Now that Arielle has officially graduated from high school and is officially on her gap year, we are now starting to prepare for her college applications.  So far, she has applied to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Hong Kong, after I personally received a phone call from their Assistant Director of Admission) strongly suggesting that we already do our online application because slots are getting filled up. (What?!!  Slots for 2016???  And I thought we have more than enough time!).  As for applications to local colleges and universities for Academic Year 2016-2017, they have not opened yet.

What steps are we doing to prepare for college?  What steps have we done so far? Here’s my personal list to give you an idea of my preparation and mindset needed:

1.  First and foremost, we identified the course that Arielle wanted to take.  I mean, the course she really wants to take up.  We didn’t have a problem with that because Arielle is dead set to take up Animation.  That is her top choice.  But it would be good to have course choice #2 and #3 because these are usually asked for in applications.

2.  We check the websites of the different colleges and universities for announcements, especially on application and testing dates.  This, we do often, most especially because we have decided to take a gap year which means Arielle did not go through the applications and entrance exams with the rest of her batch.  We are doing to do it on our own, with assistance from TMA, our homeschool provider.  Aside from the dates to take note of,  I go through the admission requirements of each university and familiarize myself with the kind of documents we need to prepare and submit.

3.   We have identified our school choices (although still praying about it!).  This goes with #1 because if you are really after the course your child wants, then you go for the school that offers it or is known for it.

4.  We visited the different school campuses.  We did last year in order for Arielle to get a feel of the environment and how it is like to be in a school!  After all, homeschoolers have had their homes and the real world as their classrooms. We visited Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, University of Asia & the Pacific, Meridian International, and more importantly, SCAD Hong Kong.

5.  We paid the Admissions Offices a visit.  In our case, we asked questions with the local universities about college applications with our gap year in mind (which is not commonly taken by students here in the Philippines) and the current issue on DepEd’s K12 program, to clarify some issues and make sure that by Arielle will have no problem applying for and entering college in 2016.

6.  As for SCAD-HK, we scheduled a campus and residences tour in one day to know exactly where the campus building is, their facilities, the accommodations they offer to students, and again, to ask all our questions about their admission requirements!  We asked about what entrance tests are required (IELTS, TOEFL, or an English proficiency test for SCAD), how to apply for a scholarship, if transferring of credits is accepted, the student population profile of SCAD-HK, various opportunities of SCAD students, etc., etc.!   Doing a tour gave us a chance to know more about the school and how the staff are.  The SCAD personnel have been very accommodating from the time I first emailed them to this day!  That’s a big plus!

This is where Arielle’s target school!

7.  I closely coordinate with TMA, our homeschool provider, with regards to our different college applications.  I inform them all the admission requirements and when we intend to start processing our applications.  I make sure I give them updates so that we get to work hand in hand on this quite stressful task.  So far, these are SCAD-HK’s admission requirements which I’ve already forwarded to TMA.

8.  We already submitted Arielle’s application to SCAD-HK online to start the long process.  I was told that after completing the online application and paying the application fee of $40, an admission representative will be assigned to us to help and guide us in the whole process.  I am loving the assistance I am getting from SCAD so far!  Did you know that they paid for our taxi fare when we had to go back to our hotel after doing their Residences tour? Their Residences happen to be faaaar and commute took almost an hour to our hotel.   Wow!  Mike and I appreciated that very much!

9.  Arielle got accepted as one of the interns for Young Star of Philippine Star (I believe she was the youngest among those who applied because she said everyone else in the registration list were at least 18 yrs old!)

and for Flow Surf Yoga Samba.  Internship is really part of our plan for her gap year to prepare her for college with the work habits, to further enhance her skills and develop her character and the discipline.  This is her first work for Flow Surf Yoga Samba.

10.  We are about to start building her portfolio, especially for SCAD.  Right now, this IS the one stressing me out because Arielle has to make more 10 to 20 2-D artworks (and if possible, 3-Ds) in order to show her BEST WORK.  And we have a long way to go!  We plan to enroll her in art classes to really learn traditional art and are on the lookout for art and animation-related workshops to make sure that she is able to showcase different media, techniques, her other skills, and what is vital is her CREATIVITY and her IDEAS.   This is the time TO IMPRESS in order to get in the school that we want!

Since we’ve decided to be intentional on our parenting, on the education of our girls, and our family lifestyle,  it looks like my role as a homeschool mom isn’t over yet.  Now that we will be releasing Arielle to the real world SOON, she needs me, her mom, her teacher, her coach, her counselor (and the list goes on!) by her side more than ever!


 

It’s March and we are again on h-o-m-e-s-t-r-e-t-c-h!  Arielle just finished yesterday her last post for her homeschool blog portfolio (You should have heard the BIG SIGH of RELIEF and JOY she gave out yesterday!) and Kayla is on her last 3 subjects!  These girls CAN’T WAIT to finish their academic requirements and take a break momentarily from studying.  I say ‘momentarily’ because during summer, they continue doing Math and Science.

