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.


We’re on our second month of the schoolyear, and so far, things are going well.  Though the load is heavier for Arielle (She’s now 2nd year high school), I feel that our homeschooling is more focused and more intentional than before.  Two more years and she’ll be off to college and so, we really need to teach her the essentials to prepare her for the “more serious” things in life.

This year, I made it clear to them, that I’ll be more particular on our schedule.  Why?  

It’s because the real world works on routine and schedule.  The work place has a structure and they need to be able to adapt to that.  They cannot wake up when they want to or go to work when they feel like it. So, we’re back to waking up early, at 6 / 6:30 am … minus the uniforms. 

Summer is the time I plan for the next schoolyear. This is the time I make our schedules, go through our books, do lesson plans, and identify goals for the coming year. (We follow the June to March school calendar, by the way, for two reasons: (1) to give our girls the opportunities to join the various classes usually offered only during April and May and/or (2) to go on a beach trip during these months, which we immensely enjoy as a family.)  

How does our typical day look like?  Here’s the schedule I made for this year.  This is a guide to help us cover all the subjects we need and want to do, without missing out on one or two, as much as possible.  We do deviate from this, especially when we feel like spending more time on a particular subject, or when we are not at home, in our normal “learning from the books” setting.  I also included here the books and other resources we use per subject.

6:00/6:30 – 7:45 am:
MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS – Bed, Bath, Breakfast

8:00 – 8:30 am: 
MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS – Devotional 

8:30 – 9:30 am:
MONDAYS – Character 
(Parenting with Scriptures; The Power for True Success; Achieving True Success; Character-Building Activities for Kids) 

TUESDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – World History 

(The Mystery of History; We are currently on Vol. 3)

THURSDAYS – Philippine Civics and History 
(One Country, One People;  Kasaysayan series;  and the daily newspaper or tv news)

FRIDAYS – Music 
(We go to Alabang for piano, voice, guitar classes from 9:00 to 11:00 am)

9:30 – 10:30 am:

MONDAYS TO THURSDAYS – Math 

(Teaching Textbooks)

10:30 – 10:45 am:
BREAK

10:45 – 11:50 am: 

MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – Science and Filipino

(Apologia Science / Filipino (Pluma and Hiyas plus Florante at Laura) )
*While Arielle, our eldest, works independently on her Filipino,
I do Science with Kayla.

TUESDAYS – Science and Christian Living

(Vibal Publishing’s We Celebrate God’s Love)
*same set-up as I previously cited

THURSDAYS – Science and Filipino or Civics

* same set-up as I previously cited

12:00 – 12:45 pm:

LUNCH

12:45 – 1:45 pm: 

MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – Reading

(Strategies to Achieving Reading Success by F & J de Jesus and

for high school, Bridges to Understanding)

TUESDAYS & THURSDAYS – Grammar and/or Creative Writing
(Easy Grammar , The Write Source)

FRIDAYS – Reading

1:45 – 2:00 pm:

BREAK

2:00 – 3:30 pm: 

MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – Filipino and Science

* Then, it’s the other way around.  Kayla works on her Filipino, and I help out Arielle with her Science, if needed.  She usually works pretty much on her own already.

TUESDAYS – Science and Christian Living

* same set-up as I previously cited

THURSDAYS – Science and Filipino or Civics

* same set-up as I previously cited

FRIDAYS – Civics or Christian Living, 

and High School Elective: Statistics & Probability

4:30 – 6:00 pm: 

MONDAYS TO THURSDAYS – Swimming

WEEKENDS – We do Home Economics, Technonology, and Art

The Master’s Academy (TMA), our homeschool provider, requires that we submit a portfolio every quarter, with the Bloom’s Taxonomy as our guide.  (Please refer to my previous posts on Bloom’s Taxonomy or BT).  BT guides us in teaching our girls the lessons we tackle and most especially, in their thinking, where we don’t end up only memorizing facts but proceeding to a higher level of applying them, analyzing, evaluating and finally creating something from what was learned from the lesson.  This, we do, as we go through our lessons, to be able to have a good grasp of the subject.  Doing BT in a as-we-go-along manner also helps us avoid cramming in our portfolio-making.

With BT as a guide, we also try to integrate in the way we  homeschool with TMA, the other personal goals we want to achieve such as to learn more technology skills and life skills.  Last year, for instance, instead of submitting a portfolio binder, which is a compilation of what our girls learned and accomplished, they used Google Docs.  We did an e-portfolio, eliminating a considerable amount of paper to compile and submit each quarter.  At the same time, it made it very convenient for us to submit it online, without having to travel to Manila, to submit portfolio binders to our academic consultants in TMA, and going back another time for their portfolio review.  Google Docs taught our girls how to collaborate, work as a team, upload files, format and finalize their own presentations.

This year, our project is to make a blog portfolio!  Another technology skill to learn!  I hope to be able to share it and our other activities in my next posts 🙂  (I also have other things in my project list for this year, which I feel will make our homeschooling more complete, and I am praying that God will provide us the means and right resources.  Hope He grants my requests!)  


 

I’m back, after a couple of months of not blogging.  Allow me to get back to the groove with this short blog.  Weather’s been gloomy, rainy, stormy these past days.  Today, classes have been suspended (again!) but for us, these past days of “no classes” have been the most productive.  We’ve been working on our 1st quarter portfolio and the girls are just about to be done!  We’re doing an online collaborative digital portfolio and it just makes me so happy to have been able to integrate all our subjects into one project.  I can say that we are one homeschooling family with “21st century skills”.  If you want to try going digital and having less paper to file, check out Google Docs!