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:
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.
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:
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!

Teachermama Tina writes about

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