Homeschooling in the Philippines is generally classified into two modes:
- Enrolling with a provider accredited with the Department of Education (DepEd)
- Not doing the above — usually referred to as independent homeschooling
Enrolling with a homeschool provider never really appealed to us. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but it just feels like a cash grab. When it comes down to it, you’re really just paying them for DepEd accreditation. Some of the more expensive providers have advisors for portfolio reviews, but s/he will meet you probably only once per quarter, for just an hour or two each time. Ultimately, you’ll still be the primary facilitator of your child’s education — not the advisor, and certainly not anyone else from the provider.
I wouldn’t have such a dim view of homeschool providers if their tuition fees were commensurate with the minimal services they provide. However, some providers are surprisingly more expensive than traditional schools with actual face-to-face instruction. Besides, they really shouldn’t be calling it “tuition” — strictly speaking, tuition is defined as “the money paid for being taught”. In that case, the fees should be paid back to the parents!
Now, I don’t begrudge the existence of homeschool providers; it’s a free market after all. I do feel that new homeschooling parents should at least be made aware that enrolling with one is NOT the only way to homeschool, and that independent homeschooling is a totally viable option for Grades K to 10. Interest in homeschooling is at an all-time high during this COVID-19 pandemic, and many of these parents are simply advised to enroll with a provider.
For parents who do know about independent homeschooling but are nervous to take the plunge, don’t fret. Worried about DepEd accreditation? For Grades K to 10, your child can either take the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) or enroll in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program. Taking the PEPT during its regular annual schedule costs only PHP 50, while enrolling in the ALS Program is FREE. What about curriculum materials, you ask? You can easily buy local K-12 textbooks online straight from the publishers themselves or through third-party resellers. Want US-based materials instead? Many of them are available as PDF downloads, which you can have printed for cheap at your local print shop. Some are even available as online courses. As for homeschool support, there’s no need to pay for an advisor — there are TONS of homeschooling blogs and vlogs offering free advice (Google is your friend). You can also join local and international homeschool groups on Facebook.