This is the second of the series of blog posts I am doing after the recently concluded Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016 “From Roots to Wings”. I was given the opportunity to share about our experiences and journey during our high school years but I felt that I missed out quite a lot during my assigned breakout session.  So, I decided to blog about it instead to make up for all that I failed (or was too nervous) to share.  If you missed my first post, click here.

Next in line is about TEACHING.

When our girls reached Grades 5 and 7, it was the time I noticed that they didn’t want me to be always watching what they were doing with their schoolwork.  They didn’t want me to be looking over their shoulders all the time like in the past years where I was seated beside or with them as they do their subjects. I took it as a signal to step back a bit. That’s how they also started to learn by themselves, BE INDEPENDENT, and learn about TIME MANAGEMENT. I stepped back a bit but I would still be in the background, checking how they were managing their time or simply asking them “What are you working on?” or “What subjects do you plan to do today?” or “What do plan to finish this week?”

It helped that we were able to use user- and student-friendly materials which taught them to learn by themselves. We used e-books which started to train them on working on their own laptops.  I remember doing A LOT OF RESEARCH for high school math books until I came across Teaching Textbooks online. I got attracted to it and we ended up using it from Grade 7 to 4th year high school Pre-calculus.  The set (workbook, answer key, CD) is pricey at USD185 but Arielle and Kayla managed to learn higher math on their own with it.  I only brought them to a math tutorial centre on certain occasions like when they needed a little help from another math teacher, when I felt they needed a change of learning environment or when I wanted another math teacher to test if they really understood their lessons.  Mike and I felt that if had chosen a cheaper math material and added a regular tutor service, it would come out even more costly than the cost of Teaching Textbooks.  Plus, the books were handed down from Arielle to Kayla which made  it really worth it! With Teaching Textbooks, I NEVER HAD TO TEACH MATH to them!

For Science, we used Apologia Science which to me, explains science topics really well and in an interesting and Christian view. I purchased our Apologia books from another homeschool site Rock Solid Inc. at cheaper prices.

For Filipino, I sought the help of The Learning Library. Because Arielle was suddenly moved up to 1st year high school, I wasn’t prepared to teach the Filipino classic literature Ibong Adarna. I had to seek help somewhere and it was from The Learning Library.  The girls had a very positive learning experience with them and fondly remembers their teachers and how they made learning Filipino FUN.

So, in high school, I changed my hat from a TEACHER to a COACH, just like what Bo Sanchez had shared in his presentation as a keynote speaker of the conference.  I was coaching them on INDEPENDENT LEARNING and TIME MANAGEMENT more than the academics. Besides, the lessons are more difficult to teach that I would have failed in my teaching job if I continued to teach them their lessons. The subjects where I continued to discuss with our girls are Character, Christian Living and our Catholic faith, World History (I couldn’t let go of Mystery of History; I wanted to continue reading the book and learn more what happened!.  Approach to Filipino was all basic.  To me, basic Filipino is learning how to converse, understand, and write in the language in such a way that they’re able to convey the message they want to convey. Nothing deep and too poetic for me in Filipino.

When they stepped into high school, it was also the time they attended more workshops and classes outside home, aside from their required MAPE (Music, Art, PE) subjects. I made it a conscious effort to be on the lookout for workshops and classes late in grade school in preparation for high school.  These are some of the workshops they (sometimes, WE, which means I joined them) joined:

  • Mindmapping with Ivy Marquez
  • Sewing by Anne del Rosario at Sew Easy for Kids (culminated by a fashion show where they modeled their own sewing creations)
  • Blogging by Arriane Serafico (who unfortunately is no longer based here in the Philippines)
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
  • Public Speaking and Presentation


A sample of our mindmapping

A sample of our mindmapping



We all learned how to sew! Kayla's summer culinary workshop!

We all learned how to sew!    Kayla’s summer culinary workshop!


