A friend of mine, who’ll be coming over this April, asked me to look for an English children’s book for her daughter on the legend of Chocolate Hills, as a preview of our trip to Bohol. Sadly, I couldn’t find any and even this book which had a compilation of different Philippine legends didn’t have any story on this famous place in the Visayas.  So I asked Arielle and Kayla if they could research on the legend, make their own books, and give them as gifts to my friend’s daughter. 

Arielle used a tablet and Photoshop to make her version, printed it out, and fastened the pages together.



Kayla did a cut-and-paste method, and drew some parts of the story.

With these, I hope we, Filipinos and foreigners, adults and kids alike, would appreciate more the beauty of the place and the ‘magical’ story behind it.

I know Arielle is such a bookaholic and how much she loooves the feel and smell of books.  Last week, I jokingly told her after she bought another book with her savings at National Bookstore, “Don’t you ever get tired of books???”, hinting that she buys books too often even if she’s not yet done with the current book that she’s reading.   Well, she teased me with the same remark when I bought two books on entrepreneurship and business planning and excitedly told  her and Kayla that they should also read the books after I’ve read them.  I could only show her a half-smile and found myself pretty embarrassed to say anything 🙂

One of the skills that Mike and I would like Arielle and Kayla to learn as early as now is entrepreneural skills. Of course, we would like them to pursue their interests and support them in their discoveries and explorations, be it in arts, fashion, culinary, but our only constant reminder to them is to learn how to do the business side of their chosen fields.  They must learn how to market themselves, be self-reliant, and do business.

So these are the two books I couldn’t resist buying.  One is locally published, which I bought at National Bookstore-Megamall for P198.00 and the other is imported, bought at Fully Booked for quite a price of P898.00, but looks worth it.

I am currently reading Joey Concepcion’s NEGOSYO, 8 Simple Secrets to Raising Entrepreneurs, Teaching Kids about Money, Business and Life.  It is written by Mary Joy Canon-Abaquin of Multiple Intelligence School, and published by Vibal Publishing House, Inc.  It is the only local book I’ve found, so far, on entrepreneurship FOR KIDS, which I highly recommend.  Page layout is pleasing to the eyes.  Pages come in colors.  Fonts are fun (not textbook-type) and easy to read.    More importantly, it starts off with the different intelligences (linguistic, spatial, naturalist, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal) then moves on to how parents can encourage entrepreneurship to their kids given the kind of intelligence(s) that they have.  The book is also filled with tips, inspirational and motivational quotes, activities, real-life examples and lessons, and entrepreneur role models.  What makes it even more commendable is it discusses also the topic of good work ethics and challenges the parents to have a personal integrity check so they can be positive examples to their children!

As for the second book, it’s the Right-Brain Business Plan, A Creative, Visual Map for Success by Jennifer Lee.  I got this book with Arielle in mind, because she’s creative and a visual learner, and thought this might help her concretize her business ideas, without doing the conventional (boring!) business plan format.  (I could also benefit from this book, being a visual learner myself.)   I scanned the pages of the book and it’s like doing mindmapping and lapbooking together.  Even scrapbooking!  Definitely creative!  Definitely for the right-brain dominant!


I hope these two books would help you and your kids become, not only successful, but creative and innovative Pinoy entrepreneurs! May these empower us to use the money, intelligences, and resources God has given us wisely and prudently, and to teach us to not just go for profits when thinking of putting up a business, but to be socially responsible entrepreneurs who can make a difference in other people’s lives.

We are moving closer and closer to the “end” of our schoolyear and it gives me such a feeling of accomplishment!  “End” only refers to submission of portfolios and grades, but does not necessarily mean stopping to learn and sharpen  skills.  Summer activities are, as a matter of fact, already lined up (Rest and recreation, of course, not to be forgotten!).   So, to formally close our schoolyear 2010-2011, I thought it would be fitting to look back, recap, and evaluate how we fared this schoolyear.  It has been a pretty hectic, always on-the-go lifestyle (Whew!).

I came up with only 4 questions for Arielle and Kayla to answer:  

  1. What important skills did you learn?
  2. What method or strategy worked and didn’t work?  
  3. How are we going to improve or change the way we did our routine and homeschooling?
  4. What’s memorable about this schoolyear? (I almost forgot that learning is personal, and not just cerebral, as what I’ve written in a previous blog)

I think getting feedback from our kids is an important tool to measure each one’s performance as an individual and as a team (in this case, as a family).  

