2016 was a BIG year for our family, especially in homeschooling and parenting. Well, that’s how I see it, being the Mom Organizer in-charge.  I knew what was happening to each member of my family and what I had to do for each of them.

Slowly easing my way through the new year, I can’t seem to be in the 2017 zone just yet. I feel I have to spend a a little more time looking back at 2016, the year that was.

So this is how I see the year that had just passed. 2016 was…

  1. A year of CHANGE
  • Arielle moved up to college and moved to Hong Kong, her new home
  • Kayla transferred to a U.S. homeschool program, Seton Home Study School, after being with a local homeschool provider, The Master’s Academy (now Homeschool Global) for 9 years.
  • Mike ran as city councilor in the last May elections but learned and accepted that politics or holding a public official position may not be for him. The valuable lesson we all learned was what matters most is he played fair.

 

2. Both FEAR-full and FAITH-filled

  • With the changes I just mentioned, how could I not be both afraid and keep my faith, as a mom and a wife?

 

3. EASY and DIFFICULT at the same time

  • After homeschooling Arielle for 8 years and taking a gap year after that, letting go of her was easy because deep in my heart, I KNEW and FELT CONFIDENT that I’ve spent those 8 years + 1 year well with her. Mother-daughter relationship was cemented. Seeds of trust and communication were planted.
  • But I also realized that no matter how much you prepare your daughter for college, adult life, and independent living, being separated from her DOES LEAVE a hole in your heart. My life was not the same (and will no longer be) after Arielle left last September.

 

4. Both LETTING GO and HOLDING ON

  • It was LETTING GO of our eldest homeschooled child and HOLDING ON to the FAMILY that we’ve raised, the identity, the values, the dynamics, the traditions, the ways only the four of us will understand and cherish.
  • LETTING GO of what is old and comfortable and yet, HOLDING ON to our core, what we believe in deep inside and what kept us going.

 

5. Having ROOTS and WINGS

  • No doubt, Arielle’s roots and wings were evident this year as she adapted to the HK culture and fast-paced lifestyle as an international student and stayed true to herself and remembered the things we’ve taught her all these years.
  • It was also Kayla’s turn to firm up her own roots onto the ground as she did her best to develop the gift that she has in golf and we are happy to see her steadily improve her performance in the sport. I continue to pray that soon, she will flap her wings and ready to take off.

 

Oh what a year!!! 2016 was not a year that ended but only the beginning of the next stage in my parenting, a new phase of my life, which is slowly releasing our daughters to the big and real world with high hopes that they will be living happily a life of purpose uniquely designed for them by God.

 

 

 

 

 


 

“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.

 


 

After AAALLLL the thinking and planning we’ve been doing these past 12 months in our gap year, this is a no-brainer post.  Just all-heart <3!  I just wanted to share with you what I’ve come up with for Arielle’s college care package.  I’ve never heard of the term until we were getting down to details on her transfer to Hong Kong and I came across the term in an article.  A college care package is basically a package of items put together that your son or daughter needs (or YOU THINK your son or daughter will need!)  For us Filipinos, I think we’re familiar with this tradition or gesture as “padala” or “pasalubong”.  But in other countries, care packages are just sent via mail, while we would most often ask a friend or relative to bring it over or if not, via couriers like LBC.

Since I needed to make the care package as light as possible, I reused an old bubble wrap envelope (yes it was an envelope and not a sheet) used by my sister in the U.S. to send over something to us.  The items I had been putting (and hiding) together fit PERFECTLY!  Take a look!

Bible verses and quotes from Padre Pio and St. Therese which I hand-lettered and painted myself

Bible verses and quotes from Padre Pio and St. Therese which I hand-lettered and painted myself

 

 

Printed photos of each one of us, our family, and Kayla and Arielle with wooden clips, jute string, and 2 rolls of washi tape to decorate her room with

Printed photos of each one of us, our family, and Kayla and Arielle together with wooden clips, jute string, and 2 rolls of washi tape to decorate her room with

 

 

Crucifix for her bedside, an engraved pen, manicure set, room and linen spray, Korean face masks, and over-the-door hooks

Crucifix for her bedside, an engraved pen, manicure set, room and linen spray, Korean face masks, and over-the-door hooks

 

 

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (a must natural therapy!), more hooks!

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (a must natural therapy!), more hooks!

