Life Skill: Sewing

SEW EASY Sewing Class for Kids, Teens, and Adults
Photo Source: https://www.facebook.com/
seweasyforkids

A confession of a homeschool mother:  I don’t know how to sew.  I remember learning some basic stitches when I was in high school.  We had to do the different kinds of stitches on a cloth (Was it basketweave? Wait, or was that for cross-stitch?) and submit it as a final project.  I can mend a small hole on a shirt or sew buttons, snaps, or hook and eye’s, but that’s just how far I can go with a thread and a needle!  So, when I found out from a fellow homeschool mom about this sewing class being offered in the south, I took note of it so we could include it in our activities for this schoolyear. Whether I would have the sewing class credited for their TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education) or not, I really think that as girls, Arielle and Kayla should know at least the basics of sewing.  For me, sewing is one of the life skills to learn in my checklist, a survival skill. You not only learn how to sew because there are other “hidden” but valuable lessons from it as well! 

Arielle and Kayla started last July 6 with Sew Easy and even before that day came, they were already sew so excited about it!  They’ve always enjoyed doing things with their hands and they already had ideas and plans on what they want to make as they eagerly talked about it in the car. Well, that’s their side of excitement!  Mine was when I met the owner and teacher of Sew Easy, Anne del Rosario, on that first day I accompanied the girls to their class.  It turns out that Anne was a homeschooler herself way back in the late 90’s when just a handful (or practically no one else) was probably doing it here in the Philippines, or at least in Manila.  She homeschooled her son back then who’s now at Mint College. You can already imagine the kind of getting-to-know-you we had (It’s always a different kind of warm, hyper feeling when homeschoolers meet, moms and kids alike 🙂 )  

Having a FUN (as described by the girls), friendly, accomodating, and a former homeschool mom (YES!) as a teacher, a classroom studio with bright, clean, and minimalist-inspired interiors, and  just four students in a class for a closely supervised instruction really make sewing SOOO SEW EASY! 😉  Their one-hour session every Saturday is just not enough, the girls say! 

Here are some shots I took of the girls in preparation for their class and while at work: 

Life Skill: Ironing

Kayla learning how to iron
her fabric at home

Life Skill: Ironing

Arielle’s turn to iron hers

 

Life Skill: Sewing

Ready to learn how to sew! 

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

 

 And their first project…

Life Skill: Sewing

First Sewing Creation:
Sewing Bag & Notions Bag

Life Skill: Sewing

Stamp of Workmanship!

 

Guess what?  After seeing their first completed project, I decided to join them myself!  I have to admit, I did feel envious that our girls know how to sew and actually made something themselves (The iron-on label got me! :D)  We three are now all classmates in sewing.  

LIfe Skill: Sewing

My first sewing project!

Life Skill:  Sewing

Inspiring quote
on my worktable

Life Skill: Sewing

My Stamp of Completion!

 

It’s my third time actually to be their classmate. The first was with Arielle in a blogging workshop, which was a worthwhile learning and awakening-of-some-sort experience for me (Two thumbs up!!!)  The second was in a craft rubber stamp making workshop, which was also so much fun to do! For this sewing class, Anne politely had to check with me (and the girls) if being together in a class would be alright since some kids tend to act differently when their mom is around.  Just to make sure, I asked Arielle and Kayla if it would be okay for me to join and be with them and Arielle nonchalantly replied, “We’re always like that anyway! 😀  (There goes my expressive, outgoing, and uninhibited teen! The exact words of description used by Anne herself 🙂 )

In our homeschooling, I don’t just teach, teach, teach. I learn and get refreshed as I teach lessons and topics. I have opportunities to again become a student myself, enjoy, and be an example of lifelong learning to our kids.   Oooops, and not to forget! To have a fun time with my tweenie-teens classmates 😉


Almond milk, natural yogurt, oatmeal, bananas, and honey

What’s in a Breakfast Smoothie?
Almond milk, natural yogurt, oatmeal, bananas, and raw honey

I’m a breakfast eater and so are Mike, Arielle, and Kayla.  We cannot miss breakfast, the most important meal of the day!  But there are days when I want to eat something else than the usual slice of papaya or banana, a bowl of cooked oatmeal and a glass of fresh orange juice.  Or I don’t really feel like taking something solid but I know I have to eat my breakfast and I want to fill my tummy.   So, what’s my solution?  Drink a breakfast smoothie, of course! 🙂

I first shared a green smoothie, which I figured was a shock to your eyes and palate.  So, I made a girly pink smoothie, to make up for it 🙂  If it still makes you a bit queasy to gulp down something green or something that’s quite thick and bright pink, then maybe you’ll like this smoothie instead.  After all, its color is light beige (which becomes deeper in color if you let it sit longer because of the bananas), very neutral and pleasing to look at; the ingredients are usually what’s served for breakfast but just blended into a smoothie.  (How can you not eat banana?)

