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.


 

This is going to be a short post.  Just to share with you that we are done and ready to submit to SCAD-HK Arielle’s best artworks (19 to upload, maximum of 20), resume, and two 500-word essays for two more scholarship applications.

This is what we’ve been working on since September 2015 and after 5 months of detailed and intentional planning, brainstorming, thoughts and ideas processing, revisions, edits, improvements that felt endless, we’re ready to submit everything we’ve done.  Deadline given to us was February 28, 2016 in preparation for Arielle’s March 3 interview and I feel it would be better to submit everything a few days early and not do it last-minute.

I must say that this whole process was INTENSE.  I decided to throw Arielle a few questions  and check on how she feels about this.

 1.  So, which is the most difficult part in what you did?

Compiling all the info in the resume!

2.   How about doing your artworks?  How did you find it?

It wasn’t that bad.

3.  Even if you had to produce at least 10 and a maximum of 20?

I think the hard part is choosing which ones to let go and which ones to present and submit.

4.  How about writing the essays?  How was it for you?

What’s tough was trying to get your thoughts across but you have a 500 word-count to keep in mind.

5.  Which did you find more difficult, the resume or the essay?

Resume

 

I’m actually surprised with her answers here. If you were to ask me, it was the essays that were the toughest to do with her since I had to make sure that it would be her words, not mine, that will be put in there and my role was really just to help her process, organize, articulate, and bring out her voice on the essay topic on paper.  ESSAY WRITING WAS BRAIN-DRAINING FOR ME!  I also thought that she would also show some difficulty in coming up with artworks since she had to come up with as much artworks and show her BEST ONES, but apparently, it was easy-peasy for her.  It just goes to show that if you really like what you’re doing, then it wouldn’t be considered as “work” for you.

That’s the latest update on our college application, more of scholarship application. The next big day will be next Thursday, March 3!  Please continue to pray with and for us?  I will share with you news from Arielle’s interview day as soon as it’s done…and I’m breathing 🙂

 

 


 

Last November 28, SCAD-HK held an Information Session at Hotel Intercon in Makati.  As the event name says, it was an afternoon intended to give interested students and parents information about the school, the application process, scholarship application, portfolio submission, and what one can get from a SCAD education.  Current SCAD students and an alumna were present and shared their personal experiences with SCAD, and a professor was also there to look at students’ portfolios and give feedback.  We, however, was invited by SCAD’s assistant director of admission in order for Arielle to have a mock interview, a sort of a practice round for the real interview for scholarship application which is still going to be sometime in March 2016.

But before that, I’d like to share that Arielle was already granted an Academic Honors Scholarship by SCAD based on the GPA reflected on her high school transcript of records.  We didn’t expect the email to come this soon because we thought that all scholarships will be granted in March next year.  We were VERY, VERY HAPPY, of course!  The scholarship amount will be a big help to us and can be alloted already for her living allowance. There is another college scholarship, however, that we can still go for: the Achievement Honors Scholarship.  This is now going to be based on her portfolio composed of her artworks, 500-word essay, resume and interview.

From the very first time we met up with SCAD’s assistant director of admission last Aug 31 until this November, Arielle focused her time and effort to build her portfolio by doing her artworks, writing and revising her essay (We ended up having 6-8 versions after asking friends for feedback), drafting and formatting her resume, making sure that we fit all her relevant info and experiences in just one page (That was tough to do!).  I also consulted a contact to professionally coach her on interview and presentation skills.  The coaching session was held first week of November which gave us enough time to improve what Arielle had tirelessly worked on and practice answering possible interview questions before the mock interview day.

How do I describe the two to three months period of working on a portfolio?  It was intense.  It was real skills building.  For Arielle, it involved a lot of time management, research and looking inside herself…who she is…what her style is…who her inspirations are…knowing who she really is, the gifts she has as given by God, and identifying her focus and goals in life.  To be real honest, it became stressful between the two of us but…it was rewarding at the end.  Arielle’s mock interview, lasting about 30 minutes, went well and the assistant director of admission was impressed.  From the impromptu interview last August to this mock interview, he saw Arielle bloomed and more confident.  She answered the questions with energy and passion which he liked very, very much!  It was apparently what he wanted to see in Arielle. With only a few things to improve on the presentation of her artworks, we are good to go for the real one in March 2016!

Arielle was very encouraged and high on adrenalin after her mock interview. She even told me that the quarterly portfolio review she did with her homeschool academic consultant all these years helped her a lot for this one. Although different because her homeschool portfolio reviews were academic in nature, she said that it was a good exercise and preparation for the real thing. Her hard work has already paid off.  With one scholarship already in the bag, we can still try and do our best to be granted another one.  Mike and I were straightforward in telling the assistant director of admission that we do need that scholarship.    If we can double the scholarship amount that was given to us, then that would really be a BIG HELP!  The assistant director told us that he cannot promise us anything but he said he will try to see how he can get more information on this year’s scholarship grants.

On a different note, the experiences shared by the current freshman and sophomore students (One was taking up Animation, the other, Sequential Arts, and the other, Fashion) and alumna (in Fashion and Masters in Luxury and Fashion Management) were very inspiring and encouraging.  Mike and I had the chance to chat with the current students and ask them questions, and they were all very helpful and accommodating.  I saw how confident they were and also saw how happy they were in their decision to study at SCAD.  It somehow gave me the comforting assurance that Arielle will be fine and will make it in that school.  Just what I needed!

Everything has been going really well so far with Arielle’s application at SCAD-HK and preparation for college. Taking a gap year has been doing Arielle good and is definitely worth it!  I am so thankful that God showed us this option and continues to guide as we tread along this path.

