“Building Blocks of Homeschooling” – A Homeschooling Public Seminar

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Good day, Homeschoolers!

How are we doing today?

If you happen to be in the Philippines this Friday, the 9th of December 2016, I am inviting you to attend a homeschooling public seminar on foundation and practical guide to homeschooling featuring “Funding your Homeschooling”.

The event will be co-facilitated by homeschooling experts, Dr. Donna Simpao and Ms. Felichi Buizon, with the special participation of Ms. Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan (celebrity presenter – Mommy Minute), in coordination with The Master’s Lighthouse Foundation.

The seminar will further tackle on topics of 1.Homeschooling Works: The Homeschooling Option, 2.The Basics of Setting a Solid Foundation, and 3.How to Get Started.

As a bonus, two (2) lucky participants will get the chance to attend this Seminar for FREE! All you have to do is share this post on your Facebook account and your name will be automatically included in the draw. Alternatively, you may also tag your friends who you think might also be interested to attend and if they share the post, their names will be entered as well. You may also leave a reply on the Comment box of this post and write ‘interested’. The lucky winners will be announced on Thursday, 8th December at 14hrs, Manila Time.

*Note that this promo is only for those who will be in the Philippines on the date of the event.

All the best!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”! – 2Timothy 4:7

Perk for Non-Indian Wives

 

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If you happened to be a wife of an Indian national, this good news is for you! You may now be entitled for multiple entries, with a lifelong visa to India by simply applying for an Overseas Citizenship of India or the OCI card. Isn’t this a blessing or what?! And not only that, this benefit is extended to your children, too!  In case you had already been issued with a Person of Indian Origin or the PIO card, then the process will even be much more minimal for you. I was issued with a PIO card more than a year ago and once the news came out on the wives’ eligibility for an OCI, we immediately applied. My PIO card was replaced with an OCI, with the waiting period of less than 45 days, however it might take a little longer for new application. Please visit the Indian Consulate near you for further details or you may check out their website at www.cgidubai.com in case you are residing in the UAE.

As a wife of an Indian national, I was initially issued a PIO card to travel to India and this card is valid for 15 years from the date of issue which has been working out well for us. So much more, t’was worth the amount we’ve paid for to process. Until recently, our ingress to India has been upgraded to OCI. I am really thankful to the Indian Government for considering the family status of their people, for which I can only hope for my Philippine Government to reciprocate with a similar gesture. It has been my sentiment for a while now as my husband can only be granted a maximum of one-year multiple visa entry to the Philippines even after being married for more than 20 years and regularly travelling to the Philippines. We were told that this could be extended but the information we gathered so far on how to was somewhat vague.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration may have a procedure currently in place on the issuance of this type of visa, but I believe so that the process can still be improved. I may be naive but we sure didn’t experience so much trouble when applying for my OCI, aside from spending only around 300 US$ for a lifetime validity (this was including the processing of my PIO, then to OCI) compared to my husband’s only one-year of visa to the Philippines which normally costing us approx 152 US$ to obtain, each time we apply. There must be a better and cheaper alternative for the foreign spouse of a Philippine national to be given the same privilege. There should be….

In fairness, I somehow understood my country’s predicament on this matter. I have heard of the so many cases of frauds and abuse in using ‘marriage’ as a means to secure entry to the Philippines for personal gain and business reasons. This is indeed an act of disgrace and only pave the way in even corrupting the already weak system to identify the legit and the truly-deserving from the bogus. All I am saying is to seriously review the current process and maybe come up with a stricter, wiser, and a much organized policy to overcome such anomalies and consider a more solid yet similar possibility. I am hopeful that a country as multi-cultural and highly developed as the Philippines can come up with a way to ease up or enhance the existing process, in order to encourage the Filipinos with foreign spouses to consider spending their retirement in the Philippines. I pray that my plea will one day fall into attentive ears and will not remain just a ‘wishful thinking’ 🙂

I can only hope especially with the present administration in the Philippines where I have been reading proposals and apparently working on a more structured programs for the returning OFWs. That they may consider this matter as one important aspect to pay attention to – family status. If there’s something I will be asked for as an OFW to push forward in terms of a long-term plan, is the possibility of issuing a permanent residence visa to our foreign spouse (or at least something equally defined). After all, our ultimate goal as an OFW is to one day settle in a place (especially in our own country) where family is welcomed to stay together,  without the burden of having to renew a ‘temporary residence visa’.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Reference link:

http://www.living-in-the-philippines.com/permanent-resident-visa-philippines.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_Philippines

image from google

A Tree without its Leaves

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If you are a homeschooling mum, this post may read familiar to you. It was one of those unexpected conversations with your homeschooler that will make you appreciate even more why you homeschool your child, apart from the many other reasons. Here is a flashback of our short and sweet encounter few days ago.

