Photo from The Learning Basket

 

 

Next to socialization, I think this is the big question often asked by other people who meet homeschoolers and asked by homeschoolers themselves.  ARE HOMESCHOOLERS READY FOR THE WORLD?

On our 9th year of homeschooling and with our eldest daughter a high school graduate already, I’d like to say that although the road has not been easy and there were a lot of times I wanted to give up (This happens every year and solely because I did not know how to teach our girls certain topics and not because of the switch in lifestyle where we were going against what everyone else was doing), I would choose to homeschool all over again without even trying to experience how it is like in a traditional school.  Our experience as a family is so much richer and more meaningful in this lifestyle we have chosen.  It was and still is a personal choice because we believe and feel that it is what is best for us individually and collectively as a family.

To answer the question “Are homeschoolers ready for the world?”, I’d like to answer that from my personal experience.  And my answer is…YES, THEY ARE…and here are MY TOP 5 PERSONAL REASONS:

  1. Learning of the child is INDIVIDUALIZED AND PERSONAL.  Arielle is a primarily a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learner while Kayla is a number one kinesthetic, hands-on learner.  With that said, they learn according to their learning style and pace, and without being pressured to go with the pace of a whole class.  That already is one benefit we’ve enjoyed in homeschooling and I know we’ll never get from a traditional school.
  2. LESSONS and LEARNING are DEFINITELY NOT CONFINED AT HOME.  In homeschooling, we learn from many other avenues, where lessons are in their REAL and NATURAL SETTINGS or are often CONNECTED TO REAL LIFE, and more importantly, we APPLY what we’ve learned in real life.
  3. There is a strong emphasis on CHARACTER-BUILDING where one’s FAITH is a big part of it and practiced in real situations.
  4. We EXPOSE our girls in NATURAL SETTINGS making them COMFORTABLE AND CONFIDENT TO SOCIALIZE WITH DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS AND SOCIAL CLASSES, as compared to children in school where they just mingle and spend most of their time with their classmates their age and prefer to be friends with those more or less in the same social class as theirs.
  5.  We get to SPEND MORE TIME ON THEIR STRENGTHS, GIFTS, TALENTS, and even BREWING POTENTIALS, develop them even more, and help them out in carving their paths towards their college, career, or life goals.  Arielle was very determined to make it on stage and perform, and now, has animation very clear as her college course.  Kayla is now training hard in golf, after she realized that she wants to give golf another chance and prepare herself for college scholarship opportunities abroad.
  6. With the LOVE, SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT, BONDING FROM US PARENTS and BETWEEN SIBLINGS,  and quality and more time spent with the family, how can one not be ready for the world and face bigger challenges?

 

Did those make sense?  Did that make you more curious about this family lifestyle of ours? Would you like to listen to homeschool advocates talk more about homeschooling and meet other homeschoolers here in the Philippines?

I would like to invite you then to come to the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready for the World on October 17, 8 am to 5 pm, at SMX Convention Center and Samsung Hall, SM-Aura.  Click here to know more about this big event and to register, click here.  Walk-ins are also welcome.

In addition, there will be a pre-event on October 16, Friday, the day before the conference proper, where the keynote speakers will give another set of talks different from what they will be doing at the conference.  This is free and available to early birds who register by October 1.  This pre-event gathering with the speakers will be at CCF Centre-Ortigas.

The next day, October 17, will be a whole day event for the conference attendees who will try to learn as much as they can from the conference talks and break-out sessions.  To keep the kids busy, while the parents are learning, the organizers (HAPI,  Manila Workshops, The Learning Basket, SM Aura, SMX Convention Centre-SM Aura) have prepared different craft activities for the kids like string art, mandala, basic calligraphy, cross stitch, and dream catcher making.  The fee for each workshop is P500 per person, with materials included.  For more information on these activities which will take place in another venue at SM Aura (Kids are not allowed at the plenary hall), please read here.  Registration for these kiddie craft workshops must be done online.  A big THANK YOU to DMC Philippines and Marj Liwag for making these fun activities possible.

This is the biggest homeschool conference in the Philippines, so far, and this would not have been possible without the following:

Major Sponsors:  Sunlife Financial, Grab Taxi

Minor Sponsors: Maynilad Water, DMC Philippines, Enderun Colleges, Focus Global, Lamoiyan Corporation

And also supported by:  Bee Happy Crafts, The Generics Pharmacy, Cetaphil Philippines

Booths by Pru Life UK, Adarna House, Engineering for Kids, Fatty Brain Toys, FrontLearners, Insular Life, Jetsams, Seton Home Study, Truly Rich Club, iAcademy, St. Mary’s Publishing, Merr-C Society of the Word  Foundation, Aslan EduForum Inc., Grolier, Magformers/FBC Global Training will also be present.

Do think about how your children are learning and how they are being prepared for life.

Mark the date.  OCTOBER 17, 8 am to 5 pm at SMX-SM Aura.  Learn more about homeschooling.  Learn more about being ready for the world.

