Back in Business: Joining the KiddoPreneur Christmas Bazaar

I write this on the 48th day of my Dad being admitted for multiple reasons involving his aging body and ailing health. It has been the most stretching season in our lives yet the most rich in learning, in bonding with family and in love! We rally in prayer to receive God’s blessing….. Heaven or Healing?   They are both miracles in my book!

So after a long hiatus from blog writing, we are back in business and literally, in business.   One of the challenges for homeschooling families lies in how to attempt to balance the requirements of home and school. However, we somehow consider God as our main principal and life itself as the vice principal. Situations happen, beyond our every aim to control them as “teachers”. So we embrace LIFE and HOMESCOOL. We embrace the seasons and learn and grow. In 12 years of homeschooling in this manner, I have seen and tasted the most wonderful fruits. Only by God’s Amazing and Boundless Grace.

Being the main sibling/daughter in charge of our parents’ care , I couldn’t really focus on the “Academics” as Dad battled , and continues to do so, for life in the ICU. I had to take duty shifts in ICU, sleep there, meet with doctors, be ready for all calls from the doctors and the ICU nurse, and be the one who constantly updated my other siblings.   How on earth can one focus on teaching the regions of the Philippines and converting fractions to percent?   How can I get passionately  get the kids into Shakespeare (which is our unit for Language/History)?   So for the last few weeks, we’ve been mostly into Bible Application/ Christian Living, Art, Science (the ones I love teaching and need the least preparation and energy). We’ve also done a lot of Christmas Season related lessons too so the kids can also help me with preparations for the decoration and gift giving.

So when I saw this post by Learning Basket’s Rosanne Uson on the coming Kiddopreneur Christmas Bazaar in the Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB page. I knew in my heart, we had to do this. A dear friend asked me how we decide on seemingly “a whim” to ditch planned lessons and get out of “schedule”. How did we just go for it?   Well, simply because it has been part of our bucket list for our homeschool for many years now. Don’t all homeschooling families have that? So when there is that       “ passion to learn”  tug in your heart, listen to your heart. Last quarter, for Math/Hele, we began a series on Money and touched on the lessons on Savings and Investments (Bonds, Shares, Mutual Funds) so it was just so apt, even during the Christmas season, to go  for for Entrepreneurship.

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So, let me share with you our experience in a simple step by step manner:

1. Sharing the plan/ idea 

In hindsight, if given more time, I should have presented the plan, and let the students think about it and decide. Do they want to join? In reality, when I asked them, I was set to join (hehe) .

Given the huge and daily increasing bill of my Dad in the ICU, I also wanted the children to be able to give to our family’s efforts at fundraising.  At the same time, in honor of their Lolo who was the True Entrepreneur in the Pangilinan clan, we are passing on lessons he has taught us to our children ( Gino and Raya “hired” their cousins Kaila and Ryan to help!  All for Lolo Dony is their battle cry.

2.  Let the students do the “bulk” of the work. These are the activities the children got involved in:

  • Filling application form
  • Setting the business name
  • Decision Making
  • Enveloping a project in prayer
  • Learning about basic entrepreneurship
  • Studying a business plan and making one
  • Emailing and communicating organizer
  • Writing business letters
  • Doing research
  • Purchasing (visits to grocery, baking supplies store)
  • Costing (this was a massive undertaking !!!)
  • Product presentation
  • Marketing and promotion skills
  • Manufacturing (from baking to packing!)
  • Division of Labor
  • Subcontracting some of the work (Inviting cousins for a fee to help, setting budget for staff like driver and helpers who assisted in making more batches of cookie dough and  took over the oven due to safety concerns)
  • Trouble shooting for the unforeseen!
  • Using Social Media
  • Booth Set Up/Display
  • Organization Skills
  • Photography
  • Using Google, creating Powerpoint posters and Excel sheets for inventory
  • Lots of Math and Endless Creativity
  • Actual Selling, Creating Receipts, Service
  • Amazing FUN and BONDING while learning
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Creativity rules in business!

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Manufacturing!

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Costing, fractions, division, addition,multiplication:)
Costing, fractions, division, addition,multiplication:)

 

Sorting the preloved items to sell
Sorting the preloved items to sell
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Gino made this flyer

 

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Sourcing our packaging:)

 

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Kitchen Elf in Daang Hari, Evia.
Preparing the Ribbons
Preparing the Ribbons
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Preparing the products!

