Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Home I am taking care of my daughter way better than a school. Your children can have extra time to enjoy life, and I act not just as a mother for my two kids but also a teacher.
schooling becoming a trend
By Ben Garcia
re you living on a tight budget but want to give your child the best education? If your answer is yes, then you might consider homeschooling -home education or home-based learning by parents or tutors rather than in the formal settings of public or private schools. Homeschooling, a legal option for parents in many countries around the world, is a rare occurrence in the Arab world. There is no ban on homeschooling in Kuwait. For expatriate parents in Kuwait, homeschooling is slowly gaining popularity, especially among Americans, Europeans and Filipinos. “The children of some Americans and Europeans are being homeschooled because they are frequent travelers and move a lot. Filipinos are not into it so much yet,” said Deese Tubale, the coordinator of parents of homeschooled children in Kuwait. She explained that the Philippines accepted this method only 10 years ago and is now accepted by the Department of Education in Manila. She herself is a product of homeschooling, when she did her master’s degree. “I thought of putting together a non-profit support group because it is important for parents and children who are now into homeschool-
Deese Tubale teaches her daughter at home. ing,” she said, adding that she does not get any monetary compensation for her services. Deese is a proud mother of two daughters aged 2 and 5. The eldest is now in KG 2 and is being homeschooled. “I enrolled by child in 2012 in online classes provided by a wellknown school in America. I want to be handson in everything for my kids, so my eldest is my first student,” she said. “I feel very proud because I am teaching my own child and every parent wants the best for their children. My time is flexible - I have sessions every day
from 10 am to noon or sometimes 1 pm; then sessions in the afternoon from 6 pm to 9 pm. I give her freedom to do whatever she likes in her free time. The time wasted on the road is now spent with her sister or sometimes painting,” she said. Deese’s house serves as a virtual classroom for her eldest as well as younger child. She had hundreds of school materials properly arranged and displayed. She has a study table complete with whiteboards, a piano in the corner and a place to play. “I set up a healthy environment for my child to learn. My objective in designing my house as a virtual school is to encourage her and develop her mental ability and boost her creativity,” she said. Education in Kuwait is free for citizens, but foreign students have to deal with exorbitant tuition fees charged by traditional private schools for expatriates. “I am paying three to five times lower than a traditional school. Besides, homeschooling your children is a really excellent choice. I don’t regret it because I am taking care of her way better than a school. Your children can have extra time to enjoy life, and I act not just as a mother for my two kids but also a teacher. We also visit playgrounds and allow her to interact with other kids. I also take her frequently to malls, and we watch movies that talk about life and reality. She likes animated movies with great messages. She is socially very active and an approachable four-year-old,” she said. In addition, Deese does not force her
daughter to wake up at 5 am to prepare for school. “Homeschooling is flexible, so I set a comfortable time to study and learn. If she’s studying in a formal school, she has no choice she has to rise early because she has to go to school and encounter traffic,” Deese reasoned. “Also in a traditional school, she has to bathe at an early hour, wear a uniform and forcibly eat breakfast. In homeschooling, none of these will be encountered. I start her class at 10 am so she has a sound sleep, and I stop at her convenience. I allow her to sleep again in the afternoon, then back at her study table at 6 pm,” she said. Textbooks and exams are from the online school providing the homeschooling. “I found the system very reliable and friendly. Now that homeschooling is available, I think I would highly recommend it to everyone.” Deese chose a US program because her daughter doesn’t understand Tagalog very well. When it comes to Filipino subjects, she is not that interested, so I decided on the American curriculum. She will learn the Filipino language eventually, but for now she is okay with the US-based school, and I found it very advanced compared to its peers,” Deese mentioned. Deese is the founder of the Filipino Homeschoolers Kuwait Group - a group of parents currently homeschooling her children. The group was founded last month and currently has at least 10 Filipino members. For more information, visit — www.homeschoolinginkuwait.com