This is the 8th part of my blog series on Homeschooling the High School Years, the topic assigned to me during the last Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016.  Parts 1 to 7 are below and I suggest you read them in order to have a better grasp of the whole picture of our homeschooling lifestyle and journey.

  1. Parenting
  2. Teaching
  3. Experiencing
  4. Socializing
  5. Self-Discovery and -Awareness
  6. Equip Yourself
  7. Gap Year

 

I’ve been sharing mostly about our eldest daughter, Arielle, because between our two daughters, she is the one who fits perfectly the theme of the last conference “From Roots to Wings”.

As for our second and youngest daughter, Kayla, she is now in 10th Grade. Since TMA (The Master’s Academy which is now Homeschool Global) wasn’t given the go-signal by DepEd (Department of Education) to offer SHS (Senior High School, Grades 11 and 12) and we couldn’t wait until she will be in Grade 11 to see where we should go, we decided to transfer to a U.S Catholic homeschool program, Seton Home Study a year earlier than SHS. She wanted to continue being homeschooled. We all felt that to continue homeschooling would be the best option to take in order to not disrupt the kind of learning we’ve already established.  I personally wanted her to finish high school as a homeschooler. And most importantly, she wanted to give herself the opportunity to develop her skills in golf and see if the sport could help her enter a good college.

As of the moment, Kayla doesn’t know yet what she wants to take up in college. Unlike her Ate Arielle, where she knew early on that she will be in the arts (I think she was just about 2 years old when we already saw the creative person in her), particularly animation, Kayla is still discovering what it will be for her. But as of now, being a kinesthetic person and learner, we are supporting her in her strength which is in the sport of golf.

She is now learning how to manage her time, balancing her academics and golf trainings and tournaments.  As I write this, I’ve gone through anxiety and panic attacks because we are B-E-H-I-N-D our academics. Being new at Seton and I would say, adjusting to their rigorous academic program especially English, combined with her golf schedules and tournaments almost every Saturday and Sunday, I have already psyched up myself that our homeschooling would now be all-year around, with all our breaks interspersed with our academic requirements throughout the year.   I’ve already told Kayla about this change that we need to do in order to keep things in place, balanced, and manageable for her.  With unceasing prayers, I know we can do this!

I still have a few more notes to share with you so I hope you’ll stay tuned for my parting words on this series!


 

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!


 

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.


 

My BFF from Virginia (Yes, mommies need and have BFFs, too!) was in town recently and we met up to have our usual girly-mommy chat.  Of course, we never miss to talk about our kids and update each other about them.  We’ve been friends since Grade 7 and so, we practically grew up together from the teenage years to motherhood.

After asking how her aunt’s passing, wake, and funeral went (the reason for her trip), we talked about Kayla and Arielle.  Kayla first.  Where I plan to transfer Kayla by next schoolyear, Grade 10. How different senior high school here is from the U.S. (Junior High School is Grades 7 and 8; Senior High School is Grades to 9 to 12) and most especially, how SERIOUS and EARLY they do career planning over there as opposed to how we’re trying to implement it here only in the last two years of high school under the K-12 program.  (It really makes we wonder if the Department of Education will be able to successfully implement the program and really prepare the students in the fields of their strengths or choice.)  Her daughter is in 7th Grade and they’re already carefully planning courses she will take now so she can start getting high school credit.   HIGH SCHOOL, not COLLEGE!  My friend said that choices in high school are overwhelming her and she herself has so much to learn about how high school works!  Her daughter’s school (and I believe, all U.S. schools) has a database where each student has a record, an inventory of strengths and goals, career explorations, documentation of activities, volunteer hours, and most importantly, they already begin to identify courses they may want to take in HIGH SCHOOL (again, HIGH SCHOOL, not college yet).  All these so they can do a goal-setting and a learning plan IN HIGH SCHOOL so by the time they enter college, they are all set;  they are prepared; they are focused and they know what they want to do. How amazing is that!  It just MAKES SO MUCH SENSE, right?

