Saturday, December 25, 2010

What is YOUR gift for JESUS?

It's CHRISTmas morning here in the Philippines! Hurray!

I can't sleep as I am still stuffed from our Noche Buena here at my in-laws' house. Hubby and the kids are fast asleep already so I thought I'd share a touching Christmas moment we had earlier.

After our bedtime prayers with Tim and Rysse (though she was asleep already beside us, hehe), we asked one another, especially Tim, what gift we had for Baby Jesus' birthday.

Papa: What is your gift for Jesus, Kuya Tim?


Tim: What's our gift po Mama?


Mama: Let's give Jesus our hearts.


Tim: No, no, Mama. We shouldn't give Jesus our hearts. 


(Pause. I expect him to say something silly. What he says takes us by surprise...)


Tim: Our gift to Jesus is us - me, Papa, you and Baba G (pointing to his sleeping baby sister.)


(Mama and Papa hug Tim and tell him how right his answer is.)


What a timely reminder from one of God's little angels!

That CHRISTmas is not just about the gifts we give to each other or receive from others, but about what we can and should give to CHRIST. After all, He is the Reason for this season! :)

How about YOU? What is your gift to Jesus? :)

Let's take our cue from Santa and pay homage to the King of Kings, not just this CHRISTmas but always.

A HAPPY AND HOLY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

A CHRISTmas message :)



As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we thank the LORD for all the people who have come into our lives and become a source of blessing, hope, inspiration and learning for us as individuals and as a family. This year is very significant in our life as a missionary family, as after five wonderful and challenging years of mission in Timor Leste, we have finally come home to the Philippines. We continue to surrender to the Lord's plans for us and our children, and know that He has a bright and beautiful future in store for us.

It is the first year that all four of us were able to celebrate our birthdays with those closest to us. Alyssa Therese "Rysse" turned 1 year old in July, and is now a walking, signing, semi-speaking, precociously pretty toddler. Timothy Alan "Tim" turned 4 years old in October, and is fast growing up into a God-loving, temperamental but totally lovable, intelligent preschooler. We are enjoying our time with both, and plan to formally homeschool Tim next year. 

As for ourselves, Anthony and Tina, we have been serving fulltime under the CFC International Missions Office since we arrived, but will be moving on to new exciting assignments come January. 
 In the 6 months that we have been home, we have learned a lot, have been blessed to attend and serve in so many inspiring and empowering activities in and outside of Couples for Christ (CFC); some of which include the CFC 29th Anniversary Celebrations, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Mission Fun Run and Missionaries Ball, the enlightening financial education lectures by the IMG-Wealth Academy, the hard-hitting 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference and the refreshing Kerygma Restoration Conference; plus mommy-related activities organized by L.A.T.C.H. Philippines and Mommy Mundo. 

Through all of these, and our encounters with family members, co-missionaries, and friends, old and new, and our beloved CFC community, we have learned more and more about how the Lord calls us to LOVE LIFE and LIVE PASSIONATELY; i.e. He wants us to be holy, happy, healthy AND wealthy. In connection with this, we have been blessed to be able to start a small business on the side (Pure Passionistas), which we hope will help advocate our passion for Pro-Life. Tina has also been able to fulfill her passion for writing by becoming a contributor for Smart Parenting.
 

 
IN ALL OF THESE, WE ARE GRATEFUL TO GOD, AND TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU, FOR MAKING 2010 AND THIS CHRISTMAS ONE OF THE MOST MEANINGFUL TIMES IN OUR LIVES. 

May the LORD continue to bless and guide us all not just this CHRISTmas and New Year, but all throughout our lives!

From our family to yours,  A BLESSED BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL PASSION-FILLED NEW YEAR TO ALL! :)

In Christ,
Anthony and Tina :)
Tim and Rysse :)
Thank YOU for being a part of our journey. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Extra Income For The Homeschooling Mom (or Dad) :)

Image taken from www.webmarketingphilippines.com
Most homeschoolers can testify to the fact that living on only one primary source of income can be quite tough, especially in this time of global financial challenges. In fact, it is very common for homeschooling parents, usually the moms, to have alternative sources of income to augment the family's monthly cash flow. In my other blog, where I write more about enriching one's faith, family and finances, I have posted several entries about tips for those who want to make a little extra money on the side.

I am sharing the links below for those who may be interested in earning extra income. Hope this helps you somehow! :)


If you have tips or reflections of your own to share, please feel free to leave your comments or links below! :) Let's live a passionate life by being all God wants us to be, and helping our kids do the same! :) God bless everyone! :)

P.S. Here are some resources that may be of help to you in your search for extra income:

Let's claim our financial freedom in Christ, the Source of all our income and blessings! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Smart Parenting Online articles! :)

I was delighted to find out that two more of my articles have been published online at the Smart Parenting Philippines website!