 

Just wrapped the printed photos in paper

I wrapped the printed photos in paper

 

 

The next photos are to show you the Post-It notes I had written on each 🙂

I had her name engraved on a pen.

 

A bottle each of room and linen spray

A bottle each of room and linen spray

 

A vanity mirror

A vanity mirror

 

Something that the two sisters bond over!

Something that the two sisters bond over!

 

The crucifix

The crucifix

 

Half-pans to store tube paints and be on-the-go!

Half-pans to store tube paints and be on-the-go!

 

The final care package now looks like this!

Store-bought and handmade masking tapes with messages

Store-bought and handmade masking tapes with messages

 

The back part of the package

The back part of the package

 

The only items I wasn’t able to take pictures of are bars of Kit-Kat chocolate, 2 packs of regular and mini M&M’s and a pack of mints.  I was planning to add packs of chocolate chip cookies (her favorite!) but she had already grabbed 2 packs for herself when we went to the grocery last weekend.  She told me those will be for Hong Kong!

After packing all sorts of things (and we’re not yet done!), this is going to be a surprise package we will put on Arielle’s bed on her moving-in day!  (Kayla also has “something” for her Ate.)

Now I see the value of care packages.  It is a way to keep in touch with your son or daughter who has left for college and to make them feel that family is not too far away.  Whether or not someone’s love language is gift-giving, I think care packages, big or small, are a sure way to let someone know that we’re thinking about him or her.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Countdown to college!

 

 

Last week, I was exchanging messages with a few close friends and sharing with them my current situation particularly, parenting stage.  Updating them, rather, as I try to keep myself together after I started doing a countdown to September 7. These are my friends who know that our eldest, Arielle, will already be in college, but she will not be going to any of the local universities here in Manila. She has her eyes set on pursuing Animation and Mike and I fully support her in sending her to a college abroad that seems to be a perfect fit to her creative personality and homeschooled lifestyle and kind of learning.  SCAD Hong Kong will be her home for the next 9 months, at the very least.

Anyway, my chat with a few of my friends was lightbulb moment of some sort.  I can’t seem to think of a one-word to describe that moment when I was in the zone of processing my thoughts and the parenting stage that I am in and at the same time, also understanding the honest feedback and reaction of my friends.  But the mere update and chat we had HIT ME. HARD.  And that’s why I’m writing this.

When I tell my friends and even acquaintances that Arielle will be leaving in a few weeks for Hong Kong to start her college life, most , if not all of them, give me the same reaction.

“Wow! Congratulations!”

“Are you ready???”

“Di ko kaya ‘yan! (I won’t be able to handle or take that!  OR  “I can’t!!!)

“No! I want to keep my babies forever!”

Like, do you really want to keep your children forever?!! To be honest with you, that reaction did cross my mind and made me pause a bit.  But I can’t wait to see them happily and successfully settled down with a job or career that pays for their rent, utilities, and food!

Thinking deeper after receiving those reactions and comments with the same tone, a quick flashback of our decision to homeschool flashed in my mind (in just like minutes!). I suddenly began to ask myself “Isn’t it more logical to have your children around and with you when they are babies, toddlers, in their growing up years, when they are tweens and teens, and release them and let them go when they reach the age of 17 or 18 years old, after you’ve trained them well enough and have given them roots then wings? Then, a followup thought immediately came, “Why are you keeping them in the house when they should be in school?”  It was one of those popular questions I was often asked by people who wonder why we are homeschooling our girls. One of those most asked questions where I didn’t want to sound exasperated every time I would give an answer.  Thinking about these questions and reactions indeed showed me that there many things, beliefs, principles that go against the majority and the world. Education, learning, parenting are a few of them.

Well, of course, I am speaking as a homeschool mom who’s currently on our 10th year to homeschool.  Call it defensive, but I’d like this post to come across as a statement of who we are and what we believe in.  I am merely sharing a decision we’ve made 10 years ago and that lifestyle choice we continue to make.  I am not putting down anyone who do not agree with me and our unpopular decision. Rather, I am hoping that this written piece will just give everyone a chance to really pause and think about the different choices they’ve made and where those choices have brought them.

Everyone in our family loves homeschooling and are happy with it!  We continue to reap and enjoy the many advantages and blessings it brings.

I honestly do pray that wherever you are right now, you are happy and at peace for making those choices.


