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.


 

The materials included  in our kit plus brush pens (and Sharpies to be delivered to our home addresses since they didn't make it on time for the workshop)

The materials included
in our kit plus brush pens
(and Sharpies to be delivered to our home addresses since they didn’t make it on time for the workshop)

It’s been a very hectic first quarter of 2014 and month of March.  It’s the end of our 7th year in homeschooling which means wrapping up another schoolyear, doing portfolios, taking year-end tests, and still trying to catch up with our goals for the important subjects like Math and Science. Moving in chores have become more frequent and thus, more physically taxing. It’s also time to narrow down options for summer activities this April and May and choose those where schedules will flow smoothly and driving around town would be bearable in the summer heat!  Imagine all these taking place all at the same time, leaving me drained and wanting some kind of escape!

I really feel burnt out and all I can think of is V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!  Well, I still have to wait for a few more weeks till my family goes out of town for our yearly beach trip.  In the meantime, pausing a few minutes (or sometimes hours) to write down my note for the dayspending a few hours doing arts and crafts, meeting up with my so-called “playmates” on art dates, and learning a new craft are my survival tools, just to give me the frequent breaks I so need.  

Just last Sunday, March 30, Arielle and I, joined a workshop together.  It was called a Modern Calligraphy and Creative Lettering workshop by Alessandra Lanot of Life After Breakfast at The Burger Project in Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati, one of the restaurants owned by Alessa and her hubby.  Even if it was my second time to attend a calligraphy workshop, the first time with Ink Scribbler, I learned new techniques and additional info about calligraphy, which is the art of writing beautifully.  

To me, it was a quiet Sunday afternoon, perfect to unwind the crazy week that had just passed. Perfect to end the month of March.  Perfect to end the first quarter of the year.  Perfect to officially start April and summer.  And last but not the least, it was also a perfect bonding moment with Arielle, who looooves ink and paper! 

It was an afternoon of learning the proper way of using our calligraphy pens, of lines and swirls,  of up strokes and down strokes, and simply creating something beautiful with pen and ink.

Perfect way to spend my Sunday afternoon

Arielle working on her worksheet

I just love those flourishes!

Alessa doing a sample of
creative lettering

Arielle’s own version of
creative lettering!
What she wrote is so true!

Arielle (in her fave skirt she sewed herself!) and Alessa 🙂

 

How did the first three months of 2014 go by for you?  What’s your form of “escape” when life gets you really occupied?


 

I was scribbling for three hours last Saturday.  No, not with an ordinary pen, but with a nib and ink! That’s because I joined a calligraphy workshop by Ink Scribbler at Kitchen’s Best in Bonifacio Global City. 

I arrived at the patisserie early since Mike had to do the rounds of dropping us girls off to our scheduled activities that afternoon (He was forced to think of what he could do while waiting for all of us to finish which literally took us the whole afternoon…from 1:30pm to 6:00 pm!)  I didn’t mind being an hour early for the workshop because I was really excited and have been looking forward to this Saturday.  My newfound “art friend”, Dette of Bananabellieboo, was going to be with me, and we were just together on an art date last Saturday! 

Upon entering our private room, Alexis Ventura of Ink Scribbler introduced herself and warmly welcomed me to the workshop.  As soon as I chose my seat and put down my things, I started to take photos of her little display table by the corner which showed her different kinds of nibs and ink. 

The workshop started promptly at 3:00 p.m. and like any other workshop, we all gave a brief introduction of ourselves. (Prior to this day, I did wonder who my “classmates” will be and if I was going to be the oldest or one of the oldest ones as always.  Alexis herself looked very young!  Well, she IS.  That was another story of inspiration to share with Arielle and Kayla.)

With our materials prepared and all laid out on the tables (worksheets neatly filed in a folder, a pencil, a nib holder, a bottle of black ink), our afternoon started with a very well-presented introduction of what calligraphy is (from the word’s etymology to the parts of a nib and how the nib works).  It smoothly proceeded to how to learn fancy calligraphy (as I would like to call it, and not the really formal, technical kind) with the use of pencil first then, using the nib pen.   

The afternoon went on with all us serious and yet having fun going through the motions and filling up each sheet of exercises.  No one even bothered to take a snack no matter how many times Alexis tried to invite us because we were all engrossed with what we were doing! 😀  We even jokingly said that we were holding our breaths when doing the exercises! Hahaha!

Here are samples of what I did (minus the ink blots and ink-less strokes!):

It felt like doing those
writing exercises
back in grade school!

Trying to write "Beyond Books and Walls" and tracing words cards

Trying to write “Beyond Books and Walls” and
tracing words on a card

Quite getting the hang of it!

Quite getting the hang of it!

My certificate :)

My certificate 🙂

It was a REALLY FUN WORKSHOP!!!

Arielle was, as expected, excited to hear from me after.  So, I showed her what I learned and she immediately tried her hand in using a nib pen.  She is a natural with pens! 

I still need A LOT of practice and I’m glad that I joined this workshop.  My January weekend workshops are enough to give me a boost for 2014 🙂  

On a final note, if you feel like your life is getting monotonous or becoming so predictable, here’s my advice:

As posted on my Instagram
(Day 19 of my 365 notes challenge…
Soon to post about it!)

