When I met Sachi, she was spearheading a pawikan conservation project in La Union and she was clearly passionate about it. That was four years ago. She was single then and now she’s married to a New Zealander with a two year old boy of her own. Our paths serendipitously crossed back then courtesy of my departed grandmother and our roads intersect once more because of homeschooling. She was homeschooled by a groovy bee-keeper dad and artistic mom. Sachi plans to homeschool her child and future children while I’ve started homeschooling my two boys as well.
How long were you homeschooled?
From Kindergarten all the way through to my first year of college. If I remember correctly I just went to one year of kindergarten at a “regular” school.
How did your parents decide to homeschool you?
Like all parents, my parents wanted the best for us kids, and because my dad was working for an NGO that required him to move from one place to another depending on what community that NGO was servicing, my dad wanted us to all be together. My parents also wanted to raise us in a way where we would have many different skills and talents and at the same time, had the spiritual values my parents wanted to share with us. And because they felt that putting us into a “regular schooling system” would not make this possible, they decided to homeschool us. Since their youth, both my parents always broke away from the norm. It wasn’t that they were just trying to be “independent” or were “rebels,” it was just that they did not mind going against the current to find and do what they thought and felt was right.
Can you describe some moments in homeschooling that you can’t forget?
I’ll just name a few:
1. I’ll put this semi-negative one first. It did not bother me so much because, even when I heard the things people told me and my siblings or my parents, I had no doubts I was getting a good education. So: how some people (especially some of our relatives) were always… for lack of a better word, harassing my parents and us about homeschooling and saying that we were going to be “left behind” and wouldn’t get into good enough universities or jobs later on, but when we sometimes were allowed to skip to a higher grade and especially when we got into good universities, they had nothing else to say.
2. As an 11 year old, thinking and feeling how cool it was that I got to travel around and see all these cool places around the Philippines and meet different people and yet still keep up with my studies while we were on the road.
3. I am saying this in a very non-arrogant way: when I was in uni, my classmates always marveled at all the things I knew how to do and they always felt like, “I wish I could do those things too!!” And I knew that it was because of my homeschooling background that I had learned much more practical-life-skills and some other academic skills than my classmates.
4. As a teenager and later a competitive athlete – loving how I got to spend so much more time with my dad than people who go to the regular schooling system would be able to spend with their parents. My dad was and still is an entrepreneur, so he didn’t have to go work at an office or anywhere else, so this was also another good thing for me, because I got to spend a lot of time with him and learning from him.
Do you ever think about what would have happened if you went to a regular school?
Yes, I think I would be like everyone else.
What are you doing now and how has homeschooling influenced you in the path that you are taking?
Right now I spend most of my time doing social community development work and also taking care of my 2 year old son. Because I was homeschooled, I spent a lot of time doing extra-curricular activities, including going to different orphanages, old age homes, and poor communities where we hold different events for the benefit of different people. I also spent a lot of time in nature, learning about the bees that we were taking care of, taking care of so many different types of pets and animals, etc.- so these different experiences all nurtured a desire in me to really be of some service to others—be it nature, animals, or other people. I suppose all of those things can also be attributed to the fact that all that time I spent learning from my parents, especially my dad, and many other very nice people (many of whom also homeschooled their kids) all had a very good and effect on me. Many of the most valuable things cannot be learned at school, and growing up and having opportunities to learn from all kinds of different people (and also my parents) was probably one of the best things that came from homeschooling. Likewise, these experiences have all definitely influenced my overall view of life and how I choose to live.
Would you also homeschool your children? Why?
Yes. I don’t see why I would need to put them into regular school. I know they can get all the academic training they need and more through homeschooling.
Did you ever think you lost out in the socialization aspect in some ways during childhood?
No I did not lose out on socialization, in fact I think i had more opportunities because we made friends with a lot of people. Also, my parents made sure we joined different sports training activities so we got a lot of socialization from that too. We were always around a lot of people (kids, adults, etc) and they were all sorts of people, so it was good!
Do you or your parents have any regrets about homeschooling?
What do you wish people knew about homeschooling?
It’s not a bad thing at all; in fact, there are many benefits of homeschooling.
What was the most challenging thing about homeschooling?
Keeping disciplined enough to finish my school requirements and having to compete against myself rather than classmates.
This was Sachi when I met her at the Pawikan conservatory which she spearheaded in La Union and I blogged about it in my old blogspot.