You won’t believe she’s only thirteen years old and she’s being homeschooled by my sister. My niece, Gianna is quite wise beyond her years. Every year, I look forward to her birthday because each time, I take her as promised, to Fully Booked to choose books she wants. Now I can’t believe that she’s gone beyond the YA section and reading the same things I was only acquainted with in my twenties and thirties. What’s more, she’s writing increasingly like a pro and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her bright, bright future.
From a proud aunt and godmother, here’s our interview conducted online:
Tell me what your typical homeschooling day is like.
Usually, my mom will wake me up and give me some time to eat breakfast and get ready to study. I find that this really helps because the more well rested I am, the more I am able to focus. At around 12pm, I will eat lunch and lounge around until 1pm. My mom will then write down the things I am required to finish within the day. I’m glad that she expects me to be independent and responsible with my obligations for school. The time I end school usually varies depending on what subjects I have to do within the day. Usually, English, history, and Bible are quicker to finish as opposed to Math and Science because those subjects are more complex.
What do you like best about being homeschooled?
I like learning. In conventional school, you memorize; in homeschool, you understand. Not all minds are the same, and that is something conventional schools tend to forget. We all learn at different paces and speeds. However, I do believe that we are all intelligent in different ways, but if your “way of intelligence” is unorthodox, conventional schools will shun your intellect and ways of learning. I realized that the more your thoughts become restricted, the more your ideas become limited–this is something that never seems to happen in homeschooling. My ideas are able to soar instead of being put into a prison cell.
What activities do you like most to do?
School activities-wise, I enjoy answering essay questions. My mom will always (as in, ALWAYS) push me to make profound and insightful answers. If my answers are just full of facts and lack learnings and depth, she will give me a low mark on my tests, seat works, quizzes, etc. I’m really glad she pushes me to think deeply and to find some sort of lesson in everything.
What things have you discovered or done that you think you wouldn’t have been able to if you went to a regular or traditional school?
I discovered my ability to write. In conventional school, they will state the essay question then put “Explain in no more than 5 sentences.” With this in my mind all throughout grade school, I avoided writing because my perception of writing has been tainted. I saw writing as a chore because I had so many requirements and restrictions. But, in homeschool, it is the substance that matters–not the amount of sentences. There, I found my love for writing and literature.
What are the things you are most interested in studying?
I enjoy studying science. My science book is creation-based and supports the existence of God. Ever since I have started using that Science book, I do not even dare to question the existence of God. Science fully supports Him! The fact that not everything He did can be scientifically proven, proves that He is God; because since He created science, He can surely break its laws.
How did you discover that interest?
The Science book I use is very easy to understand (yet it challenges your mind) and the style of writing is very interesting.
Do you have friends who are being homeschooled and do you have friends who go to regular or traditional school?
Yes, I do have friends who are homeschooled, and I have friends who go to conventional school. I actually get along better with homeschooled students sometimes because their minds are used to thinking outside the box. But, conventional school students are also fun to get along with because I get to teach them how to think outside the box. It is also beneficial for me to hang out with both types of students because this teaches me to be a more flexible person.
Do you notice any difference in the way they are?
Yes, I do. Conventional school students hate school, while homeschooled students (at least the ones I’ve hung out with) seem to enjoy school more. In fact, they sometimes enjoy school so much that they like researching on various topics related to their subject. Some even like to study advanced lessons
Are you tempted or do you ever end up just playing video games or watching TV the whole day?
I do wish I could use my phone at times, but my mom keeps my phone during school hours. She only lets me use it when my work is finished and done excellently.
What do you do when you are bored or when you don’t know what to do?
When I get bored, I usually write or read a book. Most of the time, I’ll stay with my mom and brother.
How do you find people to help you when you have questions and your parents can’t answer your questions?
I really try to avoid asking my friends for advice. I just can’t seem to trust my friends (especially “worldly” friends) because they aren’t as mature as my parents and do not know much about life. I usually just wait until my parents are available to answer my questions.
What are the things you don’t like about being homeschooled?
I don’t really have any issues with being homeschooled.
What are the challenges of homeschooling?
One of the challenges I often face is when someone will ask me where I go to school. When I tell them I’m homeschooled, there are two ways they can react: First, they can belittle me and pretend like I’m dumb or insult my intellect by asking me strange questions like, “Will you be homeschooled in college?” or “Are you okay? Do you have friends?” Second, they can bombard me with questions related to my academics such as, “What is the real name of George Orwell?” or “Why did the Ming dynasty fall?” Both of these reactions are equally painful and disturbing
How many tutors do you have now and in what subjects?
I have 2 tutors. One for Filipino, and one for math.
Can you describe your relationship with your tutors?
The relationship I have with my tutors is actually very good. They consider me to be eloquent and pretty mature for my age. I’ve grown very attached to them, especially because my education somewhat relies on them.
How many hours a day do you have tutorials and how many times a week?
I have two hours for math twice a week, and the same for Filipino.
What do you like about having tutors?
I enjoy developing relationships with them. It helps me appreciate people who actually take the time to educate others and go out of their way to shape the minds of people who are eager to learn. Also, I learn to socialize with people who are much older than me, since I see them twice a week. It helps me get used to different kinds of personalities as well, and it overall prepares me for the real world, because not everyone whom I will be working with will be my age.
What are the things you do with or for the community?
Since we have a pre-school in our village, I will sometimes teach there and take care of the children. I know that these kids will most probably end up in a conventional school. So, I want to teach them to think outside of the box and to not limit their ideas, even from an early age. I know that I may not be an influential person, but as long as they know that they are capable of using their minds correctly, I will do whatever I can to get that message across to them.