We are now on Part 3 (of 8) of this blog series on the breakout session assigned to me during the last Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016 held last October 22.  Part 1, my very first topic, was on parenting.  Part 2 was on teaching.  Let’s move on to part 3, experiencing.

What kind of experiences did our daughters have when they were in high school? Or what kind of experiences did we give them rather?

Compared to grade school, creating experiences or providing opportunities for our high schoolers was deeper and more intentional. If during their younger years, trying out something was simply to experience something new, in high school we were more intentional in the experiences or opportunities we allowed them to engage in. Instead of simply trying out for the sake of experience, it was our intention to know if they would like to explore it more. Would they like to learn more about it? Is it something they find themselves comfortable and competent doing? Will the experience help them narrow down or identify the course they plan on taking in college? Will the experience help them see themselves doing it as a career or a job?

Therefore, aside from the NEWness in the experience, we added another dimension to it, which is their GROWTH and INVOLVEMENT in making choices and decisions on the activities they would want to do or experiences they would want to have.

Before setting her goal on animation which is visual arts, Arielle became very interested in performing arts. She was able to join a professional theatre production at the age of 9 and joined auditions here and there, and have gotten callbacks. That was one experience which helped her really identify what she can do, compete with professional and amateur performers, and it taught her to face rejections and bounce back from them. That she can sing; that she can perform; and she’s always bold and brave to take big challenges of the real world, in the real world setting. If there’s one thing I learned from Arielle, it is bouncing back! She also co-started a group of young bloggers called I Know Write where they were able to organize a few events inspiring teens to blog about their passion.

Kayla, on the other hand, got very interested in culinary when she was younger.  We thought that was going to be her choice for college. So, we enrolled her in a few culinary classes, and let her work in the kitchen. But she lost interest in it and is now exploring the option of sports, particularly golf, as a way to enter college.

The opportunities and experiences our girls had (and Kayla continues to have) in their high school years were opportunities to let their roots grow deeper, securely and firmly. I believe this is where their roots have begun to strengthen them. Giving and supporting them in their experiences teach them to think bigger, see the bigger picture, make their own decisions, and even train them to think of opportunities that encourage them to come up with better ideas, better solutions to problems, and to give back to the community.

As a summary, we made the high school experience of our daughters even more intentional by consciously identifying where our their interests and strengths lie. It was finding where those interests, strengths, and learning environment all meet that we made sure they were given the opportunities for deeper learning, improvement, and enhancement  of their skills.

Next post will be about the “S” word!  SOCIALIZATION! It will be the longest post I will do as this was the topic that I felt God wanted me to really spend more time on as I was preparing my talk for the conference.  I had lots of prompting from God through various posts and articles I came across while preparing and it’s amazing how God clearly spoke to me in many instances!

Watch out for Part 4!


 

What a coincidence that I am writing this as the last of the interview series I had with Arielle and we are at the same time at the final stages of her Hong Kong student visa application.  (The final document needed just arrived by mail and we are now ready to mail out to SCAD HK all visa application requirements.) It is somehow both an end and a new beginning for her.  I see it as an end of her longer than usual and yet well-prepared college application process; an end of this interview series that gave you a chance to hear her thoughts as a homeschooled high school graduate; and a beginning of her life-to-be as an international college student in SCAD Hong Kong.

If you missed the other interviews, just click on the links below and you’ll get to listen to Arielle’s brief answers to the different questions I asked her:

  1. After the SCAD Interview
  2. Animation in College
  3. Going Away for College
  4. Being Homeschooled
  5. Plans After College
  6. Taking A Gap Year

As a finale, Arielle gives her parting message, especially to homeschooled students, and how she feels (tired and all!) after a long day with SCAD and attending the SCAD Accepted Students Reception Day.

I hope that with these interview videos, we were able to somehow share with you how we spent our gap year in preparation for college and Arielle’s thoughts as well.

 


 

I said in my last post that I have one more interview with Arielle.  I was wrong!  I still have two more and the one I apparently missed is the interview on gap year.  How could I have forgotten to share the video interview about this topic?