Characters

Mommy (that’s me)

Jade (my 10-yr old homeschooler)

Daddy (specially mentioned)

Scenario

Since we’ve started our Level 5 homeschooling materials near mid of this year, I have (strongly) encouraged my daughter to work on her papers independently, mostly without me sitting next to her. In short, with a very minimal supervision. Weeks came to pass and we’re still unable to put this into practice. More than a month ago, we had another discussion on this matter and finally convinced her on the advantages this will accomplish to both of us, and so we amicably agreed on this new setting. I’ve sensed her discomfort but went with it anyway. She started off well and had taken the challenge brilliantly,  however the lessons which we used to finish in two days took her almost four days to complete; understandable as she covers the lesson practically on her own. I’m not being cruel or something but only sharpening her independence and comprehensiveness. Just like testing how far she can decipher her lessons with less of me being by her side. It’s not that she couldn’t managed but she had at least identified her areas of difficulties. Eventually, her ‘enforced independence’ has worn out, and silently shout a desperate SOS. Then one day, she spoke….

Dialogue

Jade: Mom, I need to tell you something. This is very important.

Me: OK, tell me what is it (Jade  is normally a jovial kid but a deep thinker at times and this was one of those days)

Jade: (with a sad face) I know that we’ve agreed on this and that you wanted me to work on my lessons without asking you too many questions but I think I really need you to sit with me especially on Math, on Science (and few more subjects were added on the list :)) 

Me: Really? But you were doing a good job working things on your own.

Jade: But I’m too slow on my own, it would be faster if we work on my lessons together just like before.

(Our exchanging of reasons, encouragement and emphasizing on independence went on for a while.. then she said something that made me stopped on what I was trying to point out to her. For a moment, she looked like my once was two-year old daughter seeking for help and attention; she rarely looks this way after her third grade, so this was serious). She said it almost exactly like this:

Jade: You see mum, I am like a tree with many branches. I am strong with roots. I have green leaves and fruits. But when you left me to work on my lessons, on my own, it felt like all my leaves and fruit fell down and I became just a tree with branches without leaves. By the way, Dad is my roots, so he’s still there. But I’m just brown in color, no more green because my leaves all fell down. You were my leaves…

Me: Stunned, I couldn’t respond anything for a while.. I’m still processing her statement in my head.. I remembered even giggling a bit and sort of figuring out if we have read it from a book somewhere 🙂 .. I’m an adult (and a mom who supposedly has a ready answer to say), but I was speechless with such a description. She was so sincere and honest. So serious which was unusually her. And all I could do was gave her a tight hug and with teary-eyed all I could uttered was, “is that so”? I was in awe how this 10 yr old came up with a mental picture of how she looks like when I left her to study on her own. Wow. I felt so ‘green’ imagining me as her leaves! Call me self-centered but I felt a sense of importance in exchange of her grief, realizing how much she depends on her dad and me. I was elated and crushed at the same time.

That was classic, wasn’t it? So many metaphors of what she told me came across my mind. Every day has its own stories and revelations. All part of our homeschooling saga; the drama, the dialogues, endless reasoning, and discussions. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned so much more about my daughter the moment she homeschooled. Her strengths and weaknesses, her highs and her lows.

One day, she’ll have to go back to school. By then her ‘tree’ will be fully grown and much stronger.But for now, we don’t want her ‘tree to be leafless’, so we’ll stick around as long as she needs us to. We’ll all get there!

 

google for the image

 

 

Chicken (Noodle) Soup – An apparent food for the soul

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I’ve just started a new category on this blog called D.I.Y. which stands for Do It Your-Style. In this page, I will be sharing with you anything that has been modified by us from its original version or perhaps some sort of reinventing stuff to suit our tastes, liking, and needs (what I meant by ‘us’ is a joint-effort together with my hubby, my daughter, and myself).  Living in a country far away from home, we sometimes refer on methods on how we traditionally prepare things, especially on food. It’s undeniably a fact that we are a family who loves to eat and enjoy a home-prepared meal together.  And not only that, this also applies to our homeschooling daughter who has recently been exploring on arts, crafts, and cooking where some of the materials/ingredients needed can be way out of our budget. So all the more we see the need to look for affordable alternatives and home-produced as much as possible and still be happy with the results.  This is a real challenge for me as I am not a very creative person but “it’s never too late to explore”, assures my daughter :).