 

 

 


 

Photo taken from The Learning Basket

 

It’s that time of the year again.  No, I’m not talking about Christmas (but yes, it is September already!).   I’m talking about the upcoming Homeschool Conference here in the Philippines this coming October 17 at SMX-SM Aura, the biggest one so far.   This year’s conference theme, Ready for the World, takes on a personal meaning now that our eldest daughter had graduated from high school after 8 years of being homeschooled.  Now on a gap year, Arielle is not slacking to take things slow and easy but is actually a lot busier preparing herself even more for college.  This is really IT for us!  Mike and I will soon release Arielle to the real world and that would mean, sending her off to a foreign place with God’s leading, SCAD-Hong Kong, to take up Animation and pursue her dream of becoming an animator someday.  Kayla, our second daughter at 9th Grade, on the other hand, has decided to take her golf seriously and is already preparing herself for scholarship opportunities in college.

Recently, I’ve had a number of friends coming up to me and asking me about homeschooling. I’ve met up with a few to share them my story and answer their questions the best way I could.  I’ve also been receiving private messages from friends I haven’t heard from in a long time telling me how inspired they are with my posts and our homeschooling lifestyle.  Now this conference is a great chance for those who want to know more about homeschooling and for those who are already doing it to learn more about this viable, do-able (It really is!) option on educating their children, to be inspired by well-respected international and local speakers, and to be encouraged by and meet fellow homeschooling parents, old and new.

Brought to us by HAPI (Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands)Manila Workshops and The Learning Basket, this year’s Homeschool Conference will have the following as keynote speakers from the U.S.:

As for local speakers: 

  • Tina Rodriguez of Truly Rich Mom will talk about Homeschooling 101;
  • Ched Azardon, Associate Professor at UP Diliman College of Education and homeschool mom, on Getting Homeschoolers Ready for the World Through Independent Homeschooling;
  • Chinkee Tan, host of Chink Positive, best-selling author, finance literacy educator and motivational speaker, homeschool dad of three children on Stretching Your P100 (How to Homeschool Thriftily but Effectively);
  • Edric Mendoza, host of ANC’s On The Money, homeschool dad of five kids on Parenting Basics: Getting Your Children to Listen and Learn.

The whole day event (8 am to 5 pm) will not only have these inspiring and eye-opening talks by the speakers but will also have an expo or an exhibit of various learning providers, educational tools, toys, books, and other materials for homeschooling families, those considering to homeschool or are hands-on and intentional in their parenting (Wow! This made me go back to my very first blog post and be reminded why we chose to homeschool!) .

  • An All-Access Pass, meaning a ticket to be able to go in and out of the 3 venues for the talks AND expo included is priced at P1,000 per person for the early bird (until October 4).  By October 5 onwards, the regular rate will be P1,200 per person.   Group rates (minimum of 5 persons) are also available at P1,000 per person.  Click here to register.
  • The expo will be open to the public for a minimal fee of P50 per person.
  • Children who will be coming along with their parent(s) can join fun craft workshops for a fee of P500.  For more info on this, check out the post on Beyond The Silver and The Gold by Michelle Padrelanan.

 

We’ve taken the big leap of faith to homeschool our two girls 9 years ago backed up only by my own research and readings.  I felt scared and alone.  Now that homeschooling has spread to more people and homes in the Philippines and there are support groups and organizations who come up with homeschool conferences such as this, the journey is less daunting.  If you feel that you are being called to homeschool, would like to try it out, or would definitely want to stay on, then come and join the 2015 Philippine Homeschool Conference: Ready for the World to be educated, encouraged, and empowered!

Homeschooling is NOT PROTECTING our children from the world but PREPARING them so they can and will be READY for the WORLD!  Because when you homeschool, you AND your children are almost always already learning in the REAL WORLD 🙂

 

 

 


Photo taken from the motherhood.com

Photo taken from the motherhood.com

Last night, I came across this post of Simple Homeschool which caught my attention.  The hardest part of my homeschool year: A new series.    When I saw the lineup for this series, I knew that Homeschooling An Angry Child and Homeschooling Teens are something I would need to read.  Just recently also, in the very first meetup of our tweens and teens homeschoolers Facebook group, one of the moms asked me what for me is the most challenging in homeschooling tweens and teens.

I never said homeschooling was easy.  I only said that it was the best option for our kids and our family.  It’s a personal choice and decision.

Now to answer the question, rephrased a bit.  What is the hardest part of my homeschooling? What is the most challenging I’ve experienced so far in homeschooling two tweens, a tween and a teen, or both teens? What is my biggest struggle in homeschooling teens?

I’m going to take a long pause now here and really think about it. This is so timely because I actually have been thinking a lot lately about the highs and lows of our homeschooling journey…There’s going to be a lot of introspection here.

We’ve had so many rough rides these past 8 years, touching so many areas.  Not knowing how and where to start, choosing books and classes to enroll in, beating deadlines, not knowing how to teach a subject, a mismatch of teaching and learning styles, dealing with bullying, moving homes, having no helper, disapproval of family members, being doubted and questioned by friends,  looking for support groups, feeling incapable and unworthy, having a disorganized home, a never-ending search for the best and affordable books WITH answer keys, struggling in Filipino, standing firm in our Catholic faith in the midst of Christian friends and homeschoolers, the longing for some space and rest, repeating myself over and over again, always thinking if as a parent-teacher I have done enough, feeling useless and incompetent, admitting mistakes and being totally honest with one another, frustration after frustration…Oh!  The list can go on.

