“What about socialization?”, you may ask (up to now). I am proud and it makes me happy to say that it was NEVER a problem with our two daughters.  To begin with, socialization is NOT defined as (1) the number of friends one has or (2) as the different venues where one gets to meet other people.   It is not 935 friends or 2,684 followers.  Nor is it merely counting the classes our children are enrolled in and activities that keep their schedules full.  The piano class AND guitar class.  AND football training…AND church group…The dance class…AND art class…AND the weekend camp….AND the volunteer work…AND the party of a friend…AND the family reunion. The more Facebook friends, Instagram followers, and the more classes, the better socialized?  Not necessarily.

Social media today (FB, IG, Twitter, etc.) does not correctly define socialization or it twists the definition of socialization.  Overpacking our children’s schedules does not automatically make them well-rounded AND well-mannered persons either.  I honestly think Merriam Webster gives an easy-to-understand, practical definition of how it is to socialize.  According to Merriam-Webster, to socialize is TO TALK TO and DO THINGS with other people in a FRIENDLY way (take note of “talk to and do things” and “friendly”) and to teach (someone) to behave in a way that is ACCEPTABLE in society (again, take note of  “behave” and “acceptable”).

Currently a freshman at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Hong Kong for college, our eldest daughter, Arielle, already has friends of different nationalities.  She’s been able to ADAPT to different sets of friends and is not pressured to have to exclusively stick to just one group.  Being homeschooled for 8 years, she has learned how to WORK INDEPENDENTLY and BE INDEPENDENT, and at the same time, WORK IN A GROUP to foster TEAMWORK and CONDUCT HERSELF PROPERLY when with different kinds of people, WITHOUT COMPROMISING HER CHARACTER, HER FAITH, and WHO SHE RELALY IS. She knows when to say YES and more importantly, WHEN TO SAY NO.

The most recent pic sent to me by Arielle

The past 4 weeks have been a stressful adjustment, no doubt, on having to live independently, do basic life skills of budgeting, grocering, cooking, washing pans/dishes/utensils/glasses/food containers, meal planning, laundry, commuting while doing the intense demands of art school. But she’s coping and has learned “to adult”, speaking in their generation’s language.  We’ve really raised a brave, independent, confident girl.

Being in daily communication with her via WhatsApp and FaceTime with updates, questions, news, reminders, discoveries, and all sorts of stories (both good and bad) since we got back home, I’ve been through heartbreaking and joyful, thankful moments combined.  It may sound as if I haven’t learned to totally let go yet. But I realized that letting go does not mean having to lessen the communication between us.  After all, the OPEN, oh-so-HONEST COMMUNICATION and STRONG FAMILY BOND we have are the biggest benefits we truly enjoy from our homeschooling.  WE ARE A FAMILY.  We STAY TOGETHER AS A FAMILY no matter how far apart we may be from one another.  WE ALL DO OUR PART TO BE A FAMILY.  So why break the ties just to conform to the somewhat literal definition of “letting go”?

Our final parting with Arielle

So this is how it is and feels like to let go of your child after giving her the roots to ground herself with, and finally, the wings to make her fly.  It was NEVER the SOCIALIZATION that we were afraid of. NAH!!! It was really more of LEARNING HOW TO MANAGE HER TIME WELL AND BALANCE HER INDEPENDENT LIVING WITH HER STUDIES. TAKING CARE OF HERSELF PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, SPIRITUALLY, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, ARTISTICALLY, SOCIALLY in order to PRESERVE and NURTURE her WHOLE BEING. IT’S ALL ABOUT A BEING RESPONSIBLE ADULT GIVEN THE FREEDOM SHE HAS RIGHT NOW.

You know what? She has already begun to be one.  She has already proven herself to us that SHE CAN BE TRUSTED (This TOPS it all). SHE IS RESPONSIBLE. SHE CAN DO IT ON HER OWN!   Mike, Kayla, and I are SO PROUD of her! And WE DIDN’T and DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SOCIALIZATION.


With just a month and a week left before Arielle leaves for Hong Kong for college, guess what I’ve been teaching her, as both hands-on and plain verbal lectures and reminders (lots and lots of them)? They all have one thing in common. They are the things we adults do everyday or 99% of the time.  They are the things we struggle and juggle to do, making us survivors or experts of these skills.

They are all home management and real life skills.

