Tomorrow, May 31, 2012, another schoolyear welcomes Arielle and Kayla, my beloved students of the Guevara Homeschool Academy ūüôā ¬†Believe it or not, after having homeschooled them for 5 years already, I am hearing voices asking “Can I do this?” repeatedly. ¬†(Maybe it’s the Algebra 1 and Biology talking.)

What’s our agenda for Day 1 of Schoolyear 2012-2013? ¬†We are going to have our Orientation Day and important topics to discuss are:

1. ¬†House Rules (for order and peace … and my sanity ūüôā )

2.  Schedules and Routines (for order, peace, and training for independence)

3.  SMART Goal-setting (Training for independence, time management, self-improvement, and a whole bundle of character traits such as diligence, perseverance, responsibility)

4. ¬†Familiarization with their books and reading of their books’ Table of Contents (not to overwhelm them but just to give them an idea or a big picture of what they will be learning this year)

We have all our books, materials, work areas ready, and with lots of encouragement I’ve received lately plus a daily sprinkling of God’s grace and utterance of prayers, I think I’m ready to homeschool again ūüôā

Mike and I just attended the recently concluded 4th Philippine Homeschool Conference last Saturday, May 19, with the theme “Laying A Strong Foundation”.

I feel that coming home from it feeling light, refreshed, encouraged, and humbled would be the best way to get back to my blogging again! ¬†The day before that, we, members of the different TMA Co-ops, had the opportunity to meet Ms. Debra Bell for the first time and listen to her talk on “Six Secrets to a Successful Homeschool”. ¬†She also dedicated and signed my copies of her two books, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling and The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens.¬† These two books are my bibles in homeschooling and Ms. Debra Bell is truly heaven-sent!

I’m sure the attendees of the Co-op Talk and the Conference had their own “take-home” notes. ¬†I personally would like to list down mine here:

1. ¬†Homeschooling is relational, not solely an academic pursuit. ¬†It is primarily building my relationship with my spouse, my kids, and my God. ¬†What our kids won’t learn or take up with me in our homeschooling, they’ll be able to pick it up somewhere else along the way, so no need to worry if we didn’t finish the book from cover to cover ūüôā ¬†Nurtured relationships come first!

2. ¬†God designed us to learn individually and not with 30 or 40 other people competing for the teacher’s attention. ¬†That is natural curiosity. ¬†That is the natural quest for learning.

3. ¬†God called us to homeschool. It is a biblical conviction. ¬†It is counter-cultural. ¬†When Mike and I decided to homeschool, it is my/our obedience to God. ¬†My saying “Yes” to God also means that I come in faith; that God will speak to us; that God will answer our prayers.

4.  Homeschooling is like marriage.  It is a commitment.

5. ¬†During moments of doubt and tests of faith, I must remember my call to homeschool. ¬†I am not on the hook. ¬†God is! ‚ėļ

6.  Building the homeschool community will benefit my children.  Share my talents, resources, and gifts.

7.  God gives grace to the humble therefore, I should be willing to seek help.

8. ¬†I should celebrate our girls’ different learning styles. ¬†God loves diversity and variety!

9.  Homeschooling must be a Godly pursuit of learning.

10.  Homeschooling is strategic and intentional.

11.  When we homeschool our children, we are not protecting them; we are preparing them! (I love this!)

12.  Homeschooling is not a burden or a cross, but a blessing!

There goes my top 12 doses of learnings and encouragement from the keynote speakers of the conference, Mr. Bo Sanchez and Ms. Debra Bell. ¬†As if the two days with Bo and Ms. Bell were not enough to remind me that God is and will always be there by our side as we homeschool, here’s the devotional I received from Purpose Driven Connection¬†last May 19 (same date as the Conference), aptly entitled “The Confidence to Start Over” :). ¬†

I feel really blessed to be part of the Co-op Talk and the Conference.  Also, seeing the number of attendees is proof that God is really working on the homeschool movement in the Philippines!  The number each year is simply amazing!!!

Thank you, God, for being patient with me, and always pulling me back to your family whenever I’m about to back out. You succeed all the time ‚ėļ ¬†Having homeschooled Arielle and Kayla for five years is unthinkable, but you made it all possible! ‚úĚ ‚ô•