But the ONE thing I PERSONALLY AM STRUGGLING WITH that bothers me so much is…the feeling that I give too much and yet I feel it’s not enough.  Or it’s the feeling that what I have given may not actually be what my family needs after all, leaving me sometimes bone dry and seeking for appreciation for what I’ve done. All of it. Sometimes, I think it’s a case of love language not met and fulfilled. Or that I expect too much from my family because I give too much.  Other times, I think I’ve failed in teaching character (selflessness, love, service, appreciation, encouragement, respect, consideration) and being a good example of those traits for my family to reciprocate them.

And somehow this brings up another struggle issue.   It is the feeling that after doing all that I can, doing what is expected of me, and giving my all…I can’t afford to make mistakes.  I’m expected to be perfect or so close to being perfect that committing a single mistake is not at all permissible. Because I seem to have everything running smoothly day in and day out and I seem to be managing majority of the areas in our family and homeschooling life pretty well, overlooking something or simply doing something wrong in our one-to-one relationships and in the area of disciplining is a big NO-NO.  It’s like the rest of my family can commit mistakes, do it over and over again which I am supposed to tolerate, but if I slip and commit one major mistake along the way, I’ll be hated by everybody and it would be something really difficult for everyone to come to terms with!

As I think about this, it has come to my realization how utterly important it is to pray to God ALWAYS so I can be guided to do what is RIGHT every single time.  And that includes admitting my flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, and asking for an apology when I do end up FALLing and FAILing.

There you go.  I just shared with you the hardest part of my homeschooling.  It’s ugly.  It’s REAL. To answer also the related question as to what for me is the most challenging in homeschooling teens, it’s LETTING GO.  I now see the two related.  The first and hardest part I’ve shared on giving (and expecting) too much is the most challenging.  What’s hard is for me to let go and not give too much.  It’s hard for me to step back a bit and not be too hands-on. But I’m not really a stage mom or into helicopter parenting.  My girls can attest to that.  It really is just a case of LEARNING TO LET GO at this stage of parenting our soon-to-be-adult girls.  It really is tough for me nowadays to know when to let go and when to still hold on and constantly watch over them. Many times, that thin line is not very clear and easy for me to see.

You probably thought I’ve had it all figured out by now, after 8 years of homeschooling.  Nope. New chapter, new challenges.

How about you?  What is the  hardest part of YOUR homeschooling?  What is YOUR biggest struggle?


 

I feel my brain is being squeezed to the max.  Too much thinking.  Intense planning.  Can’t-help worrying. Since Arielle graduated from high school last April, I’ve been helping her out during this gap year of hers.  Daily animation workshop for ten weeks, internships, other workshops, portfolio preparation, resume making, online chat sessions with SCAD-HK, home management and chores teaching.  And I thought we could take everything really slow and relaxed during this gap year.  It turns out this gap year is more serious and more intense!

Add to that having no helper for three months now. That means more duties for me: menu planning, grocering, doing a freezer inventory, cooking, washing the dishes, pots, and pans, sweeping, and cleaning-as-you go (which I feel takes all day!).  I’m just so thankful that our helper back home in the province is doing our weekly laundry and ironing of clothes.  But my duties do not end there.  I am also the driver of Arielle to her Monday to Thursday workshop from 8 am to 12 noon and of Kayla to her Tuesday and Thursday golf training from 8 am to 11 am.  That means having to wake up everyday at 5 am to prepare our breakfast and make sure we are out of the house by 7 am to avoid the morning rush, (but end up in one almost everyday).   Most of the time, I don’t go back home anymore when I take the girls to their workshop and golf training. I wait for them at a nearby Starbucks or at the clubhouse and try to be as productive as I can be with my laptop, iPad, or art materials.  By the time we all get back home in the afternoon, I go straight to the kitchen marinating some dish for dinner or cooking rice already.

This week, I decided to ask our academic consultant if TMA, our homeschool provider, will be offering Grades 11 and 12 to homeschoolers, after hearing some news that they won’t be allowed anymore by the Department of Education with the new K-12 program being rolled out already to the education sector. Well, I got my answer.  She said that for now, TMA can’t offer homeschooling for Grades 11 and 12 because of “the technicalities in the requirements of DepEd.”  It wasn’t further explained to me and I didn’t bother to ask more questions.

I honestly am not 100% confident with the K-12 implementation by DepEd.  Well, that’s my honest opinion.  So when I found out where TMA stands in the K-12 program, I immediately posted a question in our Facebook group and searched online for homeschooling programs that Kayla could switch to.  She has told me several times that she likes to continue being homeschooled and would not want to go back to traditional school.  All the more now when she herself said that she would like to give golf another chance and take it more seriously in preparation for college.

I haven’t found a program yet for Kayla for her Grades 11 and 12, in case we do have to transfer her somewhere else.  I’ve found a few sites online but I still need to read more about them and send initial inquiries.  For now, we would like to continue our current set up where we could choose our own books and materials and Kayla to work at her own time and pace. All we need is support and professional record-keeping in terms of grades, transcript, and college preparation and application.

I think you can clearly imagine what my brain has been going through lately.  It’s not only about college but also, Kayla’s homeschool path particularly for Grades 11 and 12!  Brain-racking, isn’t it?

If only I could see the future and tell as early as now if we would really be able to send Arielle to SCAD-HK…

If only I could already know if Arielle will be granted scholarships…

If only I could find out as soon as possible if DepEd would allow TMA to continue their homeschooling program until Grade 12…

If only I could see Kayla excelling in her golf and doors of opportunities opening up for her in the sport…

It’s really been physically taxing and mentally vexing lately.  God knows the planner and organizer that I am.  Thinking about the girls’ future feels like being in a tunnel and seeing a ray of light at the end, but in order to eventually see and be in the light,  I have to go through the dark.  Oh!  IF ONLY!

