Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Those "Awww" Moments, The Search for A Progressive School and A Late Start to Our Lenten Journey

I've been a very bad Teacher Mama this past week.. To be perfectly honest, I feel like I've been one these past few months! We've been doing more of unschooling, or as others prefer to call it, relaxed homeschooling, life-learning, interest-led learning or child-led learning. and so on. (Although many, many days, I've been guilty of letting the kids watch TV/DVDs and play educational computer games waaayy too much! Please forgive me, Lord!)

Despite our erratic daily routine and "instant-without-Mama-having-prepared-well-in-advance-so-let's-just-wing-it-today" lessons, my changing-though-thank-God-there's-a-level-of-regularity work schedule, I'm still thankful to God for the "Awww" moments He blesses me with, like when I was hugging Tim this morning after he woke up, and asked him, "Will you still let me hug you when you're all grown up?"

Tim: "Yes!"

Me: "Even if you're already married?"

Tim: "Yes!"

Me: "How about if you become a priest?"

Tim: "I'm not going to be a priest!"

Me: "Why not?"

Tim: "I don't want to. But I'll still serve God."

Me: (silently: "Awwwww...")

Tim: "I'm going to be a ninja!"

Me: "How will you serve God when you're a ninja?"

Tim: "You know. I just will."

Hahaha! How do I answer that one?

In other news, yes, you read the title of this post right.. because of my "fear" that I'm not teaching Tim "enough" and that he is "missing out," I am/we are currently scouting progressive preschools for next school year. Though I still have this nagging feeling that we're still being called to homeschool, the "segurista" (Umm.. what's the English word for that? Someone who always wants to be sure of things?! haha!) in me just wants to know her options.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Freebie Friday: Stations of the Cross Coloring Booklet from Catholicmom.com (and a request for prayers!)

It's already the third day of Lent and I'm so far behind on the preparations for our Lenten activities for the kids! :( Huhuhu!

Thankfully though, there are oodles of free Lenten resources online that I can just print off on my parents' printer (we're still saving up for our own - pls. do pray with us that we can purchase one by May or June!).

One of these is Catholicmom.com's Station of the Cross coloring booklet. You can find the link here.
Or you can click on the image above to get the link.
I hope this year, Tim (and Rysse, who is frustratingly-yet-amusingly in a "I don't want to pray, don't like Jesus because He died" phase, LOL!) will learn to appreciate the wonderful things Jesus has done for all of us through "simple" things and activities like these.

I find some consolation in a recent conversation I had with Tim, when he said that he loved his cousin, Ate Gabby, more than his sister (I didn't know what to say, it seemed logical to me since he and Gabby play together more often and are closer in age). Right after he'd said that, he said, "But I love God the most, He's the most important, right, Mama?"

*Sighs* Keep praying for us, please? Though statements like the one above make me go, "Another reason I love homeschooling, Lord!," lately, I've been having a hard time with our "schooling," and, to be honest, have even inquired at a few progressive preschools for the next school year (which, in the Philippines, starts in June). So I/we really need your prayers! :)

Thanks, everyone and have a happy, holy Lent!

+ AMDG +

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seven Lessons Kids Can Learn From Playing Store

My fellow Catholic homeschooling mom-writer-blogger-friend Teresa wrote this great article on how kids can learn just by playing "store." While reading it, I was reminded about the times my own kids and I would play "bookshop." I am reminded once again how kids can learn so much just by playing! ;-) Time to get out our bookshop signs! ;-)
Photo credit here. (Of course, you don't need this pretend playshop set to play store or bookshop. Just make your own signs, get your own props, "make" your own play money, and voila! FUN FUN FUN!)

Click the link below to read Mommy Teresa's article:
7 Lessons Kids Can Learn From Playing Store

You can also check out her posts about being a mom on her blog here. ;-)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Unschooling and Catholicism - Yes, it's possible!

I don't define myself strictly as an unschooler since we've been attempting to use a curriculum lately, but during the earlier days of homeschooling, I didn't realize that we were actually unschooling in a way. Now, for those of you who may be thinking: "Huh? What in the world is UNSCHOOLING?," you may find the links on this page useful.
Image source here. (Disclaimer: The blogger whose site I got this from says she's a "free thinker," so I don't know if she believes in God. Just being clear that I'm not "advocating" free thinker-ism [if there's such a term, LOL]. Of course, God loves ALL people and it's up to Him to make the final judgment.)
Actually, come to think of it, what we've been doing these days could be classified as unschooling too, especially since I still haven't been able to "land" my dream "job" of becoming a fulltime stay-at-home mom. It's been a real struggle for me to plan our lessons and implement them, and most days I end up letting the kids play to their hearts' content, and make up for the seeming "lack of lessons" by reading more books as usual during bedtime. ;-)

In this light though, I am really grateful that I've stumbled upon the Unschooling Catholics blog and have even joined their yahoogroup. (Though right now, I'm more of a silent member, hehe!)