So to begin with our first entry, just recently, all three of us were craving for a hot bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup. My husband often shares stories on how they used to prepare variety of noodle soups in his birthplace in Cambodia. How they garnished it with these spices and that herbs which sounds alien to me as most of them I have no idea about. But his enthusiasm while narrating makes me drool for the finished product most of the time haha!  We assumed that most of those ingredients might not even be available in the local store so we’ve decided to improvise and enjoy a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup, our style!

It’s not really a rocket-science formula in making any noodle soup but only varies on preference. For me, any type of noodles will do, any green, leafy vegetables can be added, and your own choice of chicken stock will justify the taste. Obviously this wasn’t the first time we’ve prepared this type of soup at home. The difference from the usual was that we’ve decided to use fresh noodles which we’ve just grabbed from a local supermarket and it made a big tasty difference! We picked up few type of veggies as well compared to how we stocked up our noodle soup with veg in the past. We also added up on flavor by boiling the stock with cinnamon stick and star anise. Result? Very satisfying!

I used to believe that the more ingredients you put in a soup, the tastier it will become. Being regarded as the ‘Food for the Soul’, it is said to be filling and comforting hence, a bowl should gratify. Until my hubby introduced me to the ‘science of cooking’! On how simple and affordable a dish can become without really populating it with so much elements. It also helps by familiarizing oneself with the ingredients and its effect on the taste especially when using different herbs and spices. Soup is all about the taste of the soup, so that’s where we systematically experimented. I must say, there’s indeed a science in cooking!

Till my next D.I.Y.

Meantime, keep discovering! 🙂 ♥

Weather vs Provision

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Just my wishful thinking (not really singing a Christmas song) hahaha!

Has been experiencing the heat from the time we’ve arrived in the Philippines and yes, it’s the peak of the summer! The mild breeze hasn’t been making any attempt to ease even a bit of the 40(+ or -) degrees temperature except during the night, where a tiny dose of air brings a slight comfort. When you’re actually stuck in this kind of weather, it might help to meditate on thoughts that will temporarily snatched you, even mentally, from this agonizing heat by being creative in your imagination. Like for example, visualize that you’re soak in a big bucket of ice; swimming in a pool of cold water; or you’re in the movie Frozen, accompanying Anna in the snow-covered mountain searching for her sister, Elsa; or you’re just simply made of snow just like Olaf! Vivid but it does help, at least for me :).

In the middle of this ‘fat melting’ climate is the perk of bathing in cold water which is an all-year-round provision in the Philippines.  The first drop of cold water from the shower already guarantees a refreshing feel and the sure elimination of discomfort. It’s a total yes factor! If only I could stay under the shower the whole day! Of course depending on the water provision and availability, you may either go for quick baths of up to three times a day for an instant relief or a long, rejuvenating bath before retiring for bed! Just an important public reminder – do conserve water. I will leave the ingenuity to you to do so :)!

I’m a firm believer of motivating oneself to find something to be grateful for even in the middle of the most challenging of situations because whether we acknowledge them or not, they do exist. So, we might as well recognize them for good vibes instead of being disheartened while tackling the inevitable. Cold water bath is not a consistent option in the UAE where I am mostly based with my family, and where the water temperature normally coincides with the local weather so for me, having a cold water bath any time of the day especially during the summer is already a treat!

And so, as much as we want to enjoy the beach and hit the pool to alleviate the heat, we may need to postpone it for some other visits.  One of the main reasons why we’re here in the Philippines is to monitor the refurbishment of our house in Bulacan. But you know what, take it from me, never plan a house repair during this time of the year because boy oh boy, it’s torture unless you enjoy being in a sauna! You may ask, “Is there something I should be grateful for in the middle of this sweat-dripping task”? Oh yeah there is; the cement dries faster! 🙂 🙂

In the meantime, I will continue with my ‘mental diversion’ to somewhere more rewarding. Like ATM (at the moment) – visualizing a huge bowl of pomegranate-flavored ice cream!!

Homeschooling Mommies Rock!

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From the time I’ve started homeschooling my daughter, Jade, it has always been my prayer and desire to be part of a homeschooling community where parents personally meet and share similar journeys of home educating our kids. Even during my initial year of homeschooling, I’ve already identified the need of having to talk to someone who speaks the same ‘language’ as I am when it comes to home education. Like a solace in knowing that there are other families like us who opted for the same kind of settings. It is like a support group that aids each other in enhancing skills as home educators and the fun of involving our kids’ socialization in the process.

Being an expat here in the U.A.E, reaching out to such community is a bit of a challenge as sometimes, I need to cross one Emirate to another to join a group. Until recently, a homeschooling community has just been formed in my locality. After a long time, it felt like the earth became smaller, the task looking lighter, and suddenly, I’m not alone anymore! yey!