SNEAKY BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

(Quantities are all according to taste.)

almond milk, unsweetened (preferrably cold)

natural yogurt

oatmeal, cooked (at room temp or cold; You can make it the night before)

bananas

raw honey

If you like your smoothie cold, you can add a few ice cubes or crushed ice but remember that this will dilute your smoothie.  Adding more oatmeal and bananas will make it thicker (more nutritious too!)

(Continue reading to find out why it’s “sneaky.)

Breakfast Smoothie

Find the hidden Mickey in our smoothies 🙂

Look who wants a smoothie, too!

Look who wants a smoothie, too!

 

It turned out our pet mini dachshund, Hershey, wanted to try our breakfast smoothie, too.  I gave her a few spoonfuls and licked it in no time!

Hershey likes it!

Hershey likes it!

 

You’re probably wondering why “Sneaky” in the name?  This is the culprit!  The girls added about a heaping teaspoonful of Speculoos Cookie Butter to their breakfast smoothie when I wasn’t looking.  SNEAKY, SNEAKY!  (Confession: I couldn’t resist.  HA!  I also added juuuust a small dollop to mine and it was Mmmmm!!!)  

This makes it sneaky :)

This makes it sneaky 🙂

 

Why not try this tummy-filling smoothie and take your breakfast from a big mug or a glass?  It really is a breakfast-on-go!   Let me know if you sneaked something in it, too 🙂

 

OneWord2013_Grow

Making good choices such as having a healthful breakfast to start my day
is helping me GROW this year.


 

Did you keep a diary when you were young?  I remember mine was thick and had a small padlock with it (Can’t remember if it was Sanrio, hmmm.  Ooops! There goes my age :D).  How about doodling?  Did you doodle when you were in class?  I wasn’t much of doodler when I was in school because I always thought that doodling meant not paying attention to the teacher and the lecture (I was a “very good” student back then, if you’re going to ask.  Ehem. The leader, the responsible one, the honor student). Doodling simply means you’re bored or daydreaming.  That gives you a high chance of getting caught and being given that “Stop what you’re doing and listen to me” look by your teacher.  (Uh-oh, you’re in BIG trouble!)

When I was a kid, I loved art!  I loved to draw, color, and paint!  I always got a high grade in my Art subjects.  I took Chinese painting lessons (when I was in Grade 7, I think) which gave me fond memories.  I still kept my paintings and Chinese ink block and stone!

From my childhood and teen years, my life transitioned to adulthood, corporate life, marriage, parenting, and now, homeschooling.  My love and inclination to art had to take a back seat.  I did dabble here and there but to continue doing art as part of my daily life was one of the first activities to be scratched off my list. Bringing the girls to school, preparing baon (school snacks), picking them up, and making reviewers occupied most of my time when they were still in traditional school. The most I did when I became a mother was scrapbook our girls’ growing up photos and our travel memoirs.

Lately, I’ve been getting these feelings again of wanting to do something with my hands.  I feel I need to make something.  The urge to create something.  I was into baking as a home business many years ago and these days, I only do it occasionally to give in to Kayla’s request for cupcakes, crinkles or Arielle’s chocolate chip cookies.   I don’t crochet or knit.  I only get pretty serious with photography when I’m on vacation.  Last year, I learned how to make rubber stamps and that’s still in my Projects-To-Do list.  I have to carve time for that (Carve.  Literally, carve out those rubber blocks and erasers…and figuratively).

