Saturday, May 28, 2011

Homeschooling From A Dad's Perspective

My favorite lines from this homeschooling dad's honest, witty blog post (which I think ALL homeschoolers, wannabe-homeschoolers, curious-about-homeschooling-people should read!):

And all (our kids) do well on the standardized testing for what it’s worth. 
..your kids aren’t going to turn out stupid cause of homeschooling, they may for other reasons :)."

"But even if we choose to send our kids to school we are still ultimately the ones who have to answer for how they turn out. And I’m not just talking about how smart they are, what college they get accepted to or how much their future jobs pay. We are talking about what kind of people they become and the future of their souls."

" (homeschooling) has to be a mutual decision; it’s not going to work if both aren’t in agreement, it's way too demanding for that."

Reading this blog post, I found myself nodding lots of times and laughing out loud occasionally. Most of all, I found myself thanking the LORD that Anthony is one supportive husband and homeschool dad! :-) So blessed to have you honey!

Below is the entire post from Sardonic Catholic Dad (who is a dad of TWELVE! My gosh! And all were/are being homeschooled! See, anything is possible with God! *Especially for all you homeschool skeptics out there - you know who you are! hehe).

Should we homeschool or not? We get that question from time to time. While I can’t make that decision for you, here are a few thoughts from one dad’s point of view.

Homeschooling is a lot cheaper than Catholic schools but more than public schools. Catholic schools are around (US$) 5k for k-8th and 10k+ for 9th-12th grades in our area (your results may vary). So 13 years of schooling X 11 kids X $5,000-$10,000 = Are you out of your freaking mind? So Catholic schools aren’t even an option for our family. Homeschooling costs as little as few hundred dollars a year. Especially if you build up a nice family library.

I’m not that impressed with the Catholic schools anyways. Maybe the education is better than at public schools (I hope so for the $$$ they charge) but the behavior of the kids doesn’t seem much better than of the public school kids. Not that homeschool kids are all little angels either (Tina: I can so relate! haha). Sometimes I can't tell any difference behavior wise. It basically comes down to the parents.

Plus a lot of the Catholic schools around here are Catholic in name only. Friends of ours are constantly complaining about them and taking their kids out and either homeschooling them or sending them to the public schools. And if they aren’t complaining about the costs or lack of true Catholic teaching, then they are complaining about the 2-3 hours of homework in the evenings. Heck you can be finished homeschooling in 3 hours a day. Plus you get the added bonus of no PTA meetings or teacher/parent conferences.

As parents we are the ‘primary educators’ (in quotes cause I hate that term) of our kids. In other words we are responsible for them. Not the government or some paid professional (although there are lots of great teachers out there). But even if we choose to send our kids to school we are still ultimately the ones who have to answer for how they turn out. And I’m not just talking about how smart they are, what college they get accepted to or how much their future jobs pay. We are talking about what kind of people they become and the future of their souls. It’s a huge responsibility. One best not pondered too much if you want to sleep at night.

For Sam and me the decision was easy and it was made even before we were married. And it has to be a mutual decision; it’s not going to work if both aren’t in agreement, it's way too demanding for that. But so far it has turned out great for us. The 2 oldest have each graduated HS 2 years early. The first is finishing up her second year at the local community college and will be transferring to a four year college in the fall. The second is at a pre-seminary and will be attending a regular seminary in the fall. Each has done very well on their SAT’s and in their college course work. The other kids are all on track to finish 1 or 2 years early. And all do well on the standardized testing for what it’s worth. So your kids aren’t going to turn out stupid cause of homeschooling, they may for other reasons :).

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a piece of cake. As husbands we must support our wives. I’m assuming that the wives are the main ones doing the teaching. If you as a couple decide this is the way to go then you have to support your wife as best you can.

No coming home from work and complaining that the house is messy and dinner isn’t ready – guilty of that myself. You have to be willing to put up with a little more mess around the house, a little less fancy cooking, more housework for yourself and helping out with the schooling when needed. And yes that can be annoying at times, tough, deal with it.

There may be days when your wives will question the decision – they may question it every hour of the day and curse your name for agreeing to it. But they probably do that for other well deserved reasons already so what’s one more? Just be there for them and be supportive. Sometimes they just need to vent a little bit about why little Johnny at age 8 still can’t read, eats paste and boogers and exposes himself in public. While the neighbor's 8 year-old at the swanky private school is fluent in French and can solve quadratic equations. Don’t worry I’m sure your son will be able to whip theirs in sports at least.

My kids seem to enjoy it for the most part. They complain on occasion but they complain about everything on occasion. The industrious ones are working on their school right after breakfast and are done before noon. They then have lots of play/free time, after chores are done of course. The lazier ones might still be doing school work when I get home from work (you know who you are). But none of them hate it. At least I think they don’t hate it…I’m afraid to ask.

What about HS you ask? What about it? Lots of parents school the kids through the 8th grade and then put their kids in a high school. Others school them all through high school. We happen to use tutors. Our HS age kids go to tutors 1 or 2 days a week. You are an adult, you will figure out what’s best.

So whether you are doing it for spiritual, social or educational reasons; or all 3 like we are, I don’t think you will regret trying it out. It’s pretty darn cool when your little one sits down to read you a book and it’s your lovely bride who has taught them how to read. Anyway the schools will always take the little darling back…I think.

Honey, I don’t say it enough. I love you and appreciate all you do. Especially schooling the little balls of sunshine.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Freebie Friday: Parenting Tips - Coping With Criticism

(FYI: This was taken from Mark Merrill's blog. The original post can be read here.)

Teaching your children how to cope with criticism is something that will help them for the rest of their lives.  Criticism is something that everyone experiences. When used properly, criticism is a tool for building others up and improving a person. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t just want a pat on the back.  I actually prefer constructive criticism from my wife, children and co-workers because I know that I can grow from it.

