Rediscovering Myself through Homeschooling

We hit the year end and we survived our first year of homeschooling. Throughout our first year of homeschooling, I get to know myself more and grateful that I can do things I thought I am not capable of doing. So allow me to share it with you.

Through homeschooling, I discover that:

I can teach. I just feel accomplished after having completed our first year in homeschooling. I remember being asked by a friend if it is possible to educate my children even if I am not a teacher. The answer is Yes, we can educate our children without even having a teaching degree. I learned that commitment and perseverance are more important than a teaching degree. Likewise, trusting & believing that God will walk me thru this journey has fueled my determination.

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Just a little info, for those who are considering homeschooling, please know that homeschooling in the Philippines is legal and protected by article 14, Section 1(2) of the Philippine constitution, stating that the government should establish and maintain a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children.

Feeling Artist. When my father noticed my inclination towards arts, I was never convinced. And because of that, it was never honed. Now, I’ve spotted that artsy side in me. And because we are homeschooling, I teach arts to my kids and I get to nourish it, though at a snail-paced. Ohh…Thanks to the bunch of arts activities/ideas available online.

Got the crafty side, I think...I remember a mommy friend who was skeptical on homeschooling because she feels she is not as crafty and creative. That’s what I knew about myself before diving into this journey. I am not creative at all. But you know what? My determination and intentions in homeschooling brought this little side of me. There is really a way if you’ve got the will. The good thing these days, is that there are a bunch of creative inspirations online.

Somehow improved patience. I am not really generous with patience. I have been praying to improve in this area. And you know what? God definitely hears & answers prayers. He allowed me to be in situation where He can test my patience and most of the time it happens during homeschool hours.

I’m thankful to my Creator for allowing me to discover those traits inside me and most of all so thankful for giving me such skills. All glory to You my God!…

To balance it out, I also discover that I needed to:

Be more organized. It resonates on my mind as we approached yearend. I needed lots of organization. Disrupting schedule is sometimes inevitable, but I figured that we should immediately make up for the lessons missed.

Make more quality time with the Lord. I get too busy at times juggling work & homeschooling. The tendency is to sometimes neglect my quiet time. I have to be honest, that diving to our homeschool session without my time with the Lord often gets chaotic – I loose temper easily. The result is a mussed up & unproductive day. This is definitely  a much needed time for it is only by His Grace that I can do this.

This year, i’m looking forward of more discoveries and learning along side my kids.

THE FILIPINO HOMESCHOOLERS IN UAE

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!

Homeschooling | First Assessment

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photo from www.redbridgehighschool.co.uk

Had our first homeschool assessment and I am just happy to share that my homeschooled kindergarten did well. I have been conditioning him the past few days, so he will not get shaggy come assessment day, and I’m so glad that it worked. He even initiated of showing his portfolio to our Family Consultant. Knowing my son, who is showing introversion at his age, made me really a happy homeschooling mom. Oh, we forgot to take our snap photo.

It was also a happy discovery, knowing that we are on the right track in our homeschooling. Being a first time homeschooler is not easy (and I think it can never be easy) it made me wary at times as to whether we are doing the right thing or not. I’m just so grateful hearing a positive feedback from our family consultant, likewise I am thankful for inspiring and encouraging to make our homeschooling fun and even better every day. Oh, thank you God for the wisdom and strength!

Officially Homeschooling

In preparation for our “big move” we are pulling out our eldest Zoe from a local Chinese school so we could start homeschooling. Yes we are officially homeschooling our preschooler. This is a great challenge for our family especially me, being the newly appointed teacher and my husband being the principal. LoL…

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In a country where conventional schools are mainstream, it is not surprising that most parents wonders about homeschooling whenever they heard it. Well, my eyes rolled the first time I heard it in our church. The church that my family is attending is the founder of one of the homeschool institution in the Philippines. It is through their advocacy, that I had a glimpse of what homeschool is, and also I feed my curiosity by further research.

Okay, allow me to give you a brief information about homeschooling. In the Philippines, homeschooling is supported and recognize by the Department of Education. Article IV of the Philippine Constitution states that the quality of education should be made accessible to all Filipinos, including self-learning, independent and out-of-school study programs.The Department of Education defines homeschooling as a home-based education which relies on the active participation of the parent as teacher to his child. A one on one tutorial type of teaching. The parent is at the center of the educative process of the child from which the home educated child acquires the necessary skills to develop his full potential to become a self-propelling, fulfilled and contributing member of the community.