In my prayers, I ask God to SHOW me clearly where Arielle is going to end up for college.  Where and how Kayla will be in the next four years of her homeschooling.  I keep on asking God to guide our steps to make sure we don’t miss out a step, a deadline, or an opportunity.  I continue to make plans and do my best to be intentional in our parenting and in the education of our girls. But in the end, I can only do so much and it is still God’s plan that would prevail:

Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

I just hope that as I do all these planning, our plans are not far from what the Lord wants us to do.  Or if in case they do stray from His plans, we would be quick enough to realize them and realign ourselves with God.


 

Photo taken from Manila Workshops

Photo taken from Manila Workshops

 

Last September 6, I attended the Homeschooling Conference organized by Manila Workshops and The Learning Basket at Bayanihan Center in Pasig.  It was a last minute decision because I was still recovering from a sickness.  After praying to the Lord for healing and the strength to travel from Batangas to Manila for the conference, I told myself the night before that I was going to the event even if I was going to be alone.  In the past, Mike was always with me.  This time, however, he was in Davao for a golf tournament (Dads need to have their Me time, too!)

In general, the conference had a strong line up of speakers (as seen on the poster above).  Each shared personal testimonies on their homeschool experiences and encouragement to at least consider homeschooling, not only as an education option for the children, but as a lifestyle for the families as well.  I think it was an equal show of hands of those who are already homeschooling and those who were just thinking about it!  At every homeschool conference I attend, I get amazed at how the number of homeschoolers in the Philippines and those interested to homeschool have multiplied so fast!

Even if we are currently on our 8th year of homeschooling (Yes, I can’t believe that’s how fast time flies!), I never fail to be inspired, encouraged, and to learn from the invited speakers and from other homeschooling moms and families.  There is truth to the saying that when you homeschool, every year feels like the first time, and it’s because there is really so much to unlearn and learn (Well, that’s how I feel) in order to give that individualized and personalized education to each of your unique child.  There is that tendency to fall back to the traditional ways of teaching and somehow get stuck with it, making you feel sorry and incompetent and at the same, you being reminded that it’s not how you want things to be and you need to get out of that trap as soon as you can.

As I was listening to each of the speakers, I was asking myself what am I supposed to take home from them?  Lord, what are you trying to tell me through these speakers?  At the end of the day, what am I supposed to think about and reflect on at THIS PARTICULAR SEASON of our HOMESCHOOLING JOURNEY? I then realized that even if I had already expected each speaker to give words of encouragement, to cheer on everyone in the audience and to strongly recommend homeschooling as an option, I really didn’t need to be encouraged anymore.  I didn’t need to hear those words.   I didn’t need to make a decision because we’ve made the decision 8 years ago and we are living the lifestyle already.  We are breathing homeschool life day in and day out! The day was about halfway done when a few moms and I shared among ourselves that what we need is a conference for those who have been homeschooling for quite some time now.  A conference (or even a weekend retreat would sound good!) for the “fatigued homeschool moms”, as we had called ourselves 🙂

So that day, I listened to the talks speaker after speaker.  Even if I was looking for something in the conference I wasn’t totally sure of,  I still considered it a blessing to listen to each speaker and be in the company of a homeschooling moms I was able to chit-chat and exchange notes with throughout the day.  But it wasn’t until I heard Donna Pangilinan-Simpao give her talk on Conquering Homeschooling Fatigue that IT finally hit me.  Her talk was what I needed to hear that day!  From start to finish, like a physician, she identified the symptoms of homeschooling fatigue and gave a prescription on concrete action steps how to successfully overcome that fatigue in one’s homeschooling life.  What a refreshing, inspiring, encouraging, and life-giving moment for me!

After Donna, I looked forward to Ivy Marquez‘s talk, Nurturing the Love for Learning, which was the very last for the day.  Because I know Ivy personally, I just felt I had the connection with her when she was speaking in front.  Arielle and Kayla learned how to do mindmapping from her and have joined her Hybrid homechool program last 2010.  She has been a great teacher and was very encouraging to our girls.  Her out-of-the-box and real life teaching methods are truly inspiring for me.  With all her 3 children successfully homeschooled by her, she is one role model I look up to and a wonderful blessing to our homeschooling journey as a family.

Before I end, let me share this.  One night, as lay in bed preparing to go to sleep, I was praying to God like I always do.  As I was silently praying to Him, another realization hit me which, up to this day, has been talking to me loud and clear.  I realized that with Arielle being in her senior high school year already, it is her last official year of being enrolled at The Master’s Academy Home School as a homeschooler!  After this, she’s bound to college!  (She’s going to take a gap year though and that’s going to be another chapter in our homeschooling journey and perhaps, another experience to write about.) IT IS TECHNICALLY THE END OF HER HOMESCHOOLING YEARS!  And I said, “God, this is it???…God, THIS…IS…IT!!!” (It felt like a bucket of ice cold water on my face!)