Arielle and Kayla also joined a Hybrid Homeschool class with other homeschoolers,  once a week for one schoolyear. It was by Ivy Marquez and they had subjects which focused more on LIFE SKILLS such as Culinary and Food Science, Etiquette, Entrepreneurship.

As you can see, the workshops and classes they joined were very INTENTIONAL and really geared towards learning SKILLS, SKILLS, SKILLS, particularly LIFE and WORK SKILLS. I was already thinking forward.

With The Master’s Academy, we were required to present a portfolio at the end of every quarter to showcase what they had learned and accomplished in each subject during the quarter.  We used to live in Batangas and what I used to do was compile all their work or output in a binder, bring them to their academic consultant in TMA in Manila for her to review, then set another appointment with her for the scheduled portfolio review.  Can you imagine the travel and time factor involved? So I decided to go electronic or digital.  From hard copies in thick, heavy binders, we switched to Google Docs which allowed them to work on shared portfolio outputs but separately on their laptops.  It was like working in an office on your own workstation and contributing work as a team.  With Google Docs, I would just email our academic consultant the link of their Google Docs portfolio and schedule a trip to Manila for their portfolio review. What a convenience and time-saver!

After Google Docs, I thought doing their portfolio via blogs would even be a BETTER idea! It would teach them creative writing, which was a priority area for me, since I knew that writing essays would be one of the college application requirements.  Aside from learning how to write, blogging would also allow them to integrate  photography, graphic design. Arielle managed to learn the codes on how to design or tweak the theme of her own blogsite. Take a peek at Arielle’s homeschool blog called The Homeschooled Mermaid and Kayla’s KaylaNeverKeila.

Laslty, what made high school learning also fun was WE ALL LEARNED TOGETHER. We learned how to mindmap together.  Arielle and I joined a blogging workshop together.  We three learned how to sew together. There were also other arts and crafts workshops we all joined like stamp-carving, silk screen printing, calligraphy, brush lettering watercolor painting.  So, I was learning new things and skills with them. WE ARE ALL LEARNERS and they were opportunities to show them that I AM A LIFELONG LEARNER myself. LEARNING WITH THEM was one way that we all connected and I STAY TUNED with them.

One last sharing on TEACHING.  In a recent Catholic homeschoolers gathering I attended with Mike, this question was asked: Where or how do you delineate your role as a parent and as a homeschool teacher? Where do you draw the line?  A very good question, don’t you think?  The speaker gave an answer without having to think long (not even 2 seconds!).  And I agree with what she said which was to let the academics suffer but not your relationship with your child.  NEVER.

With that I end my sharing on TEACHING in the high school years.  I really hope that with the first blog post and this second one, I was able to give tips to keep in mind and resources to bookmark.

My next blog post will be on EXPERIENCING.  What EXPERIENCES should I let our teenagers have during high school?  Enjoy my first two posts while you take your semestral or holiday break as I try to do the same.


No, it’s not a typo error.  It is really spelled as W-R-I-T-E.  But before that…

I haven’t been able to blog lately because of some unexpected turn of events (mother-in-law’s passing, home renovation finalizations, moving in chores (which seem endless!), among others), which were happening all at the same time!  All these kinda shook up my life (and sanity) just when I was trying to psyche myself up for a brand new 2014!  But something took place last Saturday which is worth blogging, and I am talking about I KNOW WRITE, a teen bloggers meetup, organized by three teenage girls, Arielle (our eldest daughter), Jodie Alejaga, and Nina Alvia. The first ever of its kind!  Woot! Woot!

I Know Write MNL 2014

Name and Design by Arielle

I wasn’t really planning on being the “stage mom” kind of mom last Saturday.  All I had asked permission from Arielle was to take pictures (which she agreed to last minute!) so I can blog about it.  I was even seated at a table outside their reserved function room at Kuppa Roastery & Cafe, to keep my distance.  But as I was observing how these newbie teens were handling the nitty-gritty of the event, I felt they somehow needed a standby coach just to help them smoothly go through their activities without having to pay extra for going over their two-hour reservation.  Planning for and hosting this meetup was one great opportunity to teach Arielle life skills in a real-life event that they themselves organized.

