It is my humble privilege to share with you the story of God’s grace in our homeschool journey. It all began with God’s provision of a family. I am currently a fulltime homemaker and helpmeet to my husband, Dennis, who is an engineer by education, a school administrator by profession, and a Bible teacher, worship leader and family head by vocation. God blessed us with three children – Paolo Miguel, Aliya Margaret, and Sean Andrew. We started homeschooling in June 2009 when they were 8 years old, 5 years old, and 2 years old respectively. All of them were homeschooled through high school.
How did God lead us to homeschooling?
Prior to homeschooling, I used to hold an executive position in the Treasury and Investment Banking Department of a universal, commercial bank. In a planning seminar I attended during my earlier years in the bank, we were asked by the facilitator to complete the sentence: “I want to be the best _______”. I remember jotting down the word “mother” in the blank, passionately so, as I was pregnant with my first baby. Surprisingly, all working moms in the group gave the same answer! It was the facilitator’s comments that struck me and his words stayed with me through the years. He said, “If you want to be the best mother, then you ought to be in your homes!”.
This was further stressed by the principles in Titus 2 that constantly reminded me of God’s design for a family, of my role as a wife and mother – but I did not yield immediately to God’s prodding. Instead, I waited for the string of promotions to come – and they did, one after another. Lulled by the allurement of financial stability and empowerment, it took me nine to ten more years before I realized I already had three kids growing under the care of yayas, and they were spending more time without me. It would be humanly impossible for me to follow God’s instructions especially in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 to “ teach your children diligently to love God with all their soul and might, and to talk about His words when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up” if I continued working outside the home and spend too little time with my kids.
Quality time, I understood, means quality time. In my personal devotion, God’s words in Matthew 8:13 “Go back home… as you have believed, it has happened” took a special flavor to me. It may not be its proper exegesis, but its applications to me then were as darts piercing my heart and soul. The still, small voice reverberated more loudly and clearly as days went by. Hence, much to my husband’s satisfaction, my decision to resign from work and be a fulltime mom after 15 years in the corporate world,.
But why homeschool?
That was another feat to battle with. My initial idea was simply to resign from work, manage the household, set up a small business, and let my two older children continue their studies in a Christian school. When my husband broached the idea of homeschooling, I was not very enthusiastic about it. My reservations sprang initially from my natural tendency to gravitate toward ease and convenience, coupled with the nagging feelings of inadequacy, unbelief, and pride. I grappled with questions like – “Parenting by itself is already hard work, why burden myself with the additional load of teaching my kids?”, “I am not a licensed teacher – I lack the skills and patience required, why take risks when others are more technically capable of doing it?”, “Why bother navigating the unpopular, less trodden, narrow road when there is an easier, familiar, wider route?”
Aside from the internal struggles, I also had external pressures to contend with. One was my family – the clan I came from. I was brought up in a province where education has been regarded very important. Schools, scholarships and scholastic standings mattered to us. I was regarded as in influencer in the choices of courses and schools for my nieces and nephews, so that when I entered UP Diliman in college, most of them followed suit. My relatives could not then fathom why academically-driven people like Dennis and me would, this time, risk the future of no less than our very own children by experimenting into what they thought was an inferior mode of education. Then, there was the challenge in finances as well. To give up a financially stable career during one of the worst financial crises in global history was already a leap in the dark. And to completely set aside other forms of income-generating pursuits just so I can tackle home-schooling my three children was economic suicide – something no rational, practical, sensible person would advise anyone to do.
But God’s grace was greater than all my fears! When our all-wise Creator beckons us to take Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as a mandate, it was our joyful lot to obey. He calls whom He wills, He equips whom He calls, He gives sufficient grace.
How was my homeschool experience like?
