal interests. We also embrace failures and shortcomings to strive better towards growth and success.

However homeschooling is not an easy feat. It requires a great deal of patience and sacrifices. There are multiple interruptions. There are occasional conflicts. And some days are hard, so hard that I cried buckets. When things get tough I have this imaginary button to press and eject myself just to keep my sanity and say my personal motto: “tomorrow is another day!” “I shall return”. But seriously when homeschooling is hard for me, I hold fast to this anchor from the Bible: Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” So I just pick up the broken pieces, compose myself and start all over again.

With our current situation everyone is forced to homeschool their children that gives us the opportunity to share our journey to other families who are scrambling for ways to teach their children. God affirmed our conviction two years ago to homeschool our children and be prepared ahead of time to help others. To God be all the Glory!

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