The pieces of advices I’d like to end this post with are:

  1.  Take a gap year if you feel that your child needs that break to discern what he really wants to pursue in college and later on in life.  Just because all of his or her friends will move up to college right after high school graduation, it doesn’t mean that you have to do what everybody else does.  Remember that this is the future of your child.  It’s his or her life, not yours…not his or her grandparents’…not his or her classmates’…not his or her friends’…not his or her neighbor’s.  Give him or her the chance and time to give his or her future more thought.
  2. Start discussing plans and options as early as, I would say, 7th Grade.  Explore opportunities and let your child try different experiences.  I believe that is the only way he or she would know what his or her interests are and what options are available for him or her.
  3. Be open to possibilities.  Do not limit yourself and your child’s dreams.  Dream BIG…Dream big WITH YOUR CHILD…Dream big WITH GOD!
  4. Learning these skills are important when applying at different colleges and universities:
  • public speaking skills
  • presentation skills
  • interview skills
  • portfolio-building/making
  • resume writing
  • essay/creative writing
  • time management

 

Lastly, pray fervently and without ceasing (I mean it!) and trust that God will make known to you and your child what he or she is uniquely designed to do.

 


 

Now that Arielle has officially graduated from high school and is officially on her gap year, we are now starting to prepare for her college applications.  So far, she has applied to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Hong Kong, after I personally received a phone call from their Assistant Director of Admission) strongly suggesting that we already do our online application because slots are getting filled up. (What?!!  Slots for 2016???  And I thought we have more than enough time!).  As for applications to local colleges and universities for Academic Year 2016-2017, they have not opened yet.

What steps are we doing to prepare for college?  What steps have we done so far? Here’s my personal list to give you an idea of my preparation and mindset needed:

1.  First and foremost, we identified the course that Arielle wanted to take.  I mean, the course she really wants to take up.  We didn’t have a problem with that because Arielle is dead set to take up Animation.  That is her top choice.  But it would be good to have course choice #2 and #3 because these are usually asked for in applications.

2.  We check the websites of the different colleges and universities for announcements, especially on application and testing dates.  This, we do often, most especially because we have decided to take a gap year which means Arielle did not go through the applications and entrance exams with the rest of her batch.  We are doing to do it on our own, with assistance from TMA, our homeschool provider.  Aside from the dates to take note of,  I go through the admission requirements of each university and familiarize myself with the kind of documents we need to prepare and submit.

3.   We have identified our school choices (although still praying about it!).  This goes with #1 because if you are really after the course your child wants, then you go for the school that offers it or is known for it.

4.  We visited the different school campuses.  We did last year in order for Arielle to get a feel of the environment and how it is like to be in a school!  After all, homeschoolers have had their homes and the real world as their classrooms. We visited Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, University of Asia & the Pacific, Meridian International, and more importantly, SCAD Hong Kong.

5.  We paid the Admissions Offices a visit.  In our case, we asked questions with the local universities about college applications with our gap year in mind (which is not commonly taken by students here in the Philippines) and the current issue on DepEd’s K12 program, to clarify some issues and make sure that by Arielle will have no problem applying for and entering college in 2016.

6.  As for SCAD-HK, we scheduled a campus and residences tour in one day to know exactly where the campus building is, their facilities, the accommodations they offer to students, and again, to ask all our questions about their admission requirements!  We asked about what entrance tests are required (IELTS, TOEFL, or an English proficiency test for SCAD), how to apply for a scholarship, if transferring of credits is accepted, the student population profile of SCAD-HK, various opportunities of SCAD students, etc., etc.!   Doing a tour gave us a chance to know more about the school and how the staff are.  The SCAD personnel have been very accommodating from the time I first emailed them to this day!  That’s a big plus!

This is where Arielle’s target school!

7.  I closely coordinate with TMA, our homeschool provider, with regards to our different college applications.  I inform them all the admission requirements and when we intend to start processing our applications.  I make sure I give them updates so that we get to work hand in hand on this quite stressful task.  So far, these are SCAD-HK’s admission requirements which I’ve already forwarded to TMA.

8.  We already submitted Arielle’s application to SCAD-HK online to start the long process.  I was told that after completing the online application and paying the application fee of $40, an admission representative will be assigned to us to help and guide us in the whole process.  I am loving the assistance I am getting from SCAD so far!  Did you know that they paid for our taxi fare when we had to go back to our hotel after doing their Residences tour? Their Residences happen to be faaaar and commute took almost an hour to our hotel.   Wow!  Mike and I appreciated that very much!

9.  Arielle got accepted as one of the interns for Young Star of Philippine Star (I believe she was the youngest among those who applied because she said everyone else in the registration list were at least 18 yrs old!)

and for Flow Surf Yoga Samba.  Internship is really part of our plan for her gap year to prepare her for college with the work habits, to further enhance her skills and develop her character and the discipline.  This is her first work for Flow Surf Yoga Samba.

10.  We are about to start building her portfolio, especially for SCAD.  Right now, this IS the one stressing me out because Arielle has to make more 10 to 20 2-D artworks (and if possible, 3-Ds) in order to show her BEST WORK.  And we have a long way to go!  We plan to enroll her in art classes to really learn traditional art and are on the lookout for art and animation-related workshops to make sure that she is able to showcase different media, techniques, her other skills, and what is vital is her CREATIVITY and her IDEAS.   This is the time TO IMPRESS in order to get in the school that we want!

Since we’ve decided to be intentional on our parenting, on the education of our girls, and our family lifestyle,  it looks like my role as a homeschool mom isn’t over yet.  Now that we will be releasing Arielle to the real world SOON, she needs me, her mom, her teacher, her coach, her counselor (and the list goes on!) by her side more than ever!