The links to the articles are provided below. Happy reading! :)


5 Tips To Keep Your Preschooler Entertained During Long Car Trips

Parent-Rated: A Review of Starfall.com


P.S. In one of the articles, about preschoolers and long car trips, I was able to mention and in a way "promote" two businesses that are run by mompreneurs: Mitzi Nguyen and Raquel Benares of Peapod Baby and my friend from way back when I was still in Youth for Christ, Anna Meloto-Wilk of Human Nature. If you would like me to feature or review your products or services for Smart Parenting Online, please feel free to e-mail me at teachermamatina@gmail.com. :) Thanks and God bless us all! :)

DIY Printable Nativity Scene

My mom and I have been talking about setting up the family CHRISTmas tree with the kids in the household and  plan to get around to it sometime this week. We were also talking about having the older kids and preschooler kids make a nativity scene that we could display somewhere in the house. I told her I'd look around online for a good resource.

Then I realized that I'm subscribed to Mommy Lacy's Catholic Icing blog, which is full of great Catholic crafts and activities. (You are really Spirit-led Mommy Lacy! Praise GOD for you!) I found a great link for a DIY Printable Nativity Scene there which looks easy enough for the kids to do, and could make for great bonding time as a family! :)

Here's what the finished product is supposed to look like:
Photo courtesy of Mommy Lacy of www.catholicicing.blogspot.com
Can't wait to do this with Lola Tita, Tim and his cousins! :) Will post pics once we're done! :) If you want to try doing this too, just go to Mommy Lacy's blog post here. Feel free to share pictures of your finished craft! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent - Happy New Year!

I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)

For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; 12 the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:11-12)

Happy New (Liturgical) Year everyone! :) Just sharing with you some pictures of our simple celebration of the 1st Sunday of Advent :) 


We went to mass in the morning. In the evening, Tim and I made our family advent wreath using this link from Catholic Mom: http://www.catholicmom.com/advent_wreath_craft.htm.
Look what we made! :)
This is fun! :) Even if I am sleepy already! 

I modified the craft a bit and we used some real wax candles (previously used) instead of making paper ones. We just covered them in purple paper, and the pink one we used one that was left over from my niece's baptism (she's 10 years old now! haha. Talk about saving one's memorabilia!)


Our family Advent wreath
Then we prayed as a family together. Lolo Mon and Lola Tita led us. We used the prayers from this link: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=952 and the readings from this one: http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/christmas_advent.htm.

Lolo leads the prayer

Papa helps Tim light the first Advent candle


Lola reads the Bible reading with the theme: HOPE

Singing Isaiah 60 together

Kuya Tim accompanies Papa on the saxophone

Good job Kuya!

Time to blow out the candle!
It's always nice to celebrate Advent and the coming of Jesus with family, especially by creating your own family traditions. Now I'm thinking of something else to do to make CHRISTmas more meaningful for the kids, and us kids at heart too of course!

How about you dear readers? How are you celebrating Advent and CHRISTmas this year? :)




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How To Prepare Your Family For CHRISTmas



Advent is fast approaching and this means CHRISTmas is near too! :) Yehey! :) But sadly, a lot of families are blinded by the glitz of Christmas decorating and busyness of gift-shopping that they don't give importance to the TRUE reason behind the season i.e. Christ. Let's bring back the Christ in CHRISTmas by sharing with our family members, especially our kids, the richness of our Catholic traditions during Advent.

One of the ways we can do this is by having our own Advent wreath at home. Teacher mom Lacy shares two great new ideas for Advent in the links below:

Edible Advent Wreath for Kids http://catholicicing.blogspot.com/2010/11/edible-advent-wreath-for-kids.html
Make Pink and Purple Advent Candles http://catholicicing.blogspot.com/2010/11/make-pink-and-purple-advent-candles.html

To view all her posts related to Advent/Christmas you can click on this link: http://catholicicing.blogspot.com/search/label/Advent/Christmas

Last year, Tim and I made this Advent wreath using his handprints by following instructions from Catholic Mom's link (http://www.catholicmom.com/advent_wreath_craft.htm). He really enjoyed making it (sorry, I can't seem to find our pictures of it!) and to our surprise he still remembers doing it to this day! So we will probably be doing it again, along with some other crafts. A Jesse tree perhaps?













Or maybe make a Baby Jesus in the manger craft?

