There is a prevailing image of the home-schooled child that suggests he or she is closed off from the real world and mired in family chores around the house. The child is almost often portrayed as a product of a memory and systematic framework without any room for imagination. There may be a basis in this as homeschooling – in theory – does take the child away from inherent social learning that a regular classroom provides. Furthermore, the lack of what some may refer to as a daily structure would leave the child without a sense of direction.
However, these two New Era University Homeschool Intervention (NEU HIP) Program learners not only prove the opposite can be true, but that homeschooled children can possess a dynamism and well-roundedness that rival (and even excel) that of regular school students. Joreli Khaye Perez and her younger brother John Kenji Perez, both of the United Arab Emirates have found a true calling as world-renowned Badminton players.
Joreli is a charming and very extroverted 15 year old girl who, by her own admission, couldn’t hit the badminton shuffle at first but was encouraged by her older brother who saw a talent that could be developed. In just 3 short years, she has established herself as one of the very best badminton players in her age group and is strongly poised to take the top rank in future tournaments. While this is something she continuously aims for, her biggest ambitions are to become a Badminton World Federation player and to represent the Philippines in the Olympics.
John, the youngest Perez sibling, is admittedly reserved on the outside. However, underneath that calm exterior lies a competitor whose ascent to the top ranks of junior Badminton players has captured both praise and awe. At an age where most children would be content to watch cartoons, he was training with Badminton experts and at a specialized Badminton academy proved himself a prodigy by approaching player attributes in 2 months what it had taken other children 2-3 years of continued practice to perfect. John aims to be a Badminton World Federation Player and would like to represent the Philippines in the Olympics.
With their faith to keep them grounded, a family life to keep them motivated and a dog named Chichi that more than likely is their number one fan, both John and Joreli continuously grow as people and shatter stereotypes that home schooled children don’t know how to develop talents outside of themselves. If these two inspiring young athletes can do it, then there is no doubt that there are other home-schooled children who have cultivated talents to the degree of expertise. And while they may not carry the rank distinctions of these two brothers and sisters, they nonetheless suggest that home-schooling is a viable alternative not only for education – but for finding a healthy calling outside of the classroom.