Even before Saturday came, Mike and I were already giving Arielle our suggestions and advice on how to go about this meetup from the time she told us about the idea (like maybe since October 2013?).  We had a series of conversation on this real-life project in the car, at a resto, while having lunch or dinner, or wherever.  Discussion had a serious tone to it since we were talking about something that adults normally do in their job or career but at the same time, we made sure we did not miss out the elements of FUN and YOUTH ENERGY.

What exactly did we teach Arielle in planning for and organizing this event?  Here’s a list of life skills that gave Arielle a taste of how it is like to think, decide, and act like an adult (a responsible adult, that is)!


  • Planning ahead
  • Having a timetable
  • Why having a planner/calendar is essential
  • Why having meetings is essential
  • Decision-making: learning which areas need decision and action, especially immediate ones
  • Having an objective, action plan, and getting down into details of the event (venue, food, activities, invited guest speaker)



  • Identifying priorities
  • Focusing on priorities
  • Using time well on the event itself (keeping track of the time!)



  • How to work with different people (in the team and with everyone they had to deal with as they were organizing and doing the event)
  • How to make different personalities work together to achieve a goal
  • How to collaborate with the common objective in mind
  • Being a team player



  • Coming up with a name for the event,
  • a logo
  • a hashtag
  • a souvenir t-shirt
  • Creating an Facebook page and group
  • Making a sign-up/registration sheet
  • How to go about payment
  • What token of appreciation to give to the guest speaker
  • Doing an evaluation after (what worked and what didn’t; things to consider and improve on in the future)
  • A follow-up activity to keep the high energy level of the group after the event



  • How much to charge each participant 
  • What would/should the fee cover
  • Cost analysis and implications



  • Looking for possible venue options
  • Choosing what would be the best one
  • Making reservations (personally talking with people in-charge or on the phone)
  • Making a downpayment for the venue
  • Choosing the menu (food, drinks, dessert)
I Know Write MNL 2014

One of the yummy pizzas served!

I Know Write MNL 2014

Fruit Dessert w/ Yogurt


  • Setting up the venue (e.g., cameras, laptop, decor)
I Know Write MNL 2014

Preparing the room before everyone arrives!

I Know Write MNL 2014

Let’s video this event!


I Know Write MNL 2014

Adding some fun colors!


  • Preparing other needed materials (such as name tags, ice breaker, and photo op paraphernalia)
I Know Write MNL 2014

Sample Name Tag

I Know Write MNL 2014

Human Bingo as Icebreaker

I Know Write MNL 2014



  • Settling the bill after the event (which they really needed help on to be able to understand the math of having a “consummable” kind of package)



  • Being responsible,
  • efficient
  • reliable/dependable
  • Taking initiative
  • Being cooperative
  • Being a leader
  • Showing good manners and one’s best character that the situation calls for


Whew! That’s a long list of life skills for a two-hour meetup (not a workshop, not a seminar) kind of event!

What exactly was the highlight of the meetup?  It was none other than their guest speaker, Arriane Serafico, a.k.a. Wanderrgirl!  You may find her in Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.  

I Know Write MNL 2014

Sharing all that she knows about blogging!

I Know Write MNL 2014

She gave an inspiring and encouraging talk on how she started out in blogging, shared her ordinary and extraordinary experiences, and gave tips and advice to the young ones on what to do with their blogs.  She was simply AWESOME that the girls couldn’t stop taking photos with her and just chatting with her!  Arriane is actually the one who gave me a jumpstart in my blogging journey. Arielle and I attended her blogworthy workshop and to this day, she is an inspiration both Arielle and I look up to!

Now that these teen girls have started their own teen blogger community, I give them my big CONGRATULATIONS for being able to successfully pull off this event.  It’s a first and there are still lessons to be learned.  But hey, did you think that teeners would be able to come up with something like this and organize it on their own?