Gap year is not a popular option taken by high school graduates here in the Philippines primarily because, Filipinos have this mentality that the sooner the parents get to finish their responsibility in sending their child/children to school, the better. Why? Because it’s economical and their child/children can then help in sending their younger siblings to school and in providing for the family as well.

But like our decision to homeschool where we took the road less traveled, we again took a leap of faith and let our homeschooled high school graduate take a gap year.  Here are Arielle’s thoughts about her gap year experience:

  1.  How was your gap year?
  2.  Was it a good decision to take a gap year?
  3.  What did you do during your gap year?
  4.  Would you recommend taking a gap year to high school graduates? 

 

Taking a gap year, I would say, is one blessing I am really grateful for.  It is the best decision we made for our homeschooled high school graduate. No regrets.

 


 

Here’s the second to the last interview series I had with our eldest daughter, Arielle.  She’ll be leaving for SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Hongkong this September and will take up Animation in college.

The post before this was on her being homeschooled UNTIL high school and you can hear talk about it here.

This time, she thinks way forward (a natural trait of hers, by the way) and answers the question:

What are your plans after college?

I have one last interview with her and I hope you will watch out for that as well!


 

Arielle will pursue her passion in Animation and Kayla is pursuing her passion in golf.

 

What I am about to write is greatly inspired by two things: (1) Kayla’s best score in her golf tournaments, so far and (2) this video I recently saw and shared in Facebook.  Last weekend, Kayla joined The Junior Golfers League’s tournament at Southlinks Golf Club.  Despite the brief moment of stress AND panic Kayla and I experienced when we got lost in finding our way to Southlinks (Actually, it was not brief.  It was like an hour of being lost even if we were using Waze the entire time!) and finally getting to the place just 15 minutes before the tee-off time of 10:30 a.m., Kayla scored 88 last Saturday (her lowest so far!) and 89 yesterday.  I saw how Kayla was slowly losing her motivation and was on the brink of giving up and not joining the tournament anymore.   But as I was praying out loud to God behind the wheel and made it to the golf club by 10:15 a.m., I knew that I couldn’t and shouldn’t be a discouragement to Kayla.  Before she got off the car, I made sure that I lifted up her spirits by telling her to forget the getting-lost-part that just happened, that there was a purpose why it happened and that I think God was teaching us both character that moment.  I remember sitting in the car for a few minutes after Kayla went to register.  This time I was getting teary-eyed with mixed emotions of relief and feeling the tiredness for driving for 4 hours, and again saying a prayer to God and lifting up Kayla for her tournament.  It was clearly another moment of offering and surrendering to God.

I am really so thankful that Kayla found her passion before her Ate (older sister) Arielle leaves for Hong Kong for college this September.  They are close to each other, more like best buddies.  If she didn’t rediscover her passion in golf, I think there’s going to be a big hole of emptiness in her when her Ate leaves because of the close relationship they have.  So I believe that golf will keep Kayla focused and will be a confidence and self-esteem booster for her.  I can only thank the Lord for His perfect timing on what’s happening in the lives of our daughters!

So what really happens when kids find their passions?  From my personal experience as a homeschool mom to Arielle and Kayla, this is what I think and have observed so far:

  1. They know who they are.  They know what they can do and what they do best and is not struggling to fit in.
  2. They are driven to learn more about their passion and take initiatives to become better at it.
  3. They appreciate the people who teach, coach, and inspire them, which also teaches them about humility and gratitude. (And that includes appreciating the parents 🙂 )
  4. They have focus.
  5. They learn to be disciplined.
  6. They learn time management, making priorities, choices and decisions.
  7. They persevere.
  8. They become more patient.
  9. They accept failures and setbacks not as failures but as opportunities to do better.
  10. Their faith in God and in themselves become strengthened.
  11. They believe in themselves.
  12. They get tired and frustrated but they get back on their feet to train harder, learn more, be better.
  13. They become resilient, learn how to bounce back, and move on with life.
  14. They are encouraged to dream and dream big.
  15. They give their all in order to go for their dreams, but if their dreams don’t happen, they know that they’ve done their best and that is what matters.