You might think that I am also about to be on vacation.  NOT. AT. ALL.  Kayla is pursuing golf again and I have to fully support her this time and plan her homeschooling, keeping in mind the number of hours she has to give to training and tournaments.  As I’ve shared in my last posts, Arielle will be graduating from high school this April 2015 but will not immediately go to college this July or August.  2015 will be her gap year and it will be in 2016 when she plans to start college, with Animation as her dead set course in mind.  So these days, I am both thinking of an ending and a beginning of journeys.  The ending of another schoolyear (That would make us officially homeschooling for 8 years…and going on our 9th next year!) and the beginning of Arielle’s gap year.

Our plan for her gap year really is to better prepare her for college, most especially that she only has a total of 10 years of basic education and the course that she intends to pursue is best learned abroad, where competition  is tougher and requirements more stringent.   I’ve mindmapped plans on what she should do during her gap year, which include and would focus on:

  1. College Entrance Exam Reviews
  2. Internships
  3. Joining Workshops on Animation
  4. Learning Life Skills
  5. Preparing Curriculum Vitae
  6. Building up and Organizing Portfolio (traditional and digital illustrations)

 

As of now, everything is roughly scheduled since no definite dates have been announced as to when the different college entrance exams will be.  She already took review classes last summer and so, she will just take a refresher course closer to the date of the entrance exams.  While waiting for the confirmed dates and deadlines,  these are what we have done so far:

  1. Arielle’s art blog has already been migrated from Blogger to WordPress where she will showcase her best art works.  It is a revamp of her blog and she will, according to her, start everything anew.
  2. We have researched on and identified her target schools.  I have been checking on their websites for announcements and taking note of their admission requirements.  I make sure that I do this often so as not to miss any pertinent information on the requirements and to be able to block off important dates pertaining to deadlines.
  3. She also has her apprenticeship and internship goals, since these are also a part of her senior year high school requirement (more of apprenticeship actually).  The latest news is that she got accepted as an illustrator for Young Star, a weekly section that comes out every Friday on the major daily Philippine Star (Our big THANKS to Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com for letting us know about this opportunity and most especially, for believing in Arielle!  Arielle was Martine’s apprentice during her 3rd quarter and did a couple of projects for her). Read more about it here.  The announcement was just made last Friday and Arielle was just ecstatic when she found out she made it!  She actually wasn’t too keen on going to the interview, but both Mike and I prodded her to try it out because we think that it will be a good experience for her.  Besides, she will not lose anything if she tries out.  I personally think that if she makes it, it will really look good on her CV!

 

Photo taken from Philippine Star

 

You see, the gap journey has just begun and so does Kayla’s more intentional learning.  There is so much to do and yet, it feels fulfilling to do what we feel is right and personal to our girls’ development and future.

 


 

I bared my heart in my last post.  It was a sincere one.  I wanted to let you know that I’m not a SuperMom or a Super HomeschoolMom always with her red cape on.  There are actually many times in our homeschool journey that I am just as lost and vulnerable as other moms are out there.

I received a feedback from my friend and art playmate (Yes, I do have a playmate!), Dette Ramos of Bananabellieboo, on my last post.  She told me that what I shared triggered a loooong discussion between her and her husband on how they could also encourage their young kids to dream for themselves and how they want to be able to support them in their dreams.  I was surprised when she told me that it actually took them about one whole hour just talking about it from her office to their house!

It made think how Mike and I started “dreaming” with Arielle and Kayla.  To be honest, I can’t seem to clearly recall what we did first or when the dreaming phase all started because to me, their growing up years, especially when they were toddlers, were more of just teaching them basic skills, making them wonder how and why things work they way they do, and checking if they are actually enjoying whatever they’re doing and interested to doing more.

Let me just share what I vividly recall doing with Arielle and Kayla when they were still very young and we were all trying to discover their potentials, talents, gifts, preferences, and inclinations.

1.  Books

I surrounded them with a lot of books, magazines, and newspapers.  That’s one thing for sure. Picture books, storybooks, chapter books, coloring books, activity books!  I remember I was able to take a video of Arielle with a book upside down in her hands, babbling on and on as she pretended to be reading the book she was holding 🙂   We noticed, on the other hand, that Kayla grew up liking Almanacs.  She would look forward going to National Bookstore or Fully Booked and buy the new almanac that comes out every year.  This mere observation made me see the personalities of our two girls.  One prefers lengthy books and that would be Arielle, while the other prefers bite-size chunks of information (Kayla).