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your greatest fears?

What are looking forward to the most?

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


 

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 🙂

 

 

 


Photo taken from the motherhood.com

Photo taken from the motherhood.com

Last night, I came across this post of Simple Homeschool which caught my attention.  The hardest part of my homeschool year: A new series.    When I saw the lineup for this series, I knew that Homeschooling An Angry Child and Homeschooling Teens are something I would need to read.  Just recently also, in the very first meetup of our tweens and teens homeschoolers Facebook group, one of the moms asked me what for me is the most challenging in homeschooling tweens and teens.

I never said homeschooling was easy.  I only said that it was the best option for our kids and our family.  It’s a personal choice and decision.

Now to answer the question, rephrased a bit.  What is the hardest part of my homeschooling? What is the most challenging I’ve experienced so far in homeschooling two tweens, a tween and a teen, or both teens? What is my biggest struggle in homeschooling teens?

I’m going to take a long pause now here and really think about it. This is so timely because I actually have been thinking a lot lately about the highs and lows of our homeschooling journey…There’s going to be a lot of introspection here.

We’ve had so many rough rides these past 8 years, touching so many areas.  Not knowing how and where to start, choosing books and classes to enroll in, beating deadlines, not knowing how to teach a subject, a mismatch of teaching and learning styles, dealing with bullying, moving homes, having no helper, disapproval of family members, being doubted and questioned by friends,  looking for support groups, feeling incapable and unworthy, having a disorganized home, a never-ending search for the best and affordable books WITH answer keys, struggling in Filipino, standing firm in our Catholic faith in the midst of Christian friends and homeschoolers, the longing for some space and rest, repeating myself over and over again, always thinking if as a parent-teacher I have done enough, feeling useless and incompetent, admitting mistakes and being totally honest with one another, frustration after frustration…Oh!  The list can go on.

But the ONE thing I PERSONALLY AM STRUGGLING WITH that bothers me so much is…the feeling that I give too much and yet I feel it’s not enough.  Or it’s the feeling that what I have given may not actually be what my family needs after all, leaving me sometimes bone dry and seeking for appreciation for what I’ve done. All of it. Sometimes, I think it’s a case of love language not met and fulfilled. Or that I expect too much from my family because I give too much.  Other times, I think I’ve failed in teaching character (selflessness, love, service, appreciation, encouragement, respect, consideration) and being a good example of those traits for my family to reciprocate them.

And somehow this brings up another struggle issue.   It is the feeling that after doing all that I can, doing what is expected of me, and giving my all…I can’t afford to make mistakes.  I’m expected to be perfect or so close to being perfect that committing a single mistake is not at all permissible. Because I seem to have everything running smoothly day in and day out and I seem to be managing majority of the areas in our family and homeschooling life pretty well, overlooking something or simply doing something wrong in our one-to-one relationships and in the area of disciplining is a big NO-NO.  It’s like the rest of my family can commit mistakes, do it over and over again which I am supposed to tolerate, but if I slip and commit one major mistake along the way, I’ll be hated by everybody and it would be something really difficult for everyone to come to terms with!

As I think about this, it has come to my realization how utterly important it is to pray to God ALWAYS so I can be guided to do what is RIGHT every single time.  And that includes admitting my flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, and asking for an apology when I do end up FALLing and FAILing.

There you go.  I just shared with you the hardest part of my homeschooling.  It’s ugly.  It’s REAL. To answer also the related question as to what for me is the most challenging in homeschooling teens, it’s LETTING GO.  I now see the two related.  The first and hardest part I’ve shared on giving (and expecting) too much is the most challenging.  What’s hard is for me to let go and not give too much.  It’s hard for me to step back a bit and not be too hands-on. But I’m not really a stage mom or into helicopter parenting.  My girls can attest to that.  It really is just a case of LEARNING TO LET GO at this stage of parenting our soon-to-be-adult girls.  It really is tough for me nowadays to know when to let go and when to still hold on and constantly watch over them. Many times, that thin line is not very clear and easy for me to see.

You probably thought I’ve had it all figured out by now, after 8 years of homeschooling.  Nope. New chapter, new challenges.

How about you?  What is the  hardest part of YOUR homeschooling?  What is YOUR biggest struggle?


