Team Kramer
Chesca Garcia Kramer via Instagram, screenshot
'Quaran-teaching': Team Kramer shares homeschooling tips, experience
Maridol Ranoa-Bismark (Philstar.com) - May 20, 2020 - 12:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — Now that the "new normal" is all about working – and learning – from home, more parents are going back to the good old days when they read to their children, taught them the basics and guided them about life.

That’s what celebrity couple Doug and Chesca Kramer have been doing ever since they became parents. But the job has become even bigger and more important now that formal school is out, and the children are at home 24/7. By children, that means Kendra, 10 (turning 11  next month), Scarlett (8) and Gavin (7). 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Homeschooling is more than just academics, it's really winning my child's heart and building their character. . I used to be so focused on getting them to finish their task and making sure that they get everything right instantly. My goal was for them to excel academically. . But, I realized soon after, that character building is even more important. The way we perceive and deal with people tells so much about our hearts. . The more I focused on their character, the more I saw them stepping up and giving their best. It is not always perfect but, I see their accountability in everything that they do. . The more time we spend together, the more time we have in addressing their feelings and thoughts. They get to share what is important to them and for us parents as well- from there we agree on a common goal. . What never fails with my kids no matter how hard the task is - is a parent with a praising and encouraging character. When we praise/encourage them, it fuels them to keep trying and keep going. . This is what I learned from homeschool... More than hard hard work it is heart work! ?? : Sharing this beautiful poem. : "Sow a thought you reap an act; Sow an act, you reap a habit; sow a habit; you reap a character; sow a character, you reap a destiny." - Samuel Smiles

A post shared by Chesca Garcia Kramer (@chekakramer) on

The couple has been homeschooling their children for three years. And everybody is happy.  

That’s what viewers of the first online Philippine homeschool conference saw for themselves when the celebrity couple talked about their own experience in turning their home into a classroom for their children. 

It wasn’t easy at first. Chesca had misgivings. She doubted whether she had what it takes to homeschool her children. True, she had — and still has — more command of her time because she and Doug run their own business. But having enough time and being the best teacher to your children are two different things.

“I prayed hard,” she recalled.

Chesca also asked for a sign. When she got it after two weeks, the former TV host assured herself that since she wants only the best for her children, she can give her best as their teacher as well.

Chesca messaged her children’s school teachers and invited some of them to help her. Chesca hired a school teacher. Then, Chesca divided homeschooling chores among her, her husband Doug and the teacher. 

Chesca focused on what she’s comfortable at teaching – history, science, the Bible, English and literature. Doug, a former PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) player, told Bible stories to his children, and took charge of their sports activities, of course.

He also taught the children how to play basketball like a pro. Doug’s sister would also come around to teach volleyball. Swimming is thrice a week.

A healthy mind in a healthy body is important. So Team Kramer plunges into a structured homeschooling schedule week after week. The children wake up at 8 a.m. (three hours later than the time they get up from bed for regular school). By 9 a.m., they’re in their classroom at home (Doug shares the other half of the space). They take 15-minute breaks and an hour-long lunch time-out, then go back to their classroom until they finish classes at 3 p.m.  

Weekdays, except Thursday – activity day – are devoted to learning various subjects. Thus, theater arts, taekwondo, ballet and other physical activities are reserved for Thursdays.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Current setting. ???? ???? + ???? Good morning and God bless to everyone! ??????

A post shared by Doug Kramer (@dougkramer) on

 

It’s a far cry from Kendra’s old school schedule where she’d be at Doug’s office by 4 p.m, finish her homework there, and get home tired in the early evening due to heavy traffic. She hardly had time for her family.

His daughter’s grueling schedule broke Doug’s heart.

“Kids have to enjoy their childhood,” he stressed. “You’re robbing them of childhood if they’re engaged in too much learning the whole day.”

And since childhood is also all about character formation, the Kramers include character building in their  homeschooling chores.

Doug thinks learning how to follow instructions and do things on one's own teach independence. He also believes using a tablet or gadget to calm down a crying child is wrong. 

“I’ve seen parents do it all the time and use the tablet as pacifier,” he observed. Doing so, he warned, will make the children gadget-dependent.

This is also why Chesca urges her children to consult a real dictionary – not a dictionary app – to look up the meaning or spelling of a word. The children can go online for research, but they should learn to love the dictionary – and books, for that matter. And they do. 