It is through books and a lot of reading and printed materials that Arielle and Kayla were able to “see more” than what’s around them, explore possibilities, and express their thoughts and feelings after reading and having a casual conversation with them.

2.  Arts and Crafts

Being and arts-and-crafts person myself, it wouldn’t be a surprise that I also exposed Arielle and Kayla to a lot of cutting and pasting, drawing, painting, lots of paper, crayons, markers, pencils, paint, etc.!   Doing art activities was one way of discovering more of who they are through the images they drew, the colors and strokes they used.  Art, being a visual and tactile activity, was a self-expression activity that I was able to use to know more about Arielle and Kayla in their younger years.  As they grew older, I saw all the more, through their works and time spent in the activities, that Arielle’s interest in arts was becoming more pronounced and Kayla wasn’t as much into it.

3.  Music and Theatre

Music has been part of their lives as early as probably when they were 4 to 6 months old when they were still in my belly.    I had headphones on my tummy with classical music on for them to listen to, and I remember playing the classic children’s songs (still in cassette tapes!) when we would play in the living room, when we would take afternoon naps, or when we would ride in the car.

We also watched musical plays for their entertainment value and a trip to the theatre was what made us discover that Arielle had this “dream” of performing on stage…as the lead role!  Yup!  We watched Peter Pan at CCP in 2007 and Arielle said, “I can see myself on stage doing the main character.”  She was watching at the edge of her seat (I’m not kidding!) the entire time!  And true enough, the next year, at 8 years old, she bravely tried out performing arts for the first time.  She took a summer theatre workshop and she loved it!  She landed the lead role (as Jack in Jack in the Beanstalk) in the workshop’s production and we knew that the stage was “part of her world” (as the Little Mermaid would sing it 🙂 )  A year after, she did “A Christmas Carol” professionally and it was one experience she’ll never ever forget!  It gave her the confidence to try out audition after audition, go to callbacks and open auditions) and even if she didn’t make it to the cast, it was still a dream for her to show to others what she can do and what she’s got.

We also convinced Kayla to try out theatre since she saw her Ate enjoying it immensely.  So she did too at age 7 and played one of the main characters, Pinocchio, in a summer workshop.  She confidently performed on stage, but she herself said that she liked it, but it’s not her thing.

Up to now, watching movies and plays, especially musicals, is a family activity we enjoy.  It is a way we support the visual, musical, and kinethestic personalities of Arielle and Kayla.

4.  Sports, Physical/Kinesthetic Activities

When we shifted to homeschooling, competitive swimming has been their P.E.  They did it for 5 years.  They got tired of it and found themselves trying archery and golf.  I admit that at times I still wish they stayed on with swimming but I know that even if they didn’t stick with the sport, they have learned the discipline in training for a sport and the other character traits that they have developed while at it like obedience, perseverance, working with team members, humility, among others.

Now that Kayla’s liking golf again (Thanks to Mike who is also playing again after giving up on it for a while), I see that this could be her “dream”.  Although she may not fully admit YET that golf is a dream of hers, I see that she’s BEGINNING to realize that this is a strength of hers, after being given positive feedbacks on how she plays the sport, and that this could actually open doors for her to somewhere we don’t know yet.  Kayla is also currently at the stage where she is starting to question what she really wants to do in her life.  Knowing that her Ate Arielle clearly knows what she wants to take up in college and what she really wants to do, Mike and I can sense that she is beginning to search for her unique path and calling in life.  So for now, we are here to support her in a strength of hers that is obvious and hopefully, it will really take her to bigger dreams.

Prior to golf,  we thought that she wanted to do cook and bake.  That she wanted to take the culinary path when the time comes.  We enrolled her in summer cooking classes. We tried recipes at home.  We baked cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.  We bought her cookbooks and encouraged her to print out recipes she would like to try and keep a file of them.  But again, her interest in it wasn’t sustained although she still likes to work in the kitchen.

5.  Travel

Another worthwhile activity we do as a family when we have the finances and time to do it is travel locally and abroad.  It is through first-hand experience of other culture and lifestyle that our girls learn for themselves what they would want to change in their own way of life and how they would want to live their own lives when they go to college and after.   Seeing for themselves how other people do their day-to-day activities in another place or country teaches them to think of better ways to do things and improve systems.  It is a way of dreaming for themselves and for our country. It also opens their eyes to opportunities that may not be available to them in Manila or in the Philippines, making them dream bigger and bolder.  It was when we went to the U.S. and Singapore that we all dreamed with Arielle in taking up Animation and being an animator someday!

6.  Meet other people

Of course, as we were doing all these activities…buying books, doing arts and crafts, watching musicals, enrolling in workshops and classes, traveling to places, we were able to give Arielle and Kayla the opportunities to meet other people in their natural settings who, in one way or another, were able to inspire and encourage them.  What can beat SOCIALIZING with REAL PEOPLE from different professions, from different fields, and from all ages?

