Last Saturday, Arielle and I joined Blogworthy, a two-day blogging workshop, by Arriane Serafico, a.k.a. Wanderrgirl. Yes, Arielle and I were (and will still be) classmates. Talk about learning together as we homeschool!

Let me tell first the reasons why we joined.

I, the mom, joined because:

  • I felt I needed and wanted to keep up with the modern techy times and learn a whole lot more about blogging. My BIG question:  How do others do it so well and differently?
  • I also wanted to look into the possibility of using a blog for a homebased business or entrepreneural ideas in the future.

My husband and I encouraged Arielle to join because:

  • we know that writing is an area of strength for her and that a blog is also where she can showcase her skills in photography and art, traditional and digital.  Plus, I’ve read somewhere that a blog is the new resume or portfolio.   We, her parents, just have to equip her for the future!  Now, don’t make me explain how our resumes were like during my time.
  • By joining, it would be an opportunity for her to develop this life and marketable skill.  This is an example of 21st century learning and this is how we homeschool. Real life. Intentional. Non-traditional.


I felt like I was in my 20’s again =)

Before the workshop even started, each one of us was already greeted by goodies from the time we registered to the moment we chose our seats.  Each had a tin pail (by Celebrations Party Central) with these as our loot:

The co.lab venue was not your usual dull-colored function or office room. The wide open space, with orange bursts of color, is equipped with office tools and audio-visual equipment, has a small pantry area, sofas, chairs and tables, and smaller rooms within, making it very conducive to work, collaboration, brainstorming and c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y!

This is just our lecture and presentation area, occupying about a fourth of the entire space.
See my VERY YOUNG classmates? 🙂

Day 1 was info-packed, I must say, with Arriane, first and foremost, sharing with us that my blog is not about me.  My blog is my message to the world which means I have to make a GOOD one.  She then moved on to the nitty gritty, giving my left-brain some serious stretching and warm-up! We worked on a few “Who am I?” kind of worksheets to be able to understand what it would take to come up with a good or better blog.  In between the brainy activities, we watched a scent-making demo by BC Fragrance, listened to the presentation, and a little while later, were treated with the yumminess of ice cream and sherbet sampling by Pinkerton Ice Cream.  That surely gave our thinking gears a boost! Everbody was happy! =)

Now, this is how I summed up what I learned in Day 1:


And I thought to blog is to simply write about something or anything.  Well, I thought wrong.  An interesting, persuasive, effective blog is actually a combination of all these “ingredients” before you can say that your blog is ready for the world:

                                  1. Psychology
                                  2. Marketing
                                  3. Art
                                  4. Communication
                                  5. Mathematics


Here’s why…

Psychology –  First, you have to do a lot of self-awareness exercises of knowing yourself, your personality, different roles in life, heroes and inspirations, passions and obsessions, etc.  Everything that makes you tick and makes you uniquely YOU. How’s that for a start?

Marketing – You have to show and celebrate your uniqueness.  Don’t copy other blogs or the styles of other bloggers.  Come up with your own concept.  Make it the best and give it a one-of-a-kind packaging and branding. I would say competition can be tough.

Art – A blog is very visual.  When readers go to your blogsite, the initial elements that would make them want to read your post would be the lay-out, color scheme, font, and other graphics.  Once you’ve got them hooked by those, there’s a big chance that they would stay a few more minutes on your site, read more or even follow you!

Here also comes the technical side of it.  As Arriane would say, working on the backend of your blog with the CSS or HTML codes plus webhosting and domains (which I do not understand at this point, but would definitely like to learn)  can make your blog stand out from the rest.

Communication – The heart of the blog! This is where your writing style and voice come in.  Is your style informative? funny or serious? casual? brief and direct?  What does your voice say about your personality?  How does one read “hear” your written words?  How do you connect with your readers? How do you bring your thoughts and ideas to life?    A great tip in writing that I learned is to use key words, categories or labels that are Google-able.

As an example, one writing exercise we had to do was to briefly write about scent samplers given out to us by BC Fragrance.  It was pretty challenging! How would you actually describe a scent in words that only your nose knows? Think about it.

Mathematics – Look at your statistics. Read and analyze those graphs. Use tools such as   Google AnalyticsBitly, and Link Within.  Know more about your readers and their demographics.  Where are they from?  What time do they go online?  What posts do your readers like the most? the least?  Shorten your links and link your post with other related stories.

So, at the end of the day, it turns out that blogging is actually a science. Hmmm…huh? It’s because for one to come up with and upkeep a blog, he or she needs to know the right mix of ingredients and formulas. Sounds easy, right?  But that’s not it.  I personally believe that it also takes time, effort, and I would say, passion, drive, and dedication to keep a blog.  Then and only then can one say that his or her blog is blogworthy!


