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.


Sew Easy’s “I Made It!” first Fashion Show 2014!

Last Saturday, March 22, 2014, Arielle and Kayla joined other kids of Sew Easy For Kids Manila in its very first fashion show entitled “I Made It!”.  It was the studio’s culminating event for the year where all the students, ages 8 to 15, proudly walked down the runway wearing their very own Lounge Wear and Casuals pieces which they sewed themselves!  The event was a collaboration of supportive moms, friends, and sponsors (Brother International Philippines, California Advanced Nails and Skin Care (CANS), McDonald’s, Claire’s, Mean Green, Alabang Town Center) who made it all possible!  Ooops!  Let me correct that.   It was really the Lord who made it possible because all the pieces to put up a show just seamlessly (ehem!) fell into place in such a short period of time. And it was also the love and passion of the kids and parents to bring back the craft and life skill of sewing which made the work behind the show easier.  

Before I share some of the FUN! photos of what happened before, during, and after the fashion show, you may read more about the event here and here.

And now for the photos..

The runway!

Thank you, McDonald's, for our lunch!

Thank you, McDonald’s,
for our lunch!

Havin' their nails done by CANS :)

Havin’ their nails done by CANS 🙂

Time to glam up the hair!

Time to glam up the hair!

Arielle wanted a braided hairstyle :)

Arielle wanted a braided hairstyle 🙂

Just one of the scenes backstage:
Everyone helping out each other
with their makeup 🙂


Kayla's Night Shirt

Kayla’s Night Shirt

Kayla's Square-Neck Blouse, Denim Skirt, and Shoulder-Tie Bag  (Yup! She did all those!)

Kayla’s Square-Neck Blouse,
Denim Skirt, and
Shoulder-Tie Bag
(Yup! She made all those!)

Kayla's Pants

Kayla’s Pants

Kayla's Flowy Skirt  and Backpack

Kayla’s Flowy Skirt
and Backpack


Arielle's Denim Shorts

Arielle’s Denim Shorts

Arielle's Capri Pants and Backpack

Arielle’s Capri Pants and

Arielle's V-Neck Blouse and Shoulder-Tie Bag

Arielle’s V-Neck Blouse and
Shoulder-Tie Bag

Arielle's Flowy Skirt

Arielle’s Flowy Skirt


The woman behind Sew Easy, Teacher Anne
del Rosario!

Everyone just clowning around after the show! :)

Everyone just clowning around after the show! 🙂


I am just so proud of these young girls and so thankful to Teacher Anne for making sewing SO FUN and SO  SEW EASY! 🙂

If you want to give sewing a try and discover for yourself a new craft or hobby (Believe me, it’s quite addicting!), then check out Sew Easy studio along Aguirre Avenue in BF Paranaque for their summer camp!  That will be a total of 15 hours of pure sewing fun! 🙂





As you and the whole world already know by now, the Philippines has recently been stricken by tragedies one after the other. First, it was the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and Cebu which literally brought structures down to the ground and into pieces. Then, just last Friday, we were hit by supertyphoon Yolanda (international name “Haiyan”) which again devastated towns, especially in Leyte.  These affected areas are all nearby each other in the Visayas and the earthquake victims haven’t even recovered yet from their tragedy and then, came,  I would say, an even more destructive force of nature.  See map here (for the earthquake) and here (for the supertyphoon).

Even before these natural calamities came, Sew Easy For Kids was already planning and preparing for their upcoming bazaar on Nov. 23-24 by Woodrose School.  We were all excited and looking forward to this fun and new, learning experience for the kids.  After all, all we needed was SCRAP FABRIC and extra time to sew! A first for many, if not all of us.  When the earthquake happened, we then collectively decided to donate proceeds of our sales to the earthquake victims.  A BIG portion of it!  

The kids have been extra busy SEWING MORE and MORE so that we could GIVE MORE! Not only to the earthquake victims but now, to the supertyphoon victims, too!  Needless to say, the kids have been SEWING with their HANDS and HEARTS!  

We are grateful and blessed to have been given this opportunity to share whatever and however we can to our fellow Filipinos in dire need.  If you think that you cannot help much or don’t know how to help, think again.  YOU CAN HELP!  YOU CAN!  

Sewing with their hands and hearts!

Sewing with their hands and hearts!


Sewing with our hands and hearts

Photo courtesy of
Anne del Rosario of
Sew Easy For Kids


Sewing with our hands and hearts

Photo courtesy of
Anne del Rosario of
Sew Easy For Kids Manila


Sewing with our hands and hearts

Photo Source:  Sew Easy For Kids / Anne del Rosario

Photo Source: Sew Easy For Kids /
Anne del Rosario

These crafty kids are on a roll! They are even busier these days as they turn their craft and life skill into a business! As I write this blog, they’re all preparing and gearing up for their first bazaar this coming November.  Their hands are all so busy cutting and sewing the different cute stuff they will be selling…ALL SEWN BY THEM!  Teacher Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy For Kids and I (and I’m sure all the other parents are, too!) are sooo sew excited about this!  Thank you, Brother Philippines, for sponsoring this event!  Thank you for being at our side 🙂

I invite you all to go to the:


WHEN:  November 23-24, 2013

TIME:   9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.