So you see, encouraging our girls to dream involves a number of things:

1.  a hands-on and intentional parenting

2.  a discovery process which includes trial-and-error; It really is exposing your children to VARIED activities and finding out in the process which ones they are wired to do or where their potentials are.

3.  influencing them by our (parents’) own interests at the onset of or during the discovery process, but not dictating to them

4.  having faith in God, our Maker, who designed each one of us with a unique purpose, who ultimately knows what we are cut out for and who can make dreams come true

The words of Pope Francis when he visited our country a few weeks ago are still fresh in my mind. He stressed how important it is to dream in the family.   It was truly an affirmation of our decision and chosen lifestyle to homeschool our children because it is in homeschooling that we are all able to dream as a family and support one another in our dreams.

What are your and your children’s dreams?  How do you hold on to and pursue them as a family?


 

We are on our last quarter of the schoolyear and it’s another homestretch!  And I do mean H-O-M-E-S-T-R-E-T-C-H because Arielle will be graduating from high school and it IS her last quarter of being homeschooled.  I am now facing the more daunting task of releasing Arielle to the real world.  I feel like I myself will be moving up from homeschooling to world schooling. I’m now not sure if I should be relieved or even more scared!  Just being totally honest here. TOTALLY.

As for Kayla, she’s been playing golf on and off since she was about 8 years old and this year, after much prodding, she’s giving it another try.  Mike and I, and those into this sport, see her potential in this field and so, we are encouraging her to play again.  Being a kinesthetic learner, I know that her seriously getting into a sport would work out with her homeschooling.  It’s just a matter of managing her time and being disciplined, which is consequentially a very good life skill to learn.  She started training again this January which means waking up at 6 am every Monday and Wednesday, adjusting her schedule with golf in the morning and schoolwork in the afternoon, and still going to the driving range to practice her swings or play 9 or 18 holes with her Papa during the weekend.  I think she’s beginning to understand that golf is not just P.E. or a sport.  We told her the fact that it can be her ticket to big opportunities like college scholarships, especially in schools abroad. I really hope that this means Kayla has finally found what she really wants to get involved in, the same way that her Ate Arielle has found her passion in art and animation, the very thing that she wants to do in life!

Speaking of passion and the future, I came across this blog post on how to direct your child to his or her future. It’s a simple 5-step guideline to help you clearly identify your child’s natural gifts and ultimately, his or her unique purpose and design.  It’s been easy for us with Arielle because as young as probably 2 or 3 years old, she was already showing strong signs of being inclined towards arts, visual and performing.  It was very consistent with her.  That wasn’t the case for Kayla.  Although the signs she showed were all physical and kinesthetic, we still couldn’t pin down on what she really likes doing. We let her try theatre (which she did very well), culinary (she still likes to cook and bake in the kitchen), swimming, and golf, but her interest in any of these didn’t last very long.  That’s why I am really hoping that this time, she will like golf more and will be persistent about it.

As I continue to immerse myself with my one-word and be focused this 2015, I came to this realization that this year is going to be about MORE SERIOUSLY shaping the lives of Arielle and Kayla. What a BIGGER responsibility!  Yes, 2015 will be a much MORE INTENSE and INTENTIONAL kind of parenting for these two girls as they gear up for their gap year and golfing!

That’s a lot of G in there…GEAR up, GAP year, GOLF  And all I can say is GO for it!  And may GOD’s blessing be upon us!


 

Just like that, another year is about to be over. I know, I know.  Christmas first before New Year, but I can’t help myself but do a fast forward and think 2015 already.  New Year. New Beginning. New Plans. New  Dreams.  Who wouldn’t be excited???

With this year’s major changes for our family which included the passing of my mother-in-law, moving in to our new home, new season in teen parenting, homeschooling and in both parenting-teaching, can I just say, “2014, I survived you!”  You made me feel like I ran a marathon and made it to the finish line.

Why do I love 2014?  Simply for the reason that in spite of the transitions and busyness that happened,  I learned:

  1. How to listen to my body, stop the stress build-up, and enjoy those simple and yet meaningful pauses;
  2. How to rediscover myself and feed my soul by creating in fun ways;
  3. How to surround myself and connect with like-minded people and with those who are generous to extend help in whichever way they can;
  4. To decisively take another leap of faith to do what’s more essential and than what’s simply conforming;
  5. How to make the most of the time in my hands, accepting those that I’m able to do, and not fret too much on those that I wasn’t able to accomplish (or start, in the first place).

 

I’m thankful to say that as early as now, my 2014 has truly been a year of faith just as I had declared it to be. It has been a year of, shall I say, CENTERING myself, which allowed me to live each day of this year even more intentionally and so meaningfully.