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Recycling for Paper Bags
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Including some of Raya’s paintings in the sale
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Pricing!
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Surveying costs of bags since we plan to sell some too

 

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Preparing loose bills and change and the cash box
Learning how fillip a receipt
Learning how fillip a receipt

 

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Lists, lists, lists…

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Setting up a mock booth
Setting up a mock booth

 

3. As teachers, we are always tempted to take over. Exercise lots of self control. 

After teaching principles and doing a dry run for the sale, let them run the show and enjoy!

D Day!
D Day!
They're all set!
They’re all set!

 

I hope to write a more thorough post after the kids do their sale today!  God bless our sale. Gotta go!

Deuteronomy  8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

 

Homeschooling with God Nearby

This week is a tough week. As we continue to face big trials in our family, today was the 1st quarter portfolio review week of the kids with The Master’s Academy (TMA Homeschool). I also committed  a month ago to speak to parents of preschoolers this Friday morning. On top of that, my Dad was once again (3rd time this year) confined last Monday for a possible respiratory infection. And add to all that, it wasn’t really the best time for my cellphone screen to break and our car to be towed!

I was about to say, it’s as if God knew…. oh dear! He really knew, knew ahead. My omniscient God knew how everything was set and how everything was going to take place and fall into place. And He was going to supply everything that was needed to see me through. And though the week has not ended, I am praising Him for His goodness and HIs sovereignty in all things.

As I looked through each page of our 2 students’ homeschool portfolios, I see His faithfulness all over.  We learn, we can homeschool despite all other things going around or within us. And this kind of set up has been pretty much the way things go week after week in the last decade or so.  God wants our family  to be totally dependent on Him. And I believe this for every homeschooling family!

Prior to beginning of our school year, I visited a sister who had boxes of books in her stairway and my eyes locked on a book on George Muller:   Christian Heroes: Then & Now  featuring George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge. ( It was situated at the very top of the pile of books in the box ! imagine that? Who then made sure of that? )  We also read of missionary, Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime, around 2 years ago, which we tremendously learned from and immensely enjoyed.

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Project of Raya and Gino in Bible/Language/ Geography

For each homeschooling day during the past quarter, we tackled a chapter; and we saw glimpses of what is means to be near God through the life of George Muller! What a blessed faithful life, completely dependent on the Lord through prayer and waiting upon Him, shining indeed for His Glory .

This morning as we were preparing for our portfolio review, my reading was Psalm 124.

1 If the Lord had not been on our side—

let Israel say

2 if the Lord had not been on our side

when people attacked us,

3 they would have swallowed us alive

when their anger flared against us;

4 the flood would have engulfed us,

the torrent would have swept over us,

5 the raging waters

would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,

who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

7 We have escaped like a bird

from the fowler’s snare;

the snare has been broken,

and we have escaped.

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

As I meditated on these lines, I couldn’t help but remember, Moses’ words in Exodus 33:15-16:

15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”…

And now reviewing the many amazing entries in his journal of George Muller :

The greatness of the sum required affords me a kind of secret JOY, for the greater the difficulty to be overcome, the more will it be seen to the GLORY of GOD how much can be done by prayer and faith.”

“If God is in this, He will supply.”

“I have known my Lord for 52 years and in all that time, I cannot recall a single instance when you He has not answered my prayer.”

So putting it all together, this is my super paraphrased homeschooler’s version of Psalm 124:

If the Lord had not been on our side—

let all homeschoolers say—

if the Lord had not been on our side

when the stresses of managing the home and the school at home are at their peak

they would have swallowed us alive

the fears and anxieties regarding our children’s education would have engulfed us,

the worries over curricula and materials would have swept over us,

the daily battles in the school room would have swept us away.

and our own tempers and tantrums would have consumed us !

BUT…..

Praise be to the Lord,

who has not let us be torn by the burdens we choose to carry

We have escaped and have been protected by our loving Father

Our HOMESCHOOL help is in the name of the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth who loves our children more than we can ever do.

And along the lines of Mr. Muller’s thinking, let me add, “If God is in our homeschool, He will supply.”

So, let us draw near to God. Homeschool with Him nearby. Call to him for every homeschooling ache in your heart and mind. Remember what James says.” Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts.” (James 4:8) Admit, confess to Him, say sorry to your students if you have hurt them or failed as a teacher in some way or another and start again, with God nearby.