I Know Write MNL 2014

They’re on Facebook 🙂

I Know Write MNL 2014

IKW Team (Arielle, Jodie, and Nina) with Arriane Serafico

I Know Write MNL 2014

IKW MNL 2014!

I Know Write MNL 2014

The objective of the event was met.  The girls had fun and went home inspired and all charged up. The big question now is “What’s next?”

I leave it up to these girls.  They were able to do this and I believe that they are capable of coming up with another meaningful activity or event.  Maybe even bigger and better!  As for me, I’m thankful for this opportunity to teach Arielle important life skills that books and hours of staying in the classroom would not have been be able to.  

How about you?  What real life skills have your children learned lately?


Guess what?  I discovered something new!  At first, I couldn’t figure out how to feel my way through the site, since it’s still on beta stage, and I didn’t how it would benefit me 100%. My question was “Will I be able to use this?”  But after just a couple of minutes of clicking here and there, I slowly saw myself navigating through the site with ease and actually having fun creating a few test designs.  

I’m talking about Canva, a new, simple, easy, and fun graphic design platform.  Take note of the keywords:  CREATE. DESIGNS. GRAPHIC. NEW. SIMPLE. EASY. FUN.  


Canva. Making designing simple and fun!

I’m no techy person; my knowledge and skills on graphic and digital designing are very limited. Doing a photo book is the only thing I can boast of when it comes to using digital imaging and image-publishing tools online.  I have to admit.  I run to our 15-year old daughter whenever I need some editing done with my photos or images with the use of Photoshop.

Well, now that Canva is here, I am excited to make new projects other than a photo book!  


What can I do with Canva?

With Canva, I can create designs for:

  • a Christmas card
  • an A4 Document
  • a Presentation
  • a Blog Graphic (HURRAY!!!) 
  • a Facebook cover
  • Social media
  • a Card


Speaking of Christmas cards,  with just five days away from Christmas Day, one does not have an excuse anymore of not having the time to mail out those store-bought or handmade Christmas cards because Canva can make it so easy and quick for anyone.  With a collection of designs, layouts, backgrounds, texts to choose from, all one has to do is choose, click, customize, and send them online!  You get to write your personal message…express your creativity…and you keep in touch with your family and friends!


Christmas card-making
with Canva


Customizing my Christmas card with Canva


What actually got me more excited about Canva is we can actually use this in our homeschooling.   Woohoo!!!  A new tool for us! With other applications available, such as A4 document and Presentation, our girls can make their homeschool portfolios more visually attractive.  Design elements you opt to choose and use can either be free or paid (I’ve seen design elements at $1.00 each).  Plus, they will learn new and improve their skills on presentation, graphic designing, marketing, communication, and even collaboration.  This will surely add fun in their learning and raise it to a higher level!


Recipe presentations, for example,
will be more interesting!


Analysis of facts or data will be remembered better.


I think I’m going to like Canva!   I can’t wait to tinker with it some more and be surprised not only with my creations but also with our girls’ projects!  

In the meantime, why don’t you head over to Canva’s website and start designing Christmas cards that you always fail to send out during the Holidays and start following them on:

to get updates.  


P.S.  One reason why I was greatly encouraged to write this blog about Canva, aside from the unexpected discovery I had about them, is because Canva will be donating $50 for the Yolanda victims, for every blog written by Filipino bloggers.  That just makes my blogging more intentional and my Christmas even more meaningful 🙂 


The girls finished their Second Quarter first week of November and so, this is a bit late.  Again, here are their blog links as their e-portfolios:

Their Second Quarter Portfolios are all in their October and November posts.  I will be honest in saying that I feel that we are running out of better ideas in our homeschooling and for our portfolios, just as what I’ve written last quarter.  

Would you have suggestions, resources, activities or methods that worked for you?  Do share!  Homeschooling teens and in high school is challenging and requires a different kind of strategy!


