Monday, October 8, 2012

More Homeschooling Posts on Truly Rich Mom! :)

I need to be perfectly honest with you guys... maintaining and updating two blogs is getting quite taxing for me, especially with the current "state" I am in. :) Don't get me wrong though, I am TRULY GRATEFUL to God for the blessing of our third child, but I'm dealing with fatigue and occasional nausea now (and a touch of spotting last week), so I think I'll just be updating my main mom blog for now.

So, if you dear readers still want to be updated on our homeschooling adventures and read my homeschooling-related posts, please do hop on over to Truly Rich Mom! :) I'm planning to fix that blog so it's easier to find posts by category, but I still need to squeeze in the time to do so (and look for the means to get someone to help me fix the design!).


In the meantime, please do keep in touch, OK? You can like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter for regular updates. :)

Thanks for sticking around, y'all! God bless!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Feast Day, St. Therese! + First Day of (FINALLY!) Restarting Homeschool with Kolbe Academy

It has been a while since I updated this blog! :) I've been rather tired because of my pregnancy (which is to be expected) and have only been updating my main mom blog regularly — mostly because I have sponsors/blog partners over there and giveaways, etc. Anyway, sorry about that!

Also, I know I said in my post dated September 8 that we'd be restarting the schoolyear with Kolbe Academy on that day... but lots of things happened this month that caused me to postpone actually using the Kolbe lesson plans. Tim wasn't feeling well the first week of September, then hubby got sick (he was down with dengue fever syndrome and a urinary tract infection) for almost two weeks, so my parents took in the kids for one week. So no "school" again for us! When the kids got back, I was preoccupied with preparing for our department's annual planning session and other work-related things, so we hardly had any "school" time again!

So now, here we are... the first day of October and St. Therese of Lisieux's feast day, too! We officially started with Kolbe's Kindergarten curriculum this morning, though we're mostly using Sing, Spell, Read, Write (Raceway books) for Language Arts. We covered the first lessons for Religion and Language Arts.

Anyway, just thought I'd share two videos we used earlier to "cap off" our homeschool {formal} lesson time! :) I found these through YouTube.

First is a video (very short though) of St. Therese. :) Wish we could get the whole video somehow locally here in the Philippines! :)


We are learning about the Blessed Trinity this week, from the Image of God: Who Am I? Kindergarten books. I found this cute video to complement our lessons. (OK, I admit I'm the one who liked this video more! Not the kids! Ha, ha!)


So there... Hope you find these helpful somehow! :) God bless!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

1st Week of {Non} Homeschooling plus How to Schedule Your Homeschool Days: Tips from Simple Homeschool.net

In my earlier post about "re-starting" our homeschool year with Kolbe Academy, I said I still had a lot of things to prepare for. I still do! We weren't able to do much this week as Tim wasn't feeling so well starting Monday. He even had to miss football training. We let him rest on Monday and Tuesday.

Thank God he's OK now. I was also feeling a bit tired (hence, lazy, haha!) and so we just ended up reading lots of books together, mostly from our selection of quality children's books from The Learning Basket! :) Tim already knows what Caldecott medal and honor books look like! :) Haha!
"The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children." - http://tinyurl.com/aboutcaldecott
Image and info from The Learning Basket's Facebook page.

On Wednesday, we hardly had any "school," as I went to visit the Manila International Book Fair. I am still *drooling* just thinking about all the great books there! Sadly, my budget was limited, so I wasn't able to buy some of the books I wanted to. No worries though, God will provide in His own time, I am sure! :) After coming home from the Book Fair, we again read some of the books I got at the Fair! :)

Thursday and Friday, well, you all know I have to be at the office on those days! :) Teehee! ;) I usually just leave worksheets and activities for Tim to do, under his Ate Lyn's (our angel/helper) supervision. :P

To end, I'm sharing this link to Simple Homeschool, where one of the contributors shares "A Beginner's Guide to Scheduling the Homeschool." I'm sure most, if not all, of us will find this useful. :)

Happy homeschooling, everyone! :)

+ AMDG +

What Is Our Focus?

This homeschool week has been more of "home" and not "school" for the kids, much to my dismay and disappointment. Where has the week gone? It just flew by so quickly! Already, it's Saturday and I still haven't even planned what we're going to do for next week! :( AND we haven't done most of what I had planned for us to do this week either!

However, I am still thankful for the things God has allowed us to experience this week (including my birthday — by the way, I'm giving away a super inspiring book by Bo Sanchez as my "gift" to you all, you can join the giveaway here if you like!). 

I also thank God that I was able to attend the Manila International Book Fair with friends and fellow homeschool moms/book-lovers from The Learning Basket — I was able to get some great books and inspirational CDs for the kids AND something which we have always wanted to add to our homeschool (since Tim was three, I think!) but couldn't afford to before — a Logico Piccolo set and Fun Thinkers set from Grolier! (We have to pay for it in installments but still, I am quite happy about it! Especially when I see the kids having fun using them!) Thank You, Lord, for providing for our homeschool, as always! :)

Also, I thank God for using Karen of Simply Living for Him to remind me about what is essential in our homeschool — to focus on eternity and on making heaven the ultimate "goal" for our kids (and ourselves, too): 

"Are we focused on making our kids look good, which in turn makes us feel successful? Or are we focusing on their hearts? God knows our hearts and our children’s hearts, and no test score can override that. We must start with their hearts and ours. We must not be caught up in what others think is success. Our goals come from the Lord and what He has called us to do. We work for an audience of One."  
~excerpt from Karen's new ebook..."Called Home."