 

My parting message to you parents is…explore and let your kids try different things so you and they themselves can see where they are most comfortable at, confident in, and wired to do. Once they have found “IT”, give them full support and doses and doses of encouragement. And that is important even if the passion they have found for themselves is different from yours or something you don’t know anything about (just like me, with golf! ).  

Be by their side as they go through the discovery and exploratory process.  Once they have found their passions, there’s no stopping them and you will soon see them fly with the wings you gave them.  And what’s even better and gratifying is they will come back to you after a couple of months or years, seeing that you only not gave them wings to fly with but also roots to know where they should come back to.


 

It’s the 1st day of April (no, this is not a prank) and we have less than 5 months until Arielle moves to Hong Kong for college.  Up to this day, after 8 years of homeschooling her, I still can’t believe that this baby of ours is now all grown up.  The saying “Time flies” has been ringing in my ears since she like turned 10 years old!  Can you imagine the emotional parenting journey I’ve been having since?  It’s a tug-of-war between holding on and letting go, believe me.

Five months! Five months to teach her some more skills like banking, budgeting, safety, and especially cooking and laundry.  That’s what’s on my to-do list for her as her mom.  The feeling of “I have not taught her enough” continues.  And it’s also five months to enjoy being with our eldest daughter!

But what does she have to say about this new chapter in her life?  Here’s the third of this interview series with Arielle on going away for college.  In case you missed the first and second interviews, click here and here.

Let’s hear it from Arielle.  Her raw, unedited, honest (and funny!) answers.

How does it feel to be going to college…and in a place far away from home?

What are the top/strongest feelings you have about going to college?

What are your greatest fears?

What are looking forward to the most?

What do you think should we do in the coming 5 months?  What skills, DIYs, or hacks should I teach her? I would love to hear tips and great pieces of advice from other parents!


 

For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I will be posting a series of short video clips where I interviewed our eldest daughter. Arielle, who is a homeschooled high school graduate.  For this second interview with her, she talks about the following:

What will you take up in college?

Who or what inspired you to take up Animation?

What did you do to learn more about art, in general, and Animation?

 

I hope that with the short video clips that we will be sharing, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of:

  • the kind of homeschool activities we interspersed with our learning
  • the steps we took to make our learning experience more intentional and individualized
  • how the pieces eventually created that tailor-fit education and growth experience which really made Arielle more prepared, confident, and happy with “school” and her growing up years.

 

 


 

I turned 44 last Friday, October 4!   We were on our usual homeschool weekend schedule, and there wasn’t really a big celebration or fireworks.  I’m not the type of person.  At the end of the day, my family and I headed to Shangrila Plaza Mall to try out this resto that just newly opened and I asked my brood of 4 a couple of weeks before, if we could eat there on my birthday.  They gladly said yes. The restaurant I’m talking about is Green Pastures, an organic, farm-to-table resto, which was blogged about by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.  We arrived at the resto before 7 pm (around 6:30?) and the place was FULL!  We had our family enlisted in the waiting list and we were Number 26!  Since we were all excited (even Arielle and Kayla, who I have slowly converted to being more conscious of what they feed their bodies) to try out the new dining place, being one of the new concepts offering organic and the healthful kind of food, we waited it out.  But our waiting game only lasted for about an hour or an hour and a half.  By 8:00 pm, I was asking Mike and the girls if they would still want to wait.  Because my tummy was beginning to give me signals that it couldn’t!  Eight o’clock and there were 20 parties ahead of us!  As much as I would have really wanted to try their salad, Stracciatella, 80/20 burger, vegetarian burger, fresh citrus beverages, my common sense (with Mike’s calculation on how many can be served within an hour’s time) told me that we should go back another time and have dinner somewhere else.  At least, we already had a glimpse of what to order from their menu

