In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents fear for their children's health and safety, should they go back to school.
Homeschooling is becoming an attractive alternative. Take it from actress Jan Marini Alano, who has been homeschooling her children even before the pandemic.
Speaking to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on June 11, Jan says it has been five years since she and husband Gerard Pizarras decided to homeschool their kids Rian, an incoming freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University, and Rain, an incoming eighth-grade student.
Jan tells PEP.ph, "I had my first 'exposure' to homeschooling when I read the book Eragon, whose author Christopher Paolini was homeschooled all his life.
"At 15 or 16, he was able to finish his first novel, which turned into a bestseller!
"Sobrang naging interesado ako so I researched about it. I opened the idea to my husband. Okay naman siya kaagad."
However, Jan wasn't able to put her homeschooling plans to action right away.
She recounts, "At that time, our daughter was four years old, and I was doing one TV series after another that's why I wasn't able to jump into it kaagad.
"But the Lord's timing is always perfect. After doing the remake of Pangako Sa 'Yo, Gerard and I finally decided to homeschool our children with Homeschool Global as our homeschool provider. Rian was in 9th grade, and Rain in 4th grade."
"TO TEACH MY CHILDREN IS AN HONOR."
Aside from being inspired by the life story of Christopher Paolini, Jan also believes in intentional parenting. She and Gerard agreed that she would be their children's teacher, something she considers an honor and privilege.
Jan says, "I totally believe in the power of intentional parenting. To teach my children is an honor. As soon as the idea was presented to me accidentally (but nothing happens by accident! God is Sovereign!), the desire to teach my kids became so strong that I didn't stop yearning for and learning about it until it happened."
But teaching her children was not without its challenges.
"I taught kids who were five-year levels apart. That is challenging in itself. But you know, my kids are generally 'good' kids, madali sila alagaan at turuan, praise God!
"Challenging siguro during the times when they would feel too lazy to study pero iyon lang naman, no serious challenges whatsoever.
"What really helped me was preparing my lesson plan for each child a week ahead. An organized plan makes an organized homeschooling."
jan's ACHIEVEMENT AS PARENT-TEACHER
The proud mom tells PEP.ph that eldest daughter Rian was recently accepted into the Ateneo de Manila University.
Because Rian was homeschooled, Jan is confident that she is ready to become a regular student at a time when universities are forced to transition to online learning.
"Rian is an incoming freshman in Ateneo, and the university has come up with a new system of online learning. We are slowly being educated on how it will go in the coming weeks.
"Ang lakas ng loob ko lalo kasi Rian is a homeschool graduate. Sanay mag-aral sa loob ng bahay. She's ready for this."
Jan may have set her acting career aside to be her children's teacher, but the sacrifice has been well worth it.
The proud mom says, "I love acting, performing, and working. But I also love teaching my kids kaya nagbakasyon talaga ako sa pagtatrabaho.
"By God's grace, Rian passed in all the schools that she applied for. Hindi magpapahuli ang mga homeschooled kids!
"Now that I only have one student left, I can work more often na (after the pandemic!)."
JAN'S ADVICE ON HOMESCHOOLING YOUR KIDS
Thanks to her own experience, Jan encourages fellow parents not to be afraid of homeschooling their children, especially in the time of this pandemic.
The mom of two says, "The fear of sending your kids back to school is valid. With the absence of the vaccine and actual cure against COVID-19, hindi tayo puwedeng kampante to send them out there.
"Homeschooling could be your option. Can you do it? it is highly doable. Are you willing to sacrifice your time for it? That is the question."
To make this decision, Jan advises parents to start by gathering more information about homeschooling.
She says, "Just like me, I suggest that you research about it. Then, decide as a family. Kaya naman talaga kung tutuusin. It all starts with a desire and then decision.
"There are several homeschool providers in the country right now. They're all over Facebook and Google. Call them. Ask them anything you wanna ask."
Jan acknowledges that homeschooling is a big decision, and she had always depended on the Lord to guide her and Gerald into making the right decision for their children's education.
She says, "Homeschooling is a gift. Not everyone would be interested in it, and it may not work for everyone.
"But now, it is an option that we are highly considering because of the pandemic."
As a final word to fellow parents, Jan advises, "Pray about it. It entails a lot of effort and requires a big part of your time. But it can work. It worked for us!"