We just had our first successful ‘Mommy Meet-Up’ over a cup of coffee and doughnut. We’ve missed the company of two more mommies who weren’t able to join us due prior engagement. Anyhow, it was such a blessing to listen to every mother’s unique story of passion, commitment, and how the universe orchestrated our paths to cross, so that we can be an encouragement to one another. We’re all grateful. God do answer prayers! 🙂  And as we continue to persevere combating the challenge of home education, family life, secular jobs, and everything else in between, we all know that we shall reap our rewards in due season!

It was indeed a very productive meet-up and we hope to have the Daddies join us the next time. We sure look forward for more as we got pumped-up with our planned activities lined-up for our kiddos. We are excited to be sharing to you more updates as the ‘Homeschooling Community in Sharjah’ grow, glow, and go!

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“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent”. – Mahatma Ghandi

 

Happy Blogiversary, ExpatPinay!

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Yay, congratulations, happy one year blogiversary! Seems like yesterday when you were just being conceived. I didn’t even know what to name you, or what to tell people about you. Not even a single clue on what your journey would be like. But one thing I’m sure of, is that you’re brave and I’m proud of you! ♥

Your first few months were tough. Just like a child on her first day at school; you were alone, confused, curious, fidgety, and unsure of what lies ahead. You gave it a shot anyway and you were in for a surprise. Through this blog you got to meet interesting people, new friends, expats just like you from different parts of the globe, and the most rewarding is getting acquainted with other homeschooling mums, who have certainly helped you a great deal in ‘filling in your homeschooling blanks’! Whew!

When you left the corporate world, you were suddenly a ‘full-timer’ of almost everything. Not that you are complaining of being such, but you long for a fresh challenge – like a new purpose for your being, something that will detach you from your daily norm, a space that you can call your corner, your ‘me-time’. And so, it’s blog time! Some people blog for the money (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – who doesn’t want an extra buck, I do!), but writing became therapeutic for you, an extension of your sanity. And you’re not even a writer! Hahaha! Regardless, I’m so glad you did!

My birthday wish for you? Just keep on writing, make more friends and acquaintances, enjoy your space, and most of all, have fun!

Did you know that your site had been so far visited by 37 different countries, as per your Flag Counter? And as a gesture of appreciation to all those wonderful people, who one way or the other viewed ExpatPinay for the past year, we extend our gratitude by saying THANK YOU in your own language. Some countries share a common or same languages/dialects, hence our thank you had just been combined. A special hug to a good friend, Ms S, who was a big help during the initiation of this blog – thanks for the love and.. , to my forbearing hubby who never complained even during those nights where light has to be on while he sleeps hahahha!

And so, ExpatPinay says thank you.

  • In Arabic              SHUKRAAN
  • In English             THANK YOU
  • In Filipino             SALAMAT
  • In Hindi                 DHANYAVAAD
  • In Urdu                  SHUKRIYA
  • In French             JE VOUS REMERCIE
  • In German          DANKE
  • In Russia              SPA-SEE-BA
  • In Afrikaans        DANKIE
  • In Chinese           XIE-XIE (Mandarin)
  • In Spanish           GRACIAS
  • In Dutch               DANK JE
  • In Taiwanese     TO-SIA / KAM-SIA
  • In Algerian          SAHA / TANEMIRT
  • In Icelandic         PAKKA PER
  • In Cantonese     DOJEH / MGHOI
  • In Irish                  GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT
  • In Italian               GRAZIE
  • In Khmer             ARKOUN
  • In Malay/Indo   TERIMA KASIH
  • In Mauritius        MERCI (BEAUCOUP)
  • In Swedish          TACK
  • In Burmese         KYAAYYUUTAINPARTAAL
  • In Congo              DE RIEN (Ethnic – Lingala)
  • In New Zealand WHAKAWHETAI KOE (Maori)
  • In Austria             MERCI VILMAL (Swiss-German)
  • In Turkish            TESEKKUR EDERIM

 

Let me leave you with a statement from one of my favorite authors, Rick Warren. I hope it will encourage you to pursue your goal, the same way it encouraged me. 🙂

God always operates in your life by faith. That’s why you need goals in your life, because a goal is a statement of faith. A goal says, “I believe God wants me to accomplish something by a certain date”. If you don’t have a date, it’s not a goal. It’s a wish. It’s a dream. It’s a desire. But wishes are a dime a dozen; they’re worthless. The only thing that will change your life is setting a goal. You’ve got to wake up from the dream and go to work!

Acknowledgement to: Google Dictionary for the translations and the image