It would be the end and although I was aware that Arielle’s going to graduate from high school this year, what I didn’t see from behind the planning and discussion we’ve been having for Arielle’s college was the realization that technically, I wouldn’t have anything to pray for anymore with regards to homeschooling and teaching Arielle.  That night, I continued my conversation with God praying, “Lord, you knew and have seen how hard I’ve prayed to you when we were thinking about pulling out our girls from traditional school and putting on the responsibility to teach and educate our girls.  You heard my deepest prayers day and night on this major decision we had to make 8 years ago.  And you also saw the times I cried, got confused, felt lost, wanted to give up, and asked for strength to continue to homeschooling and show me the way how.  Now, we are about to reach an end of A (not THE) road (I still have Kayla to homeschool)”  As these thoughts were rushing through my mind, I think I was also talking to myself repeatedly saying, “Oh my!  Could this really be the end?!! Have I reached the end?  Can I say that I’ve successfully homeschooled Arielle and it’s actually time to let go and release her already?  Lord, does this mean that there would be nothing to pray for anymore?   WOW.  The REALIZATION that it’s Arielle’s last year to be homeschooled just confronted me face-to-face and was one big REALITY CHECK!

A part of me hasn’t come to terms yet that it indeed will be the end soon.  A part of me doesn’t want to let go yet.  A part of me is still holding my baby girl in my arms.  But after that night when I was laying in bed in prayer, the Lord has been gently speaking to me and has been telling me, “Racquel, there is a season for everything.  You are not really ending your homeschooling.  You are just in a different stage or season. Homeschooling as the lifestyle choice you’ve chosen will never go away and will not die.  It will continue as all of you grow old as a family and it will always be a part of you.  Homeschooling is My calling for you (Please read the entire post all the way to the end) that you’ve accepted and it will always be in your heart.  It will never go away.”

So now, I consciously remind myself of where I started out, where I’ve been in our homeschooling journey, and what season in our homeschool journey I am in now.  I may have started way ahead of the others but I still need a lot of encouragement and support to face a different set of challenges in our homeschooling life.  I am a work-in-progress and am not sure if I’d ever be a work-completed or work-accomplished.  The fact is I am now in a different season in our homeschooling journey.

Have you thought of where you are in your life right now and what season in your homeschooling journey you are in?

 


 

If you think that we’ve been diligent in our homeschooling these past weeks, especially during this time of the year,  you are wrong!  Why do you think I haven’t been blogging lately?  It’s because our regular routines and schedules have become IRREGULAR. UNPREDICTABLE. EXTREMELY BUSY. QUITE CRAZY!  Sitting down in front of my desktop at this very moment is such a rare opportunity. So how do we homeschool during Christmas holidays?  How did and do we homeschool after supertyphoon Yolanda and when our normal lives have been taken over by volunteerism, bazaar days, rehearsals (for music recital and Christmas program), recitals, Frozen and The Hobbit movies, an archery competition, meetings and inspections for house renovation, more frequent back-and-forth trips from Batangas to Manila, and okay…part of the disruption is my fault…a book launch and meet up with my good high school friends?

To keep me and the girls sane, here’s how we’ve been doing it:

1.   Our 3rd quarter always falls during the most hectic time of the year where traffic is horrendous and long lines are just about everywhere.  That only means a big chunk of our time is eaten by these two major culprits.  We end up having only a few hours during the day to actually do schoolwork and the most practical way to do it is by NOT DOING EVERYTHING in our schedule.  It simply is not do-able.

2.  To make ourselves most productive, we’ve IDENTIFIED our CORE SUBJECTS to FOCUS ON.  These are Character, Christian Living, Math, Science, and World History as a breather from their Math and Science.  Arielle and Kayla have made their literature books for this quarter, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings,  their “bedtime” stories.  The other subjects are considered “minor” to us and can easily be tackled when our routines have normalized. 

3.  We’ve kept our STANDARDS or EXPECTATIONS at a MINIMUM.   Though I would have wanted to produce above average work, it simply is not realistic this time.  There are just so many things going on all at the same time and we all just have to do our best given the time that we have in our hands.  I have to remember that we all still need to rest, to sleep, and have some down time in order to be productive every single day.  

4.  Finally, I also try to keep in mind that even though the girls are not solving math problems and doing science experiments or research work, whatever it is that they are occupied with these days are still life lessons and skills for them.  All these are teachers in being flexible, time management, identifying priorities,  keeping focus, prioritizing family relationships and friendships, and discipline.

Our homeschool pace does feel slooow and I do feel quite abnormal about it.  But I myself am being taught by all these.  As what I’ve written in my last post, interruptions are blessings and lessons in disguise.  

So if you think that everything is going smoothly at the Guevara Homeschool Academy,  ah-uh! I am trying my best to keep myself in one piece these days!  

How are you all coping? 


You Can Homeschool!
Be Inspired, Be Informed,
Be Empowered
By Manila Workshops and
The Learning Basket

 

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an upcoming homeschooling conference with a simple yet fun promo for the event.  Well, it’s time to announce who the lucky winner is!  I think she’s going to have some artsy and crafty days with these loot!

  • A set of High School Musical stamps
  • 1 roll of washi tape
  • A 6×6 journal
  • 10 tiny, cute clothespins
  • 5 meters of baker’s twine

Thank you Bee Happy Crafts and Party  Supplies for these giveaways! 

Plus, she gets two entrance tickets to Philippine Science Centrum, too! 

Out of 450 entries, we have a lucky lady 🙂

 

AND THE WINNER IS….drumroll!!!

