How Homeschooling Helped Me Graduate Cum Laude and Have A Good Perspective of Success and Fame

An interview with Benny Manaligod

In homeschool, I learned that what was most important is not personal gains but rather, the greatest commandment: Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, and mind and love thy neighbor as thyself—and that’s what mattered to me. So when I was choosing a course to take in college, I was asking myself, how can I use my life to benefit others? 

What caught my attention was Psychology, the study of human behavior, affect, and cognition. I thought, “Okay, I wanna take this because I wanna understand people more so I can know how to help them. What are their needs and how can I meet them?” Homeschooling helped me see the world that way, see choices that way. I eventually graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and I admit I wasn’t the smartest in the class but I was the one who paid the most attention. When my classmates would be texting in the corner because they felt like they knew the lesson already or they were so used to the classroom setup, I always looked my professors in the eye to let them know that I was listening, that I was there, that I cared. That excitement for learning, I got from homeschooling.

Having been homeschooled for 13 years, from pre-school until high school, I knew how to do a lot of things on my own, things weren’t wasn’t spoon-fed to me. So when I had professors, I got really excited because if I can learn things on my own in homeschool, how much more with these people that I can discuss with, people with that kind of expertise, and it was exciting for me to talk to them, to learn from them. One thing I learned from homeschooling that really helped me in college was, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again—that’s something my mom taught me.

I also learned from my parents that “people will not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” So, in college, I didn’t need to present myself as someone who was superior intellectually. Of course, I grew in wisdom, but what people needed to know was that I cared about them—be it when it’s groupwork, groupmates, learning to be a team player, being involved in each project. In every outreach that we did that was school-related, for me, it wasn’t just a requirement for school. I made it a point to interact with the people in the communities we served.

A lot of the values I have now come from my parents, and helping out other people and not being after money or fame have been behind my decision to put a band and get into campus missions. It’s not how much money I can make but how I can make an impact on people’s lives. I started a band in college and continued that because people need to know what love really is and not what the world makes it to be. We give people the message that all these different kinds of love, all these different relationships, point to God. And then I entered into campus missions because there are a lot of aspects of psychology that can be practiced there—counseling, understanding why students act the way they do—and there was a need in the church for younger leaders who could communicate better with the students. Had I focused on money or fame, I wouldn’t be able to touch lives the way I do now, so thank you homeschool.

Parents, the opportunity to instill values in your children while they’re young is something you shouldn’t let pass. Okay, I’ll tell you this, in high school, I kind of doubted, “Should I have been homeschool?”. In college, I also had those doubts, but now, that I’m older and wiser, looking back, I can say it was so worth it. And I’m, thankful for it. So do it. Do it. If you have a calling to do it, do it.

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