Yesterday, December 8, was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation for Catholics.  The girls and I were supposed to hear mass at Christ The King Church in Greenmeadows after I finished my doctor appointment by 4:30 p.m. but found out that the mass won’t be until 6 pm, giving us a little over an hour to wait.  We didn’t want to wait that long and decided to call Padre Pio Chapel nearby to check what time their mass was going to be…5:30 p.m. That gave us enough time to drive from Christ The King to Padre Pio Chapel.

What is Immaculate Conception and what is it not?  Here’s the answer:

(Photo from Catholic Sistas in Facebook)

(Photo from Catholic Sistas in Facebook)

 

The priest gave a very insightful homily yesterday which made me realize that we were meant to hear mass at Padre Pio Chapel instead of Christ The King.  What a divine blessing!  Let me share what he said.

 

What were the words of Mary as recorded in the Bible?  There were 4 instances:

(1)  The Anunciation

“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)

“I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

 

(2) Her Visit to her cousin Elizabeth

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of th humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call be blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” (Luke 1:46-55)

 

(3)  Finding of Jesus in the Temple

“Son, why have you treated us like this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  (Luke 2:48)

 

(4) The Wedding at Cana

“They have no wine.”  (John 2:3)

“Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

 

After her last words at Cana, Mary said nothing else.  Which only means that we are to LISTEN, FOLLOW, and TRUST her SON, JESUS CHRIST, after that! That was an enlightenment for me, Arielle, and Kayla!

 

What were 3 moments of prayer of Mary?

(1) The greeting

(2) Followed by the pondering

(3) Finally, the surrendering

I searched for Bible verses of these moments, which are actually all about the Anunciation, and found the one from The Message as the best imagery version:  Luke 1:26-38.

 

How can we be like Mary?

(1) No lies

(2) No deception

(3) No pretension

In other words, BE BEAUTIFUL FROM THE INSIDE.

 

Our Mama Mary is indeed the perfect model for Catholic women.  We are to emulate her simplicity, beauty, humility, trust, and faith.

As parting words, may we mothers and our daughters be beautiful just like Mary and live a life leading others to her Son, Jesus Christ!

 

 


 

Last November 28, SCAD-HK held an Information Session at Hotel Intercon in Makati.  As the event name says, it was an afternoon intended to give interested students and parents information about the school, the application process, scholarship application, portfolio submission, and what one can get from a SCAD education.  Current SCAD students and an alumna were present and shared their personal experiences with SCAD, and a professor was also there to look at students’ portfolios and give feedback.  We, however, was invited by SCAD’s assistant director of admission in order for Arielle to have a mock interview, a sort of a practice round for the real interview for scholarship application which is still going to be sometime in March 2016.

But before that, I’d like to share that Arielle was already granted an Academic Honors Scholarship by SCAD based on the GPA reflected on her high school transcript of records.  We didn’t expect the email to come this soon because we thought that all scholarships will be granted in March next year.  We were VERY, VERY HAPPY, of course!  The scholarship amount will be a big help to us and can be alloted already for her living allowance. There is another college scholarship, however, that we can still go for: the Achievement Honors Scholarship.  This is now going to be based on her portfolio composed of her artworks, 500-word essay, resume and interview.

From the very first time we met up with SCAD’s assistant director of admission last Aug 31 until this November, Arielle focused her time and effort to build her portfolio by doing her artworks, writing and revising her essay (We ended up having 6-8 versions after asking friends for feedback), drafting and formatting her resume, making sure that we fit all her relevant info and experiences in just one page (That was tough to do!).  I also consulted a contact to professionally coach her on interview and presentation skills.  The coaching session was held first week of November which gave us enough time to improve what Arielle had tirelessly worked on and practice answering possible interview questions before the mock interview day.

How do I describe the two to three months period of working on a portfolio?  It was intense.  It was real skills building.  For Arielle, it involved a lot of time management, research and looking inside herself…who she is…what her style is…who her inspirations are…knowing who she really is, the gifts she has as given by God, and identifying her focus and goals in life.  To be real honest, it became stressful between the two of us but…it was rewarding at the end.  Arielle’s mock interview, lasting about 30 minutes, went well and the assistant director of admission was impressed.  From the impromptu interview last August to this mock interview, he saw Arielle bloomed and more confident.  She answered the questions with energy and passion which he liked very, very much!  It was apparently what he wanted to see in Arielle. With only a few things to improve on the presentation of her artworks, we are good to go for the real one in March 2016!