 

And to our homeschooled girls, this is also living the example of being a lifelong learner 🙂


 

I’ve repeated admitted a number of times that Arielle’s been doing a better blogging job than me.   Starting out as a tween blogger (at age 12), she’s able to tweak her blog layout, post her own illustrations showcasing her self-taught skills, learn Photoshop basics and tricks she learned all by herself, take great photos in one click (which would take me about 10!), do ad swaps, and connect with other bloggers from all over. Now, Arielle’s just been featured on Cici Bean‘s blog, Celebrating Awesomeness Tween Blogger Edition (After clicking this link, please scroll down until you see the post that looks like the one below)!  How cool and awesome is that? 

Awesome Tween Blogger on Cici Bean

Photo Source: http://letyourheartbeyourguide.blogspot.ca/

 

How she ended up being featured on a Canadian preteen clothing brand for girls, I have no idea! She said they just emailed her and everything flowed from there!  The wonders of technology!  And how small the world has become because of it 🙂  Although she did mention to me about the guesting feature, I only remember advising her to read more about the company and check its values.  Plus, my only condition for her accept the invitation was to make sure that it only gives out a positive image and message to its readers.  To read more about Cici Bean, click on the links below:

About Cici Bean

Cici Bean’s Vision 

Cici Bean’s Ambassador Program

Cici Bean’s Collection

Words of Wisdom

If Cici Bean wanted AWESOMENESS, CREATIVITY, PASSION, and ENERGY, celebrated and shared, then, I think they made the right choice on Arielle who personifies all these 🙂  I say this not because I’m her mom but because her blog is plain proof showing her true colors.    Arielle is really one girl who definitely knows who she is, what she’s got, and is comfortable with it.  No need really to conform, to be like the rest.  And that is exactly the message she personally wants to share to the world through her blog. 🙂

Blogworthy

 


How was your Holidays?  As for me and my family, I can say that we were able to really keep it simpler this year.  Less stress, more down time 🙂 How about your 2012? How did it go?  To me, it just went by so fast!  Even if I did try to slow down a bit more, it still felt more like 240 days instead of 365.  (Well, you know what I mean).

Now that 2013 is about to give us that BANG! in a couple of hours, it’s that time of the year again for our family to set new goals.  

 

NEW YEAR = NEW GOALS! 

It was only last December 2011 when we started doing goal-setting and I think I’ll try to do this as a family activity every time a new year is about to begin. It’s not really making New Year’s resolutions but more of:

  • putting more focus on our energies and efforts, 
  • identifying priorities, and 
  • setting a clearer direction for the year. 

Last year, we did a mindmap on the different things we were thankful for the year 2011 and our goals for 2012. This was the simple visual guide I gave to each one in writing down their goals, which involved the Heart, Hands, Health, and Head.

 

Photo Source: http://www.lifeskillseducation.in/lf_skill3.html

This is what each of us came up with last year:

MIKE’S 2012 GOALS on the RIGHT HALF PAGE
THEME OR KEY WORD: DIRECTION
He’s really not into colored pens when he does his mindmaps 🙂
Heart: Relating > Conflict Resolution / Caring > Nurture Relationships
Hands: Giving > Leadership / Working > Self-Motivation
Health: Being > Self-Discipline on Work, Exercise, Food Choices / Living > Healthy Lifestyle, Choices, Food
Head: Thinking > Learning to Learn / Managing > Wise Use of Resources, Projects
Others: Bike > Compete / Work > Create Biz, Look for Projects / Housing > Light Steel

 

MY 2012 GOALS IN FULL COLOR
KEY WORDS: SIMPLE YET SIGNIFICANT

 

KAYLA’S 2012 GOALS
It’s not clearly seen but her left bottom page says “I want to read more books, be more disciplined, responsible, make sure I return things where they belong, learn more recipes, be more obedient.

 

ARIELLE’S 2012 GOALS
KEY WORDS: TAKE A LOOK AT ME NOW
You can see here that Arielle really has a lot of ideas and wants to do all of them!
She has admitted that one of her fears is getting bored!

When I was thinking of how to go about our goal-setting for this coming 2013, I thought of only two things, (1) Character (2) Skills, and I identified these specific areas where to apply the two:

1.  Myself
2.  My Family
3.  My Faith/Church community
4.  My Country
5.  The World

Here now are our 2013 goals:

MIKE’s 2013 GOALS
Simple!

 

MY 2013 GOALS

 

KAYLA’S 2013 GOALS
I like the way Kayla’s becoming more focused and specific.

 

ARIELLE’S 2013 GOALS
Like last year, Arielle’s mindmap shows the many things she wants to do!

I’ve read that when you write down your goals, it has the greater chance or possibility of being achieved or becoming a reality.  Looking back at our 2012 goals, I think we achieved most of them.  If we may have missed some, we can always look back and decide whether we are ready to work on those again this year or some other time.  As for our 2013 goals, I offer and lift them all up to God.  I really pray that He blesses me and my family with wisdom, guidance, and the spirit to work on each one of them TO BETTER OURSELVES and BE THE CHANGE that our family, church community, country and the world so desperately need these days. 

Finally, my wish and prayer for all of us is that we may all LIVE OUT our UNIQUE PURPOSE and DESIGN in GOOD HEALTH and with COURAGE, FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE every single day of 2013.  Individual purposeful living and yet, one and together in achieving.    Cheers!!!