That’s why I am taking a conscious effort now to really find out Kayla’s strengths and interests.  I plan to let her take an assessment with Career Direct (just like what Arielle took where art was an obvious result of the assessment) this coming May or June after she turns 15.  Hopefully, we would be able to clearly identify what careers she will really thrive in and be successful at.  I’m also praying that her golf would open doors of opportunities and more specific options for her.

With Arielle, it’s another kind of planning.  My friend and I first talked about how her scholarship application with SCAD is going and then, we eventually ended up with the topic on how she will eat while in college!  You see, Arielle will be staying in a residential unit in Hong Kong with two roommates and she will be in charge of her meals (and laundry).  Since SCAD-HK is just a building, not a campus, it has a small cafeteria which doesn’t really offer much or offer meals on a regular basis.  That only means one thing: she has to cook.  She can’t buy her food all the time.  That would not come out budget- and health-friendly (the MSG in Chinese food!).  And this is exactly what Arielle and I have been working on these past weeks.  Skills in cooking, food preparation, and meal planning.  It always makes me so happy when my BFF and I are always thinking about the same thing.  We call each other “my other brain” because we help each other process each other’s thoughts and we think of the same things 99% of the time!  You see, I feel that Arielle doesn’t seem to understand my point when I tell her that she has to P-L-A-N her meals AHEAD of TIME.  She just can’t go to the kitchen 10 minutes before mealtime, thaw frozen meat that can take hours, prepare the ingredients and cook.  It just doesn’t work that way. I’m just glad my BFF and I were on the same page and she started talking as if I was the one talking to Arielle.  Her mommy talk was just what I needed.

And that brings me to another point.  An important one: why it’s highly recommended for homeschool parents to meet up and do activities or fellowship.  Because the meetups and gatherings are not only venues to get out of the house, relax, but more often, it is a venue to exchange notes and tips on what works with you and what works for the others that could be worth-trying.  Just like meeting up with my BFF for lunch and dessert, the face-to-face encounter with other homeschool moms and dads brings a different personal interaction (as opposed to FB or Viber groups, although they have their own benefits and advantages) which I believe becomes a soothing therapy, and a much needed encouragement and inspiration.

So, the talk on meals then reminded me of a pin I recently saved in my Pinterest.  It was about meal planning using Post-Its and a binder.  Ok, who doesn’t love Post-Its???  I knew Arielle would need this and with the colorful and easy-transfer Post-Its, Arielle will survive college!  It’s also making me think now to redo my recipe binder into this one!

After showing her how this meal plan binder works, I told her to make a spreadsheet of all the recipes she knows how to cook or wants to cook.  Categories were:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Pasta/Noodles/Rice/Oats
  • Eggs
  • Soup
  • Smoothies (If she can’t always cook vegetables, then she has to drink them!)
  • Dessert (her favorite!)

After creating the file, we were able to see visually what she lacks (more recipes on fish!) and what recipes she needs to learn and practice some more.

Plus, we also realized that she not only has to learn how to cook but what would help her save time every morning before she leaves for school are:

(1) make-ahead meals

(2) freezer meals

(3) one pot or one skillet meals

In order to complete her menu planner binder, Arielle still needs to do the following:

(1) type out all the recipes she will put in the binder

(2) print out the menu planner printables

(3) assemble/put them together in the binder

(4) make categories for the Post-Its (green for vegetables, yellow for beef, blue for pork, and so on)

(5) and start doing a mock-up/sample menu plan for a week

(6) plus, make a list of pantry/kitchen ingredient staples

 

With a lot more to do and teach about menu planning and cooking, Google and Pinterest are now my new best friends 🙂  They will not only make teaching more fun and visually appealing but it will also make life much easier for a homeschool mom like me with a college-bound, visual-learner daughter who will be living on her own overseas.

How do you plan your menu and organize your recipes?  I would need all the tips I could get!