How was your 2014?  Can you also say that you love it as much as I do?

 


 

These teens are off to a 5-day marine camp!

These teens are off to a
5-day marine camp!

 

Being a homeschool mom, it is quite rare for me to be alone in the house and with no girls to check up on.  And this is how it’s going to be for six straight days.  Yes, almost a week of no teens in the house!

Arielle, Kayla, and five of their invited female friends (four from Manila and one from Bacolod) are currently in a marine camp in Bacolod. Day 1 of camp started yesterday, May 6,  and will end on Saturday, May 10.  So, I see them all again in Manila on Sunday, May 11, which happens to Mother’s Day.

It is their second time to join this particular camp.  It’s called Danjugan Island Summer Marine Camp. They’ve joined another out-of-town, less-than-a-week long camp before which was the CISV camp.  After discussing and making an evaluation of which camp for them is better, they chose this marine camp, hands-down.  I’m not quite surprised because being a nature- and beach-loving family, Arielle and Kayla, both love the sand, sun, and sea.  Arielle’s now a certified junior scuba diver and Kayla loves to snorkel and has learned to free dive, too.  The marine camp last year gave them a rich and super fun learning experience, a chance to explore Bacolod, and especially savor the flavorful chicken inasal, the province’s chicken barbecue.  I, myself, enjoyed my stay in Bacolod last year, giving me a time to slow down and be a tourist in my own country.

Chicken inasal at  Chicken House...NAMIT! (which means 'delicious')

Chicken inasal at
Chicken House…NAMIT!
(which means ‘delicious’)

Logistics for this year is different.  Last year, Mike and I stayed the whole time in Bacolod in our couple friend’s house while the girls are at camp.  The girls, their two invited friends, Mike, and I all flew in and out of Bacolod together.  Since Arielle and Kayla invited four friends this time, we chose to book ourselves in a hotel, L Fisher Chalet, for an overnight stay before leaving for Danjugan Island early in the morning, instead of all eight of us staying at our friends’  house.

Upon arriving in Bacolod, from the airport, we headed to Chicken House to have chicken inasal for lunch,. What else???  Bacolod IS inasal!  With happy tummies, we checked in and settled down at our hotel after, and was able to go to The Ruins late in the afternoon for some photo ops.   Dinner was at Aboy’s, a personal favorite!

The next day, we all were up at 4:30 a.m. so we can all have breakfast at McDonald’s at 5:30. Meetup time for the campers was 6:30 a.m.  After bringing them to their designated meetup place, waiting for a while and finally sending them off, Mike and I stayed just a couple more hours in Bacolod and flew back to Manila.  While waiting for the time we must head off to the airport, we leisurely had breakfast with our friend (whose daughter also joined the camp this time) back in our hotel, checked out, bought some pasalubong at Quan (Napoleones, mmmmm!!!) and Bongbong’s (piyaya, butterscotch, assorted tarts, and danggit from Cebu), had lunch (chicken inasal, of course, and crispy chicken skin…I know, it’s not healthy!) at Hestia.   It was mission accomplished!  Sending off all six teens to camp, eating chicken inasal one more time, buying local delicacies, and flying back home.

As I write this, our girls are 400 kilometres from Batangas, 400.43 kilometres to be exact and about an hour of flight from Manila. They are in Visayas and I am in Luzon!  It is our first time to be away from each other this faaaaar and this loooong!  It does feel kinda strange but at the same time, I feel it’s something I have to learn getting used to.  After all, our girls are no longer kids but teens and they soon need to flap their wings and be more independent.  Arielle actually got really excited when I mentioned to her that she should observe and learn how we checked ourselves in at the airport so they can do it on their own next year.

I won’t be around to pick them up from camp.  Mike will be the one to go back to Bacolod and stay there for one night before they all head back to Manila.  I decided to stay home and enjoy my break straight.  This is a rare opportunity for me!  Besides, when they get back, it will be on May 11, Sunday, which is also Balik Bukid, a country fair I’ve missed already twice and am planning to go to this time.

So, this is another good change I’m having right now.  Homeschooling does strengthen our bond and relationships as a family since we’re always together.  At the same time, the lifestyle also gives us the environment, the opportunities to parent and release our children to the bigger world NATURALLY.

Teen parenting is figuratively teaching them to fly.

I am sooo sure the girls are having a grand time at camp…on an island…at a marine sanctuary…learning new things hands-on…and being with new friends!  I haven’t received any text messages from them since noon yesterday!  In the meantime, I am savoring these days of being kid-less, even if it’s just for a short period of time.  I also deserve to have my vacation and “camp out” in my bed, without having to think about schedules and what’s going to be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This is Teen Parenting for me, Letting Go course 🙂  It is a new parenting strategy and path to take.  Something that is bound to happen and I’m slowly learning how to do it successfully.