Here is what my College 101 “lesson plan” or curriculum for Arielle looks like.  I came up with 5 categories: (1) meal planning, (2) laundry, (3) finance or money management, (4) social skills and character-building & application, (5) getting to places.


  • Weekly Menu Planning

For the past 3 or 4 weeks, Arielle’s been in-charge (and I mean, IN-CHARGE!) of our weekly menus. She lists them down using a printable menu planner such as this.  I taught her to try as much as possible, to have vegetables at least once a day, or if not, at least have a good distribution of beef, pork, chicken during the entire week.  My very least requirement for her when she’s already in Hong Kong is to prepare green smoothies every morning.  That is the fastest way to make sure that she gets to eat greens.

Since Arielle will be staying in a 3-bedroom unit with a small kitchen (like a condo) and the SCAD building does not really have a cafeteria where she can buy food (but there are lots of places to eat nearby), she has to learn how to cook and be economical.

I saw this great idea on Pinterest and so, Arielle and I made one (minus the actual binder/folder since it will be an extra weight in her luggage) with our own recipes, downloads, or photocopies.

We also made a pantry staples list with items that need to be in her grocery list to make sure that they are in stock in their kitchen.  Things like eggs, cooking oil, bread, butter, cheese, oatmeal, condiments, salt, pepper, rice, coffee/tea, honey, sugar, milk, etc.

  • Making a grocery shopping list

Based on her weekly menu plan, she learned to list down the kitchen and pantry items that need to be replenished and ingredients that need to be bought at the grocery.

  • Actual Meal Preparation, Cooking, Cleaning Up = TIME MANAGEMENT

This is probably the most challenging to teach.  Arielle hasn’t quite gotten the concept of time involved in preparing a meal.  The meat thawing (we don’t defrost meat using a microwave or oven method), cleaning and chopping of vegetables, marinating of the meat, tenderizing, different cooking methods all require TIME.  She still hasn’t fully understood that IT TAKES TIME to prepare a meal, to cook a meal (not unless one is going to eat straight from the can or bottle, which I do not recommend), and clean up afterwards. So, if she’s going to bring lunch to school or cook dinner after school, MENU PLANNING, a WELL-STOCKED PANTRY of INGREDIENTS, and CLAYGO (CLean As You GO) are key.

  • Leftovers Management

This is where Mike speaks.  “You have to learn how to eat leftovers.”  And I’m just glad that she is not a picky eater that she can eat leftovers.

  • Beef and Pork Meat Cuts Illustration, English translations, Cooking Guide

I was too focused on the meal planning and cooking tasks (since our daily meals depended on her!) that  I almost forgot that some of the recipes she follows have the meat cuts written in Tagalog. I realized that when she goes to the grocery or if she gets to go to the market in HK, she wouldn’t know the English translation of those meat cuts.  So, I immediately photocopied the flier I have in my files from Monterey, a local meat shop, which has an illustration of a cow and where the different beef cuts come from and their English names.  I didn’t have any flier on pork and so, I went to the website of Monterey, googled some more and went to Pinterest.  Whew!



  • Laundry (How-to to links and videos, International Fabric/Laundry Care Symbols)

Arielle admitted that she is not too confident about this.  She did laundry before using our washing machine and dryer when we didn’t have a house helper but it’s not something she mastered.  All she knows is to separate the whites from the colored, put the delicates in laundry wash/net bags, and to button or zip those that have buttons or zippers.  So, just last night, I emailed her links on how to do laundry plus visuals on the different fabric/laundry care symbols attached to the garments.  This is  still her reading assignment.


  • Opening a bank account

I am hoping that we would be able to open a bank account in Hong Kong on the day we arrive or at the latest, the day after.  But having seen the schedules sent by SCAD on the activities for the new students, everyday (including the Saturday and Sunday before their first day of class) is filled up with activities.  If we don’t get to do this with her, then she would have to do it by herself.

  • Budgeting, Wise and prudent spending

From the very start, Mike and I already explained to Arielle that her going to SCAD is going to be very expensive and that keeping the scholarship given to her would help A LOT.  So she knows and fully understands that she needs to be wise and prudent in order to keep spending low and on what’s necessary.  I’m thankful that when Arielle and I talk about her moving to Hong Kong, what really, (and I mean, REALLY!) excites her is going to class and learning!  Yes, she’s excited to try out new food, go around and see where she can buy clothes, but hearing that she has that attitude and love for learning inside her, it just makes me more at peace and confident that she’ll make it through college.