May you and I remember this always, especially during difficult days! + AMDG +

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Equipping Catholic Families.com's Cathletics Craft Kit Giveaway! :)


I love browsing the Internet for useful Catholic sites, especially for our homeschooling, and stumbled upon EquippingCatholicFamilies.com a couple of times before. Eventually, I was able to "meet" Monica McConkey, the mom blogger behind the site, through the Catholic Bloggers Network. :) I am so blessed to be connected to such great and active Catholic moms! :)

Anyway, Monica is currently hosting a great giveaway in honor of going "Back to Catechism Class," since the school year has just started for most people in North America. This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, and the winners will get to choose a Cathletics Craft Kit (in PDF Download) from the 10 kits available at the Arma Dei Shoppe. More details below:


TEN Craft Kits to Choose from!
FOUR WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED!
Catechism Catcher ~ Catechism Cube ~
Catholic Family Calendar ~
Catholic Lingo Bingo (English or Spanish) ~
Color Me Catholic ~
Journey with Jesus through the Sacraments ~
Journey with Jesus through Confirmation
Lace-Up Missal (English and Spanish) ~
Spiritual Bouquet

The Cathletics craft kits are a fun and interesting way to introduce kids to the basics of the Catholic faith. :) You can read some reviews of the kits here. Monica is allowing winners to print out the kits for their personal use, or even for a whole class to use! :) Awesome, right?

To join the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget below. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Re-starting" Our Homeschool Year with Kolbe Academy!

Two months ago, I said we'd be enrolling with Kolbe Academy Homeschool. Well, today's the day we officially start using the Kolbe curriculum guide for Kindergarten, although we'll still be referring to the original curriculum that we started with in June from time to time.

Having said that, I do think there is much wisdom to fellow homeschool mom and blogger Blessie's decision to focus on reading, writing and arithmetic for this year. I think we'll pretty much do the same, but include religion, too. :) For science, we'll most probably just focus on reading lots of science-themed books and interest-led experiments. :)

I know we should be covering Filipino too — still need to iron out plans for those! (Yes, I'm pretty laidback like that, haha!) I don't want to pressure myself too much, especially since we're expecting again! :) (Yes, I'm preggy with Baby no. 3! Another homeschooler in the making! :)

I told myself I would HAVE to be more organized now that we're enrolled but well... it's already September 8 (Mama Mary's birthday! Yes, we chose this day to "re-start" our year because we want to consecrate it to Our Blessed Mother) and I still have lots of "to-do's" for our homeschool. Hopefully, I can finish everything tomorrow. (Wish me luck and pray for us! haha!)

Anyway, we'll just officially start off the "new" school year with Kolbe by celebrating Mama Mary's birthday (pretty much like how we did last year) and going to Kindermusik class and maybe a short "opening ceremony" this evening. I'm still going to call our "school" The Kingdom-seekers Academy, even if we're under Kolbe! :)

To God be the glory! :)


Interesting Infographic on Homeschooling :)

I found this infographic through our Pinoy Homeschool e-group (pinoyhomeschool@yahoogroups.com) and found it worthy of sharing here. I just wish we had something like this to reflect the local setting here in the Philippines. :)
If you can't view the infographic properly (I think it comes out rather unreadable, and I don't know how to make the graphic look bigger — am kinda low-tech like that, haha!), you can download it here. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Glimpse of What We've Been Up To :D

Oh my gosh! I haven't updated this blog for quite some time now. Yikes! :) I actually meant to post about the free parenting seminar on reading we attended last month here, but did so at Truly Rich Mom instead. Anyway, forgive me for the lack of updates. It's been a busy, busy almost-two-months! 

Here's a brief glimpse of what we've been up to in our homeschool:
  • Reading more Bible stories :) We got a new but old (pre-loved) Bible called "The Young Learner's Bible Storybook" from Book Sale and it has been very useful! :) It contains activities, songs (some based on popular nursery rhymes), memory verses, learning "themes" and more! :) On "lazy" homeschooling days, we just read lots of stories from this book! 
(And when I feel bad or guilty about that, I will try to remember this line from the blog Simply Living... For Him: "If we were to do nothing but read the Bible everyday for a few months, then we still win. God's Word is more powerful and active than any textbook." Though of course, she was referring to the actual Bible in that post; not a Bible storybook. Nevertheless, I'll take Bible stories over not doing anything else any day!)
  • More unit studies from Five In A Row (though on many weeks, it was more like "Three In A Row" and "Two In A Row" meaning we only read the books and did the corresponding activities for three or two days! Waaaahhhh!) 
    • Week of July 2 to July 8: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
    • Week of July 9 to July 15: The Story of Ferdinand
    • Week of July 16 to July 23: Mirette on the High Wire
    • Week of July 23 to July 29: The Tale of Peter Rabbit
    • Week of July 30 to August 5: Make Way for Ducklings
    • Week of August 6 to August 13: A New Coat for Anna
    • Week of August 14 to August 19: The Glorious Flight
Books for The Story of Ferdinand
Books for Mirette and the High Wire week :) 
Measuring activity inspired by A New Coat for Anna
Our little flower turned 3! :)
"Making" a birthday cake for one of their fellow homeschoolers :)
With lots of help from Papa 
  • A "field trip" to the Robot Zoo (Details here.)
  • Starting soccer training for our little man, with fellow homeschoolers, under the Azkals Global Football School. :) (This deserves an entirely different post! :) God has been generously providing for the payment for these sessions somehow! Thank You, Lord!)