Have you let go of your kids?  What small or big steps have you taken?


 

As of this writing, it’s been 20 days since super typhoon Yolanda (International name: Haiyan) wreaked havoc on the towns, cities, and islands of Eastern Visayas of the Philippines. My family and I were, as usual, in Manila that Friday, November 8, for our weekend activities when Yolanda came.  As early as November 5, I already knew about this super typhoon because posts on weather updates and call for prayers started to trickle in my Facebook feed.  But that Friday evening, we were comfortably tucked in my dad’s condo unit in Alabang.  The howling wind was a lot stronger and creepier than the typhoons in the past which kept me awake most of the night, for I was fearing that our windows and sliding doors would break!  It was really a blessing that we were kept safe by our Lord and guardian angels when Yolanda made herself felt in Manila.  

We have no tv in Alabang and our source of news was and is always Facebook and Twitter. A BIG THANKS to social media! We went about our schedules that weekend (sewing class, Kayla’s golf training, and an orientation for our family, as first-timers, on Make A Wish Philippines Foundation and its upcoming Wish Grant event scheduled on the next weekend). We heard about the extensive damage Yolanda caused in the Visayas, particularly, Tacloban and Samar.  However, little did we know that this super typhoon was probably the strongest typhoon ever recorded in history and our poor country was its victim.  

By Monday, November 11, we were back home in Batangas and it was only then that we were able to watch news on tv and see the destruction, the wiped out barangays, towns, cities, islands brought about by Yolanda.  The images we saw were simply UNIMAGINABLE! 

From then on, I was glued on Facebook as I await news about the real condition of the Visayas region.  I have to say that this was the calamity where I found myself mostly affected and which really moved me to be more involved and to actively spread news and updates in Facebook.  I told myself that this is the perfect time to stay longer in front  of my desktop, check my Instagram often, and use my social media tools responsibly.  I just couldn’t do my normal routines and duties! Only to find out, too, that I wasn’t alone.  Fellow moms and female friends in Facebook were feeling the same and before I knew it, relief operations and donation drives started to be organized with everyone so ready to join and volunteer.  It then began to hit me that it was really time to stop whatever we were doing and start giving help to our fellow kababayans (countrymen).  It was an interruption to our work, to our busy schedules, to our deadlines, but that only brings me to Lesson #1 of this unexpected interruption we all experienced.

Lesson #1:  INTERRUPTIONS AND STANDSTILLS ARE BLESSINGS

Oftentimes, I consider interruptions just as that.  Major disturbance!  With Yolanda, I learned that interruptions can be blessings.  The interruption itself is the blessing!  To be able to stop and give ourselves a break from our clockwork routine.  

LESSON #2: INTERRUPTIONS AND STANDSTILLS ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO ASSESS AND EVALUATE

Sure, our homeschool schedules were disrupted but the stops and standstills of this tragedy allowed us to make an assessment of where we are in our lives, what we have and are currently enjoying.  It is an opportunity to say “I am blessed and have so many blessings!”

As news started pouring in, with international news channels and correspondents delivering updates on the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda, my family and I continued to live our normal homeschooling life but only found ourselves refocusing our energies on what we could do to help those stricken by the calamity.  

LESSON #3: INTERRUPTIONS AND STANDSTILLS CAN ACTUALLY ENERGIZE YOU INSTEAD OF ZAP YOU OF YOUR STRENGTH and ENERGY! 

Our sewing class’s initial plan of joining a pre-Christmas bazaar soon became a bazaar for a cause. Our plan of donating a big portion of the sales to the earthquake victims that hit also the Visayas region just last October then included the victims of Yolanda.  It all the more motivated the kids, tweens and teens of Sew Easy and everyone was ready to spend extra hours sewing out of their normal class schedules to sew more headbands, bags, and hair bow ties, all out of scrap fabric! What an opportune time to recycle and make something beautiful out of scrap or what may be considered as trash!  

LESSON #4:  INTERRUPTIONS AND STANDSTILLS GIVE YOU FOCUS and TEACH YOU TO RE-FOCUS on WHAT IS IMPORTANT and NECESSARY.

The Sew Easy kids were all aware of the national calamity that our country was faced with, and we all wanted to help in a way where our collective efforts would work best, and that was to sew with what we have, which were ALL SCRAP fabric.  Everything (the sewing machines, scraps, spools of thread, elastics, cords) was ready and everyone became busy with their hands.

(With God’s grace, we were able to sew more than what we thought we would be able to do and our sales was over our target!  The two-day bazaar was a success!)

Using our hands to be a blessing to others!

 

These are just some of the kids who are pure blessings!

These are just some of the kids
who are pure blessings!