 

HSConferencePromo3

 

Congratulations, Kinney Palma and thank you for supporting this event!  I hope you are going to the Homeschooling Conference: You Can Homeschool! on November 16, 2013.

And THANKS to everyone who joined the promo and showed their support! 🙂 We may have a winner already for the giveaways but the event is still in November.  You still have time to register and invite your friends to BE INSPIRED, BE INFORMED, and BE EMPOWERED!

 

 


 

We’ve been homeschooling for seven years and up to now, I still get asked about it.  Why did we decide to homeschool?  How about the kids’ socialization?  Who are the friends of your girls?  Who teaches them?  Why are you still homeschooling?  Etc, etc, etc.  And still…what made you decide to homeschool your girls?

I remember when we started out, we were a handful enrolled in The Master’s Academy (TMA), our homeschool provider.  A year or two later, the number had at least doubled!  Today, I don’t have any idea how many homeschooling families we are now just in TMA alone.  There are other homeschoolers enrolled online, with other local providers, and who are doing in independently.

One of the events that I look forward to are the homeschool conferences.  They were my venues to meet, connect with, learn from the key speakers and from the other families as well, and source materials for our books and supplements.  This coming November, Manila Workshops and The Learning Basket will be coming up with a Homeschool Conference “You Can Homeschool!  Be Inspired, Be Informed, Be Empowered!”

You Can Homeschool!

You Can Homeschool!

This is a one-day event:

WHEN:  November 16, 2013, Saturday

TIME:  9:00 a.m. (Registration starts at 9) to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:  One Cafe and Events Place, One Corporate Center, Julia Vargas cor. Meralco Ave., Pasig City

WHY:  You are a new homeschooler, an old-time homeschooler, are considering to homeschool your children, or are simply curious about homeschooling, and would like to be inspired, informed, encouraged, and empowered

BY:  Key speakers

  • Thammie Sy (a homeschool mom of three),
  • Frannie Daez (a homeschool mom of eight),
  • Edric Mendoza (Director of Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands or HAPI),
  • Homeschooled Children,
  • and Group Facilitators who are homeschooling parents themselves

 

For reservations, you can find the link in here.

 

One of the sponsors of this event, Bee Happy Crafts and Party Supplies, would like to give away some of their fun stuff to my readers.  What prizes can you win?

  • A set of High School Musical stamps
  • 1 roll of washi tape
  • A 6×6 journal
  • 10 tiny, cute clothespins
  • 5 meters of baker’s twine

Plus, the Philippine Science Centrum is also automatically giving away two entrance tickets to the winner!  Woohoo!!! 

 

To join, all you have to do is:

  1. Like and follow Bee Crafts and Party Supplies on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeeHappyCrafts

Instagram: @beehappycrafts

Twitter: BeeHapppyPh 

2.  Like Manila Workshop Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/manilaworkshops).

3.  Like The Learning Basket Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thelearningbasket).

4.  Leave a comment below with your FULL NAME and ACTIVE EMAIL ADDRESS.

5.  Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Bloglovin’.

Just a way of spreadin’ a little love and support 😉

 

This Rafflecopter giveaway runs from October 8 (12:00 a.m.) to October 22 (12:00 a.m.), 2013 only.

  • This is open to Metro Manila residents only.
  • Only one winner will be randomly selected.
  • Winner will be announced on October 24, 2013.
  • Prizes will be shipped to the winner by Manila Workshops after a validation of the winner’s entry.

 

Good luck and I encourage you to go to this Homeschool Conference next month especially organized for YOU who want to be more involved and hands-on not only in the education, but also in the character development of and in raising your children!

 

 


I was praying to God one morning to help me start another homeschooling day.  After starting off my prayer with thanksgiving, I was already giving God a rundown of all my fears.  The FEARS that I’m having these days and that are constantly bugging me!

  • Fear that after all these years of homeschooling Arielle and Kayla, I have failed  
  • Fear that Arielle won’t pass the college entrance exams 
  • Fear that Arielle won’t get into the school that she wants 
  • Fear that she won’t make it to the course she has already set her mind on 
  • Fear that she’d be settling for her second choice course only  
  • Fear that Kayla won’t be able to discover what she really wants to do  
  • Fear that I failed to show her what her strengths are 
  • Fear that I also failed to pinpoint her weaknesses and turn them around to make them into strengths or at least, a comfortable acceptance of them  
  • Fear that I failed to teach them the skills that they need when we finally release them to the world 

All these fears are really making me feel like they’re rolled up into one, ugly monster following me wherever I go and the only weapon I have is my prayers day and night and in-between which act as my sword in order for me to survive each day.  It does feel like the story of David and Goliath in the Bible and of course, I’m the little David. 

How I wish I could fast forward our lives and peek into the future, especially the future of our girls. How I wish I’d know what’s going to happen so I can do something about it now!  To spare us from hurts, struggles, rejections, and disappointments.  But that would be insulting God.  That would be losing my faith in Him.  I’d be looking only at my efforts and failing to look up, believing that I have a God who’s a lot BIGGER than all my  problems and fears combined! 

