This is the 8th part of my blog series on Homeschooling the High School Years, the topic assigned to me during the last Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016.  Parts 1 to 7 are below and I suggest you read them in order to have a better grasp of the whole picture of our homeschooling lifestyle and journey.

  1. Parenting
  2. Teaching
  3. Experiencing
  4. Socializing
  5. Self-Discovery and -Awareness
  6. Equip Yourself
  7. Gap Year

 

I’ve been sharing mostly about our eldest daughter, Arielle, because between our two daughters, she is the one who fits perfectly the theme of the last conference “From Roots to Wings”.

As for our second and youngest daughter, Kayla, she is now in 10th Grade. Since TMA (The Master’s Academy which is now Homeschool Global) wasn’t given the go-signal by DepEd (Department of Education) to offer SHS (Senior High School, Grades 11 and 12) and we couldn’t wait until she will be in Grade 11 to see where we should go, we decided to transfer to a U.S Catholic homeschool program, Seton Home Study a year earlier than SHS. She wanted to continue being homeschooled. We all felt that to continue homeschooling would be the best option to take in order to not disrupt the kind of learning we’ve already established.  I personally wanted her to finish high school as a homeschooler. And most importantly, she wanted to give herself the opportunity to develop her skills in golf and see if the sport could help her enter a good college.

As of the moment, Kayla doesn’t know yet what she wants to take up in college. Unlike her Ate Arielle, where she knew early on that she will be in the arts (I think she was just about 2 years old when we already saw the creative person in her), particularly animation, Kayla is still discovering what it will be for her. But as of now, being a kinesthetic person and learner, we are supporting her in her strength which is in the sport of golf.

She is now learning how to manage her time, balancing her academics and golf trainings and tournaments.  As I write this, I’ve gone through anxiety and panic attacks because we are B-E-H-I-N-D our academics. Being new at Seton and I would say, adjusting to their rigorous academic program especially English, combined with her golf schedules and tournaments almost every Saturday and Sunday, I have already psyched up myself that our homeschooling would now be all-year around, with all our breaks interspersed with our academic requirements throughout the year.   I’ve already told Kayla about this change that we need to do in order to keep things in place, balanced, and manageable for her.  With unceasing prayers, I know we can do this!

I still have a few more notes to share with you so I hope you’ll stay tuned for my parting words on this series!


 

Arielle will pursue her passion in Animation and Kayla is pursuing her passion in golf.

 

What I am about to write is greatly inspired by two things: (1) Kayla’s best score in her golf tournaments, so far and (2) this video I recently saw and shared in Facebook.  Last weekend, Kayla joined The Junior Golfers League’s tournament at Southlinks Golf Club.  Despite the brief moment of stress AND panic Kayla and I experienced when we got lost in finding our way to Southlinks (Actually, it was not brief.  It was like an hour of being lost even if we were using Waze the entire time!) and finally getting to the place just 15 minutes before the tee-off time of 10:30 a.m., Kayla scored 88 last Saturday (her lowest so far!) and 89 yesterday.  I saw how Kayla was slowly losing her motivation and was on the brink of giving up and not joining the tournament anymore.   But as I was praying out loud to God behind the wheel and made it to the golf club by 10:15 a.m., I knew that I couldn’t and shouldn’t be a discouragement to Kayla.  Before she got off the car, I made sure that I lifted up her spirits by telling her to forget the getting-lost-part that just happened, that there was a purpose why it happened and that I think God was teaching us both character that moment.  I remember sitting in the car for a few minutes after Kayla went to register.  This time I was getting teary-eyed with mixed emotions of relief and feeling the tiredness for driving for 4 hours, and again saying a prayer to God and lifting up Kayla for her tournament.  It was clearly another moment of offering and surrendering to God.

I am really so thankful that Kayla found her passion before her Ate (older sister) Arielle leaves for Hong Kong for college this September.  They are close to each other, more like best buddies.  If she didn’t rediscover her passion in golf, I think there’s going to be a big hole of emptiness in her when her Ate leaves because of the close relationship they have.  So I believe that golf will keep Kayla focused and will be a confidence and self-esteem booster for her.  I can only thank the Lord for His perfect timing on what’s happening in the lives of our daughters!