How about YOU dear friend? How will you be preparing your children and family for CHRISTmas? :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Smart Parenting Online article :)



Here's the link to my latest published SP Online article: http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/home-living/about-yaya/how-to-teach-your-yaya-nanny-to-teach-your-kids/page/1

For my other published articles, you can check out this link: http://teachermamatina.blogspot.com/p/smart-parenting.html.

Happy reading and happy teaching everyone! :)

And remember, the future of the nation, and perhaps of the world, is right in our very own homes! :) May God grant us the grace to mold our children to be blessings to the world! :)


am the Child. All the world waits for my coming. All the earth watches with interest to see what I shall become. Civilization hangs in the balance, For what I am, the world of tomorrow will be. I am the Child. You hold in your hand my destiny. You determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail. Give me, I pray you, those things that make for happiness. Train me, I beg you, that I may be a blessing to the World. –Mamie Gene Cole

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Toys for homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike at the Expo Mom Bazaar 2010

Teachermama Tina will be at the Expo Mom Bazaar this Saturday at the Rockwell Tent, from 10am to 8pm. This is part of my "leap of faith" into missionary mompreneurship (which you can read more about here if you like!)  


Featured at our booth, along with original limited edition kids and moms shirts and canvas bags, women's clothing and accessories, plus a bunch of other stuff, are the "Think-ets" toys from Think-a-Lot Toys

This handy game of imaginative play will provide hours of educational fun for the whole family! Ideal for HOMESCHOOLERS and non-HOMESCHOOLERS alike! Fun for kids and kids at heart! ;) 


So please do drop by the Pure Passionistas Lifestyle Products and Events booth at the Expo Mom Bazaar this Saturday, Nov 20 at the Rockwell Tent if you have the time :)  I'd really appreciate your support! :) If you can't come, please do say a little prayer for this venture of mine! :) Thanks and God bless us all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teaching Baby Signs - One Of The Earliest Forms Of Homepreschooling

I haven't mentioned in my previous posts what I'll be mentioning now - as I write this, the kids and I are in Brunei with my parents to visit my sister and brother-in-law, who are based here (working). Hubby and I decided at the last minute that the kids and I would join Papa and Mama on their trip here. You could call it a working vacation of sorts. Anyway, either way, I feel truly rich and blessed to be here - there is always that feeling of "coming home" (probably since I practically grew up here!)

Anyway, I'd better go to the topic of this post, which is on teaching baby signs. When I was a new mom to Tim, I wanted to make sure that I was a well-informed parent, along with my husband (who by the way, is not much of a reader, so whatever tips and information I'd get, I would just share with him and he never fails to forget what I tell him! :) Just goes to show, everyone has his/her own learning style!). Anyway, as I was saying, I read lots of books and searched online for useful parenting info. One of the things I learned was the benefits of baby signs. So when Tim was about 7 months old, we started introducing baby signs to him, using signs from books and the Internet. Pretty soon, he was signing well enough for us to be able to know what he wanted or needed. He was speaking fluently earlier than a lot of his peers, and though I believe it wasn't just due to baby signs alone, signing did help him in acquiring language skills at a fast rate. Even when he was already speaking in complete sentences, there were times when he would use signs (like "more" - tapping one's fingers together) to emphasize a word or two.

Fast forward to the present... Tim's little sister Rysse is now 1.3 years old and even if I have not been that consistent in teaching her signs, she has quickly picked up all that I've taught her so far, and has even started to vocalize her own "words", like she says "a-pa" when she sees an apple (or any other round fruit for that matter, and onions as well! hahaha), and she can say "up" pretty clearly when she wants to be carried, "Papa", "Mama," "K-ya" for Kuya Tim, "Wowo", "Wowa" (for Lolo and Lola - grandpa and grandma), "Tito" for uncle and "Tita" for aunt, among other sounds, which fortunately most members of our immediate families can decipher as "words" coming from Rysse's lips. It is amazing when we are able to witness the miracle of life unfolding every day, and God just shows it more and more through the development of our kids!

As I am all for baby signs, I was so happy to have been able to borrow a book on Baby Signs written by pioneers Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn from a Filipina friend here in Brunei. I made myself a copy of the book for personal use, and I am really enjoying reading it so far, especially when it's nursing time for Rysse.
Because of this, I was led to searching for information on baby sign language classes in the Philippines, and was pleasantly surprised to find these helpful links:

http://www.mysmarthands.asia/
http://babylingo.multiply.com/
http://mom.exchange.ph/bloggerfeeds/rwchick/baby-signing-classes-in-manila
http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/baby/development-child-care/My-Smart-Hands--Using-Sign-Language-is-An-Effective-Tool-for-Baby-Communication/page/2
http://www.hthyou.com/2009/10/baby-sign-language-faqs.html
http://www.babycenter.com.ph/baby/development/stimulatingdevelopment/babysigning/

Fellow breastfeeding advocate and mompreneur Jenny of the Chronicles of A Nursing Mom also has some  informative posts on baby signing. You can find them here: http://fabnaima.blogspot.com/2010/06/my-signing-baby.html and http://fabnaima.blogspot.com/2010/06/baby-signing-classes-in-manila.html.