Workshop: Blog Branding

Last Saturday was my second time to join Dainty Mom‘s writing workshop.  First one I attended was all about Thinking Editorially.  This time it was about Branding.  Both workshops were held at La Creperie in San Juan.  Although I don’t consider myself a legit blogger (I just felt something inside me that I do have something to share about our homeschooling lifestyle and journey via blogging), I find myself looking forward to joining workshops like these for two reasons: to improve my writing in order to share our experiences as a homeschooling family and (2) to also meet and connect with other women who have their own stories to tell.  Plus, it’s also a bonus to meet other women who happen to share the same interests as I do and who are generous enough to share what they know in areas I don’t know 🙂

My family and I came all the way from the south, from our morning sewing class and arrived just in time to have lunch.  We chose to have it two doors away from La Creperie at Calderon, a Spanish resto (which was a great foodie discovery, by the way).  Last Friday, we also discovered two other new places in Kapitolyo, Pasig in search for a place to eat dinner before heading home. Our friend recommended Poco Deli, which unfortunately did not have a table for four available and so, their staff immediately pointed us to their other place, Epic Coffee Roastery, which was just a few meters away.  Our food interestingly came from the kitchen of Poco Deli and was “delivered” to Epic.  Good service and good food for first-timers like us.   After trying out places that are totally new to me in the past two days, spending my Saturday afternoon in a workshop at La Creperie felt more like going and being “home”.  Its hole-in-the-wall kind of place, pretty interior, and of course, yummy food especially their crepes (obviously) were really a warm welcome, considering that I’ve experienced a freaky kind of weather, alternating between rainy-windy-stormy and fair-almost-sunny, from just moving from one part of the city to another in the last 24 hours!

Welcoming us on our seats was
our giveaway from our sponsor, Mustela!
And our printed workshop material made by Dainty Mom 🙂

The afternoon turned out to be a unique and interesting gathering of women bloggers with different personalities, interests, professions, and backgrounds.  We were just nine but that was enough for me to feel comfy.  I guess we ALL already felt comfy because from the time we introduced ourselves, we were already candidly talking about how to conceive a baby girl or a baby boy and later on, about relationships that developed with a significant other in a music choir! In the group, we had a corporate trainor on communication and personality development, a military wife, a single lady, a marketing manager with cute twins, a theology college professor, a full-time working mom who also sings for a band, a working mom based in Singapore, a soon-to-be blogger (who was the luckiest among us to win that coveted Moleskine planner!),  and me, a homeschool mom.  Different women.  Different stories to tell.  Different messages to share.

That brings me to WORKSHOP NOTE #1:  MY BLOG IS MY MESSAGE TO THE WORLD.  It goes deeper and beyond the theme, the colors, the logo, although all these elements should consistently and clearly reflect who I truly am and is all part of blog branding.  Strip down all these and what’s left is my unique voice, my YOU-nique message that nobody else has, that nobody else can tell the way I would and would want to.

I will never forget my very first blogging workshop with Arriane Serafico called Blogworthy. That was what I would consider my leap of faith on blogging and we had a giveaway which sums up what blogging is all about. YOUR BLOG IS YOUR MESSAGE TO THE WORLD.  MAKE IT A GOOD ONE.

What is THE MESSAGE you want to share
to the world?


Martine, the blogger behind Dainty Mom, spelled out the same message in the workshop, loud and clear.  How you share that message of yours in your blog, photos, tweets, posts is part of what makes up your branding.



Snack Time: Mini Burgers and Fries!

Snack Time: Mini Burgers and Fries!


WORKSHOP NOTE #2:  I may be writing FOR an audience, TO a particular set of readers, but I must remember that when I write, it is not about pleasing everybody or somebody.  I sometimes fall into that trap.  Quite tricky, actually.  After giving it some thought, it was clearer and it made sense to me.  After all, it’s MY BLOG.  It’s MY MESSAGE.  I decide what I want to write and how I want to write a piece of article. That keeps me true to my UNIQUE self AND how I want to be remembered by my readers.  If I decide to share something negative, then it would be my discretion on how I would want to impart that thought or experience.  Do I keep it negative all throughout and make it a tell-all kind of post?  Or do I make it a point to bring out the positive in the end?  Do I expose my entire self to my readers or do I keep a part of me private?  The key is to be as comfortable as I want without putting up a pretentious front (You really wouldn’t want to fake your readers, would you?).   The blogging platform can be my comfortable home or an extension of myself but at the same time, I really don’t need to expose my dirty laundry (Unless, that’s how I would want things to be and I’m okay with that!)  

