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.

I went to one school earlier today here in Cainta. Brainworks is classified as a non-traditional progressive school by its owners and teachers and what I like most about it are:
a) their classes are multi-age, e.g. the Grade 1 and 2 students are together
b) they limit the no. of enrollees per year, despite requests for expansion
c) the school is located in a house, hence it has a really homey atmosphere
d) there are no uniforms!
e) they don't have an "honors" system i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd place (which I grew up with and which, sad to say, pressured me to cheat a few times in primary school in Brunei - don't tell my parents! LOL!)
f) they don't ask the students to bring "heavy schoolbags," which is the norm in most schools. Kids are just required to bring their own food (the school doesn't have a canteen) and a change of clothes.
g) they stress the fact that they don't encourage nor require students to be tutored after school, because, according to them, kids should already learn everything they need to know at school. Evenings and afternoons after school should be time with the family. :)
h) they have a NO TV ON WEEKDAYS policy! (I.so.LOVE.this!)

OK, so that's a LOT of things I like about Brainworks. Ironically, when I went there to get the application packet and talked to the teacher-in-charge of admissions about our homeschooling, she said, "You know, actually, homeschooling is very OK." (Lord, are you trying to tell me something here?! LOL!)

Anyway, hubby and I have not decided on this yet. I'm bringing Tim to another progressive preschool tomorrow (errr.. later I mean.. hehe!) for an assessment. I saw the name of the school (The Learning Tree) on Teacher Tina Zamora's blog. (Incidentally, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Teacher Tina homeschooled her kids through high school, after they had finished grade school at the progressive school where she is the directress. Cool, huh?!)

Let's see how the assessment goes. Pls. do pray for us. I know a lot of my fellow Catholic homeschoolers who know me personally or read my blogs may be shocked, surprised or even a bit disappointed to know that I'm thinking of putting Tim in a brick-and-mortar school, but, well, until the day comes when I'm a fulltime-stay-at-home-mama, I'd just like to know what our options are. So, yeah, thanks in advance for your prayers! :)


Aside from being a Monster Mama on many, many, many days and too lax erratic relaxed when it comes to "school," I've also been late in our Lenten activities-traditions preparations. *sighs* But, better late than never, right? So, I bought some purple crepe paper and wrapping paper and board paper from National Bookstore after doing our weekly groceries and shopping for our family's miracle baby (my niece, Pia, who will be born THIS MARCH! Woohoo!) and this is the result:
Our bedside altar
What Lent looks like in our apartment's "living room/area." I added purple crepe paper to the cloth we usually use to cover our TV and added a cross on top. I'm going to get the kids to stick popsicle sticks in the form of crosses on the purple part, and also to spell out the words "Lent is about Love."
Our simple Lenten altar (which includes the branch we used for our Jesse Tree, which we will now use for our Jesus Tree) (This was inspired by a Catholic homeschool mom's blog post - http://threesidedwheel.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/keeping-a-holy-lent-lenten-mantel/) 
Our Lenten book "basket" and Tim's Lenten Offering Box from last year
Our Lenten books - we don't have access to as many Lenten books here as our brothers and sisters in other countries, esp. in the US, so I tried to gather all the books we had that had the themes of Easter, seeking and granting forgiveness, love, doing good deeds (like being kind, showing respect, etc), being grateful, sharing blessings with others, God's mercy and love, Bible stories like Noah and Jonah, etc. I was only able to gather around 20+ books. :) Still, praise GOD for these!
Kids' Corner with Family altar no. 1
(Sorry, we forgot to bring our old palms to Church for Ash Wednesday! :( )
The kids' Lenten calendars and "Lamb" Lenten Countdown activity (yes, we're almost a week late! Waah!) - Lenten calendar from www.catholicicing.com. Sorry, can't remember the website where I got the Lamb activity. :( 
Watchuthink? :)

Hopefully, by God's grace our hearts will be as "prepared" for Lent/Easter as our home looks now. That's what's most important after all! :)

+ AMDG +
Teachermama Tina


Holly said...

Ok, I dont homeschool, so therw is no judgement here...but even though you didnt ask for advise about a deciaion that is between you, your husband and god, I have some for you anyway...as my oldest prepares for his last year of what should have the end of his high school career, I wish I would have continued homeschooling...even if the did mostly videos, they would have been better off. I moved our kids to catholic school durimg the time of a bad ms exacerbation. Moved them to public school when moving to tx. Each was not what I believe we were called to do. We arent called to raise saints but scholars and it isnt easy to bring them home later. God bless!

Truly Rich Mom aka Teacher Mama Tina said...

Hi Holly! Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate it. We're still undecided and praying HARD for God's will to prevail! :) Will keep everyone posted. God bless always! - Tina

tonee said...

hi mama Tina, just want to ask why you didn't push through Brainworks school? any more input about the school? i'm also in search of a progressive school near Rizal. Do you happen to know any progressive school in Rizal area. my daughter is 4 yr old and she's currently studying as nursery in a Christian school in Angono, just want to take a chance in enrolling her in a progressive school. thanks in advance. - tonee

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hi Mommy Tonee! :) Thanks for dropping by my blog, even if it's not updated anymore. I explained why we didn't enroll in Brainworks here: http://teachermamatina.blogspot.com/2012/05/when-god-calls-you-to-homeschool-hell.html To make a long story short, we believe that God still wants us to homeschool our children. :)

Re: progressive schools in Rizal, when I was still looking for one in the Cainta area, Brainworks was the only one that I found. Sorry if it isn't much help! My niece is enrolled there, by the way, and she's already in Grade 3. She seems to be doing OK naman.

Praying for you and your family! :) God bless!

P.S. Maybe you'd also like to explore homeschooling? Especially if you're a stay at home mom. Hehe!

tonee said...

Thank you so much for the reply,really appreciate it. i would love the thought of home schooling but i'm a working mom. my mother in law is the one who's taking care of my daughter. maybe i'll try to drop by Brainworks sometime...again thank you so much :)

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