So dear homeschooler, what will it take for you to homeschool with God nearby? Think about it. Make some adjustments. Pray and ask God to be near and He will draw near to you! I am a witness of that for the past 12 years of being a homeschooler! Praise be to our Lord indeed!

So despite the trials and interruptions during the past 10 weeks, the kids were able to submit and present their portfolios:) Raya is even wearing a dress she sewed for HELE!
So despite the trials and interruptions during the past 10 weeks, the kids were able to submit and present their portfolios:) Raya is even wearing a dress she sewed for HELE! Below is a photo with our most loving and supportive TMA Consultant, Ms. Girlie Argosino.IMG_3597

 

Psalm 65 :4 How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

Featured image of James 4:8 : http://mikepittman.org/?p=3071

2015 Philippine Homeschool Conference: A MUST FOR ALL HOMESCHOOLERS! See you there!

The 2015 Philippine Homeschool Conference: Ready For The World  on Oct 17, 2015 is a huge milestone in Philippine homeschooling scene that every homeschooler must attend.

Nothing so far has been mounted in this manner and I am truly excited. I have attended and on some occasions have spoken in several conferences presented by Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands  (HAPI), The Master’s Academy (TMA), Manila Workshops and  The Learning Basket separately through the years. But to have all these groups unite and collaborate for this year’s Philippine Homeschooling Conference at the SMX Aura and SMX Convention Center  that is going to be surely one AWESOME gathering and every homeschooler should be a part of it.ready for the world poster

Homeschooling Conferences are one of the best ways to get that encouragement boost as we continue home education which many say is truly a road less travelled. Just look at the program!

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Source: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/homeschool-conference-2015

You may download the actual program here.

As I surveyed the topics for plenary and workshop ssessions, here is how I see them:

The “Big Picture” topics:

  •  Give Me One Reason To Homeschool ( Workshop) 
  • Teaching Foundational Truth (Keynote Message)
  • Global Perspective in Homeschooling (Keynote Message) 

And the very practical and more “close to home topics”:

  • Parenting Basics; Getting Your Kids to Listen and Learn 
  • Stretching Your P-100 Budget in Homeschooling
  • Homeschooling 101: Getting Started
  •  Getting Your Homeschoolers Ready for Independent Homeschooling

The Big Picture topics will be handled by husband and wife, Davis and Rachael Carman, (“proprietors of the number 1 Creation based, biblically sound, long term homeschool curriculum material: Apologia”) and Mike Donnelly, director for the Global Outreach of the United States’ Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and the current secretary of the Global Home Education Conference 2016 (GHEC).

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Oh wow!!! Who would not want to spend the day listening to these speakers who live and breathe homeschooling with such a passion that brings them to far edges of the world to help fan the growing homeschooling fire worldwide????

On a personal note, our family has been an Apologia Science and What We Believe material user for almost 7 years!!!! I would definitely love to listen to the minds behind this brilliant Jesus-focused homeschooling program!

Add to this, are our local experts on the fields of finances, independent homeschooling, homeschooling basics and parenting!

  • Edric & Joy Tanchi
  • Tina Rodriguez
  • Chinkee Tan
  • Ched Azardon

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This year’s Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015 has also added a whole new dimension to the Homeschooling Expo with craft workshops for children 13 y.o and above. For those seeking for homeschooling materials, this will be this year’s best gathering of educational toys, tools and books!  I have  all this  range of materials and books that I’ve used and reused for more than  a decade now and when I am asked where I  sourced them, I say, “In a Homeschooling Conference!”

Apart from the learning sessions and the expo, there is just something so invigorating in seeing hundreds of other parents all gathered for one united purpose: home education. As moderator of the Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB community, I am also excited to meet as many homeschoolers during this time.

If you’d like to register and join this super duper, worth your while, exciting event,  please click here. It will only take a few minutes to register!

See you there!

If you’d like to avail of a free ticket to this event, and some prizes from Bee Happy Crafts, please visit: Facebook page of HomesCool.ph to see the mechanics on how to join!

Proversbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron,   so one person sharpens another.

Art Series: Secondary Colors

This is another lesson in the Art series that we started in this blog. We are currently focusing on the basic elements of Art and have covered Lines,  More Lines, Shapes, Shapes Part 2Colors and Primary Colors. 

I love mixing primary colors. Whether you use  colored water (water with a few drops of food coloring), acrylic/poster  or water color paint, you are bound to create those secondary colors.

You can also use chalk, chalk pastel, crayons or colored pencils.