And it was really time to snack on La Creperie’s house favorite! 🙂

La Creperie's house favorite: Salidou (homemade salted butter caramel crepe)!

La Creperie’s house favorite:
Salidou (homemade salted butter caramel crepe)!


Lastly, what I found new and helpful in the workshop was our Brainstorming #2 session where each of us had to create a character of our blog reader.  To me, it was both an exercise on looking outward and inward, a thinking of whom I’m connecting via my blog and of myself.  It was kinda like a 360 degree kind of turn where it gave me an opportunity to identify and get a closer look of my audience, describe her and give her a full profile, which for me, was also a reflection of myself. It was an exercise that I felt would help in MAKING THAT CONNECTION to my readers to be able to CONSISTENTLY AND CLEARLY IDENTIFY THE MESSAGE I WANT TO IMPART THROUGH MY BLOG. What made the session also interesting was when Martine cited sample blogs similar to each of our blogs (to most, if not all of us), giving us some kind of reference as to how to give our own blogs our unique brand and voice. (Unfortunately, Martine didn’t show a homeschool blog similar to mine.  I take it as both good and bad.  Good, because it means my blog is truly unique and there’s really no one out there blogging about homeschooling tweens and teens who is based in Asia or in the Philippines, specifically.  Bad, because I may be the only one doing it as of the moment, leaving me alone in this and trailblazing it in the local blogosphere. I feel alone and with no one to look up to!)


Workshop: Blog Branding

Our varied personalities in the workshop
and yet intimate


Overall, the workshop ended on a happy note!  We all gained from Martine’s expertise and learned from each other.  I personally went home with a full tummy, and with new insights and learnings. I’m glad I joined this workshop (which was also a clear example to our homeschooled girls of what lifelong learning is all about!) 🙂



Wow!  I can’t believe the first three months of the schoolyear are over!  We just finished our First Quarter Portfolio and are now on our Second Quarter.  Arielle and Kayla continue to do a blog portfolio and you may check them out here and here.

I honestly feel “just okay” with our performance and portfolio for the First Quarter.  So, I’m hoping that as we move on, we’ll have better ideas and get those A-HA! moments more often.  High school homeschooling IS really a challenge!

First Quarter Portfolio

Yes! I need IDEAS
for our homeschooling!


Since I desperately need some direction on how to go about our next months, I decide to google for portfolio samples:

The Portfolio

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Portfolios

I’m also starting to think about portfolios upon exiting high school and for college application and entry.  Mike and I honestly don’t know yet where God will lead us and our girls for college, here or abroad, and so I’m keeping these two sites in mind as guide and reference.  I’m sure there are more out there. 

Homeschool Portfolio for High School

Sample Portfolios 

I didn’t realize the kind of the planning and forward thinking I would have to do at this stage of our homeschooling, especially for Arielle, who’s in 3rd year high school already.  On one hand, I’m homeschooling her, coaching her in her subjects, still attempting to read and understand her Chemistry, and most importantly, teaching her time management to be able to identify priorities, do what’s required, and teaching her other life skills.  On the other hand, I’m also thinking about her future plans for college, how to prepare for it, document-wise, as early as now.  Then, I have our tween Kayla who needs to develop good study habits, learn about time management, sharpen some academic skills like comprehension, organizing ideas and writing.

WOW!  That is really all I can say.  WOW!  I try not to be overwhelmed but sometimes, I can’t help it.  I’m really bracing myself for more CHALLENGING DAYS ahead!