  • LOTS of water play using this great water table I got at 75% off! BUT we are cutting down on that now; our water bill is ridiculous! Besides, we're trying to teach the kids about conservation and loving the environment, especially because of the recent floods.)
  • "Homework" time — What the kids call workbook time. :) Rysse usually just scribbles and draws; Tim works on (sometimes) his preferred worksheets; sometimes I choose them. I'm still too flexible about this, I think! LOL! :) We do this on weeknights, sometimes, or weekends. 
  • Special Playtime + Storytelling session and Arts and Crafts with other kids while Teacher Mama attended a free seminar on How to Make Reading an Effective and Lasting Habit. Tim was also assessed for free at The Learning Library. (Photos here.) We are thinking of enrolling him for additional reading (and writing?!) lessons BUT... well... y'all know our main concern when it comes to enrichment things like that, right?! Still, God is faithful, right?! :) Let's see what September will bring!
  • Being interviewed for ANC :) The segment aired was super short (according to those who watched it — we haven't yet!) — but the day of the shoot was full of drama (prior to going to the venue, which I need not describe in detail anymore); playtime with fellow homeschoolers; etc. I was very proud of Tim for how he answered the reporter's questions — praise God! :) Will post a link to the video soon. In the meantime, here's a photo one of my friends posted on my FB wall:
Praise GOD for this opportunity to share about homeschooling, even if it was only for 60 seconds! 
  • Lots of outdoor play + YES, videos on DVD, too, plus Disney Jr. shows when the kids are at my in-laws. Plus the occasional computer game. We try to limit screen time (mostly for Tim), though many days, the key word is TRY! *sighs* And yes, for those of you who don't let your kids watch any TV at all, you guys are truly my "idols!" But, well, for now, this sometimes-frazzled-work-at-home-often-sleepless homeschool mom will go with whatever works, especially when there are deadlines to meet. (And I will do my best not to feel so guilty about it, especially when I read non-TV-watching-homeschool-families' blogs! LOL!)
Well, I guess that's it for now. :) I really should be getting more sleep, LOL! ;) September is almost here (ohmygosh!) and since we recently registered with Kolbe Academy Homeschool and are waiting for our materials, I am a bit tempted to "restart" the school year to coincide with our American friends. :) PLUS, I really SHOULD get our CHC materials in order so we can maximize them more! *sighs* Let's see how it goes.

In the meantime, God bless, everyone!......zzzzzzzzz..... 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Homeschooling Solutions Soft Launch! :)

Re-posting this from my friends over at Homeschooling Solutions. :)

"Fellow homeschoolers, we're finally kicking-off enrichment classes at our new Homeschooling Solutions center in Fun Ranch, Tiendesitas! For those at the National Homeschool Conference, you may recall that Homeschooling Solutions is the organization we set-up to help give great products/services to both the homeschooler AND the NON-homeschooler (with the hopes that they might have positive exposure to homeschooling and thus decide to homeschool as a result!). This is our initial run, so limited slots only. Please spread the word as well, if you feel relevant to others you may know." - Edric Mendoza 


Photo downloaded from the Pinoy Homeschool yahoogroup.
Even if you're NOT a homeschooler, you may be interested in these enrichment classes.

Personally, we are HUGE fans of Kindermusik, and are SOOOO BLESSED to be able to participate in sessions with Teacher Suzette and Friends (the kids are privileged to have received scholarships under her program)! :) Also, we're taking our first trip to The Learning Library headquarters this Saturday, for the FREE parenting seminar on READING that they're holding, in collaboration with The Learning Basket! :) Yipeeeeeee! Will let you all know how that goes! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homeschooling is a little bit like baking bread.

I saw a link to this article on one of my homeschool groups on Facebook. :) Titled, "Homeschooling Can Work for Everybody," I think it is a good read for all of us — newbie homeschoolers, wannabe homeschoolers, veteran homeschoolers, curious-about-homeschooling non-homeschoolers... :)

Here's an excerpt from the article / blog post that I can SO relate with right now:
Source.
I suppose homeschooling is a lot like making fresh, homemade bread.   Bread made at home is, without question, much better for your family’s health (and taste buds) than store bought replicas.   But it’s up to you whether you want to do the work to make bread at home.  Bread from the store is more convenient – faster, easier, cheaper, less messy, and you don’t have to do the work.   A no-brainer choice for many.  
But a handful of folk, who are willing and able to work for the very best for their family, will learn how to bake bread.  They will ask experienced bread makers for advice.  They will gather the ingredients, lovingly mix them, pound and knead them when necessary and sit back and watch it rise and bake, careful not to let it burn.   They will take the time to make bread for their family consistently each day.  They will experiment with and vary their recipes so their family doesn’t grow tired of the bread.  They will work tirelessly feeding their family the best bread they can provide.  Bread making will become a part of their daily life, continuing on whether they are busy, ill, or troubled.  The act of bread making will become a habit and a loving ritual. 
You see, homeschoolers either make the great effort and many sacrifices to homeschool, or choose the supermarket version of education.  Homeschooling doesn’t ‘stop working’ for any family.   It is a tool which we choose to stop using or a goal which we choose to stop valuing.
(Click HERE to read the entire article / post.)