Last month, the last Sunday of June to be exact, out of nowhere, I just pulled out my unlined notebook (which has been with me for quite some time but left neglected), colored markers, pens, watercolor pencils, paintbrush, the girls’ really old dot and roll-on markers, and pastels. I just knew that my artsy-self was calling me.  I started to play around with my watercolor pencils and pens.  I looked at one of my Pinterest boards to find an inspiration…that message or quote that I felt strongest that moment.   And my blank page was soon transformed to this!

Doodling and Journaling

Here, I used watercolor pencils and black marker.

 

As early as one week, I knew it was going to become a hobbyt (Get it?  hobby with a ‘t’) and a habit of some sort and I did a few more the days after. 

Doodling and Journaling

I kept an old set of Magic markers
we got from abroad and
I’m happy that I did! 🙂

Doodling and Journaling

Would you believe those dots are from
dot and roll-on markers for toddlers?

Bright colored pastels!

Bright colored pastels!

What we talked about over breakfast;  it was Mike's birthday.  Coffee stains c/o Pancake House's brewed coffee :)

What we talked about over breakfast;
it was Mike’s birthday.
Coffee stains c/o Pancake House’s brewed coffee 🙂

 

I was asking myself the difference between doodling and journaling, if there is any.  For me (and this is just me):  

  • DOODLING is more of scribbles with strokes and images that are more fun, while JOURNALING is writing down your thoughts and feelings that can have doodles but with more images, cut-outs, embellishments, or simply expressing them graphically with or without words.   It can have a more soulful look and feel than doodles.  
  • DOODLES are like vandalism or graffiti. JOURNALING is like keeping a diary.  
  • DOODLE ART has pens as its tools, and ink is usually of one color only (black, most of the time).  It is either all in black and white, or outlined in black and filled in with colors.   JOURNALING makes use of pens, paint, pastels, old magazine pages, scrap materials, plane or movie tickets, or what have you.  It is also like scrapbooking but you use a more compact-sized notebook that you can easily slip into your bag, ready to pulled out when the inspiration strikes, let’s say, at the park or at a doctor’s clinic waiting area.     

Doodling and journaling, I realize, don’t mean I’m bored or daydreaming.  On the contrary, after doing it a few times:

  • I feel more focused.  
  • I am more relaxed and I value the time I spend on a table or in a corner of a cafe.  
  • My mood is both reflective and attentive.  
  • I notice that I now tend to pay more attention to the patterns, details, and the world around me. 
  • It is a form of self-expression.  
  • I must say that it is a good way for me to decompress, take a break from our routines, making me energized and recharged to go back to what I have to do.

Studies have  been made on the benefits of doodling and journaling, and did you know that they are actually GOOD for you?  It is said that doodling improves memory and concentration, and journaling helps you clarify your thoughts and reduces stress!  Now, isn’t that just wonderful! When I think about it some more, mindmaps which are now used as an effective thinking and note-taking tool in businesses and schools, most probably took off from the art of doodling and journaling!  

Photo Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm

Photo Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm

Arielle's 2012 Goals Mindmap

Arielle’s 2012 Goals Mindmap

Kayla's 2012 Goals Mindmap

Kayla’s 2012 Goals Mindmap

Arielle and Kayla have already been doing these three (doodling, journaling, mindmapping) for some time. No wonder they go crazy over notebooks, blank-paged ones like Moleskine (too expensive for us at the moment, but very tempting).  Now, I understand why they keep on asking me to buy them notebooks and pens!  This has taught me that even if I’m their mom, my girls are my teachers, too!  A few important reminders:  Give them time to doodle and journal.  Encourage it! Respect their doodling and journaling time and space!

A sample of page of Arielle's journal

A sample of page of Arielle’s journal

Kayla's doodle for her friend

Kayla’s doodle for her friend

Kayla's doodle

Kayla’s paisley-themed doodle

I’m happy to have gotten back to some form of artistic expression and to have rediscovered my artsy self and the kiddo in me 🙂  Spending time to doodle and journal is helping me grow MORE as a person as 2013 continues.  