Homeschooling our children is still one of my top priorities now, and I find it really exciting that God is showing me different ways of how my fellow Catholic moms and our fellow Catholic families make it work. ;-) At least I know that there are lots of options out there for us who feel and believe that we are called to homeschool our kids - thank You, Lord! ;-)

So if you're interested to see how unschooling and Catholicism work out for the family's best, try going over to the Unschooling Catholics blog! ;-) They have a list of Catholic unschoolers' blogs on the right sidebar of the blog page, which you may want to explore too. ;-)

Here's to Catholic homeschooling, whatever "form" or "style"! ;-) + AMDG +

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How To Start Homeschooling: A Response to Mommy L's Letter

Image source: www.batavialibrary.org

Because of this blog and, I guess, my homeschooling articles on Smart Parenting's (SP) website, I have been blessed and privileged to have received inquiries from parents (some I know personally; most, though, I don't) about homeschooling, particularly in the Philippine setting.

Now, I am no homeschooling expert (I've told my editor at SP to change the "title" they've given me but they still haven't! hehe!), especially since we just "formally" started homeschooling Tim last September. However, I do have a passion for researching on homeschooling, which has recently translated into writing about it and interviewing more "experienced" homeschoolers. Still, I know I have a lot more to learn!

Anyway, most recently, this is one of the messages I received (I'm only sharing part of it and have "hidden" the sender's identity for privacy reasons):

Hi Tina!! I need some guidance and advice... I'm thinking of homeschooling.. Can you help me get started? I dunno how to start eh. I hope you can give me some guidance. Thanks! ~ Mommy L.

Below is part of my reply to her (pls. forgive the formatting, I just copied and pasted this from Facebook). I'm sharing it here in case there are other parents who may stumble upon this humble little blog of mine and are considering homeschooling too. I hope it helps somehow!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is Homeschooling for Your Child? ~ On Nanay Notebook

A good friend and fellow Catholic homeschooling-work-at-home mom, Teacher Mommy Blessie, has come up with a wonderful series of posts about homeschooling on her main blog, Nanay Notebook

She has done something I've been meaning to but never got around to doing! ;-) Yey! Praise God! ;-) I've been receiving inquiries about homeschooling (how to know if it's for them, where to start, what to do, how to make it work, etc.) from both people I know and don't know personally, so now I can refer them directly to this post about Mommy Blessie's posts. He, he! Kill two birds with one stone, right? ;-)

So as not to "re-invent the wheel" then, I invite you to learn more about homeschooling, and whether it is for your child/ren and your family by hopping over to the Nanay Notebook posts below:

Is Homeschooling for Your Child, Part I: Bullying
Is Homeschooling for Your Child, Part II: ADHD
Is Homeschooling for Your Child, Part III: Other Reasons

And, last, but certainly not the least, this wonderful post, (bravo, Mommy Blessie!) about Homeschooling and the Working Mom. :-)

I hope this helps you moms (and dads) out there, especially here in the Philippines, in your discernment about homeschooling. Ultimately, I believe that if we truly seek God's will and plan for our lives and our families, He will lead us to the right path, people and resources to help us! ;-)

Prayers for you! ;-) Do say a prayer for us, too, yes?! ;-) And Mommy Blessie's family too - especially since they're expecting Baby no. 4 sometime in September! ;-) I AM SO SURE GOD WILL BLESS THEM MORE AND MORE! ;-)

More Helpful Websites for Homeschoolers!

In a previous post, I mentioned the Top 100 Educational Websites for 2012. This time around, I thought I'd share some sites as recommended by some of my fellow homeschool moms on our ROCKERs Facebook group page. Hope these prove helpful, in one way or another, to those involved in educating kids, particularly the homeschooling families:

This site provides a daily recommendation for web-based learning, themed around a particular subject, like for Mondays- Math, Tuesdays - Science, Wednesdays - Language Arts, Thursdays- Social Sciences, Fridays- Virtual Field Trips, Saturdays- Music, Arts, and Foreign Languages, and it also has another division, involving "carschooling."

It's an online shop of homeschooling resources, but they provide a ton of freebies, so check out their free stuff - just click on the button "Free Stuff."

It provides free K-5 curriculum and teaching resources for multiple learning styles and teaching methods. You can also use their planning tool for each child). Hope you find them helpful, too! :)

http://www.starfall.com/ (Read my review of the website here).

Other useful sites:

For preparing Kindergartner worksheets:

There are actually tons and tons more sites! ;-) Thank GOD for the Internet, huh?! (As long as it's used in a good way, it CAN lead to more good than harm!) Will post more links soon! Be blessed!

Teachermama Tina writes about

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