“Building Blocks of Homeschooling” – A Homeschooling Public Seminar

Featured“Building Blocks of Homeschooling” – A Homeschooling Public Seminar

 

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

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A Tree without its Leaves

FeaturedA Tree without its Leaves

 

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.

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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 off 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…still in a state of processing her statement in my head.. I remembered even giggling a bit and sort of figuring out if we had 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. 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, one day at a time.

 

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Homeschooling Mommies Rock!

FeaturedHomeschooling 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

 

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The Book Shelter

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One of my fellow homeschooling mom, Mommy M, had told us about The Book Shelter that is apparently worth a visit. Although it was more than a year ago from the last time she visited, a lot could have changed since then. We still went since it’s only few kilometers away from our home and to keep a promise made to our homeschooler. She even reminded me that this was some sort of a school ‘field trip’, though she went solo 🙂 . The place is located in Maraya Art Centre in Al Qasba, Sharjah, and is a three-storey building comprises of an Art Gallery, the Barjeel Art Foundation, and The Book Shelter. The Art Centre was officially launched in March 2010.

Since our intention was to visit The Book Shelter for the benefit of our homeschooler, we have explored more on this facility. This kind-of-library setting is at the first level of the building and is open and free for public from 10am to 10pm, (except on Fridays – 4pm to 10pm only). I was earlier told by Mommy M that they used to allow kids to hang around the sitting area and read books, but this policy has now been changed. Only 18-yrs old and above are now permitted to use the facility like books and wi-fi, with a minimal fee of AED5/. Not bad huh? Probably for a university student who wishes to study on a quiet, homey-ambience, this place ain’t bad at all. Although my homeschooler was slightly disappointed upon knowing the changed in the policy, she went home still happy, as the nice lady working there gave her a consolation gift of a free book of her choice! Free book? Read on to know why :).

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It was such an interesting treat, don’t you think?! The Book Shelter is a reading advocate and striving to create the largest free library in the world by sourcing books from donations from different community groups. This scheme sustains their project to recycle, promotes reading, and to strengthen the reading culture in the U.A.E.

 

Visitors can actually ‘adopt’ a book for up to four books a month. That means if we borrow a book, we are not required to return it should we wish to keep it. In return, we may want to donate some books as well to keep their project going. For me this is a brilliant idea. It is like exchanging the books you have already read to a book you may like to read without spending money for it. This is a smart deal for expats like us; aside from contributing to a good cause, this can also avoid hoarding and an ease from cargo fees 🙂 .

The Book Shelter has a donation box where the drop-off can be made. On your visit, you may want to first check where the books ‘for adoption’ are placed, as they have separate shelves allotted for library use only. Although we didn’t see wide varieties of books to adopt at the time of our visit, but the lady assured that it’ll be more promising on our next as they’re still reorganizing the place. By the way, they also have themed art courses for children. Fee starts from AED30/session. You may visit their website at Maraya.ae for details.

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Still thankful to Mommy M for telling us about this place. So there you go. Time to sort out your book shelves and commit to this project of ‘adopt and donate’!

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The Day She Beats Me in the Game of Scrabble

My daughter just turned 10 couple of months ago. Her enthusiasm in playing with her Barbie dolls had lessen and she’s sort-of getting ‘connected’ these days into drawings, monologues (with a pretend audience), making videos (as if she’s being interviewed by someone and she politely replies with some sort of an accent), and her sudden interest in cooking (with the acting and the talking similar to that of a cooking show – so cute!). As a matter of fact, she almost perfect her own version of Chocolate Pancake using the Cadbury choco-malt which we purchased from India during our last visit. It was meant for drinking but its purpose just got deviated! She’s actually braver than I am in collaborating ingredients, etc. Good for her :).

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To add to her current interests is also playing the game of scrabble. Her dad introduced her to this game (to seemingly enhanced her vocab). She’s very excited and so willing to learn the rules and the mechanics especially when she came to know how to score big using the ‘triple word’ spots on the board. No player can predict what word would be formed next, so to attain a score through that red-triple-word spot is not an easy reach. She’s been trying so hard to form big words from the time we started playing. Even words that were unfamiliar to her she will boldly use so as to win, but to no avail since she’s been stuck playing with two grownups (whew!). Until only few days ago, when it was just the two of us playing, her perseverance and effort paid off! She finally beat me for the first time, placing two separate words landing on those triple word spots resulting to high scores! She’s jumping for joy, as if she just won a large prize! I guess for a 10yr old, beating an adult (all the more her mum), was an achievement! I, too, was ecstatic while sharing her victory! I could still remember the thrill on her face, she’s completely overwhelmed! For now, she refuses to play scrabble with me so she can hold on to that ‘winner’ status for a while, (till she’s apparently ready) hahaha! That was one of our classic moments 🙂 .