I’ve repeated admitted a number of times that Arielle’s been doing a better blogging job than me.   Starting out as a tween blogger (at age 12), she’s able to tweak her blog layout, post her own illustrations showcasing her self-taught skills, learn Photoshop basics and tricks she learned all by herself, take great photos in one click (which would take me about 10!), do ad swaps, and connect with other bloggers from all over. Now, Arielle’s just been featured on Cici Bean‘s blog, Celebrating Awesomeness Tween Blogger Edition (After clicking this link, please scroll down until you see the post that looks like the one below)!  How cool and awesome is that? 

Awesome Tween Blogger on Cici Bean

Photo Source:


How she ended up being featured on a Canadian preteen clothing brand for girls, I have no idea! She said they just emailed her and everything flowed from there!  The wonders of technology!  And how small the world has become because of it 🙂  Although she did mention to me about the guesting feature, I only remember advising her to read more about the company and check its values.  Plus, my only condition for her accept the invitation was to make sure that it only gives out a positive image and message to its readers.  To read more about Cici Bean, click on the links below:

About Cici Bean

Cici Bean’s Vision 

Cici Bean’s Ambassador Program

Cici Bean’s Collection

Words of Wisdom

If Cici Bean wanted AWESOMENESS, CREATIVITY, PASSION, and ENERGY, celebrated and shared, then, I think they made the right choice on Arielle who personifies all these 🙂  I say this not because I’m her mom but because her blog is plain proof showing her true colors.    Arielle is really one girl who definitely knows who she is, what she’s got, and is comfortable with it.  No need really to conform, to be like the rest.  And that is exactly the message she personally wants to share to the world through her blog. 🙂



Another year has just ended! Yahooo!!! And WHEW!!! We just finished our last portfolio review with our academic consultants and the girls are scheduled to take their year-end OLSAT this April 10.  After that, schoolyear 2012-2013 is officially over.  

The girls and I are currently doing a major summer cleaning and the house looks like a war zone. Our hands are all black and dirty;  boxes, books, paper, toys, knick-knacks are everywhere; Kayla’s sneezing from the dust; my lower back is aching and I am sweating in this summer heat!  This isn’t actually my favorite thing to do at the end of each schoolyear (I actually hate it!), but looking at the bright side, we have just finished another homeschooling year!  Our sixth, to be exact! (I still wonder how we’re able to do that!)

Every year, it seems like we haven’t done enough and that we have missed out this and that, and this and that.  But I just have to remind myself that we will go crazy if we attempt to cover EVERYTHING in one schoolyear.  Learning should never stop anyway and reality is, we will never get to learn everything in our lifetime!  

The best way to end a schoolyear is to look back with gratitude on our accomplishments, milestones, hurdles, and victories that we have encountered along the way.  And the blogs of our girls, Arielle and Kayla, deserve praise and recognition!  (In a few years time, I’d most likely look back at their blogs, a bit teary-eyed, and asking “We did this???”)


Photo Source:

So now, I am proud to share with you the girls’ blog portfolios for Schoolyear 2012-2013:

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 11.49.31 AM

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 11.49.48 AM

  • Kayla’s Adventures With Kayla, where I was able to see Kayla evolve from a Reluctant Writer to a Budding Blogger 🙂


The Homeschooled Mermaid

I hope you’ll enjoy reading them and pick up some good things from the girls’ blogs.  I now have to go back to our cleaning duties (which do not make us look, smell, and feel clean at all!) 😀



Beyond Books and Walls.  Thinking of a domain name for my new blogsite surely gave my brain a good amount of stretching!  After coming up with a list of about 20 names, I finally chose Beyond Books and Walls.  Why the name?  Simple. It’s an offshoot of my tagline “The world is our classroom” from my previous blogsite, which I decided to keep.  Call me Ms. Sentimental but I would like to take something with me here from my old blog.  I really think the name Beyond Books and Walls best captures the kind of homeschooling we try to live out.  It paints a picture of the kind of learning we want our girls to have.  Not only learning, but also living.