Arielle was very encouraged and high on adrenalin after her mock interview. She even told me that the quarterly portfolio review she did with her homeschool academic consultant all these years helped her a lot for this one. Although different because her homeschool portfolio reviews were academic in nature, she said that it was a good exercise and preparation for the real thing. Her hard work has already paid off.  With one scholarship already in the bag, we can still try and do our best to be granted another one.  Mike and I were straightforward in telling the assistant director of admission that we do need that scholarship.    If we can double the scholarship amount that was given to us, then that would really be a BIG HELP!  The assistant director told us that he cannot promise us anything but he said he will try to see how he can get more information on this year’s scholarship grants.

On a different note, the experiences shared by the current freshman and sophomore students (One was taking up Animation, the other, Sequential Arts, and the other, Fashion) and alumna (in Fashion and Masters in Luxury and Fashion Management) were very inspiring and encouraging.  Mike and I had the chance to chat with the current students and ask them questions, and they were all very helpful and accommodating.  I saw how confident they were and also saw how happy they were in their decision to study at SCAD.  It somehow gave me the comforting assurance that Arielle will be fine and will make it in that school.  Just what I needed!

Everything has been going really well so far with Arielle’s application at SCAD-HK and preparation for college. Taking a gap year has been doing Arielle good and is definitely worth it!  I am so thankful that God showed us this option and continues to guide as we tread along this path.

The pieces of advices I’d like to end this post with are:

  1.  Take a gap year if you feel that your child needs that break to discern what he really wants to pursue in college and later on in life.  Just because all of his or her friends will move up to college right after high school graduation, it doesn’t mean that you have to do what everybody else does.  Remember that this is the future of your child.  It’s his or her life, not yours…not his or her grandparents’…not his or her classmates’…not his or her friends’…not his or her neighbor’s.  Give him or her the chance and time to give his or her future more thought.
  2. Start discussing plans and options as early as, I would say, 7th Grade.  Explore opportunities and let your child try different experiences.  I believe that is the only way he or she would know what his or her interests are and what options are available for him or her.
  3. Be open to possibilities.  Do not limit yourself and your child’s dreams.  Dream BIG…Dream big WITH YOUR CHILD…Dream big WITH GOD!
  4. Learning these skills are important when applying at different colleges and universities:
  • public speaking skills
  • presentation skills
  • interview skills
  • portfolio-building/making
  • resume writing
  • essay/creative writing
  • time management

 

Lastly, pray fervently and without ceasing (I mean it!) and trust that God will make known to you and your child what he or she is uniquely designed to do.

 


 

I was planning on writing about something else but a scene I caught this morning of Kayla made me write this instead.  This is what I saw:

As I walked down the stairs, I saw Kayla on the couch looking at our photo books, flipping through the pages, smiling and laughing at her photos when she was about 7 yrs old (7 years ago!).  I think what prompted her to look at our photo books again was my telling her and her Ate Arielle two days ago that we will be going back to the resort we went to last 2008.  That got them super duper excited (Actually, any beach trip excites them!  We are one beach family 🙂 ) and it looks like Kayla is showing her eagerness more than her Ate.  Maybe because Arielle still has to go through her mock interview and portfolio presentation to SCAD-HK this Saturday, Nov. 28. She’s probably still feeling the pressure.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but sit down beside Kayla for a good 5 minutes and “be in the moment” with her.  That moment was something important to her and it was a very brief but special bonding opportunity with her.  Only a few words were said but I was able to capture the essence: She fondly recalled our family vacations, especially to the beach.  She couldn’t believe how “awkward” she looked when she was 7 years old and how tall she is now.  And she is SOOO EXCITED to go back to the beach in March 2016, to the same resort we were at 7 years ago, and hopefully do the same fun activities again that we did back then.

