By Gina Abuyuan

On my Facebook account, I recently posted an old article we ran in the now defunct HIPP (Happy, Intelligent, Progressive Parenting) magazine. It’s about choosing between traditional and progressive schools, and how to find the perfect fit for your child.

Surprisingly (well, to me at least), it earned quite a response: parents who had already decided on a route, parents embarking on the new journey of school-hunting, even non-parents threw in their two-cents’ worth on the subject. It was clearly a much-talked about topic among the Gen X and Gen Y parents; this issue didn’t even exist during our parents’ (the baby boomers) time. All our folks knew was that their kids were going where THEY went to school—it was to continue a “tradition,” which may or may not have afforded their kids (us) the best environment where we could shine. It was a different time and world: kids were boxed in a certain mold of being “smart,” and sometimes assigned the label of “not-so-smart” if he or she didn’t fit in that mold or expectations of society. Excellence was measured by the ability to memorize facts and sticking to the rules without the added value of critical thinking. Learning was limited to the four corners of the classroom—and perhaps extended to the home, but under a tutor’s guidance.

But that was then, this is now.

Gen X and Gen Y parents have so much access now to so many different kinds of education and learning. There are so many different ways to make a child thrive intellectually, socially, psychologically, physically. Obviously, I advocate non-traditional schooling. All my kids attend progressive schools. My seven-year-old twins attend a blended program—I like to call it semi-homeschooling—which gives them two days of “school,” learning under teachers who teach them the regular required DepEd subjects, and one day of enrichment classes (art, nature appreciation, writing). The rest of the week is spent learning with me—not hunched over textbooks and quiz papers, but doing online math games, going on virtual tours of the MOMA, or plain going out on self-imposed field trips. Some can even call it un-schooling.
The point is that I get as involved as I can in their learning and am witness to the beauty of wonder in their eyes and their rapt attention as we walk through Intramuros or the Manila Seedling Bank or wherever. More often than not, I learn alongside them. I personally believe it’s a path every parent should try, at least for a year.

Of course, non-traditional schooling is not for every child, or for every parent. Deciding on the manner of education that you give your child will have to be in line with your values as a family, and your children’s personal inclinations.

More on that in my next entry.

Featured Photo by CDC on Unsplash