It's a good reminder for me, too, especially on days when we don't seem to do any "school" and focus more on the "home" part... Or, on the days when "lesson time" is just reading a book or two or more and having a short discussion about it before TeacherMama has to go to the office. Or work on meeting her {long-overdue} deadlines. LOL!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Must-Read for Homeschoolers: Stepping Out of the Grade Level Box

I read an article on Simple Homeschool last week and felt that it MUST be shared and read by other homeschoolers (and even those who are NOT homeschooling their children)! In fact, I think anyone involved in the education of children should read it. :) Here's the link:

Stepping Outside the Grade Level Box

Go ahead and read it and let me know what you think, too! (Just leave a comment below.) :) I've been "struggling" with this for quite some time now — our little boy is "supposed" to be in Kinder 2 (Prep) by Philippine standards (if he were enrolled in a brick-and-mortar school), and his skills are "just right" for his age, according to the preschool teachers who assessed him during our discernment period.

However, since we're enrolling him in Kolbe's K-12 program, it means he'll be in Kindergarten by U.S. standards (they don't have Kinder 2). So does that mean he'll be in a lower grade than he's "supposed" to be in?
We all need to step out of the "boxes" that we've been "placed in" along the course of our lives, doncha think?
(Photo source.)
For a while, I was a bit bothered about this (I have a LOT to unlearn still!) BUT reading the article above just affirmed what I/we have been thinking lately... the need to focus more on building character (for our kids AND ourselves, too!) and letting our kids enjoy being kids. Academics are important, yes, but I don't think God will ask what grade level we finished when we meet Him in heaven — our final destination! :) After all, aren't we "parents for eternal life," as described in the article here? :)

Happy homeschooling, everyone!




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Homeschool Domination! :)

I saw this somewhere on Facebook. It's a cool infographic from College@Home. We should do something similar for the Philippines, don't you think? Hmm... another project for us at HAPI, perhaps? ;) (Feel free to share this, teehee!)
Homeschool Domination
Created by: CollegeAtHome.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bible Memory Verse for July 2012: Inspired by Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel ;)

We "rowed" Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel last week (does three out of five days still count as "rowing" though?!) and have also taken on this Bible verse for memorization and application (I got this idea from another homeschool mom's blog post about what they did when they "rowed" the book — but I've forgotten the link, so I'll just add it when I can find it, LOL!):
Image source here.
I am amazed at how Tim has been able to recite this when I ask him to — though he does not do so word for word yet, but he always manages to say the gist of it. :) I just hope and pray that he, and the rest of us in the family, will really strive to live by this verse, and Matthew 6: 33, of course, which is the anchor verse for our homeschool. :)

To God be all the glory!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When God calls you to homeschool, He will provide for all your needs.

We are not a high-income family. Like many Filipinos, we struggle to make ends meet and pray daily for God's provision. Though we are not blessed with a combined salary of at least P40,000 or more, we are still blessed. And yes, we ARE blessed more than millions of Filipinos (and people!) all over the world. We are blessed in so many ways, though maybe not materially. (Though I still consider us to be materially blessed!)

When it comes to our homeschool, I do wish that we had more sometimes. However, I know that it is not the curriculum or the books that matter the most, but our faith and our character. I do know, too, that when God calls you to homeschool, He will provide for it.
Source.
This has been proven in our own lives — fellow homeschoolers and even non-homeschoolers have so generously shared their resources with our family and have pointed us in the right direction whenever we look for affordable or free materials. I cannot even begin to thank the Lord for them, these people, some of whom hardly even knew us before, who sent us books and other things for our homeschool. Indeed, God is amazing!

And how true are these words:
Source.
May you and I always rest in the knowledge that God loves us and our spouses and our children very much and that He will always, always provide for us! ;)

P.S. If you need more encouragement on how God provides, read this article on Daily Focus here. :) It's very inspiring! :) (Just to clarify though, we're not AOP homeschoolers, tee hee!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

More Information about Kolbe Academy Homeschool (via Teacher Mommy Blessie)

I mentioned a while back that we'll be enrolling with Kolbe Academy Homeschool in the U.S. soon (our target is to do so by this week!).

We made the decision largely because we need a guide-of-sorts (to make sure we're not "straying" too far from the "required" curriculum and standard of education needed for Tim) and also because Kolbe is a good, solid, Catholic, Ignatian home school provider, highly recommended by many fellow Catholic homeschoolers. Also, it has a much more flexible "schedule" / school year, especially compared to local homeschool providers — you can enroll any time of the year, as long as the previous school year is already finished.