Then, I realized that family vacations was something we’ve been doing since 2007.  We only missed one year and that was in 2010.  And now I see the value in it and that family tradition matters. For us, it was traveling especially during summer and the beach is a favorite destination. We are normally away just for 4 days but those days are uninterrupted bonding time with one another and a time to get away from our normal routines, explore new places, do outdoor activities together, unplug from technology, and plug in nature.

We have no other family tradition that we hold close to our hearts as much as this one, and I’m happy to be able to do and keep this!  It may just be one tradition but it is truly something that keeps our bond as a family stronger.

Now that Christmas is just around the corner and it is usually a time for traditions, what family traditions do you have?  Whether it’s a one-on-one date with each of your child and your husband, birthday celebrations, visit to the province, yearly reunion with Lolo, Lola and cousins, I think it is important to keep one because family tradition matters.


 

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 🙂

 

 

 


 

I last shared with you the meeting we had with SCAD HK’s assistant director of admission, Danny Li. Going to that meeting totally unprepared and with a blank slate, Mike, Arielle, and I, however, went home with a list of things we need to do from that day until he comes back by end-November. Everything suddenly became clear and gave us directions.  The meeting turned out to be a college counseling session which I personally am really, really grateful for and appreciative of because if you were to ask me how we plan to do Arielle’s portfolio, essay, and resume, my ideas would fall short of what would be considered as an excellent portfolio worthy of scholarship.

So the next day after the meeting, Arielle and I immediately brainstormed and planned out for this portfolio-making.  I told her that we can’t afford to waste time because we have about 2 months to put together a good an excellent portfolio.

Scared, overwhelmed, not confident on this whole thing, I prayed and then slowly started to map out a strategy for this task.  With post-its, markers, pens, highlighters on hand, I guided Arielle through the planning process, listing down all the details I could think of at this stage of the process and setting target deadlines.  We cannot afford anymore not to have deadlines!

The scholarship application requires these:

(1) Personal artworks/creations

(2) Essay

(3) Resume

(4) Interview

Arielle has to do all these in order to apply for and be granted a scholarship.

 

This is how we plan to prepare for Arielle’s portfolio. It’s our action plan we have for now on how to actually start it and move to its execution afterwards.

The action plan is basically all about RESEARCH, KNOWING ONESELF, and EXPRESSING UNIQUELY ONE’S IDEAS and CREATIVITY.  This whole process is going to require a lot of thinking and it will teach the LIFE SKILL on PROJECT MANAGEMENT which will be a training ground for research, presentation, interview, and writing skills!

RESEARCH —

Arielle needs to research about SCAD: its history, mission and vision, values, campuses (maybe even down to the address and historical location in HK!), the directors, courses being offered, companies they tie up with, what makes SCAD different from other art schools, and other SCAD facts.  We gave ourselves a September 2 deadline just so we know what we need to accomplish first on our list.

Research on these two important skills:  presentation skills and interview skills.  When Arielle did a mock presentation and interview, one of the things he pointed out was the lack of eye contact.  Yes, Danny Li immediately pointed that out!  So, we need to learn how to do a powerful and effective presentation.  We need to learn how to capture the audience, close a presentation, and everything in between!  And watching TED-x videos is an assignment!

On interview skills, we need to read up on the do’s and don’t’s just like what we need to know on how to make an effective presentation.  DEADLINE:  September 3-4.

Research! Research! Research!

 

Next, Arielle needs to research on essay-writing, specifically for the purpose of college scholarship application with these prompts in mind:

  • What are your dreams and goals?
  • Why do you want to go to SCAD?
  • How will SCAD be able to help you achieve those dreams and goals?
  • Why should SCAD accept and grant you a scholarship?

 

Making her resume will basically be a review of everything she did throughout her homeschooling years:  her achievements, her projects, workshops she attended, volunteer work, internships,  etc.

DEADLINE for RESEARCH ON ESSAY-WRITING, RESUME-MAKING:  September 6-12, 2015.

Lastly, she also needs to do some research on how to design or make her own business card.  Yes, Danny pointed out that when you meet people, handing out your business card to them is the proper way to do it!  DEADLINE:  WILL BE DETERMINED as soon as her laptop has been serviced because she can’t toy around with ideas without the programs in her laptop.

 

Get to know yourself!