 

I just want to take time to pause and say that our year 2015 to 2016 has been great!  I am really so glad that we took that leap of faith (again! next to homeschooling) to take a gap year after Arielle graduated from high school.  I just feel a whole lot more prepared WITH and FOR her, as a mom and a parent-teacher.   I honestly can’t imagine how my life would have been like if we decided to go straight to college.  I am sure my days would have been all panic, rush, and stress, given not ample time (well, that’s how I feel) to prepare well enough for college testing, application and my daughter’s life to be.

Although I know that going on a gap year does not guarantee a total preparation for Arielle’s life ahead, it has given us the time to prepare for all the things we could.  Aside from building an art portfolio, a 500-word essay, designing her own resume and business card, Arielle has learned how to cook, attend to a few home repairs, manage her time, is learning how to budget her money, drive a stick shift car, and choose meat cuts in the grocery.  She knows the basics of laundry with the use of a washing machine, but I think I will let her learn that chore herself in Hong Kong.  With ironing, I honestly don’t think she’ll have the time to iron all her clothes and so, one of the two things in my To Buy list in Hong Kong is a good steamer and a blender so she can still have her veggies and fruits smoothies, even if on-the-go.

Right now, Arielle is finalizing her artworks for her portfolio, after receiving tips from a SCAD professor when SCAD-HK had their Information Session here in Manila last November 2015.  Having that practice round of interview and portfolio presentation was really helpful, giving us a feel of how it is going to be like for the real thing this March 2016.  That gave Arielle the time to improve on her artworks before she would finally submit/upload them to SCAD’s so-called SlideRoom before March.  She is not as stressed as before when she was doing everything from scratch and my prayer these days as she completes her SCAD scholarship requirements is for her to see who she really is, her strengths and gifts, who ultimately gave those gifts to her, and how she should use those.  That this whole process be a revelation to her by God of who she ultimately is, her purpose and unique design.

Meanwhile, Kayla is also doing well with her golf.  So far, she’s been placing in tournaments she has joined.  Yesterday, she brought home this:

Kayla's trophy!

Kayla’s trophy!

 

We are sooo proud of her!  The very first thing I did when Kayla told me on the phone that she has a trophy was immediately thank the Lord for an answered prayer.  I really am praying that 2016 would be  HER year and that God will bless her with good opportunities in golf and in her studies.  I know that she’s been thinking of what it is really that she wants to take up in college, what she wants to do in her life and that it hasn’t been very clear to her.  I’m praying that golf would somehow give her some answers or clues.

After sharing the good news with Kayla’s golf coach, he congratulated and then reminded me to work on her Curriculum Vitae or Biodata on her golf achievements.  That brought me back to my role as a homeschool parent-teacher to do the important task of record-keeping.  So, as early as now, I am making sure that I will record Kayla’s golf achievements and other activities worth including in her resume.  That way, I have a file of her various homeschooling activities, especially golf, as they happen and I won’t rack my brain in trying to recall what she did and when, when it’s time to submit those college applications.

So this post is actually a tip and a friendly reminder to homeschool parents and kids out there.  Start recording and/or keeping a file of your child’s activities and achievements.  Have a notebook for it, if that’s what’s going to work for you for now.  Or start creating a Word or Excel file.  That’s what I just did.  I had to backtrack and think of Kayla’s golf trainings, golf coaches, and when she had them.  I went as far back as Grade 6 which was 4 years ago and I was already having a quite difficult time remembering dates!  The other activities she joined would be easier since most, if not all, of them are the same activities Arielle had and they are already on record.  Plus, aside from keeping a file of their actual certificates from workshops and camps, I also keep a folder in my email per schoolyear and in there goes their academic and extra-curricular records, notes, activities, including flight details on out-of-town camps, for instance.

I wish I had done this record-keeping even before Arielle took her gap year.  Believe me, starting it early is going to make things easier for your college-bound students.  So, for the record, one way to organize your homeschool life is to record your child’s achievements, activities, and involvements.


