Mini Botany Lesson

The boys had their mini botany lesson for a couple of weeks. I remember back in Manila, they love picking the flowers in our neighborhood. They would sometimes bring me freshly picked flowers when they come home from play dates. Living in UAE, I took advantage of the community parks to teach them botany, it has a variety of plants and it’s free.

So this is how it went. After going through the text, introducing the parts of the plants and learning few songs, we brought the boys to the park nearby to facilitate interaction with plants. It’s been said that children who gets to interact with the natural world lose their fear of nature and advance their recreation in the natural world.

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We also brought along some activity which I got from the generous Measured Mom Blog.

 photo IMG_4787_zps16fkg9os.jpg.And after a week of learning, I gave them a botany project. Not just for Zoe’s portfolio, but also to test what they learned.

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And that’s our mini botany lesson.

When Your Child is Curious of God’s Presence

I was about to hit the sack, when my son Zoe popped up a question “mommy is God here?” Then, with my sleepy eyes I answered yes, He is here with us. He replied, “He can see us, but why we can’t see Him? I told him, that God is in heaven and He is powerful that He can see us from there. I continue by telling him that He also lives in his heart, in his brother’s & dad’s heart and in my heart as well. And that, if you have Jesus in your heart you will be a good person. And again, he blurted another question, “then why there is magnanakaw (thief)? Did God create them?” Astound, I answered, God created humans but not magnanakaw. It’s a sin and satan created it. What is sin? Who is Satan? Those were the follow up questions. So I answered, Satan cause people to do bad things. That’s why when you have Jesus in your heart, you have to share Him to other kids so they’ll be good. And the conversation ended with a question “mom, there is only one God?”

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John 14:16 says He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for everGod is Omnipresent. The prefix omni is a Latin word meaning “all.” So, saying that God is omnipresent means that God is present everywhere and He dwell in us.  Isiah 57:15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:“I dwell in the high and holy place,and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

And we have only one God. 1 Corinthian 8:6  yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

My children usually throw questions about their favorite toy characters, or maybe about a character in a book that we recently read. Although we sometimes read bible stories, they are not as interested about it as they are with their favorite toy characters. That’s why I was surprised to hear those questions and even teary eyed answering it. It was heartwarming that somehow, in his heart, he has developed a curiosity about God. From that curiosity, it motivates me to be intentional in teaching our children about Jesus.

Deuteronomy 6:5-8 says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

This has led me to examine two areas of my life. First, my relationship with God, second, is my parenting style. The bible is very clear, it is our vital responsibility to teach our children to follow and live for Jesus. There is no way I can teach my children to follow Jesus, if I myself is not a follower of Jesus Christ. And so, I am reminded to take God seriously, to pursue intimacy with Him, to truly follow Jesus and be a responsible disciple and be a good model to our children. Pursuing those will coincide with my husband and I desire, for our children to grow loving and honoring Jesus in their lives. And to make it realistic to the innocent mind, it should start from us, parents, and it should transpire in our home.

Ephesian 6:4, Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Things to Do When Buying a New House

Buying a new house is always an exciting experience. It does not matter if you have bought several homes before or if it is your first purchase. However, there are many things that you need to consider during a purchase of this magnitude. For most people, their home will be the most expensive item that they buy in their lifetime. This means that there is a lot at stake. You want to be totally certain that the house you are buying is worth the money you are paying for it. You also need to take steps to protect your large investment. Here are a few of the most important things to do when buying a new house.

1. Have a home inspection

This is a standard procedure for most home purchases. However, the company that you choose to perform your home inspection is very important. You need to make sure that you hire a very reputable company that has many years of experience in the home inspection business. The purpose of a home inspection is to verify that there are no problems that the previous owner and his or her real estate agent failed to disclose to you. If any problems are discovered during the inspection, you can ask that they be repaired before you purchase the home. Alternately, you can request that the price of the home be lowered by the amount of money it will cost you to repair the problems that were discovered.

2. Buy a home insurance policy

Do not wait to insure your home. Have your home insurance policy in place before you move in. You do not want to take a chance of a fire or some other disaster happening before you purchase an insurance policy. Start to call insurance providers long before you will move in to compare the various rates that they offer. It is in your best interest to call as many providers as you can to compare the policies that are available. You can also investigate property title insurance policies at http://freetitlequote.com/.

3. Install a security system

It only makes good sense to install a security system in your home. You will be protecting both your family and the possessions you have paid a lot of money for. You can also save money because many insurance providers will lower your premiums once they know that you have a security system installed.