Primary Colors :  Red, Blue, Yellow

Secondary Colors:

  • Red + Blue =  Purple ( More commonly used that Violet nowadays)
  • Red + Yellow = Orange
  • Green + Blue =Green

I find using good quality tempera, poster or acrylic paint with bolder colors more fun and exciton, especially for younger children.  It can be frustrating to use low quality paints or very washed out water color in teaching how to make these secondary colors.

However, in the absence of these,   mixing colored water or  rubbing chalk/oil pastels can achieve the color transformation  in a fairly, observable way.

Here is a sample activity from one of our favorite Art resources for the primary years, Evan-Moor’s  manual on How To Teach Art to Children. This resource is also available in electronic version(e-book).

Page from Evan Moor's How To Teach Art
Page from Evan Moor’s How To Teach Art

The simplest way to show this transformation  is through the following steps:

Using this template and poster paint , fill the three circles with the 3 primary colors. Older kids can use chalk /oil pastel, water colored pencils or crayons as they can rub more evenly and patiently to achieve the secondary colors.

 

colorwheel
http://www.kinderart.com/kindercolor/colorwheel.jpg

Or you may use this too :

primary-color-wheel-coloring-sheet
http://studenthandouts.com

 

Then, using a mixing palette,  mix red with blue, red with yellow and blue with yellow to achieve the secondary colors purple/violet, orange and green.  Guide the children in adding more of the primary colors to achieve the desired secondary color.  Fill in the right areas in the color wheel.

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Here are other COLOR Experiments done by kids (ages 5-6 years old)  using the reproducibles from Evan Moor’s How to Teach  Art to Children :

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I always like connecting various lessons from different subjects, So for this lesson, depending on the ages of your student, you may opt to stretch this lesson to include:

Bible lessons on the Creation Story,  Noah and the rainbow after the Great Flood, Joseph the Dreamer and his colorful coat. Try to google templates for Joseph’s Dreamcoat or Noah’s rainbow.

For Science,  some ideas could be the Color Spectrum, or even how to make your own Natural Dyes.

We did this many quarters ago.

It wasn't that easy to make dyes from fruits/ vegetables. It will take some trial and error.  That's Science!
It wasn’t that easy to make dyes from fruits/ vegetables. It will take some trial and error. That’s Science!

For Language, you can do a lesson on Similes and teach your children how to create similes using the different colors: “yellow as lemon. black as charcoal, green as grass, red like fire. blue like the sky“. Make poems about the colors.

Social Studies:  You may decide to study about flags. Begin with your country’s flag. Discuss the symbolism with the figures and colors used.  Choose other countries for discussion.  You can even challenge the kids to design and create a flag of a make-believe country,

History:  History of Dye Making

Filipino: Color terms of Filipino (Tagalog)  and how they are properly used

Red- Pula (as a adjective) or mapula, or  pupula/ pumula ( as verbs)

Reading;  Younger Children will enjoy the following;

  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Little Blue and  Little Yellow
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon,
  • Seven Blind Mice
  • Freight Train
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • A Color of His Own

Isn’t the lesson on COLORS simply endless and exciting?? Go ahead and have a colorful homeschooling lesson soon!

Do I Really Need to Teach Spelling?

Recently, our 10 year old Gino had a chance to see his “old” spelling books. He then asked me, “Ma, why didn’t  I have words? Why was there just one letter per number in my spelling notebook? ”   He was giggling. I said, “Because you wanted to join your 3 other siblings in Spelling but couldn’t spell yet so I just asked you to write the letters as I called them out.”  That’s funny. “Spell, K. “K” as in kite.”

My teen son who was homeschooled for 10 years and is now in level 10 in a regular high school told me once that I shouldn’t bother too much about Spelling anymore with his younger siblings because they can always spell check or use auto-correct.  I disagreed.

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www.jesseneo.com

Auto correct merely “corrects” the spelling of a word but does not consider the context in which the word is used. So you can have so many homophones mixed up.   I wouldn’t want any of the students who “graduated” from our homeschool struggle in using the correct word and spelling. What if the computer or smartphone autocorrects and types “rice” when you meant “rise”,  “blue” when you meant “blew” or  “weak” when you meant “week.” No, no, you can’t rely on Auto-correct or Spellcheck.

You can be very academic and search for studies that support SPELLING in the classroom but I guess at the end of it all,  it is just a known reality that being a bad speller can create a whole lot of negative impressions, and limit their opportunities if this is seen as a weakness in future jobs/ duties, and you wouldn’t want your children to have to deal with that.