This is REAL LEARNING.  A CRAFT INTO A BUSINESS.  ENTREPRENEURSHIP at WORK!  Save the dates and hope to see you there!


I recently shared with you what the girls are learning for their TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education).  They’re into sewing and are having such a wonderful time learning the craft!

Here’s what Kayla has sewn so far:

Life Skill: Sewing

A sewing bag, a notions bag,
a denim skirt, and
a square-necked blouse

Life Skill: Sewing

Buttons at the back of the skirt


Arielle has made these:

Life Skill: Sewing

Arielle’s sewing bag and
notions bag

Life Skill: Sewing

A pair of denim shorts

Life Skill: Sewing

A dinosaur print shoulder-tie bag
with a mushroom print fabric as lining


Okay, I can’t help it!  Here’s my PREEETTY shoulder-tie bag! I’m so proud of myself and I’m sooo sew happy with this!  Some stitches weren’t straight but hey, for a first-timer, don’t you think I did well in actually following the pattern and sewing the pieces together? 🙂

Life Skill: Sewing

I just looove my shoulder-tie bag!!!


Sewing has been such a worthwhile learning experience and we are all, especially the girls, are looking forward to sew more! 



Life Skill: Sewing

SEW EASY Sewing Class for Kids, Teens, and Adults
Photo Source:

A confession of a homeschool mother:  I don’t know how to sew.  I remember learning some basic stitches when I was in high school.  We had to do the different kinds of stitches on a cloth (Was it basketweave? Wait, or was that for cross-stitch?) and submit it as a final project.  I can mend a small hole on a shirt or sew buttons, snaps, or hook and eye’s, but that’s just how far I can go with a thread and a needle!  So, when I found out from a fellow homeschool mom about this sewing class being offered in the south, I took note of it so we could include it in our activities for this schoolyear. Whether I would have the sewing class credited for their TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education) or not, I really think that as girls, Arielle and Kayla should know at least the basics of sewing.  For me, sewing is one of the life skills to learn in my checklist, a survival skill. You not only learn how to sew because there are other “hidden” but valuable lessons from it as well! 

Arielle and Kayla started last July 6 with Sew Easy and even before that day came, they were already sew so excited about it!  They’ve always enjoyed doing things with their hands and they already had ideas and plans on what they want to make as they eagerly talked about it in the car. Well, that’s their side of excitement!  Mine was when I met the owner and teacher of Sew Easy, Anne del Rosario, on that first day I accompanied the girls to their class.  It turns out that Anne was a homeschooler herself way back in the late 90’s when just a handful (or practically no one else) was probably doing it here in the Philippines, or at least in Manila.  She homeschooled her son back then who’s now at Mint College. You can already imagine the kind of getting-to-know-you we had (It’s always a different kind of warm, hyper feeling when homeschoolers meet, moms and kids alike 🙂 )  

Having a FUN (as described by the girls), friendly, accomodating, and a former homeschool mom (YES!) as a teacher, a classroom studio with bright, clean, and minimalist-inspired interiors, and  just four students in a class for a closely supervised instruction really make sewing SOOO SEW EASY! 😉  Their one-hour session every Saturday is just not enough, the girls say! 

Here are some shots I took of the girls in preparation for their class and while at work: 

Life Skill: Ironing

Kayla learning how to iron
her fabric at home

Life Skill: Ironing

Arielle’s turn to iron hers


Life Skill: Sewing

Ready to learn how to sew! 

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy

Life Skill: Sewing

Photo Source: Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy


 And their first project…

Life Skill: Sewing

First Sewing Creation:
Sewing Bag & Notions Bag

Life Skill: Sewing

Stamp of Workmanship!


Guess what?  After seeing their first completed project, I decided to join them myself!  I have to admit, I did feel envious that our girls know how to sew and actually made something themselves (The iron-on label got me! :D)  We three are now all classmates in sewing.  

LIfe Skill: Sewing

My first sewing project!

Life Skill:  Sewing

Inspiring quote
on my worktable

Life Skill: Sewing

My Stamp of Completion!


It’s my third time actually to be their classmate. The first was with Arielle in a blogging workshop, which was a worthwhile learning and awakening-of-some-sort experience for me (Two thumbs up!!!)  The second was in a craft rubber stamp making workshop, which was also so much fun to do! For this sewing class, Anne politely had to check with me (and the girls) if being together in a class would be alright since some kids tend to act differently when their mom is around.  Just to make sure, I asked Arielle and Kayla if it would be okay for me to join and be with them and Arielle nonchalantly replied, “We’re always like that anyway! 😀  (There goes my expressive, outgoing, and uninhibited teen! The exact words of description used by Anne herself 🙂 )

In our homeschooling, I don’t just teach, teach, teach. I learn and get refreshed as I teach lessons and topics. I have opportunities to again become a student myself, enjoy, and be an example of lifelong learning to our kids.   Oooops, and not to forget! To have a fun time with my tweenie-teens classmates 😉