It’s a good exercise to practice skills on listening, organizing thoughts, reviewing, teamwork, appreciating one’s efforts and accomplishments, learning from one’s mistakes or weaknesses to become a better person,  and pursuit of better ways of doing things.    I should actually remember to do this as a closure to every year of our homeschooling calendar, and as a guide to help me become a better parent and homeschool mom!

Here’s what Kayla had to say (I combined Kayla’s response from her mindmap and written notes):


1.  Important skills learned:

  • Do first things first.
  • Routine first
  • Learn and experiment doing things even if we’re not home, like in Manila
  • Be prepared to learn because learning is fun!
  • Skills introduced and learned in Hybrid program because I will need them in the future (culinary, entrepreneurship, speech, food science, Filipino, writing, digital arts, critical thinking and etiquette)

2.  Methods/Strategies that worked:

  • The different subjects helped me like doing my online daily devotional because I learned more about God and what we should do. 
  • Having a laptop/computer because I was able to research in different sites.  It is interactive because some sites have videos about my topics.  
  • E-books, colored books!
  • Hands-on activities
  • Some classes in Hybrid program

     Methods/Strategies that didn’t work:

  • Using just books (meaning printed on paper)
  • Books that are not colored
  • I didn’t/don’t like the  subject Mystery of History (MOH).
  • Some classes in Hybrid program

3.  Improvements or Changes to do:

  • Daily routine!  Ate Arielle and I usually argue who will go take a bath first.  (She suggests that parents should vote who should go first! Hmmm.)
  • Schedule; Long and tight schedules
  • Have more breaks
  • For MOH, learn about history of food then cook that specific dish or type of food 🙂


4.  Memorable experiences:

  • Favorite class in Hybrid program:  Culinary Arts
  • Cooking and baking
  • Release of baby sea turtles
  • Hands-on activities

For Arielle, she said:

1.  Important skills learned were:  

  • Time management 
  • Planning 
  • CLAYGO (Clean As You Go) 
  • Creativity 
  • Love for learning


2.  Methods/Strategies that worked:

  • Work on and finish majors first every quarter:  Math, Science, English, followed by the other subjects:  Filipino, Civics, MOH, Art
  • Concentrate on 1 subject per day (Instead of doing many subjects in a day, like we used to and how it was in her former school)
  • Listening to music while studying
  • Mindmapping
  • Some classes in their Hybrid Program


   Methods/Strategies that didn’t work:

  • Tight schedules!


3.  Improvements or Changes to do:

  • More hands-on activities
  • Allow music


4.  Memorable experiences:
  • Total Girl magazine photo shoots
  • Releasing of baby sea turtles (Wow!  I didn’t think that would make such a great impact!)
  • Extra classes
  • Her voice recital


Having read these, I now:

  • have reminders and guidelines (AGAIN!) of what will work and what will not.  
  • have to keep in mind the personalities and learning styles of Arielle and Kayla against my personality and old-fashioned, traditional-school teaching style.  
  • learned from my girls to go by the adage “Less is more”.  It’s not really all about breadth but more of depth in the topics or lessons.  (I should make this a priority!) 
  • have to put in more breathing space in our activities (This is going to be quite a challenge with the many subjects required from us plus adding other ’21st century skills’ we consider essential and would want them to learn.)
  • have to do more fun, hands-on activities and varied learning experiences!


As our schoolyear is about to end and thinking that Arielle will be moving up already to Grade 7 next year (Then, it’s high school! Yikes!), this article made me pray harder again to God to ask for His guidance in our homeschooling.  I thought Mike and I had already decided that we are going to homeschool the kids until high school but recently, we find ourselves (all of us, including our girls, Arielle and Kayla) at a crossroad.  Are we doing this until high or school or not?  Will sending them back to traditional school by high school be the right decision?  It’s like a tug-of-war situation when I try to think about this but I put my trust in God that He will clearly show us the answer.

Meantime, let me share an article which helps us parents check if we have been doing our jobs in preparing our young adults for the job market.


Preparing for the Job Market


One of the most important jobs that we as parents have is to train our children to survive—and indeed, thrive—in the world that faces them. We try to give them a solid education, develop their character and work ethic, and impart core values that glorify God. These things are among the most important elements we can give our children. However, survival in this present world demands that they be able to provide for themselves and for the families that God gives them. As many of us know, that is not an easy task, especially in the current economy. So how do we prepare our children to enter an uncertain job market? How do we ourselves adapt to the vagaries of the current economy and provide for our families when jobs are scarce and careers unstable?