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Some say,  loads of reading may be enough to create good spellers.  I,  however have seen  and experienced the wonderful world of what the discipline can offer. For one, you can deal with vocabulary words and create sentences that can further lock the meaning as mental hooks into your student’s brain and memory.   For the beginning writers, this could be a good time to practice those strokes and basic letters. Correct pronunciation is also enhanced when the children hear the actual word being uttered.  And then, you have the glorious and funny opportunity of coming up with sentences that uses all the  Spelling Words of your students in 1-2 sentences. Oh my dear,  I remember days of using four spelling words in a sentence when our classroom was full with 4 children! There were  times we would be in tears because how some sentences ended up being so silly!

I initially used the Sing, Spell, Read and Write Spelling Exercises for our preschoolers. I eventually shifted to the SpellWell series where I learned to create different activities to foster mastery in Spelling. You can see a lot of options in the eps.schoolspecialty.com for many areas of literacy.

SpellWell introduces a Spelling list of words that share a common sound or syllable and provides the teacher to include several other new words that child may encounter in other subjects such as Reading , Science, History or even Math!

spellwell 2 covers

Pre-test and Post tests are set up and children correct their own mistakes. page1-300x408

Daily exercises involving the week’s Spelling List.

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At the earlier years, you can use the suggested Spelling lists. However as the child matures and begins to have more reading material, you can actually build his own spelling list from the  new vocabulary words he encounters in reading assigned chapter books, in Read-A-Louds, and in every subject actually.  Doesn’t it make sense to say “Spell circumference” when he is daily computing for circumference in Math!    If he is doing  a writing exercise and he asks, “Ma, how do you spell ________? ” Take note of that and include it in his list for the coming week.

My memory of Spelling in my early elementary years is my Spelling Booklet.  I don’t remember using  exercises for my newly spelled or newly encountered words.  We just hat to spell, letter by letter.

As we completed all the levels of SpellWell for four children, I learned to create my own exercises on the spot, notebook style!

Notebook Exercises
Notebook Exercises

or dry erase board style:

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Here are other ways of promoting good spelling part from reading:

1. Writing Cards/Letter Writing

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IMG_51782.  Written Work  (essay, poems, interview,  timelines, directions,  mini books, summarizing, timelines etc)

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Oopss! “milimeters!”

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3.  Note-taking/ Dictation

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4. Writing Lists (Things to do/ Chore Chart/ Books Read/ Christmas Wish List)

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Oops again, “clening”, “exersise” and “puting” !!!!

5. Word Games such as crossword, word search, etc.

6. Using a Language curriculum that incorporates Dictation and Spelling

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6. And of course, READ, READ, READ.

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At the end of the week, or maybe two,   allow the children to review their Spelling words and take a post test or be different a bit and ask them to create a story using 5 or more of their Spelling Words.

Last weekend, my two children wrote  “Anniversery” and “Aniversary”  in a card for their grandparents.  Haha! They were certain that this word would come out in their Spelling List this week.  “Ok, kids, spell ‘Anniversary'”.

Just for some fun, why not take this Spelling test of the 25 Commonly Misspelled Words!

 

Colossians 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

 

 

 

Sharing Stories and Digging Deeper

My earliest memory of “sharing” is about M & Ms. Yes, the all time favorite chocolates !  Nine  cups and M & Ms.  When my parents would come home with a bag of M&Ms, out came the nine cups from the cupboard, and the “assigned” dealer dropped one piece at time, like playing what most Filipinos know as “sungka (small shells being placed in circular holes in large wooden piece or plate), and went around the cups until the chocolate bag was emptied.  The older siblings got the extra pieces that could not be evenly distributed: Perks of being older!

If there is one virtue I learned early in life, it was this: sharing.  Having been the youngest of nine children, we shared practically everything: the toilet, rooms, cabinets, beds, clothes, toys, nannies and we had to share our parents’ available time for the children.

Being close to my heart, it was but natural to just prioritize “sharing” as I had one child after the other.  I had the perfect setting of four children who were two years apart!

Having multiple children who are closely spaced, you will definitely find yourself in situations where they all like the same thing or food.  I have learned through the years to welcome such situations rather than stress about them. When and where else can they learn these valuable truths?

