Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bo Sanchez's Catholic Filipino Academy

Photo from

2 weeks ago, I was able to attend the Parents' Orientation of the Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA). Hubby had an ocular inspection to go to for an event, so he couldn't make it. Despite that, it was a doubly blessed day because I got to hitch a ride and exchange homeschooling stories with Teacher Mommy Blessie and her hubby Neil, and also meet other Catholics who had homeschooled, are still homeschooling and are thinking of homeschooling their kids. It was nice to be at the Lighthouse Building, where all the ministries of Bo Sanchez are housed. It sort of felt like being "home" in a way - most of those present were so accommodating and nice.

Here's a brief summary of how things went:

For starters, Ms. Rita Yokingco, Vice-Directress of CFA, talked about the background, whys, hows and benefits of homeschooling in the first session called "Homeschooling Discovery Time." Although hubby and I had already bought the DVD copy of the Parents' Orientation last year, it was nice to hear everything in person. Ms. Rita shared about her own homeschooling experiences, as she homeschooled her own kids for 9 years. Her eldest, who just finished college, is now working together with her at CFA. Cool huh?

Next, one of the moms on the CFA team, Rissa Espinosa, shared about their homeschooling life. I really liked the fact that she and hubby Rene were equal partners in homeschooling their kids - he taught their son, and she taught their daughter. Kind of like the times of our ancestors right? The men would teach the boys to hunt, the women would teach their daughters to gather food, cook, sew, etc.

The last part of the Orientation had Teacher Dad Rene Espinosa talk about "What Is CFA?" He basically described how homeschooling under CFA would be like - the grading system, number of hours to put in a day (usually 3 hours), days per week for homeschooling (Mondays to Thursdays, according to him), etc. He also said that all parents who choose to homeschool with CFA will have parent-coaches assigned to them. I liked this concept a lot, since I personally feel that I (and hubby) would need LOTS of coaching! (Mostly because I am very unorganized! LOL!)

After the Orientation proper, there was a Question and Answer segment. Out of the Q & A, I was able to glean the following cons of homeschooling with CFA:

1. CFA has no activities yet for older children who will be transferring from regular school to homeschool. Some parents were concerned about this, as their kids would miss their school friends. However, Ms. Rita said that they would seriously consider putting up activities for such kids (usually from the higher grades).

2. CFA is affiliated with Power Kids Academy which is based in Bulacan. For parents who have kids who are athletes or competitors of different activities (like dancing, singing, art, etc) representing the National Capital Region (NCR), switching to CFA may be a difficult choice. In such cases, parents who are still convicted to homeschool their kids may want to consider other homeschooling institutions such as The Linden Tree Institute, which implements the homeschool curriculum of Kolbe Academy, a Catholic school based in Napa, California. Others may also want to try The Master's Academy (TMA), but this is under CCF (Christ's Commission Fellowship), a non-Catholic Christian Church.

For me, the PROS of homeschooling with CFA, based on the Orientation as a whole, are as follows:

1. CFA already has a manual of sorts for parents who will be homeschooling their kids, complete with lesson plans and suggested activities. Sort of like a homeschooling for dummies handbook. (Which is very beneficial to a disorganized mom like me!)

2. As previously mentioned, CFA has parent-coaches. I like the thought of having someone to "mentor" and guide us, and pray for us, during our homeschooling days.

3. CFA focuses on three important aspects: learning, work and service. I LOVE THIS PART! I truly believe that success is not only defined by high grades - these won't get you into heaven!

4. CFA's staff and parents were very supportive and encouraging, especially when I brought up my concern about homeschooling on a single income (a mission worker's one at that!) in the future. "I'd like to believe that God will make a way for you" said Rene. Ate Rita said this (and I almost cried!) "God will bless your conviction and decision. It will not be easy, but He will provide." Aaaww... *sniffs*

5. CFA has weekly activities where the kids can gather and meet their "classmates"/"schoolmates." Also, they have special sessions on the Sacraments, and gatherings like "UN Day" and Christmas parties.

6. CFA has regular outreach activities too - this is the "service" part. Kids learn how to serve others, just as Jesus served His disciples. In this day and age of "Look out for yourself" and materialism and greed, kids need to know what is important and essential.

7. CFA is relatively cheaper than HAP (Homeschool of Asia Pacific). Although we are not choosing to homeschool for economical reasons, this is definitely a plus factor, especially for frugal moms like me!

8. And last but not the least on  my list of PROS, CFA was founded by Bo Sanchez, my personal "idol" when it comes to Catholic parenting and living in general. It's partly because of Bo's books and teachings that I have begun to pursue the dreams I have in my heart.