We looked at the nearby restaurants and by that time, they were full as well.  Luckily, the one right across Green Pastures still had a few empty tables when we decided to change venues.  Just a few steps away and we were seated at Lombardi, an authentic Italian restaurant.  A quick look at their menu, and each one of us ordered our favorite Italian dishes:  Insalata Mista, Minestrone Soup, Spaghetti Frutti de Mare, Quattro Formaggi, Penne Puttanesca , and Spaghetti Aglio Olgio.   I was starving!!!   Oh!  To make sure that we were going to go back to Green Pastures, I asked Arielle to make reservations for us for October 11, next Friday! 😉   While waiting for our food to arrive on our table, I thought that Lombardi was going to be another Italian restaurant.  I’ve tasted quite too many of it already and that this was going to be no different from them.  But I was wrong.  This place really tasted more authentic than the other restos we’ve tried!  Even Mike, who’s not a pasta-eater, liked what he was eating (Spaghetti Frutti de Mare).  From our table, we could see an Italian-looking chef spanning the resto with his eyes, making sure that everyone’s being attended to.   It turned out (from my research for this post), he was Chef Davide Lombardi. When we are about done with dinner, he approached our table with a complimentary dessert glass with a scoop of panna gelato.  We all loved its homemade taste (it really is homemade) that Kayla asked if she could order one more.  Well, Kayla was so happy when the single order was actually two scoops and not just one!  Since it was my birthday, it was my cheat day and I ordered Tiramisu, which means “pick me up” or “lift me up” in Italian.   I now know that having a spoonful of gelato on top of a spoonful of Tiramisu could perfectly end one’s Italian meal 🙂  Here’s an anecdote to share.  I think it was Arielle who asked what Tiramisu means and I quickly answered “Touch me not”, which Arielle immediately reacted to with “Ma, that’s Noli Me Tangere!” Talk about too much homeschooling!:D

The next day, October 5, Saturday, was the date I had set to meet up with Bernadette Ramos. We’re both part of a closed group in Facebook whose members keep a blog.  Dette doodles and paints with watercolor, the one medium that I am particularly interested to learn.  When I started to see her blog posts and artworks she began sharing with the group, I couldn’t help but admire her work and she was very kind and willing to meet up with me and share what she knows!  Initially, it was just supposed to be me and Dette, then another lady in the group also posted her watercolor painting, which just WOW-ed me!  Her name is Diane Sese-Hernandez.  So, I asked Dette if it was okay to invite her as well.  Then, I remembered Cheryl F. Goodman, too, from Seattle, Washington, who’s in town for a couple of week and had told me that she would love to meet other moms while on her vacation here (Unfortunately, she got her schedules mixed up and she wasn’t able to join us that day).  Lastly, I invited Patricia de Castro Cuyugan of MrsC’s Sugarcoated Life, because I remembered that she’s also from the south and had mentioned about “crafternoons” in one of her comments on a post.   So, what started out as a meetup of two became a group of 4 ladies, all moms, who all have art in mind (and in heart!) and want to explore art as a form of self-espression.  I personally wanted to learn from Dette and Diane who seem to be dabbling on watercolor painting for quite some time!  

I decided to be at Starbucks-Alabang Town Center earlier than our agreed time (1:00/1:30 p.m.) since I initiaited this meetup and so I could also reserve that long table inside the coffee shop!  Good thing I was able to.  Patty arrived first and even before she came, she kept on telling me that she will just “watch” and be a “saling kit” (or extra; or someone not officially part of the group).  She was hesitant to start anything on paper.  But when Dette followed and she started to put on the table her caboodle of art materials (I had already put mine earlier to reserve the seats on the table! :D), Dette and I were able to convince her some more to just draw according to her own style and to feel free to use our materials.  It was really a free-flowing afternoon.  We chatted over coffee, showed our doodle notebooks and pens, talked about our families, and a whole lot of etc., while we doodled-painted-drew on our own.  

These water brushes, by the way, are my new discovery from Dette 🙂  What a cool thing to have, especially when you’re on the go and traveling.  You just put water inside the body of the pen brush, give it a little squeeze to let the water come out, and dab it on your watercolor set!   