Mommies,however, have that God given instinct to sniff, recognize and even extinguish or avoid a possible melt down of grabbing, pulling and screaming.  We are the best CSI  when it comes to these things.

I truly believe that,  ” Character is caught more than taught,”  We must as parents live the values and morals that we desire our children to learn, imbibe and exemplify.  So I guess, if our children see in us  compassion, empathy, generosity and yes humility in seeking others first, then the positive behavior of sharing can be more easily learned .

Nothing beats seeing your own children learn this. Though a bit a manipulative, I distinctly remember our then six and four year old boys wanting to be the superhero Daredevil. My eldest then, a master of conflict management, whips, ” Marco, I am the real Daredevil and you are the cartoon Daredevil.” The younger four year old could not care any less,  he heard he was Daredevil and he was fine with that.

There was another situation when we created a giant red car from a balikbayan box, my younger children then, Raya, 5 yo and Gino 3 yo, wanted to have their “initials” in the license plate for this cool car. Mama, another conflict management facilitator, comes to the rescue, “Ok, Raya’s initials will be at the front license plate and Gino’s will be at the back. And from time to time, we will exchange those so yours can be seen from the back and yours from the front.” Satisfaction achieved. 500,000 points for Mama. Whew.

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Initials and birthdate formed the license plate

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While they were younger, both Raya and Gino always wanted a go with the ATM machine or even with stirring sugar and creamer in my coffee in restaurants.  So here is our usual routine.  “Ok, Gino, you get to insert the card, and press a few buttons.  I will have to put in my PIN number.  Raya, you press how much cash we need and take the card and get the cash. Then next time, you guys will reverse roles!”  Another whew!

We may laugh at it now but there were times  I had to say, “Ok, you sprinkle and  stir the sugar then your sibling will sprinkle and stir the creamer for my coffee.” Triple Whew!

Of course, I can recall a whole lot of times when equal sharing was not possible at all.  Or any amount of creativity or distraction didn’t do the trick.  When my 2nd son was barely a few days old, our eldest Vince really punched him because “Mom carried the baby all day” in trying to set the milk in for breastfeeding (he also didn’t sleep when laid down in his cot!). But generally, for as long as  you try to invest a bit early on and teach those life lessons when the “perfect learning moment” arises, I believe, you will be eventually be able to raise children who care enough to share .  That punching episode was never repeated since  then.

“Sharing” per se is just an outward manifestation of what is going on in one’s heart . As the Bible says in Luke 6:45, ” A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

The key then is laying the foundation of love, compassion, empathy and  humility. All of which are in the life of our Savior, Jesus!  Jesus is our perfect example. The Ultimate SHARER, “who gave HIs life as a ransom for many.”  Sharing is merely an outward behavior and children need more than just to be told, “You have to share!” They need to know why, they need to see  and know how, they need to  find the strength to do so and they need to know from whom to draw this strength.

All outward behavior emanates from within. So whether it be in “sharing” , “being patient”,  “speaking in polite manner” and the like, they all are merely mirroring what is really within.  So let’s  not get so engrossed with the outer manifestations but rather take time to purposefully guide our children’s inner being! For indeed the natural fruits of a “inner life raised in the fear of the Lord” will eventually shine!

 

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

When Life Gives You Lemons

I was not in the best of moods as we began homeschooling today. With puffy eyes and a heavy heart, the kids started their Bible reading and Math drills. I was catching up with them as I started to map out the day’s agenda. Strangely, everything in the agenda that I was trying to plan and cover for was all non-homeschooling related. Unlike teachers in regular schools who can at times shut out for a couple of hours, it’s very difficult for homeschooling mothers to shut the rest of the world as we tackle the lessons for the day. It is much tougher to shut out the whirlwind of emotions that flood ones heart and mind amidst all sorts of trials. I have missed many days of school for one reason or another so I knew that the teaching and learning must go on, I guess. Like most occupations, you can’t say, I don’t feel like working today.

Then my daughter hummed a line, “When life gives you lemons…” (I really don’t know where she picked this up or if she composed it)…. then I answered, trying to sound as if I knew her song, “You make lemonade.” Then she sang, “Lemon pie!” to the top of her lungs, and we just couldn’t stop laughing as we kept adding to the list.. Lemon Chicken, Lemon meringue….