You may be wondering then: Will we be using CFA soon for homeschooling Tim and Rysse?

Well, to be honest, we are still discerning about that. We are looking into Catholic Heritage Curriculum too for now. Some families I've met online are using this and have nothing negative to say about it at all so far! We still need to see how we can work this out though since CHC is based in the US. If ever we do choose to go with CFA, we might just get their Special Reading Program first (for only P8,000!). We are of the belief that once a child knows how to read, all forms of literature can be their "teacher"! Books, magazines, newspapers, educational websites - everything can be a learning tool for the child who reads! (As of now, Tim can only read some three-letter words :-)

Anyway, please do pray for us as we continue to discern what's best for our kids. Thanks! Be blessed y'all!

P.S. If you want to read about real-life homeschoolers who are with CFA, here is a list of blogs that may be of use to you:

Homeschooling Kiddos -
Raising Filipino Boys -
Homeschooling in China -
Filipina At Home -
Teacher Tita (Aunt) Edel -

P.P.S. I would highly suggest to all parents who are considering homeschooling to attend the Parents' Orientation in person! CFA is conducting orientations on the following dates: March 3, 2011, March 18, 2011, April 7, 2011. at the 1st flr., Lighthouse Bldg, #60 Chicago St., Cubao, Q.C., from 9:00AM-12:00NN. For reservations, pls contact Rita Yokingco at 5336097.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On being kind

This is a picture that I saw on Alex Blackwell's blog
Photo from

It is a timely reminder for me as a self-professed Teacher Mama who has not been kind many, many, many times - especially to my strong-willed little boy Timothy, with whom I have been engaging in many power struggles lately. At this moment, I feel like I am the worst mom (I am making a public confession here). I have not only been unkind - I have been downright mean. I have been overly physical when it comes to disciplining (or trying to discipline) Tim. I have said things that I should have not. I have done things I only regret. 

Today's first reading (Genesis 3:1-8) talks about how Satan deceived Adam and Eve, opening up the human race to sin and all its deadly effects. In the words of the writer in the Companion by Shepherd's Voice Publications:
"Now the horror story begins! We have read the story of Creation; we now read of its near destruction through the choice of humanity to allow sin to enter into the world. This decision is couched in terms of pride and arrogance – a refusal to admit that we are to submit our lives to God’s will and an insistence upon controlling, or at least attempting to control, our own destiny. Sin will affect every aspect of our existence."

I feel so much like a sinner today. And very much an unworthy mother to my children. But I am encouraged by today's psalm (Psalm 32: 5-7). 
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. For this shall every faithful man pray to you in time of stress. Though deep waters overflow, they shall not reach him. You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me; with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round. 

So this serves as my confession of sorts, but of course I will go to a priest to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation soon.

I also pray that like the deaf-mute man in today's Gospel (Mark 7:31-37), Jesus will say to me "Ephphata!" So that all that is closed to goodness in me will be opened; so that my life will be open to more of His grace, healing, forgiveness and kindness. 

Do pray for me, please. And pray with me and my hubby for our kids, especially Tim, that they will grow to know, love and serve the Lord, despite the unkindness that they experience.

For it is true that in the end, only kindness matters. But more importantly, it is the kindness that springs forth from God's love and mercy that prevails.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pro-Life Crafts and Activities for Kids

February is Pro-Life month here in the Philippines!

I hope to be able to do some pro-life crafts (suggested by Mommy Lacy) with Tim and Rysse this month, though we can do this all year round too! Every day is a reason to celebrate life, and to FIGHT FOR IT!
Photo from Catholic Icing

Here are the links I'm going to refer to, from Mommy Lacy of Catholic Icing:

I also found this great new site for Catholic homeschoolers when I googled "Pro-Life crafts for kids"! You can check it out here:

Love life, live passionately!

Catholic Filipino Academy Orientation Schedules

Reposting this announcement on Catholic Filipino Academy's Facebook page:

Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA): To all those who are interested in homeschooling their child, CFA is conducting orientations on the following dates: February 3, 2011, March 3, 2011, March 18, 2011, April 7, 2011. at the 1st flr., Lighthouse Bldg, #60 Chicago St., Cubao, Q.C., from 9:00AM-12:00NN. For reservations, pls contact Rita Yokingco at 5336097, or e-mail

Feel free to e-mail me at too if you have any questions about homeschooling! HOME is COOL - HOMESCHOOL! :-)

P.S. Watch out for the 1st Philippine Catholic Homeschoolers Summit, en event especially for Catholic families who are homeschooling or considering it! Coming soon! A project initiated by Pure Passionistas!

Teachermama Tina writes about

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