I also took into account the experiences of fellow Filipino homeschoolers who are enrolled with Kolbe — one of whom was instrumental in helping convince me that Kolbe is the way to go for us at this point in our family "cycle," i.e. Teacher Mommy Blessie of the Nanay Notebook. :)

I am sooo grateful to Mommy Blessie for her help in so many things — from advice as a work-at-home-momma to homeschooling advice, and even help with my main mommy blog. She is really living up to her name, I tell you! :) (Blessie = Blessing! He, he!)

Anyway, Mommy Blessie has come up with a few useful posts regarding Kolbe Academy that  you may find useful, so here are the links to those:

First Week of Homeschool with Kolbe Academy
Kolbe Academy Homeschool: How Much Does it Cost?

Thanks again, Mommy Blessie, for your help, support, prayers and patience! :) May the Lord bless you and your family, especially your new addition to the family — coming out very, very soon! :) *Virtual hugs*!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The month in review: June 2012 at The Kingdom-Seekers Academy

I am trying to be more consistent in keeping records of what we do in our homeschool, so here's a quick review of what we did this month of June:
Kids playing with lights :)



  • First day of school: Orientation on rules - 1. Pray always. 2. Obey right away. 3. Work hard. DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE.
  • Books "rowed": Clown of God (bought it from The Learning Basket! Looooove their selection of books!); The Chair King (inspired by The Learning Basket's unit study here); The Story About Ping (a steal from Book Sale for only P5! With minor damage, though.)
    The Story About Ping and go-along books 
  • Additional books read: Fly High, Fly Low (because Tim was SOOO excited to read it! Got it at National Bookstore for only P100!); Books in preparation for Philippine Independence Day (June 12); Katy and the Big Snow (we were supposed to row this, but we didn't end up doing so! Haha!); The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin; My First Book of God's Animals and Other Creatures; Animals Under Water; Danny the Duck; Birds; different books on Kangaroos (Rysse chose a book on Kangaroos during our last trip to the bookstore) + many, many more! (in between "school" time)
    Rysse chose the book "Life Cycles: Joey to Kangaroo" by herself. She initially chose "Life Cycles: Pup to Shark," actually! Hahaha! :)
  • Topics covered: 
    • Social Studies: 
      • Respect for Elderly - Timothy named elderly/older people whom he is friends with (his grandparents on both sides; one of his dad's co-workers; Lolo Tony {our godfather from India})
      • Geography - Identified locations of Sorrente, Italy; India; San Francisco, USA; the Yangtze river in China; and the Philippines on our atlas
      • Thankfulness - We talked about being thankful for the blessings we have - We don't have to "beg our bread" and "sleep in doorways." We also talked about being grateful that kids during his time were "free," unlike the kids we read about in our Independence Day books.
      • Dealing with difficult people - We talked about how we should forgive and understand others when they are being difficult and how there will always be people who will give us a hard time, but we must be patient with them.
      • History - We discussed {very} briefly the Renaissance period and related it to some of our books that described the Philippines during different periods (in preparation for the Philippine Independence Day). We also talked about Philippine national heroes Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio and the struggle for independence.
      • Responsibilities - (From Katy and the Big Snow) Each person has a job to do; a task to fulfill, including in our home. 
      • Relationships - (From The Story About Ping) We talked about the importance of discernment (what is "good" and "bad," etc). We also talked about obedience. 
    • Writing: Tim wrote down the names of the people we are thankful for. He also reviewed writing the letters A-Z. (Writing is NOT one of his favorite activities, LOL!)
    • Phonics: We reviewed all the letter sounds via Sing, Spell, Read, Write (SSRW) + did A LOT of Phonics practice via Easy to Learn workbooks, Starfall and other websites :)
    • Reading: Tim practiced reading 72 words - Words with the middle "a" and "e" sounds (36 each, using SSRW). And sight words using Easy to Learn workbooks + more! :)
    • Foreign Languages: We learned a few Spanish words (from Si Segunda, Noong Panahon ng Mga Espanyol). 
    • Math: Tim learned to count by 5's up to 100 (he's still mastering this, though). He also practiced writing his numbers (Told you, writing is NOT a fave around here! Hehe!). He also practiced adding (all of Ping's family members).
    • Religion: We always try to read at least one story from our children's Bible every day and discuss the lessons we can glean from it. On Corpus Christi Sunday (June 10), we also talked about Jesus being present in the Eucharist; I used a book on The First Holy Communion (Book Sale for P65 {I think!}) and My First Mass Book (Books for Less, P25).
    Rysse "reading" one of our Golden Books about God :)
    • Arts and Crafts: Made the Philippine flag (OK, we're not artsy-craftsy people here, haha!); "freestyle" painting in the bathroom
    Making the Philippine flag
    • Science: We discussed different kinds of birds; the life cycle of the kangaroo; different kinds of baby animals; why ducks' feet are webbed
    • Language + Writing + Art: Tim tried making his own book (with some help from me!) and we're currently working on another one (titled "Ping Meets Timothy"). :)
    • Music: I taught the kids to sing This Little Light of Mine, and they enjoyed "making music" with their Kindermusik instruments + other instruments (including "drums" made out of some of their books) to its tune, plus the tune of Every Move I Make 
Instant "drums" using books from our home library!
    At Kindermusik
    The kids HAD A BLAST playing with my parents! :) Thanks for visiting us! :) We love you!
    I was SO surprised at how these three became "fast friends"! :)
    • Puzzle play + blocks + outdoor play + imaginative play + (most recently!) SAND play (thank you, Mariel, for the gift of sand for our sand boxes!)