Things I learned from our first half of Homeschooling

We are halfway down on our homeschooling this year. It’s not easy since both I and my husband are working 8 hours a day. We’ve had our uncouth moment most of the times, but we do have couth moments for sure, making our homeschooling fun and meaningful.

Six months of homeschooling our children mean six months of homeschooling myself as well. Being a first time homeschooling mom, learning about this matter is a mainstream. It has taught me a lot about my kids and me.

Now, let me share few things that I learned, which has emboldened me, in our decision of homeschooling our children. I am not an expert on this, but I’d like to help and probably inspire other parents who are considering homeschooling.

So, I learned that in homeschooling;

1. You can customize the Curriculum – we are following the curriculum provided by our homeschool provider. But learning is not limited to that curriculum alone. You can customize it according to your child interest. I usually use supplementary materials and sometimes introduce topics that are not covered by his curriculum. I get them online for free, there are actually tons of free resources that you can use. I am so thankful to homeschool parents who unselfishly shares resources online. However, if you have extra budget, there are also good curriculum that you can purchase online like SonlightLifepacs and ACE.

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Some online free resources for my homeschoolers

2. Time can be flexible – time is soo precious, especially to working homeschooling parents like us. So to make the best out of our time, I have set a homeschool schedule. But, it’s not all the time that we are able to follow our schedule. If rules are meant to be broken, schedules are as well. For some reasons, say an unexpected matter that needs action or maybe either me or my child is not feeling well, so we tend to skip homeschooling for a while. Or a visitor is around to perk up our day. Situation like these happens. But, whenever we see an opportunity to make up for what’s left behind, we make up for it and sometimes go extra mile.

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Hooray for some extra time, we get to have fun with arts!

3. It’s not just about text books and work sheets – sometimes we need to leave the books on the shelves and have our children learn the reality of life. Let them grow in wisdom and stature, in that, we are helping them be prepare for life. Remember that being a parent, our job description is to raise our children well.

4. Teacher adapts to child’s learning interest – in a conventional classroom, the teacher controls the classroom. In homeschooling, my students who are my kids are my boss. I learn to adjust according to their learning interest. Although sometimes it’s frustrating if they are not interested with what I prepared. I may have prepared science, but they like filipino. Ready for ordinal numbers, but they insist fractions. It took sometime for me to finally get in tune to this kind of situation. I tried persuading them to what I want them to learn but opposing to their interest won’t give us a better result. Also kids has short attention span, so adapting to their interests is an effective learning strategy. It reminded me that homeschooling is not about me, it’s about my children.

5. Homeschool is not just confined at home –  sometimes we go out of the house, take the boys for an outdoor play and somewhere integrates learning. Going outdoors is sometimes what it takes for my boys to warm up and be energized for the next lesson.

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introducing botany

6. Family Bond – Ideally in a homeschool family, the mother usually takes the teacher role. While the father is the one earning for the family. In our case, since I and my husband both works full time, we agreed that we both take part in homeschooling our children.  My kids demands for their father’s presence, there are times that we cannot start our session because dad is not around just yet. My kids must’ve love learning with their dad. There are even times that they like my husband to be their teacher more than me. Needless to say, I am so grateful for such times, it brings us closer.

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the dad helping the children build their paper ark

7. I discover that their are endless resources online – I was overwhelmed with the resources available online. I am so grateful to homeschooling parents who unselfishly shares their knowledge and resources online. Plus the groups and coops where I get to learn from the first hand experience of fellow homeschool moms.

8. Learning constantly happens – learning happens all the time. It does not only happen when me and my kids are in front of books on our study table. It happens anytime, anywhere; at the grocery, mall, park, in the car, we are learning.

9. I discover that I am capable to educate my children – “kaya ko ba to?” this was on my head before embracing this thing. Often I doubt if my children can get the best out from me. But, it only takes faith in God and courage to believe and be confident of myself. After all everyone else believe that parents are the best teacher, they are the best mentor in the world, so why would I still doubt? I am fully capable of teaching my children.

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photo from https://zulu7772013.wordpress.com

10. I learned, that without Grace, I can’t be an effective teacher – I have to admit that I struggle with temper up until now. And if I gave in with that struggle while teaching venturous and contemplative children, it won’t be effective. Well, we learn from our mistakes right? There were times that I am consumed by my patience, and that leaves me sometimes wailing to my kids in desperation, and that’s no good. I have ask God to extend my patience, and I am glad, that I am improving on this. It is only by God’s Grace that I can do this. God won’t call me to homeschool our children if He can’t give me what I need to be effective – Patience.
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Going against the flow of the society is not just a hardwork, it’s a heart-work. I know, as we walk on this road there’s more to learn!