Thought I’d do a follow-up post on our beach clean-up activity and show the different kind of garbage items that we carelessly leave behind when we go to the beach (or anywhere, for that matter).  The list can go on 🙁

1.  Shoreline and Recreational Activities

2.  Ocean/Waterway Activities


3.  Smoking-Related Activities

4.  Dumping Activities


5.  Medical/Personal Hygiene


6.  Debris Items of Local Concern



Yesterday, we spent our day at Planet Dive in Anilao, Batangas.  My good friend, Alfie Santos, is a diver at the resort and we were texting each other right after our high school homecoming activities and parties had ended.  I so happened to ask him if they had activities lined up for our girls and family to join.  Well, there was a beach clean-up activity scheduled and I thought that would be a good idea to reinforce our lesson on Cooperation and Kayla’s topic on the natural resources of the Philippines!  So, we drove down to Planet Dive yesterday and spent our day learning and at the same time, relaxing!

We’re here!


My view from the deck ❤

A favorite place to be ❤
Arielle took this shot and Instagrammed it 🙂


Beautiful landscape…seascape


Arielle and Kayla snail-hunting 🙂
Or I think they found “sihi”.


It was a beautiful day although there was a very brief rain shower
during and after lunch.


Mike and Alfie chatting after lunch


View from the dining area. I was trying to also take a pic of the coconut tree,
which I believe, is a rich natural resource we have.


TonyBoy Ongsiako giving a briefing to the
Assumption College students on the beach
clean-up they were about to do.
They were broken into groups and given checklists;
Arielle and Kayla separately joined two of thier groups.


Arielle with her group; The beach looked pretty clean actually
sincethere was a clean-up already done the previous week.


Starting the beach clean-up. Good thing, we brought a sack!
These college girls were picking up and collecting trash one by one!


Kayla watching her groupmate pick up a trash found.


Arielle looking at the list as group leader ticks off trash items found


Some of the groups at the right side of the resort


Arielle’s group, back from their short clean-up of the shore


Weighing the garbage they collected


Over 8 kilos of trash in a matter of minutes!


Kayla also done with their group’s clean up


All sorts of trash tangled up


The trash items they collected


Wine/liquor bottle, banana peel, rambutan peel, straw, styro, plastic…


Ready to snorkel again 🙂


Arielle and Kayla with Tito Alfie Santos and Tony Boy Ongsiako,
before the two divers went down for a dive with their guests.


Mike watching the girls snorkel from a distance


And here I was, enjoying taking shots with my cameras 🙂


Thank you, Planet Dive, for a day well-spent!


Lessons learned from this activity:

1.  Cooperation is not place-, age-, gender-, nationality- specific.  We can all cooperate, anywhere

2.  Let us take care of all our natural resources.  They are gifts given to us by God.  We should therefore be His responsible stewards.

3.  If there would be another opportunity to do a beach clean-up again, remember to bring sacks to put all the garbage items found.  Sacks would be better than plastic trash bags 🙂

4.  According to Arielle, let’s do away with the cameras and videos first and get down to business!  How’s that for an observation of a high school homeschooler on college students? 🙂

5.  As explained by Alfie, the activity is really more on AWARENESS.   There’s still so much to do in and from that level.  Now, that’s another Cooperation project to do! To raise the awareness level of everyone to dispose our trash properly and responsibly, and to take care and preserve our environment and natural resources.  (How many more disasters and floods must we go through to learn this???)


From:  Simple Homeschool

Subject:  An open letter to my non-homeschooling friends

The subject title of this particular email in my inbox immediately caught my eye.  I opened it, read it, and am sharing it!  I loved the way it was simply, honestly, and beautifully written.  Perhaps it’s because I can so relate!  I’m sure some or most of you will, too! 🙂

An Open Letter to my Non-Homeschooling Friends

* From

Ever since we started to homeschool, Character is one subject I’ve always prioritized.  Actually, it IS one of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool.  To be able to bring up our children with good character traits, and not just “become like everybody else because everybody does it (whatever that IT may be).” 

For this second quarter, I chose three traits to focus on: Cooperation, Habit, Fighting/Peace.  We already started the discussion on Cooperation and just started on Habit.  As I type this, I’m reminded of the song by Hall & Oates (goes to show my age!) “Hard Habit to Break”.  Then, I also remembered this quote which powerfully tells us how we end up becoming who are.

Matthew 15:11 says ” What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”  It all begins with our thoughts; with how we think; with how we perceive; with how we make judgments and decisions. 

Come to think of it, who are those people who have led great lives inspiring millions?  Aren’t they those who have brilliant minds and upright character?  On the other hand, who are those whose notorious actions or immoral lives have made it in the headlines or international news causing shock and disbelief to many of us? Isn’t character almost always traced as the cause of one’s actions and behavior?

As we take the responsibility to teach and educate our children (our families, including ourselves!), let us not just focus on and worry about the academics. Let us teach and learn Character first because once these traits have become ingrained in us, in our children, they will be reflected in our and our children’s behavior, and consequentially, in our work and their academic performance.

Character first.  Academics will follow. 🙂