  • Social skills
  • Chores assignment, Meal planning, Cost sharing of common household items

Arielle will be with other international students and professors from different countries at SCAD. For this freshman year, she will be having two roommates with her who, fortunately, are going to be Filipinas. She will be in a Chinese-speaking territory. This is going to be the real test on socialization and character, on adaptability and getting along with different kinds of people.  I can’t wait to hear stories from her after a few weeks or so in Hong Kong.



  • Commuting (map reading, navigation, trip planning)

Fortunately, there’s a free scheduled shuttle bus that takes SCAD students living in the housing to the campus and back to the Residences throughout the day until evening. But going to other places like the grocery, restaurants, and shops would mean taking the MTR or bus.  Commuting will be her way of life in Hong Kong (which she never did in Manila or we never allowed her to do for safety reasons) and she would learn how to read maps, navigate and plan her trips well to maximize her time and be cost-efficient.


So you see, her gap year has been well-spent and she is still learning valuable skills that she needs to take with her before she finally leaves for college.  We all feel well-prepared, most especially, her, and that’s what’s important.

Our pieces of luggage are next in line, ready for packing.  Now that’s going to be another skill to teach her. How to pack (within the set baggage allowance) and eventually, how to travel on an international flight alone.  This college life is going to be one exciting journey (literally and figuratvely) for both Arielle and me!








These teens are off to a 5-day marine camp!

These teens are off to a
5-day marine camp!


Being a homeschool mom, it is quite rare for me to be alone in the house and with no girls to check up on.  And this is how it’s going to be for six straight days.  Yes, almost a week of no teens in the house!

Arielle, Kayla, and five of their invited female friends (four from Manila and one from Bacolod) are currently in a marine camp in Bacolod. Day 1 of camp started yesterday, May 6,  and will end on Saturday, May 10.  So, I see them all again in Manila on Sunday, May 11, which happens to Mother’s Day.

It is their second time to join this particular camp.  It’s called Danjugan Island Summer Marine Camp. They’ve joined another out-of-town, less-than-a-week long camp before which was the CISV camp.  After discussing and making an evaluation of which camp for them is better, they chose this marine camp, hands-down.  I’m not quite surprised because being a nature- and beach-loving family, Arielle and Kayla, both love the sand, sun, and sea.  Arielle’s now a certified junior scuba diver and Kayla loves to snorkel and has learned to free dive, too.  The marine camp last year gave them a rich and super fun learning experience, a chance to explore Bacolod, and especially savor the flavorful chicken inasal, the province’s chicken barbecue.  I, myself, enjoyed my stay in Bacolod last year, giving me a time to slow down and be a tourist in my own country.

Chicken inasal at  Chicken House...NAMIT! (which means 'delicious')

Chicken inasal at
Chicken House…NAMIT!
(which means ‘delicious’)

Logistics for this year is different.  Last year, Mike and I stayed the whole time in Bacolod in our couple friend’s house while the girls are at camp.  The girls, their two invited friends, Mike, and I all flew in and out of Bacolod together.  Since Arielle and Kayla invited four friends this time, we chose to book ourselves in a hotel, L Fisher Chalet, for an overnight stay before leaving for Danjugan Island early in the morning, instead of all eight of us staying at our friends’  house.

Upon arriving in Bacolod, from the airport, we headed to Chicken House to have chicken inasal for lunch,. What else???  Bacolod IS inasal!  With happy tummies, we checked in and settled down at our hotel after, and was able to go to The Ruins late in the afternoon for some photo ops.   Dinner was at Aboy’s, a personal favorite!

The next day, we all were up at 4:30 a.m. so we can all have breakfast at McDonald’s at 5:30. Meetup time for the campers was 6:30 a.m.  After bringing them to their designated meetup place, waiting for a while and finally sending them off, Mike and I stayed just a couple more hours in Bacolod and flew back to Manila.  While waiting for the time we must head off to the airport, we leisurely had breakfast with our friend (whose daughter also joined the camp this time) back in our hotel, checked out, bought some pasalubong at Quan (Napoleones, mmmmm!!!) and Bongbong’s (piyaya, butterscotch, assorted tarts, and danggit from Cebu), had lunch (chicken inasal, of course, and crispy chicken skin…I know, it’s not healthy!) at Hestia.   It was mission accomplished!  Sending off all six teens to camp, eating chicken inasal one more time, buying local delicacies, and flying back home.

