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 Blessie, Monica 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 Christ, was 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 :)
|Pastor Peter Tan-Chi: Parenting Is Heart Work and Hard Work|
|TeacherMama Monica :)|
|Luanne Shackleford: Homeschooling - You Can Do It!|
|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!|