Part of my personal advocacy as Teachermama is to promote what I feel is of benefit to both parents and children, so I hope that through this post, I can encourage other parents to learn more about baby signing and use them on their kids. Hubby and I can personally testify that baby signing has made life a lot easier when it comes to communicating with our children. Even their grandparents, aunts and uncles have seen how it is a huge help for the whole family. And it always gives us a sense of pride whenever people see us signing together and they go "Wow! Ang galing naman ng baby niyo! So smart!" Hehe. Praise GOD for that, and for Baby Signs!

Baby Signs is available in all major bookstores in the Philippines. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Funny Homeschooling Video :)

Hubby found this funny video about homeschooling a while back. Coincidentally, they showed the same video at the recently held 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference. It's pretty amusing, so I thought I'd share it here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Disciplining Your Child




The Catholic Filipino Academy held a parenting seminar on "Disciplining Your Child" last September, and the expanded outline of the seminar was recently published online. Here is the link to download or read it: http://catholicfilipinoacademy.com/uploads/Oct2010.pdf

Hope this helps parents everywhere who have been struggling with how to discipline their kids (that includes yours truly! You'd know this if you are friends with me on Facebook! hehe) Hubby and I are both guilty of not being inconsistent in how we discipline Tim, and many times, we have been more physical with him than we should have (this is me publicly confessing our parental sins, people!). I only pray that God will mold our hearts and break them if needed, so that we can become the parents Tim (and Rysse) deserve. It is really true what was said at the 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference: "parenting is heart work and hard work!" We need to be reminded of this always! Especially since Kuya Tim is turning out to be a very strong-willed little boy.

It's always encouraging to know that whenever we have struggles like these with our kids, God's grace is more than sufficient for us! I personally want to thank God for leading me to chat with Teacher Mom Josette the other day - her reminder that prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments, and adoration can really change one's way of dealing with the others around her, especially one's kids. This advice came at the perfect time, when I was beating myself up over how I had failed to use gentle discipline on Tim. Thank You Lord for such divine appointments! :)


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HAP's Bev Alarcon on Homeschooling (MOMents TV Show, Net 25)

I blogged about Homeschool of Asia Pacific (HAP) in a previous post. Since we are discerning about starting Tim on a more "formal" curriculum next year, HAP and Bo's CFA are among our top choices, since HAP has both Catholic and Christian-biased programs. Here is a video of HAP's resident teachermom/owner, Beverly Santos-Alarcon, as featured on Net 25's MOMents show.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference Favorites

Can I just say, GOD IS AMAZING?!! Come on people, say it with me, GOD IS AMAZING! :) He really knows our needs, desires and thoughts. His ways are really far beyond our ways, thoughts higher than our thoughts! He alone knows His plans for EACH and EVERY one of us, just like He said in Jeremiah 29: 11-13!

Last October 30, hubby and I were so blessed to be part of the 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference. It was worth every centavo we paid (we were able to avail of the P500 early bird registration fee!) and hubby and I are so grateful to God for providing for this "investment" in our family and kids' lives. I don't have a lot of time to post EVERYTHING I want to write about the Conference right now (more on WHY in another post! :) hehe. Suspense, suspense!), but I will try to sum it up in the following list:

My Top 5 Favorite Things About The 3rd Philippines Homeschool Conference:

1. The inspiring and informative talks 

There were two keynote speakers: Pastor Peter Tan-chi, Christ Commission Fellowship's dynamic leader and Philippine homeschooling pioneer (one of the main men behind The Master's Academy) and Ms. Luanne Shackleford, one of the authors of A Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling and a veteran homeschool mom.

In a nutshell, homeschooling and parenting in general, is heart work and hard work. Without the Lord's guidance, both tasks are very hard to do. Training up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 6:22) so that he will not depart from it when he is old is something EVERY PARENT should strive hard for (including hubby and myself of course! We've a long, long way to go in becoming the Godly parents our kids deserve! *sighs* But we all gotta start somewhere right?!)

Other points that struck me: "The more you listen, the more you understand your children. The more you understand your children, the more you can influence." Bam! Right through the heart, Lord, Your words cut me! What a loving reminder to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND Timothy (and Rysse) more. Especially on difficult days.