As I write this, our girls are 400 kilometres from Batangas, 400.43 kilometres to be exact and about an hour of flight from Manila. They are in Visayas and I am in Luzon!  It is our first time to be away from each other this faaaaar and this loooong!  It does feel kinda strange but at the same time, I feel it’s something I have to learn getting used to.  After all, our girls are no longer kids but teens and they soon need to flap their wings and be more independent.  Arielle actually got really excited when I mentioned to her that she should observe and learn how we checked ourselves in at the airport so they can do it on their own next year.

I won’t be around to pick them up from camp.  Mike will be the one to go back to Bacolod and stay there for one night before they all head back to Manila.  I decided to stay home and enjoy my break straight.  This is a rare opportunity for me!  Besides, when they get back, it will be on May 11, Sunday, which is also Balik Bukid, a country fair I’ve missed already twice and am planning to go to this time.

So, this is another good change I’m having right now.  Homeschooling does strengthen our bond and relationships as a family since we’re always together.  At the same time, the lifestyle also gives us the environment, the opportunities to parent and release our children to the bigger world NATURALLY.

Teen parenting is figuratively teaching them to fly.

I am sooo sure the girls are having a grand time at camp…on an island…at a marine sanctuary…learning new things hands-on…and being with new friends!  I haven’t received any text messages from them since noon yesterday!  In the meantime, I am savoring these days of being kid-less, even if it’s just for a short period of time.  I also deserve to have my vacation and “camp out” in my bed, without having to think about schedules and what’s going to be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This is Teen Parenting for me, Letting Go course 🙂  It is a new parenting strategy and path to take.  Something that is bound to happen and I’m slowly learning how to do it successfully.

Have you let go of your kids?  What small or big steps have you taken?


Mixed Emotions

Photo Source: http://livelistendream.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/


I’ve been going through mixed emotions these past couple of weeks (more of months, actually). Now, I don’t know if these are my 40+ hormones going wayward or what!

HAPPY…that we’ve actually gotten on board another year of homeschooling (after a physically taxing kind of summer vacation which isn’t how we normally spend it)

HAPPY…that I was able to put in place my survival tools (all the preparations and requirements, and finally, guide schedules, with an ‘s’) before officially and slowly starting the schoolyear last June.  Everything I finished just in time!  WHEW!!!

THANKFUL…that we have new materials to use in Religion or Christian Living (books that are specifically Catholic), Grammar, Reading, Business Mathand even new activities for P.E. (archery for Arielle and golf for Kayla; They’ve been doing competitive swimming ever since they started to homeschool.) and for TLE (sewing, where I ended up joining our girls in class! 🙂 )

TIRED and UNMOTIVATED…that I’m teaching again to Kayla the same topics in Filipino and Social Studies (which is Philippine History) and with no really good textbooks and accompanying teacher’s guide to use for both subjects!  (A fellow homeschool mom suggested The Other Philippine History Textbook by Christine Diaz (Books 1 and 2) but as of this writing, we only read about the Spanish colonization of the Philippines so I can’t say yet if I can totally ditch the hand-me-down textbooks which Arielle used in the previous years).  That’s just Filipino and Social Studies.  There’s still Math, Science, and the other subjects. 

TIRED and FRUSTRATED…that I’m still reminding our girls some routines which I had expected them to know automatically by now.  

STILL THANKFUL…that since my homeschooling family stays with my parents (I’m the only child left to BE with them), we share helpers who do the cooking, laundry, and the rest of the household duties, which I don’t have to worry much about.  BUT I make sure that our girls still are aware of their responsibilities and duties at home and that they do their share of chores, too.  We still are a family unit who move about our own ways and live our own lifestyle.  I actually ADMIRE homeschool moms who manage to homeschool their kid(s) and still do all the chores at home, and even add a full-time or part-time job to all those duties and responsibilities, whether as a WAHM (work-at-home mom) or commuting daily to the office!  HATS OFF to these SUPERMOMS! 

(Back to) FRUSTRATED…that I’m running out of ideas how to teach (well, more of coach) the different subjects to our girls! How do I do out-of-the-box teaching in Algebra, Chemistry, Physical Science, World History?

CAREFREE ATTITUDE…since I feel I lack the motivation and I don’t have any brilliant and new ideas to put some excitement in their lessons and spice up our discussion.  I usually am geared up every start of the schoolyear! But not this time 🙁  (And to think that we just started! What a way to begin!)  

