What made the Philippine Homeschool Conference so special for me is that it was the first time for my husband and I to attend this type of activity. I love attending seminars and listening to people’s experiences and insights so being able to do this with Jason meant a lot plus it showed our united effort to improve ourselves as homeschooling parents.
Homeschooled kids themselves acted as co-hosts livening up portions in between speakers. Representing the Philippine government in the event, Senator Kiko Pangilinan shared how he played “sari-sari” store with his small daughter to get her to practice Tagalog. The senator also acted as a “camp director” when his other daughter held a sleepover with friends and he facilitated activities such as a cooking competition between groups where only one homeschooled kid was able to successfully cook rice.
From Roots to Wings is the title of the conference and the first speakers, Deonna Tan Chi and her daughter, Joy Mendoza expounded on the “roots” which refer to the firm foundation one must aim to build. Both mother and daughter are veteran homeschooling moms of five children each and staunch advocates of the movement in the country. Without a firm foundation, like a house, the child won’t be able to withstand the crisis and storms of life. Modeling is the most powerful way to “teach” a child because you become the example that you want them to follow. If you are doing things that contradict what you teach, then the child won’t be able to learn it no matter how many times you drive it into them by talking, nagging or screaming. Deonna and Joy reminded parents never to discipline in anger and never shout. On the other hand, they believe that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. Disciplining children is essential but the reason is not to control them but for future good.
Prominent preacher and homeschooling dad, Bo Sanchez expounded on the “wings” and how parents can clip their own children’s wings by failing to change “hats.” In the early years of a child’s life, parents need to put on a “controlling hat” as kids need structure and boundaries. At a certain point, the parent needs to outgrow this hat because the “wings” won’t be able to come out and they have to exchange the hat for the “coaching” kind. If the parents don’t distance themselves from the child, the “wings” won’t have room to stretch. The young want to know who they are separate from their parents. Finally there comes the appropriate time when the parents need to trade the “coaching hat” for the “consultant hat” and speak only when “hired” or asked.
Bo asks, “What happens if you don’t change hats?” He answers his own question, “You will lose your child. Your child won’t mature. They won’t grow in self-esteem. You are sending them the message, ‘I don’t trust you to make the decision.’ Don’t confuse love with need. The only way to hold on is to let go. If your heart is empty, it cannot let go.” To some parents, these may be painful words uttered by Bo and to some grown-up children, they hit a home run of an often bitter truth to swallow.
There are more insights from other speakers in the well-attended conference that I’d love to share but I’ll do that in another blog entry.