Puzzle time! :)
I'm a princess! :)

    I'm a superhero! :)
    Thank you for the sandbox idea, Rosanne! :)

Whew! :) This is a pretty long post already, so I'm going to stop here for now. :) We did more than what's described here though, and admittedly, the kids also watched a lot of their DVDs and Tim played a lot on the computer, too! (Shockingly enough, yes, we do let our kids watch TV and use the computer!)

We're enrolling Tim in Kolbe's Kindergarten program this week (they follow a K-12 curriculum, which works well for us, since DepEd in the Philippines is now officially doing so, too) but plan to keep doing what we're doing while waiting for our materials. (And probably even after that!)

So what did you guys do last month? :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We're enrolling with Kolbe! :)

I've recently been having "discussions" via email with Teacher Mommy Blessie, who is more known for her Nanay Notebook blog. She has helped me with so many things and answered so many questions... thank you for your time, Mommy Blessie! :)

Anyway, I know I already posted about what our curriculum for this year looks like, so you may be wondering what "enrolling with Kolbe" means. Well, after much prayer (yes, we've been praying about Kolbe since last year) and taking into consideration the DepEd K-12 curriculum that's now in place, and everything else, we've decided to enroll Tim for Kindergarten in Kolbe for the following reasons:

  • According to many Catholic parents I know who are using or have used Kolbe, it is one of, if not THE best Catholic Classical home school curricula available. We won't be buying any books from Kolbe for now, though. I hope to borrow some and also still use the books we already have. It's a good thing they are very flexible that way.
  • I like that they emphasize the important role of the parents in educating their kids (as do other homeschool providers do, too, of course) BUT reading their section on the "Principle of Subsidiarity" also helped us decide on it.
  • Kolbe has been using a K-12 curriculum from the very beginning. I want to be "safe" in terms of evaluation and record-keeping since Kinder is required by DepEd in the Philippines now. Also, I'm sure family members and friends who still have doubts about our homeschooling won't be so "fearful" or "judgmental" anymore when they hear that Tim is officially enrolled in a US-based homeschool. ;)

"Isn't it expensive though?" some people may ask.

Well, according to Mommy Blessie:

"If you're enrolling Tim for Kindergarten, you'll spend about $150 since it's his first time to enroll and he's your first kid. Then there's the Overseas Family fee of $35-40. And a $5 charge for credit card payment. So expect to shell out around P8,300 if you are paying in full. 

If you opt for the five-installment plan, you'll only pay 
  • $30 (tuition)+$40 (overseas family)+$5 (credit card service charge)=$75 (P3,200) upon registration, for your first installment;
  • then $35 dollars (P1,500) on the month you start schooling, for 2nd installment;
  • and three more $35 on the three months after that, for your third to fifth installment."
Hubby and I have some upcoming projects that I am confident will be able to cover this amount. We trust in God's grace! :) Besides, P8,300 isn't so bad compared to shelling out P60,000 for a progressive preschool education, right?! (Take note though, please, that saving money is NOT the main reason why we homeschool — and it shouldn't be for other parents, too!)

Anyway, this statement by Mommy Blessie also made me think that Kolbe is the best way for us right now:

For working moms like us, I would recommend Kolbe over (another homeschool provider) because, from my experience, Kolbe's customer service is much more prompt and accessible, and the quarterly exams they provide means you don't have to send so much documentation on your child's work. The quarterly exams are enough to validate your child's grade -- an invaluable convenience, in my opinion. 

So, Kolbe it is, then! :) We're still going to retain our homeschool name, though: The Kingdom-Seekers Academy. Teehee! To God be the glory! :)

P.S. Pray for us, please?! Thanks! Blessings on us all! Mama Mary, pray for us!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homeschooling Affirmation from a Stranger, Bo Sanchez and Philstar.com ;)

Whether you're a seasoned homeschooler, a homeschool parent wannabe or a homeschooling newbie like me, I'm sure there will come a time when you will need some homeschooling encouragement. :) Well, let me share how I've been affirmed lately about our decision to keep homeschooling (or rather, God's decision to put homeschooling "in our faces"! LOL!)

1. Affirmation from a Stranger

Last Sunday, the kids, their Papa and I were browsing through a tiangge (OK, what's the English term for this?! LOL!) stall after hearing Mass. One of the ladies there, an elderly woman whom I shall refer to as Curious Lola from now on, overheard Tim talking to me.

Curious Lola (to Tim): Where do you go to school?


Tim (speaking softly): Homeschool. (I then prod him to speak a little louder.)


Me: Where daw? (Loosely translated: She said, "Where?")


Tim (raises his voice, almost shouting in a cheeky manner): Homeschool! 


Me (thinking, "Uh-oh! She might think we have socialization issues!"): Don't shout, Tim.


Curious Lola: Wow! Homeschool! (Turns to me)


Curious Lola: How do you do that?