(Back to) THANKFUL…that Arielle and Kayla are actually working more independently now. I still think that this is an accomplishment and victory to be celebrated.  

Do you now feel the roller coaster ride of my mixed emotions?  Brace yourselves for a few more dips and turns!

HAPPY...that I’ve found a new hobby in doodling and journaling.  It really feels good to discover that happy place for some ME time and self-expression.

AFRAID…that I won’t be able to get back on track in the next quarters with this kind of attitude and totally having no fresh ideas to make their learning more fun and exciting.

AFRAID and FRUSTRATED COMBINED…that I’m shortchanging my girls, especially Kayla,  because I’ve been less involved in their learning. 

PRETTY MUCH DETACHED, WORTHLESS, and LESS FULFILLED…because most of the time, I’ve really been just letting the girls work independently and move on from one subject to the next. Did I just change our homeschooling setup and lifestyle to one where I simply brought the classroom to our home?  Where did the “beyond books and walls” go?  How about that person in me known as “the best teacher of my children”? Did she go on leave?

UPSETwith Department of Education’s K-12 program which I feel is messing up Arielle’s high school and preparation for college and how this K-12 is making our homeschooling now feel like traditional school done at home.  That makes me feel even worse since I already feel traditional-ish in my teaching style in the first place!  The K-12 issue and our view about it should be another post to write about (if only I could put down all my thoughts, every bit of emotion in words and have the inspiration plus time to blog about it!)  

Is this how it’s supposed to be after 6 whole years of breathing the homeschooling lifestyle?  Or is there also such a thing as a 7-year itch in homeschooling?   I wonder (Hey, I’m serious.)

The only thing that’s keeping me together in one piece these days is the thought that whatever I’ve been feeling lately (ALL of it!) is probably going to do us good (GOSH! I HOPE SO!), and that with God’s blessing and promise, EVERYTHING’S GOING TO WORK OUT JUST FINE (Breathe in, breathe out). After all, Arielle’s already in 3rd year high school and Kayla’s slowly moving up to higher levels.   They do need to learn how to be independent.  I’m probably at the stage where it’s quite difficult for me to LET GO of our girls, let them stand on their own, and start flapping their wings.  I’ve probably been so attached and hands-on to them that actually seeing and letting them do things on their own gives me a weird, uncomfortable, different feeling.  Maybe, I’m not yet used to their telling me “Ma, I’m okay.  I understand my lessons.  I can do it by myself.”

I just didn’t expect this to happen this year.  So soon?  I’ve been harping on teaching the life skill, independence, and now that’s actually and slowly happening in front of my face, I don’t know how to deal with it.  It is quite a surprise…something unexpected.

All these mixed emotions! SIGH!!!  All I can do right now is to chill.  To let go.  To pray hard to be a better and wiser parent to them as I go through this parenting AND homeschooling stage combined and make sure they feel that I’m just right behind them when they need me.  I probably need a change of perspective to be able to deal with these growing-up and moving-on changes in our life. 

How have you been feeling lately with your homeschooling?  Have you had mixed emotions, too? How did you cope and how do you deal with them? 


Now Reading:  Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Great Gatsby

Now Reading: Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Great Gatsby

When I was planning for this schoolyear, particularly for the subject Reading, I was trying to make up my mind between Total Language Plus (TLP) and Progeny Press (PP).  Arielle did TLP when she was in her 4th and 5th Grades.  We were sure it was something she can do and she’d like to do at that time since she was really a reader.  Kayla started a bit late in reading books compared to Arielle and so, I really wanted something that would give her a more step-by-step guide or instruction as she reads a book and further break down what she had just read.  But I wasn’t 100% sure if TLP would work for her since she’s more of kinesthetic learner and wouldn’t really sit down for a long period of time at her desk.  From what I recall with Arielle’s TLP, she really spent some time answering the questions in her workbook.  For Kayla, I was looking for some structure and depth but not as intensive (if that’s the right word to describe it FOR Kayla) as TLP.  I wanted her to enjoy reading and not find it too tedious and demanding of her time.   I just KNEW that there was a big probability that if I had given her a TLP workbook alongside with the book that she’s reading, she’ll tell me, “Ma, I don’t like TLP!”

