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!


 

We are now on Part 3 (of 8) of this blog series on the breakout session assigned to me during the last Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016 held last October 22.  Part 1, my very first topic, was on parenting.  Part 2 was on teaching.  Let’s move on to part 3, experiencing.

What kind of experiences did our daughters have when they were in high school? Or what kind of experiences did we give them rather?

Compared to grade school, creating experiences or providing opportunities for our high schoolers was deeper and more intentional. If during their younger years, trying out something was simply to experience something new, in high school we were more intentional in the experiences or opportunities we allowed them to engage in. Instead of simply trying out for the sake of experience, it was our intention to know if they would like to explore it more. Would they like to learn more about it? Is it something they find themselves comfortable and competent doing? Will the experience help them narrow down or identify the course they plan on taking in college? Will the experience help them see themselves doing it as a career or a job?

Therefore, aside from the NEWness in the experience, we added another dimension to it, which is their GROWTH and INVOLVEMENT in making choices and decisions on the activities they would want to do or experiences they would want to have.

Before setting her goal on animation which is visual arts, Arielle became very interested in performing arts. She was able to join a professional theatre production at the age of 9 and joined auditions here and there, and have gotten callbacks. That was one experience which helped her really identify what she can do, compete with professional and amateur performers, and it taught her to face rejections and bounce back from them. That she can sing; that she can perform; and she’s always bold and brave to take big challenges of the real world, in the real world setting. If there’s one thing I learned from Arielle, it is bouncing back! She also co-started a group of young bloggers called I Know Write where they were able to organize a few events inspiring teens to blog about their passion.

Kayla, on the other hand, got very interested in culinary when she was younger.  We thought that was going to be her choice for college. So, we enrolled her in a few culinary classes, and let her work in the kitchen. But she lost interest in it and is now exploring the option of sports, particularly golf, as a way to enter college.

The opportunities and experiences our girls had (and Kayla continues to have) in their high school years were opportunities to let their roots grow deeper, securely and firmly. I believe this is where their roots have begun to strengthen them. Giving and supporting them in their experiences teach them to think bigger, see the bigger picture, make their own decisions, and even train them to think of opportunities that encourage them to come up with better ideas, better solutions to problems, and to give back to the community.

As a summary, we made the high school experience of our daughters even more intentional by consciously identifying where our their interests and strengths lie. It was finding where those interests, strengths, and learning environment all meet that we made sure they were given the opportunities for deeper learning, improvement, and enhancement  of their skills.

Next post will be about the “S” word!  SOCIALIZATION! It will be the longest post I will do as this was the topic that I felt God wanted me to really spend more time on as I was preparing my talk for the conference.  I had lots of prompting from God through various posts and articles I came across while preparing and it’s amazing how God clearly spoke to me in many instances!

Watch out for Part 4!


 

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.

 


 

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 🙂

 

 

 


 

I bared my heart in my last post.  It was a sincere one.  I wanted to let you know that I’m not a SuperMom or a Super HomeschoolMom always with her red cape on.  There are actually many times in our homeschool journey that I am just as lost and vulnerable as other moms are out there.

I received a feedback from my friend and art playmate (Yes, I do have a playmate!), Dette Ramos of Bananabellieboo, on my last post.  She told me that what I shared triggered a loooong discussion between her and her husband on how they could also encourage their young kids to dream for themselves and how they want to be able to support them in their dreams.  I was surprised when she told me that it actually took them about one whole hour just talking about it from her office to their house!

It made think how Mike and I started “dreaming” with Arielle and Kayla.  To be honest, I can’t seem to clearly recall what we did first or when the dreaming phase all started because to me, their growing up years, especially when they were toddlers, were more of just teaching them basic skills, making them wonder how and why things work they way they do, and checking if they are actually enjoying whatever they’re doing and interested to doing more.

Let me just share what I vividly recall doing with Arielle and Kayla when they were still very young and we were all trying to discover their potentials, talents, gifts, preferences, and inclinations.

1.  Books

I surrounded them with a lot of books, magazines, and newspapers.  That’s one thing for sure. Picture books, storybooks, chapter books, coloring books, activity books!  I remember I was able to take a video of Arielle with a book upside down in her hands, babbling on and on as she pretended to be reading the book she was holding 🙂   We noticed, on the other hand, that Kayla grew up liking Almanacs.  She would look forward going to National Bookstore or Fully Booked and buy the new almanac that comes out every year.  This mere observation made me see the personalities of our two girls.  One prefers lengthy books and that would be Arielle, while the other prefers bite-size chunks of information (Kayla).

It is through books and a lot of reading and printed materials that Arielle and Kayla were able to “see more” than what’s around them, explore possibilities, and express their thoughts and feelings after reading and having a casual conversation with them.

2.  Arts and Crafts

Being and arts-and-crafts person myself, it wouldn’t be a surprise that I also exposed Arielle and Kayla to a lot of cutting and pasting, drawing, painting, lots of paper, crayons, markers, pencils, paint, etc.!   Doing art activities was one way of discovering more of who they are through the images they drew, the colors and strokes they used.  Art, being a visual and tactile activity, was a self-expression activity that I was able to use to know more about Arielle and Kayla in their younger years.  As they grew older, I saw all the more, through their works and time spent in the activities, that Arielle’s interest in arts was becoming more pronounced and Kayla wasn’t as much into it.