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‘Snap’ & ‘Safari’

As a mum, seeing your daughter grow up and divert interests from baby stuff into pre-teens stuff and all, was a mixture of emotions. Whether I accept it or not, it is a clear glimpse of the inevitable – she’s growing up and will soon be a teenager and then to adulthood, and .. – well, I think I’ll rather put the future thought into halt, for now. I guess it is more realistic if I’ll handle the changes in my daughter’s life one stage at a time, like ‘crossing the bridge when I get there’? As it is, I can almost feel an ‘ache’ in my heart with a mere thought that one day, it’ll all come to pass. Yes, I’m so proud of what she’s becoming but a part of me resists and refuses to completely let go of her ‘baby stuff’…. the pain fear of the unknown…

For now, I’m breathing hard, more of a sigh… I’m praying that God would allow me to live long enough to watch her grow and settle; to witness more of her ‘scrabble achievements’ and everything else that she wishes to achieve. To be with her as she reaches for more of those difficult ‘triple-word’ spots in her life. To watch her change interests one from another. And to create more classic moments together….

Sigh.

A mother’s prayer….

 

Featured

Back-to-Homeschool!

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As back-to-school is soon happening in this part of the globe, I couldn’t believe but be thankful that it has been almost two years since we started homeschooling our daughter, Jade; with God’s grace we are almost concluding our Level 4 home school materials plus the additional modules due to K-to-12. I could almost frame her happiness and sigh of relief each time she finishes a PACE and soon enough, she will be commencing with her Level 5 PACES. But before we dive into that, we’ll be taking a couple of weeks off to India and visit her dad’s family! It’s been a while from the last time we saw them, so we’re all excited especially Jade. Anything that will take her some time off from her studies! 🙂

Whew! I’m so glad I have started my blogging. Not only that I found my ‘me time’ through this but it also serves as an avenue for me to meet other homeschooling moms! Reading their blogs as they talk about the similar journey I am exploring encourages me and sort of reassures me in a way, knowing that the occasional hiccups that I go through is normal and just part of the whole ‘homeschooling package’. I am grateful that I found ‘new friends’ in them even cybernetically; they have helped me a great deal in ‘filling-in my blanks’.

To those of you who may be considering homeschooling your child/children, I encourage you to be open-minded and embrace the whole values involving this process. I could have shared you the ‘how-to-go-about-it’ procedure based on my own experiences, but as I am learning and understanding more of the homeschooling culture, there’s really no ‘fixed-formula’ on this. Even the method of presenting the lessons differ from one child to another. That is because each child is unique and has their own coping and learning abilities. Probably the one thing that we have in common is our intentions why we chose homeschooling. So if you are really serious about this, it may surprise you to know that the means, teaching materials, and the support are incalculable. You just need to identify which among the resources available will work for you and your child.

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Working on a crossword puzzle; one of her faves 🙂

Allow me to share you few links of some amazing homeschooling mums who have brought more light to what I am babbling about (wink)! Consider going through their blogs, write ups, and homeschooling tips! I am pretty sure you will find their stories and journeys quite inspiring. I am motivated more than I was a year ago! Their confessions and convictions why they’ve decided to home school their children echoed exactly my own. Of course, they have put them in better words! 🙂

I believe that every parents want the best education for their children. Please understand that methods vary from personal preferences and choices. Pray for wisdom and guidance so you would know what best suits for you and your kids. After all, they are the future generations; we are only God’s co-laborers.

Maybe I can share you some validation guidelines on my next blog on homeschooling. Especially to those who may want to know the certifications involved in validating their lessons with our local Ministry of Education back in the Philippines.

Meantime, happy homeschooling!

Home Schooling 101: Share a bike, win a Friend

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Part of my daughter Jade’s home schooling curriculum is to socialize with kids her age. Though socializing is never really an issue with my daughter, but the finding of friends her age who will be available to socialize with during her allotted time, where most kids are at school, is a bit of a dilemma. However, whenever we visit parks, play grounds, shopping malls, or nearby stores even on unusual hours, my daughter never faces any trouble of meeting a new friend! Problem solved 🙂 !

Even during her younger age, her dad and I encouraged her to acquaint herself as well with non-Filipino kids which she painstakingly obliged. It is also more of a ‘no choice menu’ for her living out of the Philippines most of her life, and her dad being on a non-Filipino category; but we are glad that she enjoys expanding her circle of friends.  You could imagine our challenge of defining to her the application of the ‘never talk to strangers’ policy!  Well, we tried our best to be clear on that subject.

One challenging task is to also educate Jade on what matters and what are relevant to other children, who have different cultural background and beliefs as she has. Making her understand that what is important to her is not necessarily the same level of importance to others.  Like learning to respect their religious practices, their difference on food choices, topics or toys preferences, and the list goes on.  We can’t avoid the occasional mishaps as she ‘collaborates’, after all, children are different individuals with unique ideas and variations on favourites. Sometimes, there are things that make them unhappy and ideas tend to clash. But such misunderstanding easily expires and before you know it, they are back to playing as if nothing happens.. the beauty of innocence 🙂 .  We, adults should sometimes learn from our kids especially from their easily-forgiving nature.

Well, we parents can give as much impartation as we can but we too, are limited in all capacity.  So there are things that we should allow them to learn and experience on their own. Part of our job is to prepare them for what comes ahead.  I quote from one of the books I read, “Being a perfect parent doesn’t matter, but being a praying parent does”! I resonate that.

For now, may Jade enjoys her youth and continue to appreciate the simple things in life!