So, my research began and I stumbled upon Progeny Press.  I read about it, bookmarked it, read about it some more, compared it with other literature study guides that came up in my search, showed the girls the site, and asked them if PP would be something they’d like to do for their Reading subject.  They gave me a YES and so, I let them choose what books they’d like to read from a looong list of book choices that had study guides available at Progeny Press.  (I ordered the books fr the U.S. since we were filling up a box shipment containing our other homeschooling books and materials, although I’m sure most, if not all, copies can be readily purchased at our local bookstores.  We opted to get the printed books because I still wanted them to have time off the computer, and they can bring their books with them when we’re not at home.  Also, holding a book with your hands is still the most pleasurable and the best reading experience to have, if you ask me.  As for the study guides, I chose to have the PDF versions (labeled as Instant Downloads) which I can conveniently print out copies at home when I need them or when it’s time for the girls to read their next book. I’ve read that the PDF versions are also interactive, where the girls can directly type on the computer, not needing to print out copies. But then again, I wanted a time off the computer.  The study guides are also in two other formats, printed booklet and CD.)

Arielle is currently doing The Great Gatsby (a great coincidence since the movie was shown just before or when she just started to read the book) and Kayla’s reading The Island of the Blue Dolphins.  To tell you honestly, the subject Reading is not a subject I would overly fuss about.  It’s something I’d like them to enjoy and be considered as a “break” from their other subjects, particularly Math and Science.  So, when I saw how PP was, I felt it was going to be a good material for the girls for this schoolyear.  

To give an overview of Progeny Press’s Study Guides, here are the contents and activities you will find in them (I’m basing these on the current guides we have started to use. I’m not sure if the other study guides come with exactly the same format and content):

1.  Note to Instructor

2.  Synopsis

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Great Gatsby

From The Great Gatsby

3.  Background Information

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Great Gatsby

From The Great Gatsby

4.  About the Author

5.  Ideas for Pre-reading Activities – which serves as a warm-up or primer 

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

From The Island of the Blue Dolphins

6.  Vocabulary

7. Comprehension Questions which include skill-building topics such as Foreshadowing, Point of View, Mood, Character Study, Analysis, Dig Deeper

8. Having a Christian perspective and not missing out on Christian life applications are a BIG PLUS!


So far, I haven’t heard any complaint or grumble from Arielle and Kayla about their PP, especially from Kayla.    They are able to work independently which is what we’re really working on as they move up to higher levels.  With these two alone, I would recommend Progeny Press as a material for Reading.  It is easy to follow and has a lot higher order thinking (or critical thinking) questions, which Arielle cited as the main difference between the two.  She said that PP’s questions are “more intensive” (her own words, not mine) than TLP.  However, if you would want something that would include the subject Language with grammar, spelling, writing, and other skills like dictation, then TLP might work better for you.  See TLP’s sample pages.  (A side note:  I just wish they made the text and font of PP’s Answer Key a lot BIGGER! *cross-eyed*) 

If you need more comparison between Progeny Press and Total Language Plus, here are a few reviews I’ve come across which might be of help:

  1. Cathy Duffy 
  2. Prncsstefy
  3. The Well-trained Mind
  4. My Father’s World


As a last note and piece of advice, when scouring for your books and materials, find what suits your child best, his/her learning style, keeping also in mind the academic and character goals you have set and the kind of homeschooling lifestyle and interests your family has. 

What do you use to develop and improve your young adult’s reading skills?  I would like to get tips and recommendations, too!


Photo Source: http://www.purlp.com/2013/01/philippine-calendar-2013-with-holidays-photo.html

Photo Source: http://www.purlp.com/2013/01/


We should be starting our Schoolyear 2013-2014 soon, June 3 to be exact.  That’s if I follow the HIGH SCHOOL (Gulp!) homeschool schedules I had planned for this year.  But my sister from the U.S. is in town until the 3rd week of June and I need to do my “balikbayan chaperoning duties”. We’ll probably start off with a few subjects and go full blast after my sister returns to the U.S.  I would have wanted to go as scheduled since I already know how loaded high school can be, but I will let Arielle and Kayla spend time with my sister first and bond with her.  After all, she doesn’t come home that often and last time we all saw each other was in 2009.  Relationships first before academics.

We’re actually all set to start another schoolyear (Am I???).  I’ve covered all steps in my homeschool planning, except for the last step, step #12.  I should set aside time for that so that the girls and I will all be on the same page before we face a loaded year.