 

KNOWING ONESELF — 

On the actual portfolio-making side, I thought having a SKILLS INVENTORY would be a great idea!  I told Arielle to list down everything that she can do and from there, we hope to be able to generate ideas on how to execute her portfolio.

I really like this portion because it will give Arielle a chance to really do an introspection, get to know herself, her strengths, strengths that she is confident with, and even those that she is not so confident with.

EXPRESSING UNIQUELY ONE’S IDEAS AND CREATIVITY —

With a skills inventory, we hope to then be able to really showcase her CREATIVITY and a PORTFOLIO that will be DIFFERENT and REMEMBERED by her target audience.  DEADLINE:  October 31, 2015.  That would give us time to polish and fine-tune everything until her November 28 presentation.

Know your strengths and think out-of-the-box!

 

So many things to do in so little time, don’t you think?  This is the hurdle we are challenged to overcome as of the moment.  This is what I feel as another ultimate test of our homeschooling journey after high school graduation.

Let me end by saying this again:  Homeschooling Arielle is not over yet for me, apparently.


 

Yesterday, Mike, Arielle, and I met up with Danny Li, SCAD Hong Kong’s assistant director of admission, at a hotel coffee shop.  He emailed me last week to say that he will be going to Cebu and will be in Manila as well.  So I took the opportunity to ask him if we could meet up just to review Arielle’s application status.  I particularly requested that we review other requirements we need to submit for her application and scholarship, and a timetable or target dates for all these.

I wasn’t able to prepare for this meeting even if it was scheduled in advance.  It was a long weekend and even if our meeting fell on a holiday, our weekend turned out to be a very busy one.  I didn’t have the time to write down or at least think of questions to ask!  But the meeting went really well and was very productive and encouraging.

I set up this meeting and wasn’t even sure how Danny looked like.  We met another Danny when we went to SCAD HK last March and I wasn’t sure if he was the same Danny we were going to meet.  Apparently, it was a different Danny.  And this was the Danny I’ve been emailing all my questions to regarding Arielle’s application.  I’ve sent him a lot of emails to the point that he thought I was the one, in their records,  applying for SCAD and Arielle is another applicant. He nonetheless assured me that it was not at all an inconvenience on his part and that he is even happy to always receive emails from me, the supportive mother.

When Danny finally gave me a call to say that he was already at the hotel lobby, we shook hands and proceeded to the coffee shop.  Mike and Arielle were seated there and we all finally met him.  The minute he sat down, he handed us (well, me) his business card and the meeting just flowed smoothly.  We covered everything we needed to know at this stage of Arielle’s application.  Here’s what we talked about in our almost-two-hours meeting:

  • He first talked about SCAD as an art school, giving a brief background and quick facts.
  • He, of course, stressed on what makes SCAD one to the top art school choices of students.
  • We reviewed each item in the basic application requirements to check if Arielle already completed and submitted (ALL DONE!).
  • With all basic requirements in place, we both quickly confirmed Arielle’s acceptance to SCAD, as the applicant and as the school representative.
  • He gave us SCAD’s new manual and other paraphernalia to read and keep.
  • He thoroughly reviewed with us the next set of requirements, which is for the scholarship application.     Scholarships are in two categories:  Academic and Achievement.  This was the heart of our meeting that day, and this was what made me truly appreciate the assistance and service that we’ve been receiving from SCAD from Day 1.
  • He gave us pointers after pointers, tips and tips, which helped us get into the mindset of preparing a portfolio, essay, and resume, for the scholarship application.  He cited examples and scenarios, giving us descriptions as clear as possible, on what would make Arielle bag that scholarship.
  • And…here’s my favorite! He gave Arielle a mock interview and portfolio presentation with him, Mike, and me as part of the panel.  This was impromptu, unplanned!  Had Arielle known, then she could have brought the different artworks that she had diligently worked on recently and not just her sketchpad with a cover made from a cereal box and pages almost falling off!
  • We all gave a critique on Arielle’s presentation and Danny’s objective feedback was objective, I believe, motivated and encouraged Arielle even more instead of making her feel embarrassed or negative about what she just did!
  • He showed us new video clips which was sent to him the night before, making us the first ones to see them!
  • I can’t stress enough the key words that kept on surfacing whenever Danny explained what SCAD is looking for in a student and in a portfolio:

CREATIVITY…CONFIDENCE…SOCIABLE…pertaining to the student’s character

DIFFERENT…OUT-OF-THE-BOX…OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE…

SOMETHING MEMORABLE…

SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE SCAD REMEMBER AND PICK YOU…

pertaining to the portfolio, essay, and resume

  • We pinned down target dates (per my request) in order for us to have a clear timetable on the other half of requirements (scholarship!) we need to work on.  That would be November 28, 2015 for Arielle’s presentation of her 1st draft of portfolio, essay, and resume for Danny Li to review.  He said he would like to go through it first with Arielle before she finally submits them to her admission advisor.  ISN’T THAT JUST GREAT?!!  I haven’t heard of universities giving tips to their applicants and coaching to this extent!   Next would be March 2016 for her final portfolio presentation and interview to the SCAD “judges”.   I thought we would need to fly to Hong Kong for this final stage but we were all happy to learn that this will take place here in Manila and SCAD representatives will be flying back for this special event.  Right after that, we find out if she gets a scholarship or not.
  • It was also reassuring to hear that Danny, being a representative of SCAD, shares the same mindset and principles as we do when it comes to college education, learning, and what it takes to succeed. I take that as a good sign that all roads lead to SCAD and that SCAD will give Arielle great opportunities to grow even more.

 

Our meeting ended on a positive note.  That I can really say.  I now have a bigger challenge and task to do and that is, to guide and help Arielle come up with a really good portfolio, essay, and resume!  The clock is ticking and I pray to God that He will continue to guide, help, bless us with the time, ideas, and resources to be able to pass this ultimate homeschooling test.  Homeschooling Arielle is not yet over for me, apparently.


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.


 

I don’t even know how to start this post.  I am still high on adrenalin and even if I couldn’t sleep last night and wasn’t able to have my 8 hours of sleep, my energy level is high.

Arielle called me up last night (She went home to Batangas for a few days) to tell me that she got accepted at SCAD Hong Kong.  She received an email from them last night congratulating her for being accepted for enrolment to their bachelor’s degree program.  AND… that the committee is considering her for Honors Scholarship.  WOW!!!  Just WOW!!!

I only wanted her to get accepted.  I was just asking God to show us if SCAD is really an option for her to pursue her dream to be an animator.   If she makes it, then my next step was to pray for provision.  For the finances to fund her college.

We only submitted the minimum admission requirements to SCAD and have not even submitted a portfolio of her artworks yet.  Even her official IELTS (English proficiency) test hasn’t been released yet.  Arielle was only able to find out how she did in her IELTS test taken last May 9 AFTER receiving the good news of acceptance from her admission advisor from SCAD.

In case you’re interested to know what documents we submitted to SCAD-Hong Kong, they were the following:

  • Transcript from Walkersville Christian Family School, The Master’s Academy’s partner (We enrolled for an international accreditation for her and Kayla only last schoolyear, SY 2014-2015, and for this schoolyear, SY 2015-2016).
  • Transcript from The Master’s Academy (Philippine transcript)
  • High School Course Syllabus (all subjects taken and books used with ISBNs from 1st year to 4th year) – It’s a good thing I was able to keep a record and recall all the materials we used and still kept most of the books!
  • Certification of TMA Home Education Program
  • Certification of English Proficiency
  • Recommendation/Reference Letter of Academic Consultant fr TMA

 

This is truly a testament of God’s faithfulness to our family and our homeschooling journey.  He has been our guide and provider, and I believe that He will continue to be by our side, every step of the way. Not only for Arielle, but for Kayla as well.

I’d like to end with these truths:

  • Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
  • Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  • Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
  • Matthew 7:7 – Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
  • Matthew 21:22 – And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
  • Hebrews 13:21 – equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

All things are possible for one who believes!

I am still overwhelmed with the turn of events, and my eyes are welling up again as I think of how awesome God is and how unworthy I am to be receiving so many blessings from Him.

May this serve as an encouragement and inspiration to all homeschooling moms, children, and families reading this.  I have wanted to give up homeschooling so many times but God didn’t give up on me (Oh no, I am crying again).  No matter what, it is always God’s plan that prevails and He equips those He calls.