Me: (I start explaining).


Curious Lola: That's wonderful, etc. etc. 

Well, we actually had a fairly lengthy conversation about homeschooling and one or two other topics (which even included her telling me that two kids was just right and it would be better for us to stop at that. Umm... feeling close much?! LOL!). Hubby even thought that the lady was someone I knew personally, since we talked for so long!

Overall though, I came away encouraged by our conversation. I also felt humbled and honored again that God used little ol' me to share about how awesome (and challenging!) homeschooling can be. Yey! Thank You, Lord!

2. Affirmation from Bo Sanchez

At our recent family outing with the rest of my co-employees, I had the great privilege of talking to Bo and Marowe Sanchez about homeschooling! (Yes, the Bo Sanchez, people! The one who founded Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA) and a whole bunch of other ministries and organizations, and is my "idol-in-a-non-idolatrous-way" when it comes to writing! He's actually one of our company's "big bosses" and, of course, its founder, too!)

So this is how our dialogue went (as far as I recall, haha!):

Bo (making conversation because I stepped into his path {promise, I didn't do it in person! LOL!}): So how are you doing? You're doing good?


Me (rejoicing that my plan to start a conversation with Bo by stepping into his path worked): Great!


Bo: That's good. 


Me: Can I just say that your talk at the Homeschool Conference was so inspiring? A lot of the parents there were really in tears!


Bo: Really? Praise God! (or something to that effect)


*On a separate occasion, right after we had taken a group photo (see below, in case you think I'm making things up, LOL!)
I just got this from one of my officemates. See the lady squatting, with two kids? That's me with Rysse (white hat) and Tim (blue hat). Bo is the one in stripes, with his hands on the little boy (their youngest, Francis) and beside him (wearing black) is Marowe. Hubby is the one to the extreme left, in blue. Hehe!

Bo (referring to our kids): So, are you going to homeschool them?


Me: Well actually, we already are. But we're not enrolled under CFA yet. It's kind of challenging with my work so we're independent for now. We're using CHC, along with other things to supplement it.


Bo: Oh, that's great! That's what we started with. 


Marowe: OK lang yun. Bata pa naman sila eh. (That's OK. The kids are still young, anyway). 


Bo: Yeah, just enjoy it. Make the most of these years! (or something to that effect)


Me: Yes, I know. Thanks!


(I then prompt the kids to say "Thank you" again to their "Tito" Bo. (feeling close, haha! "Tito" is Filipino for "Uncle." They do and we all go home happy.)


Thank You, Lord, for that affirmation! :)

3. Affirmation from Philstar.com


In my post about the 4th Philippine Homeschool Conference, I said I'd share my own thoughts on the conference. Yikes! It's been over a month since the event and I still  haven't done so! (Sorry!) I was reminded to do so when I read this article about it on Philstar.com though, which also affirmed me about our journey in homeschooling:
Home Schooling Produces Achievers 

Of course, aside from these, I've also been getting affirmation from my fellow homeschool parents in our Catholic homeschool support group, ROCKERs and homeschool sites, like this post on homeschool preschool from Simple Homeschool. :) I feel less pressured to do and inspired to just be with my kids. (Special mention here: Mariel of The Learning Basket, thanks for your encouragement!)


By sharing these moments of affirmation with you, I hope to encourage you, too, dear parent reading this! :) Or, if you have words of affirmation you'd like to share with me (and others), please feel free to leave a comment. 


Thank you and God bless you and your family! ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy to be with HAPI! :)

Just a quick post to let you all know that as of last Tuesday, June 19, I am now officially part of the HAPI {Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands} Core! Praise GOD! :) I attended my first meeting on Tuesday and am SOOO excited! :) (And humbled and scared silly at the same time!)
Log on to www.hapihomeschooler.com or find us on Facebook.
There are lots of new, happy things brewing over at HAPI! I'm not at liberty to tell y'all the details YET, but please do include us in your prayers in the meantime. Especially little ol' me — that I will ALWAYS be true FIRST to God's call to be the best wife and homeschool mom that I can be, by His grace! :) Lord, may Your will be done! To You be all the glory, now and forever! :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Author and illustrator in the making? ;) Only God knows!

Tim had some workbook time last night, or, what he calls "homework." I was at the office the whole day Thursday and Friday, so I thought we'd get in some writing and reading practice before bedtime. We decided to use the Summer Skills Daily Activity Workbook for Grade 1 that we got (for P99!) at National Bookstore last Independence Day.
Do you see little Therese's foot?! Haha!
Yes, I know summer is officially over for us here in the Philippines, but the workbook is really nice! :) Tim enjoyed choosing which pages he wanted to do and I was amazed that his handwriting has improved greatly (by my standards anyway, LOL!) EVEN IF WE HARDLY DID ANY WRITING PRACTICE THESE PAST FEW MONTHS! :) God, You're amazing!