The answers to these questions may surprise you. A few months ago, in my role as a journalist, I covered a local economic summit. The event was hosted by the North Carolina JOBS Commission, with the avowed purpose of bringing state business leaders and educators together so that educators could learn what skills employers sought most in employees. It was an eye-opening experience, one that both motivated me to change some of the ways I homeschool my children and encouraged me to see that that there were so many advantages that homeschooling offers prospective job seekers. In this article, we will discuss some of skills that employers seek and how we can best prepare our children—and ourselves—for survival in today’s job market jungle.

1. Be willing to learn.

The job market is changing rapidly and we have to be willing to change with it. In the past, options were fairly limited, and career counseling meant simply matching the right person to the right job. However, the reality is that we need to prepare our children to meet the challenges of jobs that are entirely new. Laura Bingham, former president of PeaceCollege, explained, “The challenge we face in this fast-evolving economy is that we have to educate our children now for jobs that don’t exist yet.”

As Sam Houston, President and CEO of the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center, commented at the conference, “Today, it is important that we give students strategies to deal with the unknown.” Our increasing economic dependence on new and changing technologies means that almost everyone has to be in training mode at any given moment. Those who have not learned to process new ideas and adapt to new workforce realities will be left behind. Those who are willing and eager to learn will thrive. Developing in your children this ability and eagerness to learn is a key to future prosperity.


2. Focus on higher education, not just college.

In the past, the conventional wisdom has been that a college degree is necessary to achieve economic success. Indeed, those with a bachelor’s degree are likely to make almost twice as much in lifetime earnings as are those with only high school diplomas (2.1 million dollars as opposed to 1.2 million dollars, according to a 2002 U.S. Census report).1  College graduates are also more likely to have jobs that offer benefits.

However, the current focus on technical skills and job-specific training means that programs offered by community colleges and technical training schools are increasing in importance. You may opt for this training instead or plan to begin with an associate’s degree in a specific field and transfer to a broader-based college program later. Even an associate’s degree is likely to increase earning potential by a significant amount (an average of 1.6 million in lifetime earnings).This option may also make better economic sense in terms of college costs and allows homeschool students to ease into classroom situations before approaching the more academic rigors of earning a bachelor’s degree.


3. Plan on a backup career.

Another advantage of looking to local trade and technical schools is that it prepares you for more career options should your original plans fail. As many people have learned during the current economic struggles, careers are not always certain, no matter how good you are. The more skills you have under your belt, the more attractive you are to an employer and the better your chances of finding a fallback position. As Rick Davis, an executive with Spirit AeroSystems quipped at the conference, “I make it a point to make coffee at least once a day so that I have a marketable job skill.”


4. Develop entrepreneurial skills early.

Several of the CEOs of large corporations represented at the summit bemoaned the fact that many people were entering the job market with little or no idea of how businesses ran or of the cost of doing business. “Where is the kid with the corner lemonade stand or the summer lawn service?” one of these business titans bewailed. Even such simple jobs teach the value of a dollar and the realities of cost and profit. Fortunately, homeschooled students are in a prime position to initiate those kinds of creative, successful endeavors. The flexibility of homeschooling makes it easier for a teenager to work a job, compared to his traditionally schooled counterparts. In addition, according to the TOS Magazine Reader Survey 2007, of the nearly 5,000 homeschooled families who responded, roughly 15% of homeschooled children are either involved in their family’s home-based business or own their own businesses.3

5. Improve your communication skills.

If you survey the jobs section of most newspapers or websites, you will soon realize the importance of good communication skills. Oral and written communication skills are a must for those who work with the public or who are seeking higher-level management positions. Unfortunately, these qualifications are becoming more and more rare. As Dan Gerlach, President of the Golden LEAF Foundation, complained, “This generation knows how to ‘tweet,’ but they don’t know how to look you in the eye and talk to you.”  Fortunately, homeschooled students tend to score much higher in these areas than others do,4 primarily because they tend to communicate on an adult level earlier and more often. Parents can enhance their students’ communication skills with solid language arts and rhetoric programs and the inclusion of strong vocabulary and writing elements in curricula. These efforts will more than pay off in the long run.


