Published 31 May 2021, The Daily Tribune

The fate of our education system continues to hang in the balance amid decisions to be made on face-to-face classes, improvement of the module system and a host of other considerations in the name of quality education. It would interest one to know that there is another form of learning, termed homeschooling, that parents can consider.

Homeschooling is a viable option many parents can consider during this pandemic. In fact, never than during this pandemic has homeschooling presented itself as a strong contender. An online learning environment and parents’ increased role in distance learning give one a glimpse of what it means to homeschool.

But first, let’s tackle legal considerations. Since homeschooling is not yet as widespread here as in other countries such as the United States, one may wonder if it is legally allowed.

Its legality finds basis in Art. II, Sec. 12 of the 1987 Constitution, recognizing “the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Art. XIV, Sec 2 of the same Constitution provides that the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels. It encourages self-learning, independent and out-of-school study programs, particularly those that respond to community needs.

In Policy Guidelines on the K to 12 Basic Education Program, Order 021, s. 2019, included in the term “Flexible Learning Options” are “alternative delivery modes (ADM),” which are modalities that do not strictly follow the typical setup of regular classroom instruction, but follow the formal K to 12 curriculum in content.

The flexibility in these instructional or learning modalities provides various methods of learning including distance learning — where a learner is given materials or access to resource and undertakes self-directed study at home or in another venue. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is one of the modalities being adopted in the educational system since the start of the Covid-19 community quarantine.

Homeschooling is one of the ADM offered by the Department of Education (DepEd). It provides learning with access to formal education while staying in an out-of-school environment.

Authorized parents, guardians or tutors take the place of the teachers as learning facilitators. The best advantages of the program are its ability to give parents and guardians maximum involvement in their children’s education, and inculcating in them their own values and parenting philosophy during a child’s formative years.

How does homeschooling operate? Contrary to popular belief, it is not just private learning institutions that offer support for homeschooling. A public school may offer a homeschool program, or it can also be through a private school with a permit to offer a homeschool program.

The role of the school involves:
– Assigning a parent or guardian as a learning facilitator;
– Ensuring registration of the learner though the Learning Information System. Every learner needs a unique Learner Reference Number;
– Making available learning materials and resources for the learner;
– Provision of the proper school forms and other pertinent student records for homeschoolers.

A more popular method of homeschooling is through homeschool providers. To facilitate the registration through the Learner Information System, these providers are either partnered with a DepEd accredited school, or they may coordinate with the DepEd Schools Division.

At the end of the day, we all just want the best education possible for our children. It is comforting to know that there are various options available out there to cater to every family’s financial situation, cultural preference and value system in the way they want their children to learn. Education is indeed the best investment for it always pays the best interest — in the form of our children’s future.

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