And the pointers on how not to react when your child is acting up (I am now publicly confessing my sins, Lord! Guilty of everything listed below!!! Your grace alone can save me!):

-Do not be angry.
-Do not raise your voice.
-Do not send "busy" signals.
-Do not use words "you never..." or "you always...." 
-Don't answer immediately.

The reminders above apply not only to our kids, but I believe to our spouses as well. Right?! Anyway, since we are convinced and convicted that homeschooling is for us, I realized that I really need to work on my OWN heart and attitudes. This is where I (and hubby) would need all your prayers. (Thanks!)

2. The panel discussion with veteran homeschoolers, recent homeschoolers AND homeschooled kids themselves :)

We learned a lot through the panelists' sharing of experiences and tips. My MOST favorite part here was when a question was brought up related to socialization (this almost ALWAYS comes up when you talk about homeschooling!) - "Where can homeschoolers find friends who they can grow up with? (i.e. get best friends, etc). 

One of the homeschooled kids, a college freshman from Ateneo quickly replied: "My parents are my best friends. I am so blessed to have them support me and pray for me and be with me all the way." (Something to that effect.) Aaawww.. hubby and I exchanged looks after this and both said,"Hopefully Tim will also say that one day." (And Rysse too of course!) Just goes to show, homeschooling can really strengthen the bond between family members, especially parents and children!

3. The exhibit featuring different businesses and services that may be of help to homeschooling families.

We had fun going around the different booths and getting our "map" stamped by the different exhibitors so we could be eligible to win a prize (we didn't however, but that's ok!). There were also 2 photo booths, and hubby and I had a laugh getting our pics taken :) It made for a nice souvenir too! :) I also got some business ideas from the exhibit, which I will blog about in my other "home" online soon. :) Woohoo! Thank You Lord for Your blessings!

4. The chance to meet fellow Homeschooling Mommy bloggers :)

Thanks to my blogs, Facebook and being part of the Pinoy Homeschool yahoogroup, I was able to "meet" other homeschooling mommy bloggers like BlessieMonica and Michelle. It was SO nice to be able to meet two of them in person at the Conference, and it felt like we'd known each other for years! (Too bad Mommy Michelle couldn't make it, I wanted to thank her in person for answering all my questions through her blog posts. Hope you're much better now Mommy Michelle!) 

Because of the Conference, I also got to know Martine who had been serving on the working committee of the Conference, and Chame, a homeschooling mom included in the panel of speakers, who previously had been "unschooling" her son. We are now friends on Facebook and get to exchange messages about homeschooling and the like. Cool huh?

By serendipity, God-chance or whatever you choose to call it, I was also able to meet Irene, whom I discovered was the one and the same Catholic homeschooling mom my friend Michelle had mentioned to me. She had shared their homepreschool curriculum with Michelle, who in turn shared it with me. (We haven't started using it though, since we haven't decided on a particular curriculum yet!) Irene and her husband Arnold are one out of the five Catholic homeschooling parents from Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP), a Catholic charismatic community based here in the Philippines. Incidentally, our community, Couples for Christwas established in 1981 by LNP as its outreach to evangelize married couples but it severed its ties from LNP in 1993.

Up to now, I am just AMAZED at how God has used homeschooling to connect our family to other Christians and Catholics who want to hand down the Faith to their children and form their kids according to God's ways. 

Last but not the least, my no. 5 fave thing about the Conference was:

5. The time spent with the Lord and with hubby :)

The whole day, from early in the morning (kids were still asleep when we left, thank you Lola! We love you!) up to the end of the Conference (and even beyond, we picked the kids up and went to a birthday party after!), I was blessed to spend time with hubby sans children. Being on mission for the past 5 years, with no one else to watch the kids for longer than 2 hours, it was great to spend time with my Honey. He is my no. 1 supporter when it comes to all my advocacies and adventures, and sharing the HS Conference with him while there were many moms around without their respective partners was truly a great gift from the Beloved. Indeed, we could really feel the Lord's presence with us all throughout the Conference. It made me all revved up and inspired with so many ideas for future events for homeschoolers, especially the Catholic ones! Woohoo! Truly Jeremiah 29: 11-13 aptly describes how great our God is!


The conference ended on a high note with the launching of HAPI - the Homeschoolers Association of the Philippine Islands! With HAPI, homeschoolers and wannabe homeschoolers in the Philippines are able to link up more effectively, and are also able to receive information and tips that are relevant to their journey in home education. HAPI will also be lobbying to have a special Home Education Department under the Department of Education, among other things! Sooo exciting! 

