Learning in the time of Covid-19: Why we chose to homeschool with The Learning Place International

by - 3:47 AM


School year 2020-2021, here we come!

Really? Yes, really, and we kicked off the year with The Learning Place International in Los Banos, Laguna.


I've been asked about how we'll push through with education while in the pandemic... a lot!

And we decided to go ahead with it.

We were quite lucky because before the quarantine started Popy's school was over, so we didn't have any unfinished school work except for graduation.

Summer was long and tedious with the pandemic putting Luzon on community quarantine. Moving to the new house also got postponed. We were all stuck. Not just my family or Luzon, but literally almost the whole world.

And one of the biggest decisions we'll make (or have made this year) is how we'll make education work for our children with the virus still looming around.

While waiting for our previous school's plan and DepEd's announcement, Gab and I decided to search for homeschool providers. 

A little background...

Homeschooling has been in our hearts ever since.

Waldorf Doll Making at Waldorf School Batangas

Before we sent Popy to Nursery and Kinder 1, we took "parents as first teachers quite literally". We used the Waldorf approach back then and for a time, I had a dream to borrow and turn our family farm into a weekend nature playschool. We taught Popy how to count using sticks and rocks. He learned the colors through nature. We even went all the way to Waldorf School in Batangas to learn how to make dolls.

When we moved to the province, however, we saw how he was so happy interacting with other kids in the neighborhood. We figured we'll give it a shot and went to inquire with 7 different schools.

Open-ended toys are our staples.

We were very meticulous with finding the right school because he was just a month short to 3 years old come June 2018. Our main goal was for him to interact and have fun. We wanted to make sure that he would enjoy, that it was not going to be a very traditional desk and blackboard type of class, and that the school would share our values as parents.

Eventually, we found a Christian Chinese school in the same city that used ACE curriculum. We did installment, at first, so we can easily pull out in case he decides he doesn't want to go anymore. We allowede him have a say on this because we didn't want to pressure him. While we were fully aware that formal schooling starts at Kinder (5 years old), Popy thrived in school. The following year, we enrolled him again. It was a good decision even the second time around.


Fast forward...

With the pandemic not looking like it will go away soon, we made a firm decision to homeschool.

Since it will be our first formal year to homeschool and the first year that he will have a DepEd record, we wanted to be with an accredited homeschool provider.

But what led to our decision?

Like many parents, we didn't want to risk going out. Before DepEd's announcement that no face-to-face classes will be held until a vaccine is found, we were all worried about schools opening and risking our kids' health. Especially for us, with Popy just turning 5, social distancing and keeping masks on among toddlers is just unheard of. I was also iffy with the thought of sending my son back to face-to-face classes mid-year (because who knows) when the government deems it safe. At least with homeschooling, whenever they announce that physical schools can finally open, the decision of sending him back will solely depend on us.

We also couldn't choose the online class setup because Popy can't stay for more than half an hour in front of the laptop and we don't want him to be online for x hours a day at this age.

Work from home setup

There's also our work schedule to be considered. I'm a work from home mom on a night shift while my husband is temporarily working from home, too, on mid-shift. Obviously, no one is a morning person in our family. Maybe in a few months time, Gab will be called back to his office. It will end up with just myself teaching all the subjects.

Homeschooling seemed like the best option in terms of schedule. We won't be bound to waking up to a certain time, especially not in the morning. This momma needs to stay alive, too, you know. 😂

But we knew this isn't enough reason to succeed. Homeschooling is not a walk in the park and needed our devotion as a family to be able to do it. We prayed and reflected hard so that we will have the wisdom, grace, patience and love to teach our son. 

What did we look for in a provider?

Three things: Accredited, established, and has a strong support system.


We inquired with at least 7 DepEd accredited homeschool providers. It's important to us that it's accredited so they can help us process documents. We're working from home but we're equally busy parents, too. We wanted the convenience of having a school that can process the LRN etc. for us.

We wanted a school that has an established homeschool program. The pandemic has forced a lot of educational institutions including both private and public to adapt to different modes of delivery and it's only natural that schools will find all these new to them, too. For us, however, we wanted to be with a provider who has been offering it for quite some time, so we can be more confident that we're doing things right.

And of course, a strong support system. Considering that this is our first time, I will be asking a lot of questions and will be needing help. I know homeschooling will shine this year and will have numerous inquiries and new enrollees, but we wanted a homeschool provider who can guide us in the journey and not make us feel hanging or leave us waiting.

We found all three with The Learning Place International!


Founded by ProfessoVioleta Valledor-Quintana, The Learning Place International (TLP) is located at UP Los Banos in Laguna and has been around for 20 years. It has a physical school that provides progressive K-6 and a homeschool program that offers K-12.

TLP was part of our Top 3 Homeschool Providers, and eventually won our hearts. I'm very meticulous when it comes to details. I have sent TLP numerous questions, and they have answered everything promptly and cheerfully. They never made us feel like we're makulit. I never had to follow up because they replied to every single one of my emails. We needed a school that we can trust to be there for us when we encounter challenges along the way. That meant a lot to us.

Teacher Vicki, the school directress and daughter of Professor Quintana is also very active in sharing her teaching and homeschooling know-how to the parents. 
We came from a school that uses the ACE Curriculum, so we're very much used to mastery and independence. With TLP, we're able to apply the same type of modular learning through LifePacs. The great thing is it's Bible-based, too!

We love how we can learn at our own pace. I say "we" because isn't homeschooling learning (again) along with our kids? I like re-learning with my son. We can move forward easily when the lessons are easy enough and we can stay in a lesson that's more challenging. There's no pressure and we're able to make the learning process as fun as possible through activities.

I'll talk about more of our daily homeschooling life in the next few blog posts. I would love to share how we do it next time.


We can study in our jammies!

Overall, I find homeschooling with TLP to be one of the best decisions we made for our son, and our family as a whole. I was worried for a time how I'll be able to teach him how to read, but with the curriculum that TLP is offering, he was able to and I wasn't even sure what I did except for guidance! 
Popy is definitely enjoying and learning in our new setup. They also have programs and activities for homeschoolers (maybe we'd get to join one when the pandemic is over), but we do meet online with other homeschooling families. They also provide us with a lot of online resources and extra-curricular activities through their partners. We love it so much that we're already considering staying until such time that we can't teach the subjects anymore (maybe when there's trigonometry already 😂).

The enrollment process was also a breeze. This is a plus because the school is not within our province. We're in Quezon Province and Los Banos, Laguna is around 2-3 hours from our place. Everything was done online. We never even have to leave the house to process anything with them. Inquiries were via their Facebook Page and their email. Fees were sent through online banking. I find their TF reasonable and even more so on the second year. The assessment was also done via video call. All the teaching guides (yes, there are guides!) and worksheets were sent to us via Google Drive.

Easy, right?

How about you? Did classes start already for your kids? How's it going so far?

Let's share homeschool/distance learning ideas! There's always a thing or two to learn from each other. 😉

____________________________

Great news! If you're inclined to homeschool this year but have not chosen a provider yet, TLP still has open slots for new enrollees until September.

Learn more about TLP by visiting the school's website, the homeschool program website, and Facebook Page. You can follow them on Instagram.

You may also reach out to Teacher Myrine, 
Home Education Admin Head via tlpeduchomelinks.adm@gmail.com.

HAPPY HOMESCHOOLING!

XOXO THE PEREZES





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