Art

Water Brushes of Dette

 

Here’s Patty starting to draw her animals, which according to her are like 2nd Grader drawings.  I refuted her because we have a book on simple illustrations of animals which are not far off from her style.  I HAVE to show her our collection of that series to prove to her that she has her own style of drawing, which she should not be ashamed of.  She could even be an illustrator of a children’s book or perhaps, tags and greeting cards! 

At around 3:00 or 3:30 pm, Dianne arrived.  She hasn’t even taken a seat yet and she was already showing her bubbly self and started to talk about art!  She came with her “toolbox” of art stuff, which she so happily opened up and showed the contents to us, and even pulled out a wide paintbrush and explained why it is handy to have one!  Patty and I couldn’t help but look blankly at each other across the table, perhaps both of us thinking “Where did this jolly lady come from?” She has shared soooo much project ideas from the moment she arrived that I was both speechless and nodding my head all the time, agreeing to her brilliant ideas!  To me, she is the Martha Stewart of the Philippines! It was as if she walked out of the pages of a Martha Stewart magazine, I’m not kiddin’!  Diane is one COOL MOM, if I were to desribe her in just a few words! 

Below are the pointilism works Dette and I immediately tried doing after Diane taught it to us that afternoon.  Pointilism using colored pens or watercolor and not the usual black pen!  Dette did the tree and I did the coffee cup.  Definitely something new learned! 

Sad that the meetup that turned into a mini art date and session had to come to an end.   My mommy duty was calling and by 4:30 pm, I had to leave.  Mike and I had to pick up our girls from their meetups too with friends.  But I am really glad and thankful that this pushed through! I met new friends (playmates, you may say?) and learned a whole lot from them!  Thank you, Patty, Dette, and Diane for accepting the invitation to meet up!  I’m looking forward to our next!  

Watercoloring and doodling on
index cards
I learned from Dette

 

Happy Patty :)

Happy Patty 🙂

 

Surprise birthday presents from Patty (felt owl) and
Dette (fine point white pen
I’ve been looking for!)
which I will keep and treasure!
THANK YOU TO YOU BOTH!

 

Hopefully, it won’t be long till we have
our next “art date”!

 

 

And that’s how my 44th birthday weekend went.  With my 4-some family and 4-new art friends 🙂  Birthdays can be happy with simple activities and by surrounding yourself with people who make you smile, right? 

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

Doodling and Journaling

Here, I used watercolor pencils and black marker.

 

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

Doodling and Journaling

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

Doodling and Journaling

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

Bright colored pastels!

Bright colored pastels!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arielle's 2012 Goals Mindmap

Arielle’s 2012 Goals Mindmap

Kayla's 2012 Goals Mindmap

Kayla’s 2012 Goals Mindmap

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

A sample of page of Arielle's journal

A sample of page of Arielle’s journal

Kayla's doodle for her friend

Kayla’s doodle for her friend

Kayla's doodle

Kayla’s paisley-themed doodle

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

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

OneWord2013_Grow

 


 

Photo Source: http://plushblush.updateordie.com/2013/01/11/oscar-2013-les-miserables/anne-hathaway-in-les-miserables-1920×1080/

 

We are a theatre-goer kind of family.  Theatre, as in, movies, the cinemas.  And theatre, as in, performing arts, plays, musicals! (I think this is pretty obvious by now.)  It is one way we take a break from the books, recharge from our usual routine and yet still end up talking about the film or play like an academic subject…but only in a more engaging manner. You can say that the theatre is one of the many classrooms we have in our homeschool 🙂

Last January 18, we went to watch the much-awaited movie Les Miserables, starring Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, and Russsell Crowe as Inspector Javert.  

Photo Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1707386/

 

I made sure that it was written down in my planner and it was going to be ticked off in my to-do list at the end of the day.  No way are we going to miss this film!  So there I was, lined up at the ticket counter, by 11:00 in the morning. I chose the 4 pm screening and I wasn’t surprised to see that most of the center seats were already taken. We had time to eat lunch and wait leisurely until it was time to enter Cinema 1.

 

East meets West. Thai for lunch and Les Mis movie after!