Can't wait for what else the Lord has in store for us homeschoolers in the Philippines! :) Amazing blessings coming our way, thank You Beloved! :)

P.S. Here are some pics of the Conference. For more photos, please go to my Facebook page :)

Stage set-up

Pastor Peter Tan-Chi: Parenting Is Heart Work and Hard Work

TeacherMama Monica :)

Luanne Shackleford: Homeschooling - You Can Do It!

Afternoon Panelists

Chame and Dan Abbey

Homeschooled kids (Martine is no longer a kid, but a pro-homeschooling mom herself now! :)

"My parents are my best friends." Aaawwwww....

Edric Mendoza, HSLDA's official Philippine representative launches HAPI

Homeschoolers dance onstage 

Too bad I wasn't able to take a pic with Mommy Blessie!  :) We missed Mommy  Michelle too!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homeschool of Asia Pacific Orientation - Live and Online

For all you parents out there who may be considering HOMESCHOOLING, here is a review based on an orientation we attended, conducted by one of the newest homeschool providers in the Philippines: Homeschool of Asia Pacific or HAP. Their website is at http://homeschoolofasiapacific.com.

It's a relatively new homeschool and hubby and I were able to attend the free orientation about a month ago at Eastwood Cybermall. The directress, Mrs. Bev Alarcon, and her husband have been homeschooling for about 3 years. At the live orientation, there were about 4 other couples present with us, and one single lady who was attending in her aunt's behalf. There was also a fellow Catholic mom (I'm not sure if the other parents there were all Catholics), Liza, who has been homeschooling her kids for EIGHT years, using the Catholic Heritage Curricula or CHC from the US. (You can read about Liza's homeschooling journey at their multiply site: http://hofach.multiply.com/).

Anyway, Mrs. Bev's live orientation was quite informative and there was time for question and answer afterwards. Prior to the orientation, each couple/person there (except us, she seemed to have overlooked us) had the chance to introduce themselves and share why they were considering homeschooling. A lot of the parents cited stress on their children as the main reason. Some even had their kids undergo psychiatric care because of the stress they got in school! Gosh, kids these days!

On our part, we came away from the orientation further affirmed of our conviction to homeschool. Although hubby and I did not decide to use HAP as our homeschool provider (I have emailed Mrs. Bev some questions that I preferred to ask her privately and am still waiting for her reply) at least we know that we have other options aside from Bo's Catholic Filipino Academy or CFA. Actually, Mrs. Bev had shared that they had previously homeschooled with CFA but found some regulations that were not agreeable with her and her hubby. As for us, we also went to CFA's office (about a week or two before we attended HAP's Orientation) to inquire about their curriculum. The next parents' orientation is scheduled for next school year, so we were advised to purchase the DVD of the orientation for P50.00. (I'll blog about it in  a separate post). Anyway, we were also advised to enroll Tim next year, when he has already turned 4 (on October 10 this year).

Currently, hubby and I are still deciding on WHEN exactly to start and WHAT MATERIALS we will be using.

If you are interested to know more about homeschooling, specifically with Homeschool of Asia Pacific (HAP), you can check out this SlideShare Presentation that Mrs. Bev uploaded online (she is a web developer too, so the HAP website is VERY informative):

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homeschool Education Levels Well Above National Averages - U.s. - Catholic Online

Last week I was able to talk to a fellow missionary mom who said that her husband was not too keen on homeschooling because he wanted his son to learn leadership skills, and how would he do that if he didn't have any classmates to lead? I told her that maybe he (and she) could read up more on all the online resources that actually support the "cause" of homeschooling especially those that feature great people in history who were actually homeschooled, like those listed below:

(Source: http://www.home4schoolgear.com/famoushomeschooler.html)
Inventors
Alexander Graham Bell
Thomas Edison
Cyrus McCormick
Orville Wright & Wilbur Wright
Artists
Claude Monet
Leonardo da Vinci
Jamie Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth
John Singleton Copley
Presidents
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
John Quincy Adams
James Madison
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Abraham Lincoln
Theordore Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Composers
Irving Berlin
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Anton Bruckner
Felix Mendelssohn
Francis Poulenc
Scientists
George Washington Carver
Pierre Curie
Albert Einstein
Booker T. Washington
Blaise Pascal

I also found this inspiring article that further cements the case for homeschoolers and trying hard homeschoolers like our family. :)

Here's to homeschooling - the BEST education you can give your child! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Month And A Half Or So In Review

I was inspired by Mommy Michelle to update this blog when she started doing her "A Week In Review" posts. I realized that it's been more than a month since we've arrived in the Philippines (my gosh!) and more than 2 weeks since my last post here (I've been regularly updating my Truly Rich Mom blog though. Check it out at http://trulyrichmom.com :)