So help your children cope with criticism by sharing these two truths.

Criticism is Your Friend.

Nobody likes to be told that they’re doing something wrong.  It’s hard not to be defensive, hurt, or even angry.  But try to look past your feelings and try to see the truth in the critique.  Take the suggestions and get better.  Accept each criticism as an opportunity to learn and improve.  It may be hard to see it at first, but criticism is your friend.

Consider the Source.

Teach your children to consider who’s giving the criticism. Is it someone who genuinely cares about you? Or, is it just a person who wants to correct everyone and everything?  Sometimes we are criticized wrongly.  When that happens, your children need to know that it’s good to graciously listen to the person, but then can discard the criticism if there is no merit to it.
That’s what American Idol hopeful, Chris Medina did.  He was able to take the criticism that he got from the judges and learn from it.  He sought out and valued their input, making changes to his performance style and song choices along the way.  But when he was eliminated before the final 24, he was able to weed out the wrong criticisms and continue to pursue his dreams.  Despite the criticism.  What will you do?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The 1st HAPI Homeschool Kids Fair

Do you want to meet with other families who homeschool or are considering homeschooling?

Are you looking for a venue to showcase your homeschooled child’s talents and projects? 

Do you have homeschool books and curriculum that are just sitting around in your house but could be put to better use? (If you have books from Catholic Heritage Curricula or Sing, Spell, Read, Write and Math-U-See books, please do bring them! I'd love to check them out and take them off your hands! :-) hehe)

Well, LOOK NO FURTHER. You can experience all these and more at the 1st Homeschool Kids Fair, sponsored by HAPI

This will happen on May 21, 2011, 8AM to 12 Noon at the Valle Verde 5 Activity Center, Pasig City.

To attend only: P100.00 / head
To display or perform: P50.00 / head
To join the Book Exchange: P150.00 / table

Please find below the forms to register for the fair:

For inquiries, go to HAPI’s Facebook page or contact Irma Chua at 929-4933, 0921-712-7640 or email her at bihadjaj@yahoo.comYou can also check out the Homeschool Fair's event page on Facebook here

This event is open to everyone, even if you are not homeschooling, though only homeschooled kids can take part in the exhibit/performances. :-) Hope to see YOU there dear reader! :-) God bless us all!

Update as of August 6, 2011:
You can read about my take on the Homeschool Kids Fair on here. :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Mother's Day Message For Our Kids

To Tim and Rysse,

Thank you for the greatest gift that God could ever give me - the gift of motherhood. By being your mother, I have learned so many things about God and myself. I have seen how wonderful it will be in heaven. Through your hugs, kisses, laughter and "I love you's" I have felt truly rich and loved.

I know I have failed you many, many times, even before you were born. There were times when I (and your Papa) put you through undue stress, and spanked you too many times. There were times when we said harsh words and hurt your feelings. There were times when we did not assure you that you are perfectly, unconditionally loved, and that you are more important than our work for the Lord, and other things that keep us busy. 

For all these times and more, I am truly sorry, as I'm sure your Papa is. I want you to know how infinitely blessed, loved and grateful we feel for being called to be your parents, unworthy and imperfect as we are.
This Mother's Day, I thank you for the best gift that I have ever received. I thank the Lord for you both (and your Papa too, of course, because you wouldn't be here if not for him too!) each and every day.

Please know that Mama loves you with all her heart. I will do my best to be the best Mama for you both, and your future siblings.

May God bless you both to be holy, healthy, happy and wealthy, so that you can love and serve others!

Love and prayers,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Instant Homeschool Lesson for Divine Mercy Sunday

Our instant "lesson" for Saturday was based on the feast of the Divine Mercy.. We are unschooling now and I just thought of doing this before the kids had lunch. The other day we did "A" is for Ark and did an Ark artwork and read Noah's Ark and other books about listening to God and obeying. 

Saturday's "lesson" was "B" is for Blessed (I tried to connect the lesson to the beatification of Pope John Paul II somehow). Aside from the artwork we did (which was a hit with the kids, thank You Lord for divine inspiration!), Tim practiced writing his uppercase and lowercase A's and B's, numbers 1 and 2. (He is not so into writing actually. I don't want to push him so much either!) 

We also read about The Lost Sheep from The Beginner's Bible for Toddlers (I related it to being Blessed because Jesus always looks for us because of His great love for us), and the book Thank You God for My Two Feet. I had other books I planned to read but Tim said he was already hungry, so I let him and Rysse have lunch already. (Note to self: Start planning ahead, and homeschool earlier in the morning! :-)

I sure hope the kids learn from these "instant" lessons somehow! And that more than these lessons, they learn how to love the Lord with all their heart! I also pray that I will grow more in patience, understanding, kindness and discipline. 

Jesus King of Mercy, we trust in You! Blessed John Paul II, pray for us! Thank you for showing us that life is precious, and that children are a gift from God! :-)

Pope John Paul II: Children Are the Future of a Nation 

"I wish to express the joy that we all find in children, the springtime of life, the anticipation of the future history of each of our present earthly homelands. No country on earth, no political system can think of its own future otherwise than through the image of these new generations that will receive from their parents the manifold heritage of values, duties and aspirations of the nation to which they belong and of the whole human family. Concern for the child, even before birth, from the first moment of conception and then throughout the years of infancy and youth, is the primary and fundamental test of the relationship of one human being to another. And so, what better wish can I express for every nation and for the whole of mankind, and for all the children of the world than a better future in which respect for human rights will become a complete reality throughout the third millennium, which is drawing near?"

~ Pope John Paul II, excerpt from Familiaris Consortio ~

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