 

It’s Christmas Eve and now that I actually HAVE a break and AM enjoying one, I’d like to look back at what 2015 gave me.  Each year has its own story to tell and blessings to be thankful for and 2015 is no exception. Here’s my 2015 story:

  1.  A homeschool high school graduate – Arielle finished 8 years of being homeschooled, from Grade 3 to 4th year high school! 8 years!  It may have been a tough ride but no regrets!

2.  A gap year –  After graduating from high school, we decided to let Arielle have a gap year before she moves up to college.  And I must say, that this is one of the best decisions we’ve made (next to homeschooling, of course).  A time well-spent preparing Arielle’s whole being for college, and not just mentally or academically.

3.  A golf pursuit – After years of worrying about and guessing what Kayla’s life path or at least, college  opportunities would be like, we finally got our answer.  She is gifted in this sport and so far, golf is giving her the focus, the drive, and determination to do everything she can to do and be her best.

4.  A visit to SCAD-Hong Kong –  A trip to Hong Kong to visit SCAD started the clear path towards Arielle’s college.  The campus and residences tour, the application, the acceptance, the assignment of an admission advisor to Arielle (I still can’t get over this.  How I wish all colleges and universities do this!), the 24/7 support and assistance of SCAD’s assistant director of admission.  What a bundle of blessings one after the other!

5.  Acceptance to SCAD-Hong Kong – Two months after our visit to SCAD-HK and submitting basic requirements, Arielle got in! When we found out the good news, it was one big answered prayer!  Although Mike, Arielle, and I couldn’t decide (to the point, it became stressful and divisive already!) whether Arielle should still take the entrance exams of the local universities or not, her acceptance to SCAD gave us the opportunity to really ask ourselves: what we want, think about long-term plans, and where we should put all our efforts, time, money, and most importantly, FAITH, in this college journey of Arielle.

5.  An Academic Honors Scholarship grant – Thank you, Lord, for this scholarship!  You know that we DO NEED all the financial help we could get and this is another answered prayer.  We are still praying for another scholarship, Achievement Honors Scholarship, to be awarded by SCAD in March 2016, and we put our trust in You.  You, O Lord, has always been our Provider!

6.  Internships and Basic Animation Workshop – This gap year gave Arielle internship opportunities that helped her learn work and life skills which I believe, is a very good training ground in preparation for college life and the workplace.

7. Golf Training and Tournaments – I am really thankful for the opportunities Kayla has been enjoying since she decided to take her golf seriously.  Her golf coach, who happens to be the brother of my high school batchmate, is one good one and I just feel Kayla is in good hands.  And for someone who’s been training for less than a year, placing in tournaments is indeed a good sign of her potential in this sport.

8.  Summer Vacation in Siquijor – Something not related to homeschool this time.  My family and I were able to go on our yearly family beach trip (minus our usual travel companions from the U.S.) and last April, it was the enchanted island of Siquijor.  To this day, I still can’t believe that Arielle and Kayla want to go back to Siquijor when asked which of the places we’ve been to they’d like to visit again.  To think that the wifi signal on the island was very spotty and none most of the time, actually!  I’m just glad that our girls do appreciate simple living and can actually live their lives off the grid.

9.  My One-Word for 2015 came alive! –  My word was OPEN: O from the word Opportunities… P from the word I made up, sParts (Sports and Arts)… E from the word advEnture … and N from the word coNnections.  I can’t wait for my one-word for 2016 to be revealed to me!

10.  A new home –  It’s been a year and 8 months since we moved to Manila.  I totally do not enjoy the traffic in the metro and the house repairs and maintenance that I still have to take care of, but having our own home in Manila made our homeschooling life and activities so much easier.  I believe this blessing from God came at a right time for Arielle and Kayla.

11.  Possibly, a new “career” path for Mike – Coming from a political family, I avoid being involved in politics as much as possible.  But it looks like, I cannot totally run away from it.  Mike is running for councilor and all I can do is pray for this decision he made.  I know my husband.  And I know that this is one major decision he prayed about, and as his wife, I must give him all the support that he needs.