Anyway, a lot of things have happened to our missionary family in the past month and a half or so. One of the most significant things was Rysse's 1st birthday party which we celebrated with a Noah's Ark theme at a local swimming resort (small but NICE!). Remind me to post pics and tips on how to throw a Noah's Ark birthday party in a Philippine setting later on, ok?! The event turned out to be a reunion of sorts for extended family and close friends, a true celebration of God's faithfulness to Rysse and our family for the past year! :)
We have not been giving Tim any "lessons" as regularly as when we were in Timor Leste (which was usually at least once a day for about 30 minutes, three times a week). It's been a kind of "vacation" for him I guess. I didn't want to push anything on him considering he's already had a lot to adjust to (settling in, moving from my in-laws' place in Cubao to my parents' place in Cainta every other week, adjusting to not going with us all the time to the Home Office, etc etc). However, I'd like to think that Tim's homeschool preschool journey has been ongoing although not in the "subject matter" that most teachers think kids his age may need. By God's grace, Tim has "matured" and seems to have outgrown certain things that used to frustrate hubby and I:

1. He has learned to say "po", "please", "thank you", "sorry", and "excuse me" appropriately with less prompting from us.

2. He has gotten over his fear/aversion to:
 (a) having his hair cut - he went to the barber shop willingly with his Lolo Rading and Papa, and even volunteered to go first! (What a pity, Papa was unprepared and didn't bring a camera so we have no proof! Anyone willing to donate an I-phone our way?! hahahaha. Anyway, Tim shows off his new haircut in the pic below, taken at Rysse's birthday party :) And yes, that's me, trying to sing karaoke! hahaha)

(b) having his fingernails and toenails cut while awake - I used to cut his nails when he was asleep because he absolutely refused to have them cut! Now he is more than willing to do so! (Although most of the time, he wants his Papa to do it, not me! Which means "Hurray!" for me! hahaha)
(c) having his ears cleaned - The same situations as his nails. But last week his Tita Gela cleaned his ears and got out a huge bit of ear wax, which has probably been growing in size since Tim was born! hahahaha.

3. He is less of a picky eater now, and knows basic table manners (elbows off the table, say "excuse me" when you're going to leave the table). He eats most of his meals with other family members now too! (Before he would eat separately, we'd usually feed him earlier to save time!)

4. He is getting better at sharing, taking turns, waiting for his turn (although he still has his melt-downs, especially at the end of the day when he's tired from playing).

5. He has picked up a few more Filipino words. Perhaps watching TV with his lolo and lola isn't such a bad thing after all. He learned what pula and puti mean by watching Sa Pula, Sa Puti with his Lolo Rading, hahaha. (Although, we have been more vigilant lately about what he's been watching. And make sure to watch with him as much as possible, so we can explain things when he asks about them. And PUT OUR FOOT DOWN when the programs are not for him i.e. get him out of the room as much as possible or ask for the channel to be changed).

6. He has been praying spontaneously a bit more often now (his morning and evening prayers with us don't count here). Especially with the recent typhoons and rains lashing down upon the Metro. (He's scared of thunder so he always says "Mama, let's pray to God to stop the storm. And no flooding. No thunder. etc") Oh, and just this evening, when we were saying our night prayers, he said "I wish Jesus could come here at Lolo Rading's house, and his angels too.. *pauses for a while* Oh.. and God too!" HI-LA-RIOUS and oh so heartwarming! :) Moments like these just make me ever so grateful to be his Teacher Mama!

7. He has learned that the "office" for Papa and Mama is no longer just outside our bedroom, as it used to be in our mission house/office in Timor Leste, but is now somewhere else. Which means that most of the time, he has to be left behind when Papa and/or Mama go to work. In the beginning, he HATED this and would throw tantrums. BUT he has learned to ADJUST, and now only protests occasionally. Thank YOU Lord. (Although I'm hoping our working arrangement will change SOON. Please po Papa Jesus!)

Anyway, so far, these are the things I believe Tim has learned DESPITE our lack of "formal learning". I still believe that life lessons are some of the MOST important things for him right now anyway, so I won't be pressured by all the comments like "He's turning 4 na? Shouldn't he be in school?" etc etc. :) HOMESCHOOLING PRESCHOOL is STILL the WAY to GO for US. :)

For all those who have been following our homeschooling journey, and have been HUGE sources of support and prayers, THANK YOU SO MUCH. May GOD bless us all. :)

P.S. I almost forgot. Hehe. By God's grace, we have never missed out on READING ALOUD to the kids every day. During our bedtime ritual, we read at least three books to Tim with Rysse occasionally listening intently alongside him (other times, she plays with the books or practices turning the pages). In connection to this, I JUST LOVE BOOKSALE BOOKSTORE! Secondhand books are the way to go! :) Love it love it love it! :) We must have bought, I don't know, like 20 plus new "old" books so far, mostly from Booksale. Hahaha. Thank YOU Lord for providing all these blessings! We heart You! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My baby can sign! (Your baby can sign too!)