But my fears are so real, I want to cover myself up in a blanket until someone can come up to tell me that everything’s going to be okay.  That’s how strong and real my fears are.  So what do I do? What is really there to do?  Each day, I can only continue to do my best to homeschool and parent our girls.  The days are not always perfect but I honestly do try my best (You know that, God!)! I not only look at and live in the present but I have come to see now the need to plan ahead and study the options out there for our girls, especially for Arielle, who will soon be in college.  Now that’s what’s making my fear so big.  It feels like I’m exploring the unknown and am faced with the “real thing” as I join the rest of the world when all these years, we’ve been comfortable with our lifestyle choice of homeschooling on this so-called road less traveled.

All the “What if’s” are cropping up and I am asking God to show me how to homeschool these days (and I mean, REALLY HOW). To show me specifically which areas I failed to cover and now need to make up for. These are the times when homeschooling parents like me say “It feels we haven’t done enough!”. But I suddenly get a reality check.  And I do mean A REALITY CHECK! A friend, the girls’ teacher for a brief period of time, a coach, a person my girls and I sometimes go to for advice, posted a short testimony in Facebook on how her life was and is right now.  I am talking about Martine de Luna.  What makes and keeps her close to my heart is she was homeschooled and this is her life story in a nutshell.  Truly encouraging! Truly inspiring! 

Who is Martine de Luna?   This is her life story in a nutshell.

Who is Martine de Luna?
This is her life story in a nutshell.

 

Turning fears into faith, can’ts to can’s!

 

The Expert Enough Manifesto
which Martine is living up to.

 

Isn’t that just amazing?  To make her story even more interesting, she adds: My two homeschooled brothers have the same story, and yet, they are the CEOs of a company that strategizes and consults for some of the most successful and innovative companies in the Philippines. Life hacking and an insatiable lifelong love for learning: this is truly what has allowed us to live towards our “unschooled” lifestyle, which we lived out as kids.

WOW!  After reading her post, it felt like my fears were suddenly doused with cool, refreshing water! Here is one real person I know who was homeschooled, unschooled, went beyond the conventions, and is now successful in what she’s good at and living the kind of life she had pictured and planned for. What she had shared showed me that:

  • My girls have more options out there than I thought.  
  • The options and paths to success are LIMITLESS!
  • Success too is a RELATIVE word! 
  • I was and actually am putting my own limitations, or call it walls and boundaries, to the future of our kids.
  • I’m holding too tight to my CAN’T’s instead of my or our girls’ CANs.
  • LEARNING is, no doubt, a LIFELONG PROCESS that does not end with a college degree or diploma.
  • THAT piece of paper is not the sure end of it all! A diploma is not a sure ticket that will 100% guarantee one’s success.
  • The suffix -less and the word LESS could, on the contrary, mean MORE.

 

Do you know who Martine instantly reminded me of?  If you ask me, Martine is no different from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs :).  Like these big, iconic guys, she followed and is following her passion, her bliss, and she is LOVING what she is doing.  She did not limit herself to how everybody else should be doing what.  She went out-of-the box and carved her own path.  And that’s what she continues to do! Now doesn’t that make one an EXPERT of his/her own life?  Isn’t that taking charge of it and not letting anybody else dictate and run it?  To read the full story of Martine, click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

I can’t stress enough how Martine’s story really inspired and encouraged me. Her story is proof that there’s SO MUCH MORE WE CAN DO THAN JUST WHAT WE and OTHER PEOPLE THINK WE KNOW.  ONE’S STATUS and WORTH is NOT SUMMED UP BY A COLLEGE DEGREE OR DIPLOMA.   It is how you live each day using and sharing the talents and gifts God has given you to its best and fullest that makes your life an A+.   And to keep in mind that LEARNING is a LIFELONG PROCESS.  As Aristotle had put it,  “The more you know, the more you don’t know”.

So, I really shouldn’t get stuck in my fears allow myself to get stuck in my fears.  As long as our girls know:

  • WHO THEY ARE INSIDE AND OUT and their TRUE WORTH
  • WHAT THEY WANT, THE KIND OF WORK THEY SEE THEMSELVES DOING and THE LIFE THEY WILL BE LIVING with JOY,  PASSION, and INTEGRITY
  • what they CAN do and are STILL CAPABLE OF DOING, 
  • and are WILLING to LEARN
  • and to GO BEYOND the NORM and what’s ACCEPTED
  • that BEING DIFFERENT doesn’t give others the license to judge, label, and discriminate you
  • that BEING DIFFERENT could actually mean BEING BETTER

then THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS! What works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it should and will work for all and vice-versa.  

If and when Arielle and Kayla would come to a point where they realize that they made wrong choices, then I put my trust in the Lord and am confident that they will be able to make wiser and better decisions as they go through life.  (After all, that’s one of the main reasons why we chose the homeschooling path…To first and foremost, build and develop strong and godly character traits in our children!) One will never find out what works unless he makes choices, does it with faith and courage, and is ready to accept its fruits or consequences. Life is after all, all about making choices, and the choices one makes spell out the difference.   Then and only then can you say that you have lived a FULL, SUCCESSFUL, HAPPY LIFE!   No “If only’s”.  No regrets! 


 

Mixed Emotions

Photo Source: http://livelistendream.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/
mixed-emotions/

 

I’ve been going through mixed emotions these past couple of weeks (more of months, actually). Now, I don’t know if these are my 40+ hormones going wayward or what!

HAPPY…that we’ve actually gotten on board another year of homeschooling (after a physically taxing kind of summer vacation which isn’t how we normally spend it)

HAPPY…that I was able to put in place my survival tools (all the preparations and requirements, and finally, guide schedules, with an ‘s’) before officially and slowly starting the schoolyear last June.  Everything I finished just in time!  WHEW!!!