 

Read our shirt: Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine

Read our shirt: Never underestimate the power of
a woman with a sewing machine

 

 

While we were occupied within the confines of our homeschool activities, relief efforts by different groups have already started. My family and I were becoming more and more aware of how urgently the people from Ormoc, Samar, Tacloban, Cebu, and many different places need help. After Kayla’s Confirmation in BF Homes, Paranaque, we, in no time, brought a donation from a friend and classmate in sewing to Angel Brigade whose relief operations were at that time, in Fort Bonifacio, Makati.  Even if it was just one large bag of tent, blanket, mat, and old tarpaulins from another sewing classmate, we felt it had to be given IMMEDIATELY.

Angels are real blessings! 🙂

 

These can keep a family warm.

 

Over 4,000 bags packed by Angels
last Nov. 16;
These are just about a third of a fourth of the bags they’ve packed.

 

With everybody else donating and repacking food, water, clothes, I started to wonder about the victims’ need for temporary shelter.  I took my chance and started tweeting on Twitter, tagging IKEA and ShelterBox, after I’ve seen posts on IKEA’s modular refugee shelter and ShelterBox’s emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies, and heard Ormoc’s 4th District Representative Lucy Torres appeal for help, specifically for tarpaulins that could serve as temporary shelter.  Not only did I tag Oprah and Martha Stewart in my tweets as a desperate and urgent call for help, but I also emailed the foundation of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (as suggested by a college friend)!  I didn’t care! All I knew was our countrymen need help…FAST! 

(A deep and heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to my batchmates who helped in spreading the word about the need for temporary shelter and for their donations.  Most of them are overseas and yet, the distance was not a hindrance to give what they can give and extend assistance in the quickest way possible!) 

By November 20, we’ve signed up as volunteers at Villamor Air Base.  Signing up online was not easy and I didn’t even know if we were counted in because there were changes made in the system a day or two after we signed up.  But that didn’t stop us from volunteering.  We headed for Villamor Air Base that Wednesday and by 1:30 p.m., we were able to sign up again at the base and enlisted ourselves (the girls and I) as volunteers at the clothing section and Mike as a marshal.  We were there until about 9:30 p.m. which gave us a whole 8 hours of community service!

This was where I was stationed last Nov. 20…clothing section for kids
from 1 to 12 months old.

 

Where Arielle and Kayla were  stationed...clothing section from 13 months and up (adults)

Where Arielle and Kayla were stationed…clothing section from 13 months and up (adults)

 

Mike as one of the marshals (He's the one wearing a grey shirt and a white visor)

Mike as one of the marshals
(He’s the one wearing a grey shirt and a white visor)

 

Algebra, Chemistry, Ibong Adarna, Noli Me Tangere, and all other academic subjects were set aside to give way to more important lessons that our girls need to learn.  That of service to others, volunteerism, giving without asking for anything in return.

As a final lesson…

LESSON #5:  INTERRUPTIONS AND STANDSTILLS SHOULD DRIVE US TO MOVE ON AND TO MOVE FORWARD.

What Yolanda did to our country may feel like we will never be able get out of this pit or dark tunnel, but we shouldn’t let this setback and all the problems we have to hurdle now cripple or stunt us.  Instead, we should slowly and eventually learn to pick up the pieces and get back on our feet.  I may not have lost a home or a loved one because of Yolanda, and I know that it is easier said than done.  But I am reminded of the saying:  When you’re down, there’s no other way to go but up.  With the resiliency spirit that the Filipinos are known for, the interruption that this natural calamity befell upon our country should not break the spirits of both victims and volunteers alike. It can all look hopeless and a hard uphill climb, but together, we can do it.  

  • Kaya natin mag-BAYANihan! (We all can do communal effort).  
  • Ang bawa’t isa sa atin ay kayang makipag-BAYANIhan (Each of us can contribute to communal effort and all be heroes (BAYANI) ).

LESSON #6:  INTERRUPTIONS AND STANDSTILLS ARE TEACHERS.

The Philippine government and our very own people were not ready for Yolanda’s wrath.   Its strength and the magnitude of its destruction were just way beyond our country’s capability and resources.  Admittedly, the government units, officials, the different sectors of society were not totally prepared from the time the warning was given on the path that Yolanda will take to the time when we all first saw the extent of the damages and started to call for S.O.S,  and up to now, where relief efforts and rebuilding projects have not ceased.  We see pointing of fingers, blaming, ranting, a display of pride and arrogance, and a lot of suggestions and recommendations on what we should do to avoid finding ourselves in this same predicament when another calamity strikes.  Let Yolanda be a lesson to us all.  Let her be our teacher on life, on service leadership, on gratitude, on appreciation for our blessings and for one another, on giving, and on living as one nation and as one with the other countries.