“Our kids always read books,” shared Chesca. They also love going to the garden.

Doug and Chesca also encourage the children to do their best for the love of it, not for material reward like toys (which are banned in the Kramer classroom) or videos.

“I remind them that they can do addition and subtraction with ease. This is a better reward than viewing YouTube. You don’t use gadgets as a reward. You do it (a good job) because you want to do it,” explained Doug.

Chesca, for her part, rewards her children by telling them their efforts at working hard have finally paid off, and that they should keep it up.

She also reminded them that in homeschool, rushing from one lesson to the next is unheard of. They can take their time in digesting the lesson. There are no deadlines except self-imposed learning timelines.

The children are the best proofs of why homeschooling works.

Kendra said she understands her lessons better. 

“In regular school, we have limited time. In home school, I can take my time in to learn. And I like being home a lot. I like it how Mommy explains the subject. I understand it better,” she added.

Scarlet and Gavin also prefer homeschool because getting stuck in traffic is terrible for them.

The rewards are two-way. Chesca and Doug are also enjoying parenting even more.

“We’re only parents once. God gave us the privilege to raise children. We only have a short window of time to make that impact. Now is the time to embrace it,” Chesca reminded fellow parents.
No wonder she and Doug have been homeschooling for not one, but three fruitful years.

Homeschooling: A total lifestyle commitment 

Edric Mendoza, president of Homeschool Global (HG), and his wife, Joy (nee Tan-chi), believe that homeschooling helps children learn better. They are the parents of five homeschooled children and are the major proponents of HG. 

An edu-preneur (education entrepreneur), Edric wears many hats.  He is focused on home education, personal finance; and is a registered financial planner (RFP) and former lead anchor of the multi-awarded ANC show “On the Money’. Moreover, he is an active member of CCF where they help coach, mentor, and mount events for families. In 2016, he was nominated for the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award. His new ventures include cacao farming as a social enterprise, and completing the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s CAEL (Certificate of Advanced Education Leadership) Program. His passion is to help change the world one family at a time and he is most proud of his role as a husband and father.

Edric defines homeschooling as “parent-led home based instruction” as key words. “These three words, Instruction-Learning-Education, can be used depending on your purpose, but the core is parent-led, then home-based and not home-confined, but home base as opposed to a facility base learning.”

He was, at first, hesitant about homeschooling having been in traditional schools all his life.  

“I think the biggest adjustment for me is just observing how the elements which I learned and experienced from the traditional school were still being covered somehow at home,” he shared. 

"For example Elijah, my eldest son, is now in his teen years and way back in my teen years, there were a lot of structures in the schools. So we were asking each other for a while: should we send him to school, because there is something lacking, like peer relationships, and the academic challenge that he might need. Because Joy couldn’t give learning stuff all the time and so he learns things on his own. But then, at HG, we have clubs and family learning communities where he could channel his energies. Then we realized there is nothing we regret about.”

He also said that “we really get to have a lot of flexibility and I love that about that in our choice. I really get to see my kids grow in an environment that is pretty much influenced by us so that brings enough positive adjustment.”

Joy herself was a product of homeschooling, and she has this advice for parents who are considering this learning track: “I think every parent has to come to that point where they should ask themselves, ‘What is the goal of my parenting? What will be the goal of my child's education? Because it has to be the starting point; it is not, ‘My child is going to be in school, where am I going to send them? What’s the best school out there?’”

She added that when parents know the end goal, then they say, ‘Okay, what steps do I need to take to get my child to that point?’ 

“I think that we encourage parents to think first about their parenting, and the end goal of their child’s education, then home schooling will make sense.” '

She said that it is then when those other factors in homeschooling that they think may be lacking come in, they will find a way to make it happen because they are committed to the end goal.

“You see, it’s so hard to talk about homeschooling when people imagine that they need to quit their job in order to teach their kids. That’s a big sacrifice; but if you know what the end goal, then you can make that sacrifice. Or you still earn an income, but maybe it is home-based or something ,online. It is a total lifestyle decision and commitment because if you choose to homeschool, everything you do as a family, even what you do as a mom or a father, will revolve around that decision to home educate because that will now become your priority in the day to day.”

RELATED: How TV host Edric Mendoza stays ‘pogi’ amid 5 kids

The Love Story of Edric and Joy Mendoza

HOMESCHOOLING TEAM KRAMER
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