This year, following Debra Bell’s guide on her The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (a planning system designed by Debra Bell), it is my goal to teach better teach the girls two important life skills which should prepare them for college:  TIME MANAGEMENT and INDEPENDENCE.  Here’s a sneak peak of some of the pages of the Debra Bell’s planner to better understand how this is to be taught and how it’s supposed to be done successfully.

Here are the high school homeschool schedules I came up with for Kayla (7th Grade) and Arielle (3rd Year High School).  I did something similar last year but the girls ended up following a revised schedule they felt more comfortable with, which was longer hours spent on fewer subjects per day.  It did work for us but I feel things could be made better.   This time, I plan to be stricter and follow these skeds to be able to cover more subjects every day, every week, instead of cramming a number of subjects during the latter part of the quarter.   Do take note that P.E., Art, and TLE do not have to strictly follow the schedule (If they do not have P.E. in the afternoon, like in the case of Arielle, she can use that time to have a couple more minutes to finish up a subject in order to accomplish her week’s target).  I just assigned them during days and in time slots where I feel we would still be able to do and enjoy those subjects without much pressure and brain activity, which could also serve as our “down time.”   Another important change in our schedule is the inclusion of a Weekly Sked Approval during Mondays and a Weekly Review during Thursdays.  The Weekly Sked Approval at the start of the week will serve as a time for me to check the schedules our girls intend to do (That’s time management skills for them), in order to accomplish the tasks for the week.  This should also give us the time to be clear on the week’s to-do’s.   The Weekly Review at the end of each week, on the other hand, is meant to provide accountability, give feedback, suggestions, corrections, and encouragement, and pay attention to areas where guidance is most needed.

I really hope and pray that this strategy will work smoothly for all of us; that this will make the girls feel that they are in control of their time, feel more responsible and more independent, and have that sense of ownership of their learning.  However, I won’t be surprised if after just a couple of weeks after we’ve started our schoolyear, I would already need to do some tweaks in our schedule,  to avoid tension build-up and frustration right at the beginning of the schoolyear!  It’s not actually a favorite thing of mine to do, schedule adjustments (and doing grades), but I should remember to take it as a benefit of homeschooling; that we can scrap whatever doesn’t work for us and jump right in to what does.

7th Grade Homeschool Schedule

7th Grade
Homeschool Schedule


3rd Year High School's Homeschool Schedule

3rd Year High School
Homeschool Schedule


What kind of high school homeschool schedule do you follow?  What works for you and your teens?  I would love to know more about them and learn from you! 🙂


Kayla’s interest is in culinary.  As of the now, she says she wants to be a chef someday. One Sunday, I told the girls it was going to be a baking day.  Being the kinesthetic learner, Kayla was the more excited one.  She pulled out a boxed cake mix from the shelf (We usually bake from scratch) and the rest of the ingredients and tools we would be needing.  Well, she ended up doing everything by herself from measuring the ingredients, mixing them, cleaning up (This is still a work-in-progress), lining the cupcake pans, and pouring the batter into each hole in the pan.  She also did the frosting all by herself: measuring, mixing, and preparing the piping bag and decorating tip, and decorating the cupcakes.  The only thing that she can’t do yet is turn on our gas-fired oven, put the pans in and pull them out when the cake or cupcakes is done.  That’s still my role.

I congratulated her for doing a better job this time and really showing that she can bake by herself with less supervision.

On another occasion, she again baked cupcakes but from scratch.  She chose the recipe from her own recipe book and came up with her own combination of a chocolate kind of cupcake and frosting which she hasn’t tried doing before.  And VOILA!  This is her cupcake creation!  I was kinda uncertain at first as to how her cupcakes would taste like because it didn’t make use of butter, which I think is THE  ingredient that always makes cakes, cupcakes or cookies flavorful.  But when Arielle and I tried what she made (actually, not tried but ate! I avoid white sugar and bad carbs these days but I just couldn’t resist!), we were really surprised to taste a VERY YUMMY FROSTED CUPCAKE! I’m not kiddin’! It was the frosting that did the magic! JUST PERFECT for the chocolate cupcake!  We gave Kayla a two thumbs up!

Kayla’s tweaked and simplified version of S’mores cupcake


She decorated her cupcakes with mini marshmallows


She did a photo shoot of her creation.


Kayla’s BEST cupcake recipe so far! YUM! YUM!