6. Develop logic and critical-thinking skills.

Another common theme among business leaders is the desire to hire employees who demonstrate strong logic and critical-thinking skills. The typical employee, they said, can push a button but has a hard time recognizing when a problem exists and knowing how to troubleshoot it. Also, as Dr. Bill Carver, President of Nash Community College, pointed out, “So many students are so used to multiple choice questions, that they have trouble making connections between things in the real workplace.”

These skills are so important that many pre-employment tests are now testing such elements to help determine fitness for a position. Fortunately, a wealth of traditional and homeschool-specific books that address issues such as logic, critical thinking, and problem solving is available. Some games (computer, video, and board games) also help develop skills in this area. (“Professor Layton and the Curious Village” is one of my video game favorites). When buying gifts for your children, it may be a good idea to look for books and games that develop these skills.


7. Hone computer skills.

Let’s face it: We now live in the twenty-first century and computers are here to stay. Most young people today have grown up in a computer-oriented world and therefore already have an advantage over older jobseekers who may still be a little wary of technology.

Almost every job today requires some familiarity with computer basics, so plan on investing in a good computer and software packages (such as Microsoft Office) that are commonly used in the business world. Sites such as www.academic-collegiate.com allow homeschoolers to purchase software at lower prices, a courtesy commonly offered to public schools. Courses in keyboarding and basic computer skills are available from a variety of sources ranging from computer software to online classes to local community colleges. Of course, actual practice is the best instructor, as most homeschooling families already realize. According to the TOS Magazine Reader Survey 2007,nearly all homeschool families own computers.5

Job applicants also should possess good computer skills. Today, most employers require individuals to apply first online, either through the Internet or through a company’s intranet computer. Many companies also make use of computerized tests and survey questions as a part of the online application process, so it is to the applicant’s advantage to gain experience with this type of test-taking format. Many of these tests focus on communication abilities, critical-thinking skills, and interpersonal relationships.


8. Work on social skills.

Many jobs today demand good customer service skills,and therefore the qualities of common courtesy and self-control are in high demand. Homeschooled students often excel in these areas because they tend to be able to adapt easily and successfully during interaction with a variety of age groups and are more comfortable in situations that involve adult interaction.6

Years ago, when I was traveling home from a homeschooling conference, I met a businessman on a plane. As we talked, I discovered that he was the CEO of a corporation that owned a group of nursing homes. Though he did not homeschool, he told me that he and his staff actively recruited homeschool teens to work for them because homeschoolers tended to interact better with the senior citizens and had more flexible schedules. Clearly, he had seen firsthand the advantages homeschooling gave to employees.

At the economic summit I attended, several of the prospective employers also mentioned social networking media skills as a huge plus. Some prospective employers now request that you send them links to personal websites or social networking accounts such as Facebook. However, these links can function as a two-edged sword: Their use indicates that you have computer savvy and great social media skills; however, they also reveal a great deal of information about your life and personality. Make sure that these sites don’t contain elements that would harm your reputation or reflect a negative attitude toward authority—good advice in any case.


9. Enhance your resumé.


Even before young people begin the job hunt, they can begin to find ways to enhance their resumés. Many employers now want resumés that focus on acquired skills, rather than mere experience. Keep track of your volunteer work and entry-level jobs, and document the skills that you have learned. For instance, you could increase your audiovisual, computer, or child care skills by volunteering at your church. You could improve your social skills by volunteering at a hospital or nursing home. Or you could learn organizational skills by helping to set up events for your homeschool group.

A listing of classes you’ve taken at your local community college can enhance your resumé too. Even courses such as CPR training, auto repair, sewing, or child care add to your skill set and indicate a desire to learn. Of course, computer and keyboarding classes are particularly valuable.

As you can see, success in today’s job market requires far more than educational basics and a good work ethic. The more scarce jobs are, the more choosy employers become. However, the news is good for homeschooling families, because many of the skills and attitudes that are in such great demand are ones that homeschool families focus on. Homeschoolers have the potential not only to thrive in today’s economy but also to be the economic leaders of the future. However, it is up to us—their parents—to equip them for the challenges that lie ahead.


Originally posted March 4, 2011


Amelia Harper is a homeschooling mother of five and a pastor’s wife. She is also the author of Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings, a complete one-year literature curriculum for secondary-level students. In addition, she is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines. For more information, go to http://www.homescholarbooks.com/.