How homeschooling strengthened this young family’s bond 2
The former lead anchor of ANC’s “On the Money,” Edric Mendoza, is the chairman of Homeschool Global (HG) which has 10,000 students across 30 countries.
Culture

How homeschooling schooled this father of six

The former ANC anchor and PLDT Home ambassador talks online learning, strengthening family and friendship ties, and staying connected through the power of the internet
PARTNER FEATURE | Jan 19 2023

The pandemic has upended our lives, for better or worse. Despite things going back to near pre-pandemic normalcy, many of us continue to work from home and choose to have our kids learn remotely.

This means that in many households, dependence on the internet has reached a whole new level. Just like Edric Mendoza, his wife Joy, and their six kids. This family depends heavily on the web for productivity and recreation. Mendoza, the former lead anchor of ANC’s “On the Money,” is what we call an “edu-preneur,” or an education entrepreneur. He is the president of Homeschool Global (HG) which has 10,000 students across 30 countries.

Edric Mendoza
Mendoza says through homeschooling, he has learned to be very intentional in guiding his kids and modeling the things he teaches them.

Building a premier homeschool

As the chairman of HG, he is focused on the “big picture”—building high-level contacts globally that will help in the pursuit of the company’s goals of empowering parents, ensuring the learning of students, and seeing families transformed. Taking the lead now in running the whole operation of HG is his friend and fellow homeschool advocate Ryan Gallagher as HG’s CEO.

One of HG’s primary goals is to help parents pursue what matters most for their children. “I often tell parents that homeschooling is fundamentally good parenting. So as they focus on parenting, they set the stage for great learning,” says Mendoza, “HG is simply a guide and enabler for parents.”

To ‘set the stage’ for learning, HG provides tools and solutions like training, books and other study materials, and community events. They also give school support such as internationally accredited grades, records with the Department of Education (DepEd) and other international education services that cover a K-12 education.

Mendoza, a former marketing lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University, proudly shares that he and his team have been fortunate to see many success HG stories of families discovering their children's unique abilities, skills, and talents—and using these to make a positive impact in the world. His work, he says, has also given him a strong sense of purpose, one that has catered to Filipino families and educators during the pandemic.

“More important to me, personally, are the stories of families strengthened, restored, and transformed in a good way by the whole experience. Once again, and in a time like this where the pandemic has caused so much pain and loss, it is important to revisit what really matters and to pursue these. Family bonds and relationships matter, so this last bit has been refreshing for me,” Mendoza adds.

The father of six mentions that in recent years the most gratifying part of building Homeschool Global and homeschooling as a whole has been seeing new leaders emerge. Yet, he admits, “It is challenging to learn to let go and trust these new leaders to carry things on. But as I have done this, and continue to do this, I look back more and more with deep joy and fulfillment rather than fear and regret.”

But like any form of education, there are upsides and downsides to homeschooling. Mendoza says the biggest downside he has seen can be attributed to the quality of parenting. “Good parenting leads to good homeschooling. So if a parent is negligent and is not character-focused, the child suffers,” he explains.

Another ‘ugly’ side to the growth of homeschooling in the country is how it was during the pandemic that many first learned to homeschool—a truly unfortunate situation. Because many were ill-prepared, there was a mixed set of experiences, some even outright awful, as every family coped not just with the schooling but with all other life challenges.

Mendoza shares that the global health crisis "forced" all parents to homeschool. “The net downside effect of this was that some (parents) came out of the pandemic traumatized by ‘homeschooling,’ which I am putting quotation marks on as their experience does not capture what should have been the proper environment to do it.”

The history of modern-day homeschooling can be traced back to the 1970s and has since been seen by many as a better alternative to traditional forms of learning. The pandemic, however, has seen more families making the switch even as the world has transitioned to the new normal. “What has been and continues to be the sticking factor of homeschooling, in my opinion, is the flexibility and empowerment it provides parents. It gives parents greater control of the learning and education of their children,” Mendoza says.

 

Practicing what he preaches

Himself a parent to homeschooled kids, Mendoza vouches for the effectiveness of such a program. “I like to use the line a homeschool parent shared with me as I finished a research project some years back: ‘Homeschooling homeschooled me.’ I would not be the father I am today if it were not for homeschooling.”

“I have three boys, currently 19, 16, and 14; and three girls aged 12, 9, and 4. My wife Joy has been my best friend for the last 21 years of marriage and three years of courtship. She is a gifted writer and is a bestselling author and award-winning blogger in the Philippines,” he proudly adds.