3.  Music and Theatre

Music has been part of their lives as early as probably when they were 4 to 6 months old when they were still in my belly.    I had headphones on my tummy with classical music on for them to listen to, and I remember playing the classic children’s songs (still in cassette tapes!) when we would play in the living room, when we would take afternoon naps, or when we would ride in the car.

We also watched musical plays for their entertainment value and a trip to the theatre was what made us discover that Arielle had this “dream” of performing on stage…as the lead role!  Yup!  We watched Peter Pan at CCP in 2007 and Arielle said, “I can see myself on stage doing the main character.”  She was watching at the edge of her seat (I’m not kidding!) the entire time!  And true enough, the next year, at 8 years old, she bravely tried out performing arts for the first time.  She took a summer theatre workshop and she loved it!  She landed the lead role (as Jack in Jack in the Beanstalk) in the workshop’s production and we knew that the stage was “part of her world” (as the Little Mermaid would sing it 🙂 )  A year after, she did “A Christmas Carol” professionally and it was one experience she’ll never ever forget!  It gave her the confidence to try out audition after audition, go to callbacks and open auditions) and even if she didn’t make it to the cast, it was still a dream for her to show to others what she can do and what she’s got.

We also convinced Kayla to try out theatre since she saw her Ate enjoying it immensely.  So she did too at age 7 and played one of the main characters, Pinocchio, in a summer workshop.  She confidently performed on stage, but she herself said that she liked it, but it’s not her thing.

Up to now, watching movies and plays, especially musicals, is a family activity we enjoy.  It is a way we support the visual, musical, and kinethestic personalities of Arielle and Kayla.

4.  Sports, Physical/Kinesthetic Activities

When we shifted to homeschooling, competitive swimming has been their P.E.  They did it for 5 years.  They got tired of it and found themselves trying archery and golf.  I admit that at times I still wish they stayed on with swimming but I know that even if they didn’t stick with the sport, they have learned the discipline in training for a sport and the other character traits that they have developed while at it like obedience, perseverance, working with team members, humility, among others.

Now that Kayla’s liking golf again (Thanks to Mike who is also playing again after giving up on it for a while), I see that this could be her “dream”.  Although she may not fully admit YET that golf is a dream of hers, I see that she’s BEGINNING to realize that this is a strength of hers, after being given positive feedbacks on how she plays the sport, and that this could actually open doors for her to somewhere we don’t know yet.  Kayla is also currently at the stage where she is starting to question what she really wants to do in her life.  Knowing that her Ate Arielle clearly knows what she wants to take up in college and what she really wants to do, Mike and I can sense that she is beginning to search for her unique path and calling in life.  So for now, we are here to support her in a strength of hers that is obvious and hopefully, it will really take her to bigger dreams.

Prior to golf,  we thought that she wanted to do cook and bake.  That she wanted to take the culinary path when the time comes.  We enrolled her in summer cooking classes. We tried recipes at home.  We baked cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.  We bought her cookbooks and encouraged her to print out recipes she would like to try and keep a file of them.  But again, her interest in it wasn’t sustained although she still likes to work in the kitchen.

5.  Travel

Another worthwhile activity we do as a family when we have the finances and time to do it is travel locally and abroad.  It is through first-hand experience of other culture and lifestyle that our girls learn for themselves what they would want to change in their own way of life and how they would want to live their own lives when they go to college and after.   Seeing for themselves how other people do their day-to-day activities in another place or country teaches them to think of better ways to do things and improve systems.  It is a way of dreaming for themselves and for our country. It also opens their eyes to opportunities that may not be available to them in Manila or in the Philippines, making them dream bigger and bolder.  It was when we went to the U.S. and Singapore that we all dreamed with Arielle in taking up Animation and being an animator someday!

6.  Meet other people

Of course, as we were doing all these activities…buying books, doing arts and crafts, watching musicals, enrolling in workshops and classes, traveling to places, we were able to give Arielle and Kayla the opportunities to meet other people in their natural settings who, in one way or another, were able to inspire and encourage them.  What can beat SOCIALIZING with REAL PEOPLE from different professions, from different fields, and from all ages?

So you see, encouraging our girls to dream involves a number of things:

1.  a hands-on and intentional parenting

2.  a discovery process which includes trial-and-error; It really is exposing your children to VARIED activities and finding out in the process which ones they are wired to do or where their potentials are.

3.  influencing them by our (parents’) own interests at the onset of or during the discovery process, but not dictating to them

4.  having faith in God, our Maker, who designed each one of us with a unique purpose, who ultimately knows what we are cut out for and who can make dreams come true

The words of Pope Francis when he visited our country a few weeks ago are still fresh in my mind. He stressed how important it is to dream in the family.   It was truly an affirmation of our decision and chosen lifestyle to homeschool our children because it is in homeschooling that we are all able to dream as a family and support one another in our dreams.

What are your and your children’s dreams?  How do you hold on to and pursue them as a family?