Arielle did a clean and pretty design of my header and logo 🙂  I’m so thankful for her!  Her work is a showcase of what “beyond books and walls” mean.  She wouldn’t have learned real-life skills had she been confined to the four walls of the classroom.  Not only skills but the self-initiative and discipline to learn more what she needs to learn and what she wants to learn.  For more of Arielle’s artistic self, click here (for her personal blog) and here (for her homeschool blog as her portfolio for this year).  I’m telling you, she’s doing a lot, lot better than me in designing her blogs, keeping them and making them blogworthy!  Doing my header and logo gave Arielle the experience to work on a real application (not a homeschool requirement), with a deadline, and also, to think things through and make improvements on her own work and not just settle for what’s good enough.  Her first rendition of my header was the traditional watercolor paint on paper, pictured and then, edited using Photoshop.  But I gave her my feedback (just like a client but I may have sounded more like her mom though) that I personally would have wanted the colors brighter and bolder.  So, changes were made to what you see now on my homepage.

That’s my handwriting there on “The world is our classroom!”



As for the small logo that you see on the upperleft corner, I gave Arielle my idea after seeing an image that served as an inspiration.  We talked about using colors from the header to give the space some consistent elements or continuity, and that’s what she finally came up with.  An open book against or positioned slightly on top of a wall, with the sun shining from behind the open book, and the letters B B & W at the bottom.

So, there!  The name and images behind my new blogsite. It may not be as eye-candy as the other blogs, but I’m happy with it!  It’s something very personal, a reflection of our lifestyle,  which I would now like to share with you. 


SURPRISE! Welcome to my new home…my new blog home! 🙂

For those of you who’ve been hanging around with me in the world of blogging, Facebook, Twitter…reading, liking, and commenting on my posts, I’ve kept my blog in the other “blog village” for a little over 2 years.  It was sometime October last year when I started thinking of taking this journaling of mine a bit “more seriously”.  What I meant by “more seriously” is writing more often, sharing more interesting topics to give you a better glimpse of the kind of homeschooling lifestyle our family has, engage my followers and readers more, and hopefully, just do more with the options available in this new platform.  Well, after a few months of consulting friends who know the blogosphere better and being inspired and encouraged by them, you are now in my new blog home!   It did take a while to give this space a new look and feel, but I’m glad that the “moving in” phase is over.  

Thank you, Dainty Mom, for spending a couple of hours with me at Starbucks and CBTL.  That really helped me set aside my usual thoughts and 101 everyday duties and put focus on the purpose and message of my blog.  Thank you, TheHappy Wahm / TheHappy Wahm in Facebook (who happens to be a fellow homeschooling mom and a WAHM!), for sharing with me one Sunday afternoon how WordPress looks like from the back door!  It felt like being in a Spanish foreign language tutorial, with some things a bit incomprehensible, but I really do appreciate the time you spared for me…on a Sunday!  And most importantly, for helping me get the domain name I wanted and for hosting me! Thank you sooo much to TheHappy Wahm’s partner, The Techie Mom /  The Techie Mom in Facebook (another homeschooling WAHM!), for patiently answering all my questions,  doing the best you can to grant my “blog wishlist”, and finally putting all the pieces together to give my blog a total makeover!  (Chatting with you felt more like talking with someone who speaks Greek or Latin. Hahaha!)  A final “Thank you ❤” to Arielle, our eldest teen, for designing my “header” image and logo. Without your artsy contribution, this would just be white space all over.  It’s like having a white wall with no roof, no house number, no street name!  Thanks for helping out your not-so-techy Mama and for finding a way to add my request (or was it more of pressure?) to your already filled up schedule! (Don’t worry, your hard work will be credited to your 4th quarter TLE.)

So, feel free to look around and stay a while longer in my new home.  Leave a comment or go back to a post or posts that you remember liking before.  Or perhaps read some that you’ve missed in the past.  You can now hit the “Like” button and even share it!  I do hope that next time you visit, we will get to connect more.   Again, WELCOME! 🙂