One of the pages required Tim to draw something and he ended up being SO EXCITED that he asked for a separate piece of paper so he could draw some more.
Tim usually doesn't like drawing or coloring, so I let him go crazy drawing up his own characters and making up his own story — even if it was a little bit too "violent" for my taste! You know, fighting and zombies and monsters and whatnot! :P
He got SOOO excited that he even asked for my help to make a book. I tried to recall fellow homeschool mom Mariel's tips for encouraging story-writing among young children as we went along.
I had Tim write the page numbers for our book. :)
This is what our book cover looks like:
The Adventures of Timothy and Friends
Written and Illustrated by Tim and Tina Rodriguez
Can you tell which words Tim wrote and which ones I did? LOL! :) I helped draw the picture but asked Tim to do the details. :) So what do you guys think?

P.S. I am overjoyed that Tim has started enjoying writing and thinking up his own stories and characters. He's been doing this from time to time with his toys and this isn't the first time he's made up his own stories BUT it is the first time we've actually tried putting them in "book" form! :) Perhaps we have an author / illustrator in the making? Only God knows His plans for our kids, and whatever they are, they're certainly the BEST! :D + AMDG +

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Teacher Mama Jen on Using Five In A Row (FIAR) — With a Free Printable! :)

We've recently started using Five In A Row (FIAR) in our homeschool, mostly due to the influence of fellow ROCKERs mom Mariel. I LOVE using it, especially since it doesn't take much preparation time (perfect for a "lazy" homeschool mom like me, LOL!). :)

I actually read about FIAR on other homeschool moms' blogs, one of the more memorable ones was Forever, For Always, No Matter What. The mom behind it, Jen, left a comment on my other blog last year, when I posted about adoption.
Image from Jen's FB page
I was SUPER inspired by Jen and her family and their adoption story! :) So much that I even asked Jen to write a guest post for me on Truly Rich Mom (check it out here!). I also got more inspired to try out FIAR. :)

Anyway, Jen recently wrote a great post about using FIAR and even shared a free printable planning page over at HomegrownLearners.com. :) I highly recommend it to everyone out there, especially those who are looking for curriculum or just an excuse to buy superb-quality books for your kids! :) Click here to read her post. :) Have fun! :D

P.S. For Philippine-based readers who wish to try FIAR, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you check out Mariel's blog and FB page. :)

If you're anything like me, you will find yourself falling in love with children's books (all over again for me!) and wanting to collect the very best titles for your children! :) Hehehe! :) Oh, and in case you want to see The Learning Basket ladies in person and hoard view their books, they'll be at the Medela House this Saturday for the ROCKERs June meet-up! :) Come join us, if you like! :) Just make sure you register online first here or leave a post on my Facebook page! :) Hope to see you!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Encouraging a Love for the Philippines :) Happy Independence Day!

We celebrate the 114th Philippine Independence Day today. :) Here are some ideas on how you can do so in your own home (not necessarily homeschool!), taken from fellow Filipino homeschool moms:

Philippine Independence Day for Preschoolers from The Learning Basket
Love of Country Posts One and Two from The Mommy Journey
Six Things You Can Do With Your Kids On Independence Day from Mommy Bares All

We've been reading the books listed below prior to today and I hope to FINALLY get a copy of The Chair King so we can do the unit study from The Learning Basket (as described in the link above). (Hubby and I checked out five bookstores between us and still couldn't get a copy!)

Adarna books:
- Si Segunda, Noong Panahon Ng Mga Espanyol (Text both in Filipino and English)
Talks a bit about how Segunda's life was during the time of the Spanish
- Si Pitong, Noong Panahon Ng Mga Hapon (Text both in Filipino and English)
Talks a bit about Pitong's life during the time of the Japanese
- Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara Ang Batas Militar (Text both in Filipino and English)
Talks a bit about Jhun-Jhun's life before Martial Law was declared in the Philippines
- Dalawang Bayani ng Bansa (Text in Filipino only)
Talks about the lives of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio and how they intersected at some points

Chikiting books: (published by LG&M Corporation)
- Rizaldy (Text both in Filipino and English)
Sorry about the incomplete image! This talks about living up to one's name, in Rizaldy's case,  following the example of his namesake, Rizal. :)

Golden Salakot Stories: (published by LG&M Corporation)
- Uldok the War Hero (Text in English only)
Uldok is a dog that save his Filipino owners from the Japanese.

I got all these books from National Bookstore. We've enjoyed reading them, though Tim insists I read the texts in English only and not in Filipino! (I had to translate the Dalawang Bayani ng Bansa text in my mind while I was reading it to him — quite a task for the Filipino-challenged me! That's what I get for not growing up in the Philippines and not having a formal education in Filipino! Haha!)

Anyway, I plan to read these again and again sporadically this week and next to try to emphasize the importance of learning about our country's history and cherishing our independence and our culture.

Admittedly, I had a hard time with Dalawang Bayani ng Bansa, as there was a part that mentioned how the Spanish priests at the time were not doing good things (when Rizal wrote Noli Me  Tangere). Once I had read that part out loud, Tim had this shocked look on his face: "What? How can the priests be bad?!" OOPS, Mama!

I explained as best I could that that was a loooong time ago and changed the subject. Hmmm.... Need to be more careful for now, since Tim's still in preschool and may not be able to understand that there really is evil in the hearts of all men (and women and children!) and we need to battle it every day with God's grace and mercy! :)

So anyway, yes, it's time to celebrate Independence Day now! :) Have a good one, y'all and remember to thank the LORD for our freedom every day! :)




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