THANKFUL…that we have new materials to use in Religion or Christian Living (books that are specifically Catholic), Grammar, Reading, Business Mathand even new activities for P.E. (archery for Arielle and golf for Kayla; They’ve been doing competitive swimming ever since they started to homeschool.) and for TLE (sewing, where I ended up joining our girls in class! 🙂 )

TIRED and UNMOTIVATED…that I’m teaching again to Kayla the same topics in Filipino and Social Studies (which is Philippine History) and with no really good textbooks and accompanying teacher’s guide to use for both subjects!  (A fellow homeschool mom suggested The Other Philippine History Textbook by Christine Diaz (Books 1 and 2) but as of this writing, we only read about the Spanish colonization of the Philippines so I can’t say yet if I can totally ditch the hand-me-down textbooks which Arielle used in the previous years).  That’s just Filipino and Social Studies.  There’s still Math, Science, and the other subjects. 

TIRED and FRUSTRATED…that I’m still reminding our girls some routines which I had expected them to know automatically by now.  

STILL THANKFUL…that since my homeschooling family stays with my parents (I’m the only child left to BE with them), we share helpers who do the cooking, laundry, and the rest of the household duties, which I don’t have to worry much about.  BUT I make sure that our girls still are aware of their responsibilities and duties at home and that they do their share of chores, too.  We still are a family unit who move about our own ways and live our own lifestyle.  I actually ADMIRE homeschool moms who manage to homeschool their kid(s) and still do all the chores at home, and even add a full-time or part-time job to all those duties and responsibilities, whether as a WAHM (work-at-home mom) or commuting daily to the office!  HATS OFF to these SUPERMOMS! 

(Back to) FRUSTRATED…that I’m running out of ideas how to teach (well, more of coach) the different subjects to our girls! How do I do out-of-the-box teaching in Algebra, Chemistry, Physical Science, World History?

CAREFREE ATTITUDE…since I feel I lack the motivation and I don’t have any brilliant and new ideas to put some excitement in their lessons and spice up our discussion.  I usually am geared up every start of the schoolyear! But not this time 🙁  (And to think that we just started! What a way to begin!)  

(Back to) THANKFUL…that Arielle and Kayla are actually working more independently now. I still think that this is an accomplishment and victory to be celebrated.  

Do you now feel the roller coaster ride of my mixed emotions?  Brace yourselves for a few more dips and turns!

HAPPY...that I’ve found a new hobby in doodling and journaling.  It really feels good to discover that happy place for some ME time and self-expression.

AFRAID…that I won’t be able to get back on track in the next quarters with this kind of attitude and totally having no fresh ideas to make their learning more fun and exciting.

AFRAID and FRUSTRATED COMBINED…that I’m shortchanging my girls, especially Kayla,  because I’ve been less involved in their learning. 

PRETTY MUCH DETACHED, WORTHLESS, and LESS FULFILLED…because most of the time, I’ve really been just letting the girls work independently and move on from one subject to the next. Did I just change our homeschooling setup and lifestyle to one where I simply brought the classroom to our home?  Where did the “beyond books and walls” go?  How about that person in me known as “the best teacher of my children”? Did she go on leave?

UPSETwith Department of Education’s K-12 program which I feel is messing up Arielle’s high school and preparation for college and how this K-12 is making our homeschooling now feel like traditional school done at home.  That makes me feel even worse since I already feel traditional-ish in my teaching style in the first place!  The K-12 issue and our view about it should be another post to write about (if only I could put down all my thoughts, every bit of emotion in words and have the inspiration plus time to blog about it!)  

Is this how it’s supposed to be after 6 whole years of breathing the homeschooling lifestyle?  Or is there also such a thing as a 7-year itch in homeschooling?   I wonder (Hey, I’m serious.)

The only thing that’s keeping me together in one piece these days is the thought that whatever I’ve been feeling lately (ALL of it!) is probably going to do us good (GOSH! I HOPE SO!), and that with God’s blessing and promise, EVERYTHING’S GOING TO WORK OUT JUST FINE (Breathe in, breathe out). After all, Arielle’s already in 3rd year high school and Kayla’s slowly moving up to higher levels.   They do need to learn how to be independent.  I’m probably at the stage where it’s quite difficult for me to LET GO of our girls, let them stand on their own, and start flapping their wings.  I’ve probably been so attached and hands-on to them that actually seeing and letting them do things on their own gives me a weird, uncomfortable, different feeling.  Maybe, I’m not yet used to their telling me “Ma, I’m okay.  I understand my lessons.  I can do it by myself.”

I just didn’t expect this to happen this year.  So soon?  I’ve been harping on teaching the life skill, independence, and now that’s actually and slowly happening in front of my face, I don’t know how to deal with it.  It is quite a surprise…something unexpected.

All these mixed emotions! SIGH!!!  All I can do right now is to chill.  To let go.  To pray hard to be a better and wiser parent to them as I go through this parenting AND homeschooling stage combined and make sure they feel that I’m just right behind them when they need me.  I probably need a change of perspective to be able to deal with these growing-up and moving-on changes in our life. 

How have you been feeling lately with your homeschooling?  Have you had mixed emotions, too? How did you cope and how do you deal with them?