Our just-turned-one-year-old baby girl Rysse is my "newest" student! :) I admit that I have not been as "obsessed" with teaching Rysse as I was with Tim, wherein I tried my best to have a special "learning time" with him, even when he was still a toddler. For practical purposes, with Rysse, I have incorporated our "lessons" in our everyday routines, especially during our special "Mama and Rysse" bonding time, while Papa and Tim have theirs. :)

And so it was sheer joy for me when I discovered that Rysse now knows some of the basic baby signs, even if I have not been so consistent in teaching her. She now knows how to sign "milk", "more", "eat", "no", "yes", "go", and "poop." (Though it's funny sometimes her "poop" sign looks like her "milk" or "dede" sign! hahahaha). Anyway, I AM SO PROUD. And grateful to the LORD. :) How amazing kids can be! We just have to tap that potential in them! :)

All you Mamas out there, YOUR BABY CAN SIGN TOO! I didn't buy any expensive products or books but mostly got some signing tips from babycare books given during the baby shower held for Tim waaay back in 2006 (yes, Tim used to sign too! And he still remembers the signs I taught him up to this day!) and also from online sites such as http://www.babies-and-sign-language.com/ and http://www.fun-baby-games-online.com/free-baby-sign-language.html. Just google "free baby signs" and choose the site that's most appropriate for you!

We also found these DVDs helpful. Perhaps they can be of help to you too! :) Happy teaching and happy signing! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Importance of Support For First-time Homeschoolers

In my previous post, which was about 2 weeks ago, I lamented about the seeming lack of understanding and support for our decision to homeschool preschool Tim who will be turning 4 in October. Since then, a lot of things have happened, and I can only say that I am further convicted to homeschool Tim, at least during the preschool years (hubby and I are still discerning on what happens beyond preschool).

Three significant things happened that further emphasized the need to promote the cause of homeschooling among other less-informed people, and also stressed the importance of support for first-time homeschoolers, like ourselves, who could easily have given up on our decision to homeschool.

First, I was able to chat with two homeschooling mommies, Michelle and Josette. I have never met Michelle in person but chatting with her was like chatting with a friend from long ago. She gave some very inspiring and informative input about HSing, and I am really grateful that we met online. As for Josette, she was one of my "mentors" when I was a campus youth leader, and later on a mission volunteer for our Catholic community. She and her family moved to the US a long time ago and we had lost touch but thanks to Facebook, we got reconnected and started sharing homeschooling and mommy stories. It was truly divine intervention! Indeed, chatting with these two mommies made me feel less "alone" in this homeschooling journey! Thank You Lord!

Second, hubby and I were able to talk to our leaders in the community about our past mission, our current situation and hopes for the future, including our homeschooling plans. It was wonderful to know that our elders support us 100% in our decision and promised to pray for us and our plans. God is sooo good!

Third, we were also finally able to pay a visit to the Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA). This is a homeschool founded by none other than renowned Catholic lay preacher and evangelist Bo Sanchez. We were able to purchase a DVD of the Orientation they usually give to parents, and were assured by the person in charge that we are on the right track with Tim so far, and were in fact, recommended to start the formal Kindergarten curriculum for Tim next year. She even let me browse through the materials they had, and to my pride and joy, it seems that Tim is a bit advanced in some areas, based on their curriculum. Praise GOD for mission and the opportunities it gave me to spend time with Tim and teach him through our play sessions!

In all these, I can only say that God is slowly setting the path for our homeschooling journey. Although we have informally started homepreschooling Tim, it is good to know that there are others like us, journeying the same path. It is good to know that we are not alone. First, we have our Lord, who is guiding us every step of the way (except when we're stubborn and refuse to listen!). Then, we have family (my parents are totally supportive of our homepreschooling!) and friends, especially from community, who support us and pray for us. Yes, there are still people who think we're depriving Tim of a good education by not letting "real" teachers teach him, but at least now, I have less doubts and fears about doing this.

I am so blessed! We are so blessed! In fact, you could say we are TRULY RICH! Thank You Jesus!

P.S. By the way, I have a new blog: www.trulyrichmom.com. I haven't decided whether to keep this blog separately dedicated to our homeschooling journey, or just combine all posts at trulyrichmom. In the meantime, if you're following this blog, do take the time to visit me at trulyrichmom and follow me there too, just in case! :) Thanks! Godbless us all!

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