Over the recent years, homeschooling in the Philippines has proliferated. When I attended the TMA Homeschool Intro, parents were asked why they are considering homeschooling their children. Most parents leaning towards values formation as the main reason for homeschooling. I share the same thought, and I believe that as a parent, we should be the number one responsible in building our children’s values foundation. I think this is the main reason why homeschooled children are increasing in numbers in the Philippines.

So, who are qualified to homeschool a child? As per DepEd, anyone who is a degree holder can homeschool a child. You can enroll your child in DepEd accredited homeschool. We are currently enrolled in The Master’s Academy. There are other schools like Heritage Academy, Homeschool of Asia Pacific, Victory Christian International School and Catholic Filipino Academy that offers homeschool program.

How about the misconceptions? The most common misconception I heard before we decided homeschooling, is the lack of socialization. I even had marveled on that. Well I still have to find out for myself if this is true. Right now, this is how I see it, homeschooling families get to join a play groups and coops that meets at least once a week. This is where the child gets to meet other homeschooled kids. Plus you can also enroll the kids in different enrichment programs so that doesn’t leave the kid confined in your house.

I know, there are lot’s challenges we will be facing in the next days to come. I still don’t know how to start, but I am in constant research and reading homeschooling blogs is a big help. And above all this preparation, we keep on praying for guidance and wisdom in order for us to became a good parent-teacher to our kids. I look forward to a positive outcome. Help us Lord!

Hello Homeschooling!

We are having difficulties of finding a school for our preschooler in Dubai. I can’t believe that most affordable schools are filling in fast. International schools are expensive and we cannot afford to send our kids to such school. And so, we are sticking to our second option which is Homeschooling. I have been wanting to homeschool Zoe, but I needed to work full time, so we send him to a conventional school. This time, we’ll get to homeschool him once we landed in Dubai.

Last week, I was able to attend the Homeschool Intro at The Master’s Academy. They’re the pioneer homeschool institution in the Philippines and they’ve been around for 16 years now. I’ve learned about TMA through our church, CCF being it’s founder.

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Homeschooling in the Philippines is supported by Department of Education. Article IV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution decrees that the quality of education should be made accessible to all Filipinos, including self-learning, independent and out-of-school study programs. And as long as the parents are a degree holder, you can homeschool your kids.

As TMA defines, Homeschooling is an education where the parent creates an ideal climate for their children to achieve success. This climate consists of a conducive home, intentional parents, a customized curriculum, a comprehensive support system and clear goals towards true success. I’ve only known a few parents who homeschool their kids. And their reason for homeschooling their kids is to ensure that their kid’s values formation is directly influenced by them (parents). And that is something agreeable and unarguable. Being a parent, we are the number one responsible of our children’s character.

Homeschooling is also a cheaper option compared to conventional schools. With the increasing tuition fees, I guess a cut down expense on uniform and school service as well as baon is a big savings. But as the President of TMA Edric Mendoza puts it, financial aspect should not be the main reason for homeschooling. It is the character formation that we should focus on.

This is an all new thing to us. My husband and I are really looking forward for this new challenge. I am not skeptical about this, but sometimes I’m in doubt about my ability to teach. But I am trusting God that he will give me and my husband wisdom and strength to get through this and be successful homeschool parents.

Philippine Homeschooling Conference to Take Place in May

Long before, Homeschooling was not in our vocabulary but now it became a practice (of some parents) which has rapidly gained popularity over the years in the Philippines. This provides children with a familiar and relaxed learning environment that allows parents to tailor-fit certain aspects of their education based on their needs, remote education shatters the long-standing concept that prime education happens only within the confines of the classroom,  and is also proven to unlock certain hidden potentials of the student—presenting more room for growth and enhancement.

So if you are planning of homeschooling your tots, here is a chance to learn more about homeschooling. This coming May 19, 2012, The Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) will be having its 4th Homeschooling Conference  which will take place at St. Francis Square Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong, the event will gather parents, academe, and homeschooling experts in one venue to promote awareness of the program, as well as provide guests with access to homeschool-related tools and services.

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This year’s Homeschooling Conference is themed “Laying a Strong Foundation.” It will feature lectures from esteemed homeschooling authorities both here and abroad including: noted inspirational speaker, best-selling author and homeschool parent, Bo Sanchez; and former high school and college educator and best-selling author of award-winning books like “Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling,” “Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens,” and “Ultimate Planners for Moms, Teens and Students,” Debra Bell.

The event is supported by the 3,000-strong force of Filipino families, who are currently homeschooling by choice and discovering its priceless benefits.

About HAPI

The conference is organized by the Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), an organization that has dedicated itself as a catalyst for nation-building by advancing home education and unifying home educators in the country.