I’ve spent over 12 years serving in the Homeschool Department of School of Tomorrow, Philippines known as PHILIPPINE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL OF TOMORROW – Home Education Program (PCST-HEP). We help the parents and students become successful by following the School of Tomorrow system. Today we have a total of 3,100 students and 1,835 families enrolled in PCST-HEP.
Through the years, I have had the joy of seeing students successfully complete homeschool academic requirements, pass college entrance tests and eventually graduate from universities. To name a few, we have Daniel Joseph Riki Dela Sierra from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Cum Laude – BSBA major in Export Management; Jemi-Kezia from International School of Asia and the Pacific – Top 7 in the Nursing Board Exam; Maria Carolina Zulueta from Patts College, Cum Laude – Aeronautical Engineering; Yoshiko De Jesus from Centro Escolar University, Magna Cum Laude- BEED SPED; and Anna Maria Zulueta from Asia Pacific College, Summa Cum Laude, Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia; and Jotham Pranza from Messiah College, Magna Cum Laude, President’s Award, and Class Valedictorian – BA in Intercultural Studies.
Someone asked this question: “What makes PCST-HEP successful?” If we would write a “bottom line” answer to this question what would it be?
There can be a number of answers to this question. Of course, the unique SOT system of education is excellent in every way and far better in terms of content than other curriculum out there. But each family is unique. Each child is different. Circumstances in many homes vary. Therefore, based on years of experience and from listening to the testimonies and stories of parents, family members and students, I would like to share with you a summary of what I believe are the 5 key factors that make our homeschool program successful for hundreds of families both here in the Philippines and abroad.
- The parents are “forced” to be personally involved in the education of their children. The parents have a stake in their children’s education. They do their best to make sure their children perform on the academic level based on the diagnostic test. And since they know their children’s individual personalities, capacities, tendencies, and strengths, they can better lead and motivate them. This does not happen in a school room where the child is one among 30 or 40 other students vying for the attention of 1 or 2 teachers.
Parents who have undergone the PCST-HEP Parent Orientation and Training acquire added knowledge to maximize the performance and eventual success of their children.
- The positive impact of the individualized system. This is one of the greatest benefits of the program. A child does not compete with the other students in a class. The negative psychological effects of “comparison” with someone else or the pressure of inordinate competition among students is eliminated. The child is relaxed in learning because he only competes with himself/herself. Furthermore, even in a home with several homeschoolers, individualization is still emphasized. One child does not have to be like his brother or his sister. The parents are able to wisely guide their children based on their own individual interests, skills, talents, personality strengths and weaknesses and career paths.
- The program fosters closer family ties. It is inevitable that when parents work with their kids’ PACEs every day, a closer relationship is developed unlike when the child goes to a regular school for the whole day. The parents’ values, culture, and standards are caught quickly by the children. The balance of authority is ingrained in the mind of the child early. In the recent PCST-HEP Awards and Banquet at S.O.T., Pastor Delbert Hooge and my husband were sitting beside each other, and I heard them commenting that “it’s so unusual, there are so many fathers in this event tonight.” During the banquet we could see the closeness of the families with the presence of parents and even the grandparents. The powerful impact of a closely-knit family on the child’s psychological, spiritual and emotional well-being can never be overemphasized.
- The safe environment of the home protects the child. Just imagine the threats and risks today of children exposed outside of the home going to school. Stories about of kids bullied and hurt, threats of criminality and bad influences, etc. In other countries school shootings are commonplace. The home provides the safest haven for children to learn and grow. But physical safety is not the only consideration here. The home is also a safe atmosphere for children to be open and honest with their parents with their problems, struggles, and difficulties without experiencing criticism, ridicule or judgement. It is also a safe place for them to share their dreams, goals and receiving encouragement and motivation from the parents. The home also becomes a safe and pleasant place where children can invite their close friends for fun and socialization instead of going out.
- Above all, spiritual learning by parent and child together. Both parents and child learn about God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible from the materials used with the curriculum. This is the greatest advantage of PCST-HEP and really the number one key to success of the program. The family that grows spiritually in the Word of God becomes successful. This is a promise in Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man… whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a river… whatever he does shall prosper.” A very moving testimony of one of our homeschool parents was told to Academic Advisers Ms. Dol Bonete and Ms. Hazel Balanoba some months ago. The parent told them, “You know, I came to know Christ and accepted Him as my Savior from the PACE of my child!”
Do you have a unique story of how the PCST-HEP has impacted your family in a special way? In your case, how did the homeschool program make a difference? Which aspect of the program do you consider a key to your success? Please share your story with us.