The licensed guerrilla marketing coach says that through homeschooling, Mendoza has learned to be very intentional in guiding his kids and modeling the things he teaches them. There are difficulties, of course, but he says that the experience has always been rewarding.

“I do not think I have enough time to expound on the gains I have seen in my kids. But in a nutshell, two things stand out. First, they have a love for learning and have learned how to learn.” He shares that their children can be put in situations where they are able to adapt, like his eldest son Elijah who garnered a perfect 4.0 GPA in his first semester as a college student in the US.

“Second, they have strong character. This is key for me. I have observed that what makes for successful people is successful character development. Character is the foundation on which skills can be planted and grown and nurtured. Without character, even the most talented and brilliant people end up doing disastrous things,” says Mendoza. Given that parents in a homeschooling setup spend more time with their kids, he adds, there is naturally more time to influence the character traits they want developed.

Elijah, for example, loves tech and wants to set up a business in cybersecurity. He is also pursuing a double major in a private Christian college in the US that is preparing him for this goal. Mendoza’s younger son, Edan, shows a keen interest in agriculture. The Grade 10 student is thinking of creating a start-up that will help the local industry which he is passionate about transforming. Mendoza thinks his youngest son, Titus, might take up engineering in college as he loves breaking things apart and finding ways to put them back together, and even fix them when broken.

Of Mendoza’s daughters, his eldest, Tiana, loves to sing, dabbles in sports, and possesses an interest in design. “My last two daughters Catalina and Caylee are a delight as they are super affectionate and very expressive and just bring so much entertainment into our home,” Mendoza adds. “They kept us ‘sane’ throughout the lockdowns and various challenges the pandemic brought about.”

The registered financial planner and former anchor says his family loves doing things together such as traveling, learning, exploring, and challenging themselves with sports and board games. The active member of Christ's Commission Fellowship adds that because of their Christian background, they also enjoy serving their local church together.

Edric Mendoza
Mendoza highly recommends PLDT Home’s WiFi Mesh System to big families whose members are most likely to use multiple gadgets at the same time.

Strengthening connections at home

An international keynote speaker on home education, personal finance, and family life, Mendoza describes his home as "minimally organic," with lots of treated concrete and wood accents meant to weather well, especially because they have six children. “We are fortunate to have a fairly big home with lots of space for the learning of the kids and hosting our fairly large families on both sides, and even our ‘spiritual family’ of close friends who also go to the same local church. It has three levels, with a fourth level garden area.”

He does most of his work online and in a spacious home, that is why he is happy they have availed a PLDT Home WiFi Mesh System, designed to complement an internet’s existing router to deliver strong WiFi signals in areas that the said router cannot reach.

Ordinary routers are unable to deliver consistent strong WiFi signals across entire homes, especially if the area is more than 70-sqm-wide with thick walls, multiple rooms, and many floors. The WiFi Mesh, meanwhile, is built with technology that eliminates this problem and instead delivers strong connectivity wherever it is needed.

Mendoza says that the PLDT Home WiFi Mesh System enables him to do his work well even in the comfort of his own home. Most importantly, though, it allows him to better connect with the most important people in his life: his family and closest friends.

“We have bonding moments over game night, movie night, or even ‘performance night’ where my kids will play music or sing a capella to a live audience online. It allows us to access workout programs in our lower ground floor gym. It allows us to use Alexa as our intercom for day-to-day comms,” he shares.

The technology also allows the family to connect with Elijah regularly who is studying in the US. It even helps them stay connected and do their Bible studies online with their closest friends. “It strengthens our bonds and makes our daily lives more productive. I can go on and on.”

Mendoza highly recommends PLDT Home’s WiFi Mesh System to big families similar to his, whose members are most likely to use multiple gadgets at the same time, and who require the internet for both productivity and leisure.

“Just make sure you know where to put the WiFi Mesh devices as this is key, and so that you get a strong connection in critical spots. I needed this numerous times as I did speaking engagements online,” he says before talking about other key features of the WiFi Mesh, specifically one that allows parents to take full control of the internet connection at home. “Also make sure you have a stop time as this will ensure everyone continues to use the online space in a healthy way.”

Stay purposeful and productive like Edric Mendoza and his family. Get a PLDT Home WiFi Mesh System to unlock whole-home coverage that will ensure zero dead spots at home. Visit pldthome.com/fiberplus to know more.

Photographs by Vyn Radovan

Grooming by Bebbot S. Padilla

Special thanks to Bea Moral