I am praying for my country.  I am praying for our leaders.  I am praying for the Filipino people, most especially the victims of the earthquake and Yolanda.  There are too many bad news we hear everyday and I only pray that we will all start to learn how to be a blessing to everyone.  That we will all come out from this interruption as wiser and more compassionate individuals. 

How did this natural calamity affect you?  What life lessons and blessings did you learn from it?


My last post was all about the reactions we’ve gotten (and continue to get) when people find out that our girls are homeschooled.  Now, it’s all too funny to look back at the years and to try and remember all the different remarks since we’ve chosen this road less traveled.

One reaction which I forgot to include was (HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN THIS 3-LETTER WORD???)… 

Photo Source: http://www.needyhelper.com/the-five-whys/

Photo Source: http://www.needyhelper.com/the-five-whys/

WHY ARE YOU HOMESCHOOLING YOUR GIRLS?  I’ve written similar posts in the past and as I was writing this, I came to a stop and realize that my answer may not have come out as clear as I had intended it to be.  I may have given an answer that’s general, safe, or maybe, even too idealistic and out-of-this world to some.  So, let’s take it to the top!  Here is my simple, straight-to-the-point, and MORE PRACTICAL answer (I feel like a Miss Universe contestant here 😀):

We chose to homeschool our girls because it is a BETTER option for us.  I do not say it’s BETTER, period.  Or THE BEST, period.  There are still (a few or some) traditional schools out there, locally and abroad, doing a great job (and the right way) of teaching and educating the children.  I say it’s BETTER FOR US.  Given the values we believe in, the parenting styles and vision Mike and I share, the kind of lifestyle we have, prefer, and can comfortably afford with God’s blessings and provision, homeschooling is our choice. It is A PERSONAL CHOICE.

Now, if you still don’t totally understand why we’re doing this, here a number of my past posts (a few of which are reposted articles that I agree with) to answer that big WHY question:

1.  What? You’re Homeschooling? Why?!! 

2.  Why Homeschool in High School

3.  Why Homeschool Teens

4.  Can’t Decide Whether to Homeschool or Not?

5.  14 Reasons Why We’re Still Homeschooling

6.  Looking Into Our Hearts

How do you answer the question “Why are you homeschooling?”  What do you say?  Do you have “script” or ready spiel :-)?  It makes me wonder what kind of words or type of answers are well or respectfully accepted by others.


We’re starting to wrap up another schoolyear and I thought I’d write about AND remind myself why we’re still doing this. Homeschooling Arielle and Kayla.

We’ve been homeschooling for six years and as our daughters grow up and older, their needs, objectives, and purposes also change. Here’s a collection (14 in all!), which I personally love (after all, it’s February ❤), of my past blogs on the different and changing reasons why we choose to continue to homeschool our girls. Why we continue to believe in homeschooling as a non-traditional approach and a better choice for our children’s education and development. I hope these will serve as inspiration and encouragement, or just plain awareness and knowledge, to those who are curious about homeschooling; or to those who would like to know why more and more are choosing this option, this lifestyle for their kids and family.

  1.  What? You’re Homeschooling? Why?!! 
  2. 20 Great Reasons to Homeschool
  3. Homeschooling Works!
  4. Life Skills
  5. Are We Preparing Our Child for the Job Market?
  6. Why Homeschool in High School
  7. Why Homeschool Teens
  8. Eight Common Myths About Homeschooling In High School
  9. Five Years of Homeschooling…So What?
  10. Can’t Decide Whether to Homeschool or Not?
  11. What I Ultimately Want Our Kids To Learn (Part 1)
  12. What I Ultimately Want Our Kids to Learn (Part 2)
  13. Philippine Homeschool Conference 2012
  14. Ten Skills for the Future Workforce

 

 


Naisip ko lang.  Wala pa atang akong nakikita o nababasang blog na nasa salitang Filipino o Tagalog.  Nag-search ako…”blogpost+Filipino+Tagalog”.  Eto ang isa sa mga lumabas.

Gawin ko rin kaya?  Eh, kung yung mga anak ko nga pinapapagawa kong proyekto sa kanila ang magsulat sa Filipino, eh di dapat ako rin.  Binalikan ko rin ang mga goals o nais namin gawin para sa taong 2013 at napansin ko na gusto naming maging mas makabayan at maging mas maka-Pilipino sa taong ito.

Sabi ko, masimulan nga.  Hindi ko pipiliting magsulat na lahat ng mga salitang gagamitin ko ay Filipino.  Magta-Taglish din ako.  Ayokong maging makata. Hindi ko rin naman kaya yon.  Simple lang.  Gusto ko din lang makapagsulat sa sariling wika kahit paminsan-minsan.

Sana magawa ko at sana magustuhan ninyo at may mapulot din kayo sa mga susunod kong ilalathala ( publish 🙂 ).