Have you tried doodling or jounaling?  I’m excited to take a look inside your notebook 🙂

OneWord2013_Grow

 


 

Now Reading:  Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Great Gatsby

Now Reading: Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Great Gatsby

When I was planning for this schoolyear, particularly for the subject Reading, I was trying to make up my mind between Total Language Plus (TLP) and Progeny Press (PP).  Arielle did TLP when she was in her 4th and 5th Grades.  We were sure it was something she can do and she’d like to do at that time since she was really a reader.  Kayla started a bit late in reading books compared to Arielle and so, I really wanted something that would give her a more step-by-step guide or instruction as she reads a book and further break down what she had just read.  But I wasn’t 100% sure if TLP would work for her since she’s more of kinesthetic learner and wouldn’t really sit down for a long period of time at her desk.  From what I recall with Arielle’s TLP, she really spent some time answering the questions in her workbook.  For Kayla, I was looking for some structure and depth but not as intensive (if that’s the right word to describe it FOR Kayla) as TLP.  I wanted her to enjoy reading and not find it too tedious and demanding of her time.   I just KNEW that there was a big probability that if I had given her a TLP workbook alongside with the book that she’s reading, she’ll tell me, “Ma, I don’t like TLP!”

So, my research began and I stumbled upon Progeny Press.  I read about it, bookmarked it, read about it some more, compared it with other literature study guides that came up in my search, showed the girls the site, and asked them if PP would be something they’d like to do for their Reading subject.  They gave me a YES and so, I let them choose what books they’d like to read from a looong list of book choices that had study guides available at Progeny Press.  (I ordered the books fr the U.S. since we were filling up a box shipment containing our other homeschooling books and materials, although I’m sure most, if not all, copies can be readily purchased at our local bookstores.  We opted to get the printed books because I still wanted them to have time off the computer, and they can bring their books with them when we’re not at home.  Also, holding a book with your hands is still the most pleasurable and the best reading experience to have, if you ask me.  As for the study guides, I chose to have the PDF versions (labeled as Instant Downloads) which I can conveniently print out copies at home when I need them or when it’s time for the girls to read their next book. I’ve read that the PDF versions are also interactive, where the girls can directly type on the computer, not needing to print out copies. But then again, I wanted a time off the computer.  The study guides are also in two other formats, printed booklet and CD.)

Arielle is currently doing The Great Gatsby (a great coincidence since the movie was shown just before or when she just started to read the book) and Kayla’s reading The Island of the Blue Dolphins.  To tell you honestly, the subject Reading is not a subject I would overly fuss about.  It’s something I’d like them to enjoy and be considered as a “break” from their other subjects, particularly Math and Science.  So, when I saw how PP was, I felt it was going to be a good material for the girls for this schoolyear.  

To give an overview of Progeny Press’s Study Guides, here are the contents and activities you will find in them (I’m basing these on the current guides we have started to use. I’m not sure if the other study guides come with exactly the same format and content):

1.  Note to Instructor

2.  Synopsis

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Great Gatsby

From The Great Gatsby

3.  Background Information

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Great Gatsby

From The Great Gatsby

4.  About the Author

5.  Ideas for Pre-reading Activities – which serves as a warm-up or primer 

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

6.  Vocabulary

7. Comprehension Questions which include skill-building topics such as Foreshadowing, Point of View, Mood, Character Study, Analysis, Dig Deeper

8. Having a Christian perspective and not missing out on Christian life applications are a BIG PLUS!

 

So far, I haven’t heard any complaint or grumble from Arielle and Kayla about their PP, especially from Kayla.    They are able to work independently which is what we’re really working on as they move up to higher levels.  With these two alone, I would recommend Progeny Press as a material for Reading.  It is easy to follow and has a lot higher order thinking (or critical thinking) questions, which Arielle cited as the main difference between the two.  She said that PP’s questions are “more intensive” (her own words, not mine) than TLP.  However, if you would want something that would include the subject Language with grammar, spelling, writing, and other skills like dictation, then TLP might work better for you.  See TLP’s sample pages.  (A side note:  I just wish they made the text and font of PP’s Answer Key a lot BIGGER! *cross-eyed*) 

If you need more comparison between Progeny Press and Total Language Plus, here are a few reviews I’ve come across which might be of help:

  1. Cathy Duffy 
  2. Prncsstefy
  3. The Well-trained Mind
  4. My Father’s World

 

As a last note and piece of advice, when scouring for your books and materials, find what suits your child best, his/her learning style, keeping also in mind the academic and character goals you have set and the kind of homeschooling lifestyle and interests your family has. 

What do you use to develop and improve your young adult’s reading skills?  I would like to get tips and recommendations, too!