So what really happens when kids find their passions?  From my personal experience as a homeschool mom to Arielle and Kayla, this is what I think and have observed so far:

  1. They know who they are.  They know what they can do and what they do best and is not struggling to fit in.
  2. They are driven to learn more about their passion and take initiatives to become better at it.
  3. They appreciate the people who teach, coach, and inspire them, which also teaches them about humility and gratitude. (And that includes appreciating the parents 🙂 )
  4. They have focus.
  5. They learn to be disciplined.
  6. They learn time management, making priorities, choices and decisions.
  7. They persevere.
  8. They become more patient.
  9. They accept failures and setbacks not as failures but as opportunities to do better.
  10. Their faith in God and in themselves become strengthened.
  11. They believe in themselves.
  12. They get tired and frustrated but they get back on their feet to train harder, learn more, be better.
  13. They become resilient, learn how to bounce back, and move on with life.
  14. They are encouraged to dream and dream big.
  15. They give their all in order to go for their dreams, but if their dreams don’t happen, they know that they’ve done their best and that is what matters.

 

My parting message to you parents is…explore and let your kids try different things so you and they themselves can see where they are most comfortable at, confident in, and wired to do. Once they have found “IT”, give them full support and doses and doses of encouragement. And that is important even if the passion they have found for themselves is different from yours or something you don’t know anything about (just like me, with golf! ).  

Be by their side as they go through the discovery and exploratory process.  Once they have found their passions, there’s no stopping them and you will soon see them fly with the wings you gave them.  And what’s even better and gratifying is they will come back to you after a couple of months or years, seeing that you only not gave them wings to fly with but also roots to know where they should come back to.


 

I just want to take time to pause and say that our year 2015 to 2016 has been great!  I am really so glad that we took that leap of faith (again! next to homeschooling) to take a gap year after Arielle graduated from high school.  I just feel a whole lot more prepared WITH and FOR her, as a mom and a parent-teacher.   I honestly can’t imagine how my life would have been like if we decided to go straight to college.  I am sure my days would have been all panic, rush, and stress, given not ample time (well, that’s how I feel) to prepare well enough for college testing, application and my daughter’s life to be.

Although I know that going on a gap year does not guarantee a total preparation for Arielle’s life ahead, it has given us the time to prepare for all the things we could.  Aside from building an art portfolio, a 500-word essay, designing her own resume and business card, Arielle has learned how to cook, attend to a few home repairs, manage her time, is learning how to budget her money, drive a stick shift car, and choose meat cuts in the grocery.  She knows the basics of laundry with the use of a washing machine, but I think I will let her learn that chore herself in Hong Kong.  With ironing, I honestly don’t think she’ll have the time to iron all her clothes and so, one of the two things in my To Buy list in Hong Kong is a good steamer and a blender so she can still have her veggies and fruits smoothies, even if on-the-go.

Right now, Arielle is finalizing her artworks for her portfolio, after receiving tips from a SCAD professor when SCAD-HK had their Information Session here in Manila last November 2015.  Having that practice round of interview and portfolio presentation was really helpful, giving us a feel of how it is going to be like for the real thing this March 2016.  That gave Arielle the time to improve on her artworks before she would finally submit/upload them to SCAD’s so-called SlideRoom before March.  She is not as stressed as before when she was doing everything from scratch and my prayer these days as she completes her SCAD scholarship requirements is for her to see who she really is, her strengths and gifts, who ultimately gave those gifts to her, and how she should use those.  That this whole process be a revelation to her by God of who she ultimately is, her purpose and unique design.

Meanwhile, Kayla is also doing well with her golf.  So far, she’s been placing in tournaments she has joined.  Yesterday, she brought home this:

Kayla's trophy!

Kayla’s trophy!

 

We are sooo proud of her!  The very first thing I did when Kayla told me on the phone that she has a trophy was immediately thank the Lord for an answered prayer.  I really am praying that 2016 would be  HER year and that God will bless her with good opportunities in golf and in her studies.  I know that she’s been thinking of what it is really that she wants to take up in college, what she wants to do in her life and that it hasn’t been very clear to her.  I’m praying that golf would somehow give her some answers or clues.

After sharing the good news with Kayla’s golf coach, he congratulated and then reminded me to work on her Curriculum Vitae or Biodata on her golf achievements.  That brought me back to my role as a homeschool parent-teacher to do the important task of record-keeping.  So, as early as now, I am making sure that I will record Kayla’s golf achievements and other activities worth including in her resume.  That way, I have a file of her various homeschooling activities, especially golf, as they happen and I won’t rack my brain in trying to recall what she did and when, when it’s time to submit those college applications.