 

I’m not going to do a review or critique of the movie.  Overall, we LOVED it even with its imperfections (Arielle and I did not really like Russell Crowe’s singing) and scenes that really needed our parental guidance. None of us dozed off given that it was 2 hours and 45 minutes long.  Plus wouldn’t sniffs and wet tissues be enough proof of how engrossed we were from beginning to end? 

Whenever we watch a movie or a stage play or musical, we always talk about it afterwards. Over a snack or dinner.  In the car.  Till we get home. Until the next day or an occasion related to it comes up. It’s like a protocol for us.  We all engage in a lively exchange of views and opinions.  Questions often lined up for discussion are: 

1.  Did you like it?

2.  What’s your favorite part?

3.  What is/are the lesson(s) in the movie?

4.  What would you do if…?

5.  If you were (a character in the movie), what would you do?

6.  Was it a good movie? Why?

7.  What didn’t you like about the movie?

8.  How did the movie affect you?

9.  Is it realistic?  Do you think it could happen in real life?

10.  What’s your best song/dialogue/scene?

 

For Les Mis, Mike threw the first question after we left the cinema, which I think is really the best take-away to ponder:  What is the lesson in the movie?  I didn’t attempt to take over because I wanted to see where exactly he was leading us with his question. Arielle immediately answered, “Accepting Jesus Christ can change your life.” (That made me so thankful that all my efforts in teaching the Christian Living subject and the Catholic faith were not put to waste!)

Then, Mike followed it up and ahhhhh! He was taking it from the character of Jean Valjean. 

Lesson:  Do not judge people.  People can change.

That kept me quiet and it was indeed a very good lesson to remember from the movie. Perhaps something we could do to make this world of ours a much better place to live in?  Where chances are given to others who have wronged and we see the innate good in them instead of the bad?

It’s been four days since we saw the film and Les Mis is still on my mind.  What else does it impart?  Sacrifice. Love. Different kinds of love. 

  • Love of a mother for her child (Fantine to Cosette);
  • Love of a young lady rebel for a man (Eponine to Marius);
  • Love of a young revolutionary for a young, beautiful lady (Marius to Cosette);
  • Love of one for money (the Thenadiers);
  • Love of men for their country (Marius and the rebels to France);
  • Love of a father for her adopted daughter (Valjean to Cosette)

 

For a more in-depth review of this film, you may read more

As for me and my family, it was one magnificent film. I’m sure if we had watched the musical, it would be a totally incomparable experience we’d be raving about all the more! 
 
Would you believe, I couldn’t recall and wasn’t too sure if I did have the privilege of watching the musical in New York  back in the early 90’s with our very own Lea Salonga as Eponine?  I was still too young then and oblivious to really appreciate the production. When I told Arielle about it and the souvenirs I may still have of it, her reaction was “You watched Les Mis in New York?!!!”  She wanted to make a dash for the bodega (storage room) and look for the souvenirs herself! 
 

Souvenir Brochure and Playbill of Les Mis
staged at Imperial Theatre, New York

 

Souvenir Brochure, Playbill, and my old copy of the book

 

My book with pages turned yellow, pulled out from our bodega

 
Apparently, Arielle had already drawn this with her tablet and Photoshop before we watched the movie and blogged about it. She’s been working really hard to learn as much as she can (on her own!) and improve her skills in art.  I’m waiting for her to do the cover of the song “On My Own” she said she plans on doing (will share that as soon as it’s done).  Hmmm…on her own…On My Own.  
 

My book with pages turned yellow, pulled out from our bodega

 
As expected, she’s been listening to the movie soundtrack with Kayla, and BOTH of them have been singing the songs at the top of their lungs.  I can tell that Arielle’s dreaming of performing again on stage (She wants to play Eponine or Gavroche)!
 
The theatre. When we feel like changing “classrooms”.  When we look forward to and need a bit of inspiration.  When we go beyond the large screen (or stage) and popcorn and talk about art, technology, music, character traits, our dreams, history, childhood, the past and the future, life lessons, etc, etc!  Yes, this is how it’s like for us when we say “Let’s go watch a movie!”

Any movie/show/stage performance you watched with your kids lately? How do you end your movie or theatre dates with them?