When my eldest child turned four years old, we enrolled her to the nearby Montessori school. I have read their school profile, names of their graduates and where they transferred after their pre-school education and of course, the teachers' academic background. The school is really following the Montessori method of learning as set by their foundress Dr. Maria Montessori. Parents may not know it but some Montessori school just used the name to attract more students but they don't really have the Montessori method of teaching. In my kids school they strictly adhere to the method of highly individualized instruction to assure each and every student the best education every parent wants for their child. My child stayed there until the fourth grade. We transferred them to a big school (means large population) because we (hubby especially) think there's no challenge anymore in their previous school because they have only seven students in each class. At present, my two kids are really enjoying their new school with their new friends. One thing good from their former school, they were taught lessons that were so advanced for their grade level so my kids feel they're ahead of all of them (yabang pa). Since my two girls are all so used to the regular school, we let them stay on.
When my only son Pio started going to pre-school at 3 years old, he was enrolled to another Montessori school (with minimal tuition rate) but I found out that the school is not at far with the school of my two girls with their learning and teaching methods. We were thinking then that he's gonna play anyway so why do we have to spend 4o grand just for a two-hour daily play time. So I thought my son is just playing and learning the ABC's, numbers, shapes, colors, nursery rhymes (which I also taught him way back). One time, when I asked him how's school he responded that his teacher is a nagger (he used a tagalog term for it). I was shocked where he got that word. Then when I started to say something, he would tell me, "Mama, zip your mouth". I've noticed also he's becoming naughty, more naughty. Before another school year starts, I've heard from my sister that Bro. Bo Sanchez is managing the Catholic Filipino Academy for home schoolers. I attended some seminars, orientation and Bro. Bo's talk. My hubby and I decided to just homeschool my only son. There I met parents who are currently enrolled in the school. They were all enjoying teaching their kids in their own home. So why was I convinced to do so.
First, I get to teach him his lessons. We were provided lesson plans and eight textbooks. From there I can explain things more if he doesn't understand a certain topic (which regular school teachers won't do for one kid) and explore some more. There's no pressure to finish a task. We study at his own pace. If he understood the lesson, we go to the next. If he doesn't, we go back. The principle is to teach, then give him test. Then re-teach, re-test again if the score is not satisfactory. We give the test, we give the grade.
Second, we have more family bonding time. We also don't have to get up early. My two girls would wake up at 5:30 or 6:oo a.m., only to wait another 30 minutes while the school bus picks more riders. Then in school, they wait again for another 30 minutes. So they spend 10 hours of their waking time away from us (about 2 hours of waiting). One thing more, we want to strengthen family bonds, how can we do that if we don't get to see them often.
Third, my son would not be labeled as stupid, slow-learner, row 4 kid or something as what some teachers are doing. No parent would want to hear those words labeled to their kids.
Fourth, I wanted to avoid bullies. I have encountered so many people bullied in their younger days and they still carry the hurt/ resentments and it really affects their relationship with other people.
Fifth, to minimize negative influences and temptations in school. Some kids would bring the latest cellphones, ipods, gameboy, etc. to show off to their peers. Others would show each other how much they have in their pockets. One kid I know was sent to the principal's office because of stealing. He reasoned out that older boys in school forced him to do so or else he'll get hurt. Some would get the younger ones baon. Worse, in some boys' school, some bullies taught the pre-schoolers to call their peers some names (like a man's private part). In a certain instance, the school bus assistant touched the boys genitals. What could we do, if that happened to our kid in their school.
Lastly, for financial consideration. At the Catholic Filipino Academy we would pay the tuition rate of P16, 200.00 (more or less $350) which includes the lesson plans and the textbooks. Whatever extra money we have, we buy more books especially the ones they like. We don't have to spend on uniforms, school bus, school supplies, school's fund-raising activities, etc.
We also have the monthly parents/kids activity for their socialization. They also have art classes every Friday. Some parents teach their kids different sports like basketball, soccer, baseball etc. While some moms enrolled their kids to ballet, voice lessons or figure skating.
As I progress becoming a homeschool parent and really experienced some great changes in my son's attitude and learning abilities, I am now convinced more than ever that we made the right choice. Not only that, I am homeschooling all my kids next school year (as some mothers I met have been doing for the past 6-8 years).