So this post is actually a tip and a friendly reminder to homeschool parents and kids out there.  Start recording and/or keeping a file of your child’s activities and achievements.  Have a notebook for it, if that’s what’s going to work for you for now.  Or start creating a Word or Excel file.  That’s what I just did.  I had to backtrack and think of Kayla’s golf trainings, golf coaches, and when she had them.  I went as far back as Grade 6 which was 4 years ago and I was already having a quite difficult time remembering dates!  The other activities she joined would be easier since most, if not all, of them are the same activities Arielle had and they are already on record.  Plus, aside from keeping a file of their actual certificates from workshops and camps, I also keep a folder in my email per schoolyear and in there goes their academic and extra-curricular records, notes, activities, including flight details on out-of-town camps, for instance.

I wish I had done this record-keeping even before Arielle took her gap year.  Believe me, starting it early is going to make things easier for your college-bound students.  So, for the record, one way to organize your homeschool life is to record your child’s achievements, activities, and involvements.


 

Placing 4th in the Interschool Golf Tournament

 

Kayla went back to golf January of this year and she has been taking it seriously.  She would wake up a little past 5 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for her training at Camp Aguinaldo and would also play with her Papa in Batangas during weekends. She’s been training for almost a year now with Coach Jun Cedo and she has greatly improved over the past months.  I don’t play golf.  I don’t totally understand how it’s played and the terms used in the sport. And to be honest, I’d rather stay in bed and get some more hours of sleep than wake up really early and be among those driving on the road and going through the morning rush.

But I do believe in Kayla’s potential and giftedness in golf.  I believe this is God’s gift to her and it is her area of strength.  If Arielle is gifted in the visual and performing arts, Kayla, being a kinesthetic learner,  is gifted in physical activities and has found golf to be one of the fields where she’s most comfortable at and physically designed for.  I remember I was starting to get frustrated and worried around 2 to 3 years ago, not clearly knowing what Kayla is inclined to do.  It was easy and so obvious with Arielle but with Kayla, I had no clue.  Her interests kept on changing, after letting her try different things like theatre, swimming, cooking, baking, and her on-and-off interest in golf.  So I started praying to God, asking Him to show us where Kayla’s strength lies and what she was made for.  God’s answer did not come right away which I believe was teaching me all along to trust in our Lord and learn that there is a time for everything.

Well, God’s answer came clear this 2015 as He revealed to us that Kayla CAN actually PLAY GOLF and she has a very strong potential in the sport.  Now that Arielle is already going to SCAD-HK for college in Fall 2016, I am so thankful to the Lord for now showing me how I should guide and support Kayla.  After Arielle, it’s now Kayla’s turn to carve her path.  God’s timing is always perfect! He just knows that it’s now time for me to focus on Kayla after I’ve homeschooled Arielle.

Kayla still has lots to learn in golf but she’s off to a good start, now that she’s serious about it.  Golf is definitely giving her the focus and the drive to perform better, not only in the sport but also in her studies. Her improvements in her swings and distance over the months, placing in the tournaments she has joined so far, and even the discipline she is now showing to balance her academics, trainings, and tournaments are already small victories worth celebrating.  They are blessings I am really thankful for!

First Runner-up in Class B Division

First Runner-up in Class B Division

 

May this be a reminder to all parents, especially homeschooling parents who feel pressured by family members and friends that:

  1. Each child is unique and has his/her own strengths and talents.
  2. Each child will naturally learn and grow at his/her own pace.
  3. Progress is more important than perfection.
  4. God’s timing is always perfect.
  5. There is a time for everything.
  6. We are not to conform to what everyone else is doing, if we really want our child to happily and successfully live a life specifically designed for him/her by God.

 

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Just like the objective of a golf game, which is to get the ball into the hole with the least amount of strokes or swings of the golf club, it is my goal as a homeschool mom to help Kayla focus and reach her target, her life goals, her life calling, by equipping her with the skills and training in order to play the game of life well and successfully.

I pray that as parents, we may all be able to discern God’s will and purpose for each of our children, and that when it is revealed to us by the Lord, we will have the strength, love, and faith to give them the guidance and support that they need.