Homeschooling gains exponential growth amid Covid-19 restrictions


While schools have been closed amid the ravages of Covid-19, interest in homeschooling has evidently grown exponentially.

Notwithstanding the plan to resume the face-to-face (F-to-F) classes, some parents still opted to homeschool their children mostly due to safety concerns.

An experienced homeschool mom, Dr. Donna Pangilinan-Simpao, former  president of the Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), said that homeschooling has grown more popular during the pandemic.

Dr. Simpao is also the founder of Homeschoolers of the Philippines on Facebook with 40,000 members.

When asked why families choose to homeschool, Dr. Simpao, said that reasons may vary.

“The reasons vary and of course it was largely affected also by the pandemic,” Dr. Simpao said in an interview with the BusinessMirror.

However, prior to the pandemic, she cited that the foremost reason as to why some parents have decided to homeschool their child or children because they wanted to “take more influence and more responsibility in educating their children in more holistic way.”

“So, there you would have the value of faith, the value of character, as well as quality education. So, there are parents who feel that with their time, energy, and resources…they could give and provide a more holistic and more relevant education to their children,” she explained. “But among those who do that [the] top [reason] would be always, something to do with values formation and character faith building.”

During this pandemic, she added that “a lot were also forced by the situation due to safety concerns, health and of course [and] also the inability to adjust and take on the online learning, so we have modular learners or the ones that are home-based learners who have decided to homeschool. Of course there are still those solidifying their reasons more and so to homeschool.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) told the BusinessMirror that they are still gathering and preparing data on the number of homeschoolers in the country the pre-pandemic period vis-à-vis the onset of the contagion.

‘God of order’

One of the parents who tried to homeschool her child during the pandemic is Ms. Mila Lumactao.

Lumactao, a copywriter, said that they always wanted to intentionally integrate Biblical truth into the learning process.

“For instance, God is a God of order, and Mathematics can reflect that; God has appointed the places and times where and when men should live, and the wonderful diversity of geography and culture shows that. Looking back, I now realize that even when our eldest was a toddler, we were doing something Charlotte Mason…as we did lots of reading at home, playing with other children, having mini-lessons at home with neighbors’ kids, exploring our subdivision and discussing praying mantises, frogs, etc. But I didn’t know we were unofficially homeschooling even then,” said Lumactao who is homeschooling her 12 -year-old son Enjo.

Lumactao recalled that while her youngest child was still in a progressive school, they tried attending homeschooling seminars.

“But we were still hesitating, though—until the pandemic hit and I realized this was the best time to finally try it out,” she said.

Lumactao said that there are plenty of benefits of homeschooling your child.

First, she said, the opportunity “to anchor the growth and learning on God’s truth: why and how people should be valued, why truth [and being truthful!] matter, why we should be good stewards of our talents and resources; how wonderfully our bodies have been designed, and so on.”

“Second, the unparalleled potential for customization and personalization, aligned as closely as possible with the child’s developmental stage and particular interests and strengths, and supportive of areas where he or she may be struggling. This is even more crucial when you’re doing homeschooling with your special needs child,” she said adding that the curricular content can also be adjusted to highlight aspects that are more relevant to real life.

“Third, if not for the pandemic restrictions, the actual socialization opportunities for homeschoolers are endless, because you can technically go on a field trip every week, visiting offices, agencies, relatives, institutions, parks, etc. and be teaching and learning alongside other people. For instance, to learn how to craft questions using the 5Ws and 1H, we asked our son to do a video interview with two journalists. So, instead of 3 to 5 hours of exposure to peers plus a few adults in a conventional school, a homeschooler can be interacting with a gasoline station crew, bank tellers, museum staff, the sari-sari store owner, her grandparents, neighborhood pets, the insects in the nearby vacant lot etc…and all of those interactions can be designed as part of the teaching and learning processes,” she shared.

Fourth, she added, for children with very clear and strong inclinations, for example basketball, “homeschooling’s flexibility affords them the chance to allocate more time in pursuing and honing these passions. I know of several homeschooled children who have represented the country in overseas competitions­—in music, gymnastics, mathematics, martial arts, etc.”

“Last but not the least, and the favorite of our own learner…Homeschooling sometimes means ‘unli-recess,’” she quipped.


Dr. Simpao said that homeschoolers also undergo assessments.

“Assessments maybe in many forms but not limited to standardize test, quizzes and long exams,” she said stressing that homeschooling provides “more creative assessments in terms of projects, initiatives, digital content and so many others.”

“Reporting to the, there two sort of wings or tracks  for homeschool school year­—the independent route and the homeschool provider DepEd or homeschool provider international  accreditation route—that is like two routes,” she explained.

Earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said that those who undergo homeschooling will be required to undertake assessment if they wish to move to higher levels of learning.


Dr. Simpao said that the cost of homeschooling would be “as low as you deem it, as you set it, and it could be as high as you would like to afford it.”

She said that she has seen both­—the ones with a limited budget and the ones who homeschool where sky is the limit.

“Homeschooling is a lifestyle [where] you can save on a lot  of things, you can also spend on a lot of things,” Dr. Simpao said.

When asked of the disadvantages of homeschooling, she said, “It would depend on how you look at it.”

“The glass can be half empty but it can also be half full. So, the disadvantages may actually be advantages for some. So it is not easy identifying exclusively which are the advantages and which are the disadvantages,” she explained.

Dr. Simpao, however, picked the one she described as “very, very obvious,” prior to the pandemic, which is not having the access to school-based education can provide or the facility-based education.

Also, she said, not really more of the disadvantage but a commitment, which means giving more time, energy, and resources.

“There would be some concerns regarding the experiences of the child limited to just a few of people like siblings, or support of friends. Some may think that this is a limited child experiences…,” she said but stressed that “socialization” was never an issue among homeschoolers.

“But I guess when you want your children to have as many encounters, or as many friends, then that might be compared to a child in a school setting. You might have to, as a homeschool parent, seek out of these experiences. Try to make them happen and expose your children to other children and other situations,” she added.

For parents who are considering to homeschool their children it is best to look for good sources like books on homeschooling.

“It is very good to connect to proper sources of homeschooling in the Philippines where you would be able to see it in a holistic perspective,” Dr. Simpao said for parents to have more information to make their decision.

She said that it was her sister Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon who greatly influenced her to homeschool her children.

Dr. Simpao  homeschooled her four children from birth to age 13—a total of 17-year experience. She is also a licensed physician focusing on primary care and general practice.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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