There are a number of other skills and lessons learned from simple baking.  These are:

  1. Reading recipes
  2. Following instructions or procedures
  3. Math concepts:  measurements, fractions
  4. Hygiene, cleanliness
  5. Safety
  6. Chemistry (although we didn’t dig deeper into this last Sunday)
  7. Workflow efficiency
  8. Home economics: food handling and storage
  9. Creativity
  10. Sharing with others 🙂 – A remark we would always hear from Kayla is that she’ll bake cookies or pack food items and give them to the poor or those in the streets.  That’s her.  That’s her heart ❤.
  11. Entrepreneural spirit – She’s been wanting to make this a full-blown business but I just haven’t found the extra time to do it with her.  We’ve however touched on the topics of product development, packaging, purchasing, suppliers, costing and pricing, marketing, etc. and still continue to discuss the processes involved to set up and operate one.

Baking. Another life skill to teach our girls. What else?  Cooking. Knife skills. Basic hygiene in the kitchen. Food preparation. Marketing. Budgeting. A lot more! (No wonder the kitchen is usually the place where homeschooling families gather ’round!)  This is another way we make LEARNING REAL and BETTER for our girls.

Have you baked with your kids lately? It’s fun (and yummy, too!)

Last January 3, Mike accompanied Arielle and Kayla to the bank.  It’s been a tradition for us to deposit the cash money that they received as Christmas gifts every start of the new year.  This teaches the girls the process of making deposits, makes them familiar with the bank atmosphere, transactions, forms used, procedures, etc.  This time, Mike made Arielle and Kayla do the deposit themselves which was via a computer screen first then, the teller. (They said they were no more deposit slips to be used.)  Arielle also deposited a cheque to Mike’s account.

The next day, January 4, Mike and I had to go to Manila first thing in the morning.  Mike asked Arielle to deposit a cheque to his bank account in another bank.  Kayla went with her.  Arielle was able to do the transaction without adult supervision.  The teller praised her for being able to know what to do and how to do it (She was told that she just missed writing down the branch of the bank. It looks like this bank had a different procedure, this time, with the use of deposit slips).  

Making bank deposits is important.  It is one of the many life skills we must teach our children, and I have more in my list that I want them to learn and need to teach to them! For those with younger kids, they may not be capable yet to make deposits or withdrawals from the bank, but you can already teach them about money and what the bank does by tagging them along the next time you yourself go to the bank.  Make it a mini field trip 🙂  Same with the grocery, bake shop, restaurant, hardware store, repair shop, etc.  

I like seeing and meeting kids who show independence and self-reliance at quite a young age, or at least, at their age level.  I’m not talking about “being advanced” here.  Just being developmentally age-appropriate, perhaps?  Essentially, this is also just one way that we make our LEARNING AND SOCIALIZATION REAL.

What life skills have you taught your children and how do you teach it to them?  



Tomorrow, May 31, 2012, another schoolyear welcomes Arielle and Kayla, my beloved students of the Guevara Homeschool Academy 🙂  Believe it or not, after having homeschooled them for 5 years already, I am hearing voices asking “Can I do this?” repeatedly.  (Maybe it’s the Algebra 1 and Biology talking.)

What’s our agenda for Day 1 of Schoolyear 2012-2013?  We are going to have our Orientation Day and important topics to discuss are:

1.  House Rules (for order and peace … and my sanity 🙂 )

2.  Schedules and Routines (for order, peace, and training for independence)

3.  SMART Goal-setting (Training for independence, time management, self-improvement, and a whole bundle of character traits such as diligence, perseverance, responsibility)

4.  Familiarization with their books and reading of their books’ Table of Contents (not to overwhelm them but just to give them an idea or a big picture of what they will be learning this year)

We have all our books, materials, work areas ready, and with lots of encouragement I’ve received lately plus a daily sprinkling of God’s grace and utterance of prayers, I think I’m ready to homeschool again 🙂

A happy and relaxing Sunday to everyone!  I was catching up on some of my online readings this morning when I read this article, shared by a fellow homeschool mom, on why you should consider to homeschool your children.  I’ve come across and read a number of articles or write-ups on this same topic (I even wrote my own and have MY version!) but I find this one plain and simple.  So direct-to-the-point that I find it to be the best!  To those who can’t decide whether they would join the bandwagon of homeschoolers or go with everybody else in the traditional way,  you may want to read this:

12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Children

I hope this would somehow help you unclutter your thoughts about the education responsibility or role you have for your children.  May it lead you to what is best and where God wants you to be.