12.  Lastly, a better health for me – If there’s one, just one, thing that I always pray for myself, it’s good health so that I would be able to do what God called me to do.  And God gave it to me this year.  My slightly elevated test result for a tumor marker in the ovaries is now normal, and I praise God for being my faithful Healer!

What a year this was!  I feel this is the most challenging year I’ve had.  But as shown always by God, I would not have been able to overcome the challenges that came my way, if it weren’t for the love and faithfulness of our Lord to me and family.  God is good.  All the time.

How was 2015 to you and your family?  I’m sure there are things to be thankful for.  All we really need to do is look harder and be grateful for the simple things we already have.  A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS from my family to yours!


 

Placing 4th in the Interschool Golf Tournament

 

Kayla went back to golf January of this year and she has been taking it seriously.  She would wake up a little past 5 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for her training at Camp Aguinaldo and would also play with her Papa in Batangas during weekends. She’s been training for almost a year now with Coach Jun Cedo and she has greatly improved over the past months.  I don’t play golf.  I don’t totally understand how it’s played and the terms used in the sport. And to be honest, I’d rather stay in bed and get some more hours of sleep than wake up really early and be among those driving on the road and going through the morning rush.

But I do believe in Kayla’s potential and giftedness in golf.  I believe this is God’s gift to her and it is her area of strength.  If Arielle is gifted in the visual and performing arts, Kayla, being a kinesthetic learner,  is gifted in physical activities and has found golf to be one of the fields where she’s most comfortable at and physically designed for.  I remember I was starting to get frustrated and worried around 2 to 3 years ago, not clearly knowing what Kayla is inclined to do.  It was easy and so obvious with Arielle but with Kayla, I had no clue.  Her interests kept on changing, after letting her try different things like theatre, swimming, cooking, baking, and her on-and-off interest in golf.  So I started praying to God, asking Him to show us where Kayla’s strength lies and what she was made for.  God’s answer did not come right away which I believe was teaching me all along to trust in our Lord and learn that there is a time for everything.

Well, God’s answer came clear this 2015 as He revealed to us that Kayla CAN actually PLAY GOLF and she has a very strong potential in the sport.  Now that Arielle is already going to SCAD-HK for college in Fall 2016, I am so thankful to the Lord for now showing me how I should guide and support Kayla.  After Arielle, it’s now Kayla’s turn to carve her path.  God’s timing is always perfect! He just knows that it’s now time for me to focus on Kayla after I’ve homeschooled Arielle.

Kayla still has lots to learn in golf but she’s off to a good start, now that she’s serious about it.  Golf is definitely giving her the focus and the drive to perform better, not only in the sport but also in her studies. Her improvements in her swings and distance over the months, placing in the tournaments she has joined so far, and even the discipline she is now showing to balance her academics, trainings, and tournaments are already small victories worth celebrating.  They are blessings I am really thankful for!

First Runner-up in Class B Division

First Runner-up in Class B Division

 

May this be a reminder to all parents, especially homeschooling parents who feel pressured by family members and friends that:

  1. Each child is unique and has his/her own strengths and talents.
  2. Each child will naturally learn and grow at his/her own pace.
  3. Progress is more important than perfection.
  4. God’s timing is always perfect.
  5. There is a time for everything.
  6. We are not to conform to what everyone else is doing, if we really want our child to happily and successfully live a life specifically designed for him/her by God.

 

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Just like the objective of a golf game, which is to get the ball into the hole with the least amount of strokes or swings of the golf club, it is my goal as a homeschool mom to help Kayla focus and reach her target, her life goals, her life calling, by equipping her with the skills and training in order to play the game of life well and successfully.

I pray that as parents, we may all be able to discern God’s will and purpose for each of our children, and that when it is revealed to us by the Lord, we will have the strength, love, and faith to give them the guidance and support that they need.

 


 

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 🙂

 

 

 


 

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

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

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

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

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