 

Some of you may be wondering what we’ve been up to in our homeschooling and probably, if I’m still alive (LOL!).  Yes, I very much am!  It’s just that our homeschool life seems to have taken a different turn and things aren’t anymore like “This is our schedule for today” or “It’s time for me to sit down and teach Filipino to Kayla, and after this, it’s History for Arielle.”

Now that Arielle’s in her senior year in high school and Kayla is in 8th Grade, they’ve been pretty much on their own.  Yes, that’s how it’s been.  They’ve been independent.  They managed to come up with their own schedule that they feel would work best for them and where they will be most productive.  I thought my past method of making schedules for them every year (yes, every single year for the past seven years) would still work but apparently, I had to keep my hands off already in this area of our systems and routines.  This setup may not be totally perfect but it’s a learning curve that they must go through. Also, it’s another parenting lesson for me on letting go.  The fear and question that they might be missing out on a lot of things in terms of academics do haunt me so I still make it a point though to check up on them regularly so I know what they are doing and where they may be needing help on.  I also remind myself that I cannot and won’t be able to teach them E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, as Debra Bell had said in one of the homeschool conferences I’ve attended.  What’s more important is to teach them the skills on how to learn and how to be a lifelong learner.

So what’s been my role to them?  I can sum it up in two words:  a coach and a counselor.  I now wear different hats or let’s say, I now have new (or is “more” the more appropriate word?) hats to put on.  Here’s what it now looks like homeschooling our two teen girls.

With Arielle, Mike and I have been having a lot of discussions with her on the following:

  1. Responsibility and time management  –  Clearly knowing what is expected from her and when
  2. Identifying and setting priorities  –  Knowing what needs more of her time, attention, and efforts, and also the willingness to give up what shouldn’t be taking up much of her time
  3. Proper work habits and ethics  –  Learning how to handle and manage tasks and projects with diligence, persistence, patience, willingness, punctuality, responsibility, and maturity
  4. Dealing with different kinds of people and that includes difficult people in the “workplace”  – Since we’ve been exposing Arielle to (1) real-life professionals, mentors, teachers, speakers, trainors, who are older than her, and (2) kids of her age, via workshops, trainings, camps, and projects that she herself initiated or collaborated with other people, we’ve been telling her “facts of life” and realities that she is going to face in the real world when she goes to college or starts working.  This is a tough one to teach and impart wisdom on since we are talking about relationships and how to present herself to others and clearly communicate to them what she has to say, without appearing domineering, arrogant, or as someone who can be pushed around.
  5. Decision-making and facing consequences of her own decision  –  Taking responsibility for the choices she made and ownership for her actions

These areas are enough to drain me mentally and sometimes, emotionally, after a lengthy conversation and processing of thoughts and emotions with her.   I believe this is where most of my energy goes.  In the P-R-O-C-E-S-S-I-N-G, which is ultimately character-building.   I cannot emphasize enough how parenting teens can really be challenging and quite exhausting.

With Kayla,  parenting her these days is different since she has just entered the teen stage.  I cannot say that it’s easier the second time around since Arielle has been through this early teen stage already.  As we all know, every child is different.  Every child has unique needs.  Every child has a different love language.  Every child calls for a specific parenting style.  So for her, our conversations and discussions often revolve around these:

  1. Time management  –  Learning to identify what’s important and what must be done first
  2. Decision-making and facing consequences of her own decisions  –  Learning to make her own decisions and owning them
  3. Making and choosing friends with good moral character  –  Being conscious of her own and other people’s behaviour, character, virtues, and manners
  4. Money management  –  Need vs. want;  That money is a resource that must be used wisely and with care
  5. Identifying her God-given strengths and interests  –  Making her aware of her talents, gifts, capabilities and things that she can do naturally and with much potential, and believing that she is as unique as her Ate Arielle

 

It’s a new chapter in our homeschooling life and I myself am learning and being trained new skills as a parent.  It is sometimes so easy and tempting to just fall into the trap of just following what everyone does but I am constantly reminded by God that Arielle and Kayla were wonderfully and fearfully made by Him.  As the saying goes, they were born not to fit in but to stand out.  Now that’s where my parenting challenge lies.  To make sure that I am raising and molding them into the persons that God designed and purposed them to be.  I am hoping and praying that my efforts in doing so are close enough!

What homeschooling challenges are you faced with right now?  I can probably learn a few things from you.


 

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?