Oh, it was messy at first. But in all the mess was the central message of God’s grace and mercy (Psalm 23:6). It was during this phase of my life where I saw the seriousness of modelling Christ to our children consistently – both in words and actions. More than homeschooling my kids, I must humbly and honestly confess that this journey has been about me being “homeschooled” by God. It was so easy to lecture, quote verses, and mimic nobility to our children; but to exemplify these with authenticity in familiar surroundings, before my little ones’ impressionable eyes, under ordinary circumstances, day in and day out – required supernatural grace. And though we have failed many times, God has been merciful, true and faithful to His promises. There was never a day where we dared not seek God’s – and at times each other’s – forgiveness for flaws committed. Praise God, He never withheld grace and forgiveness. We can never thank God enough for the first-hand experiences of the all-sufficient grace He has been lovingly providing. Our homeschool was messy – but this all led us to go to the cross and seek God daily.
Looking back, I have witnessed God’s provision and providence throughout our homeschooling journey. He quelled our fears and silenced the apprehensions of our well-meaning, but misinformed community. He may not have given us what we initially planned in life, but He gave us more than what we expected.
Through homeschooling, God allowed us to have the flexibility in choosing the curricula and supplements that helped in the holistic education of our children. We had free access to the best curriculum – no less than the Word of the Master Teacher, the Holy Bible. We were specially blessed to have Living Heritage Academy (now known as PCST-Home Education Program) as partner in our journey. We were able to take advantage of ACE curriculum’s heritage of quality, individualized, character-based, biblical education, which instilled in my children the values of goal-setting, integrity, and love for learning. Most important of all, this was used as means of grace to introduce Christ and his gospel of salvation to our children.
Added bonus for us was its affordability! Among other providers, PCST-HEP was the least expensive, thus giving us enough leeway to spend on other fields of interest my children loved to venture in. We also gained from the other extra-curricular and social activities provided by the PCST-HEP. The Annual Student Conventions were helpful venues to further cultivate our children’s literary and creative skills, including bible memorization. This, along with the yearly Christmas fellowships, conventions, and banquets provided opportunities for us to interact with fellow homeschoolers (which were only a handful when we were just starting), and forged friendships with them along the way.
Through homeschooling, God gave us the luxury of time to teach our children about life. Lovely hours were spent together reading rich literature, playing instruments, singing, praying painting, writing poetry, baking, composing songs, playing, sewing, doing household chores, gardening, exploring the environment, and many more! We had opportunities to visit flood-stricken areas and join in the relief distribution efforts of volunteer organizations. We were free to choose field trips that fit our budget and where all of us can enjoy and benefit the most. The most memorable was our visit to the nearest cemetery where they climbed trees and flew kites, and more importantly, learned a lesson about the brevity of life. As they began to appreciate God for His creation, they also developed interest in environmental concerns and participated in tree-planting activities, organic gardening, and eco-bricking. The world was our classroom!
Through homeschooling, God helped us know, enjoy, and steward our children’s precious souls. He helped us to fulfill the task of discipling and ministering to them the best we could. In the process, we saw the seed of God’s word taking fruit as they professed their faith in Christ, followed Him in the waters of baptism and began serving Him in church and in other ministries like medical missions, feeding program, and BLESS education outreaches. Indeed, there is no greater joy for us than to see our children coming to Christ and walking in truth!
Fast forward six years from the day we started homeschooling, our eldest son finished his 1144 PACEs and God opened the door for him to be admitted to UP Diliman at the age of 14. By God’s help and grace – he topped the entrance exam in the College of Music and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2020. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree under scholarship at the University of Alberta, Canada and serves as a church pianist there. My second child finished her Grade 10 PACEs in 2019, capped her Senior High School education at Malayan Colleges Laguna (MCL) with High Honors, and is a university scholar freshman at UP Diliman. My youngest is also set to leave the homeschool nest this year, after having been accorded the “Highest PACE Average” award in this year’s PCST-HEP Banquet and Moving-up Ceremony.
Now if you ask me – was it worth the sacrifice? Yes! The past 13 years would have been different if it was all up to me. Praise God, His restraining grace prevented me from resisting His call. Praise God, His enabling grace sustained and pulled us all along. While homeschooling is not glamorous, its rewards are incredibly glorious. All for the glory of God!