 Photo Credit: http://doyourhw.org/2013/10/01/a-lemon-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away/
Photo Credit: http://doyourhw.org/2013/10/01/a-lemon-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away/

 

In a very innocent yet charming way, my daughter drove a very important point that shook my heart. God was using her to tell me that I will have my rainbow, not after, but during the rain. God was reassuring me that He will see us through and help us see the silver linings, the half full glass, the light inside the tunnel and not at the end of it, and yes, experience the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7) My daughter at that very moment was “homeschooling” me.

For our Read A Loud, we have been reading the story of a Christian missionary named, George Muller in the book series, Christian Heroes, Then & Now. George was a man of God who ached for the poorest children in England and set out his life mission to be a “light to those around me, and help me find a way to reach the orphans before it’s too late.”

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And then it struck me that even today’s chapter was a direct message to me.

If God is in this, He will supply. ‘“ Three-fourths into George Muller’s story, a truly striking and remarkable virtue seen in this man’s life is his faith in God and his “waiting in faith”. And these were rooted in knowing His loving Creator. Oh how I need to know God more so I can always look up when, “Life indeed gives you lemons.” And then, I remembered what I read this morning in my devotional, Abiding in Christ by Cynthia Heald and I quote,” …. He is our Father, who is continually working all things together for good. And so He tells us to rest—to be calm and peaceful; and to wait –to anticipate , to count upon, to watch for Him. …”

Our Sovereign God has set me where I am now. This is my portion, my lot. He is with me and so I am assured that He will supply what is needed, in His time. What a wonderful promise of hope!

Homeschooling proceeded with a more upbeat, fun mode. I began asking probing questions that made my children think deeper, as they pondered on the events in Mr. Muller’s life. “If God wills it, will it necessarily be easy ?” Or, “Will it be tough because you are being tested?” “If it isn’t His will, will you encounter problems? “How will we then know?” Wow, who would have thought tween kids can actually think about these this early. I am grateful that we have so many examples and stories in the Bible, even in our very own lives and yes, of George Muller’s and the remaining chapters in our homeschool Read-A-Loud to shed light on this.

So, the song still echoes in my mind now and I am now smiling… “When life gives you lemons…”

 

“It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our live. Our faith will be a tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.”

Charles Spurgeon        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art Series: Red, Yellow and Blue!

After doing several activities on  Lines, More Lines and Shapes and  jumpstarting the Color series with the throwing, shaking and splattering  with our Marble Art and Splattering Mural, we can now take our time with the basics of Color.

Remember what we did  ?

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You can frame your art works!

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Begin with the primary colors: RED, YELLOW and BLUE.    They are primary because you cannot create them by mixing other colors. However,  they can be mixed to produce other colors that completes the colors of the rainbow.  The primary colors form the foundation of the color wheel.

With your student/s,  gather many items in the house with these solid primary colors . Try to include items that are solely RED, YELLOW or BLUE.

Brainstorm on  ideas and feeling associated with each color.

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http://www.styleandglaze.com

 

You may get answers such as:

  • RED –  hot, war, angry, love, passion
  • BLUE – water, cool, sad, calm,
  • YELLOW – cheerful, sunny, freedom, warmth

You may even just check out famous posters or slogans and see what primary colors they use.

Group all the same colored items together and try to get some observations about each color.  For younger preschoolers, remind them that when it comes to physical manifestation of color, we use our sense of sight.  However, challenge them to imagine what would RED if it can be heard, sound like?  Or feel, if it can be touched. You’ll be amazed at the answers and this will also help children express themselves better as you encourage them to speak clearly in complete sentences.  You can turn this into a writing activity for those who can be challenged their thoughts.

Students may say that there are different shades of RED. Some are darker or lighter. Move to a well lit place with your items, and then squeeze into a dark closet (yes, have fun doing that) or under the table.  Maybe close all the curtains and try to ask your student to describe how the color changes depending on the amount of light that surrounds it. You can also place the items of different colors close to each other and see the effects on each others’ colors.

For older children, try to cover the following concepts as you deal with primary colors:

  • Hue
  • Value
  • Tint
  • Shade
  • Intensity

Find activities that focus on one color. One example is to have a child pick red, blue or yellow.  Then cut out magazine pictures or images of the color chosen and create a collage.   Or you may have Art activities that involve all three primary colors. Don’t rush or get too excited with secondary colors . Stick with these Big 3.   If you feel up to it, this can be done together  a Unit Study on the Philippine Flag!

This  Art activity was inspired by Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue

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Strings dipped in black paint were pressed over the paper to create some form of grid and the shapes were colored only primary colors

 

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For the preschooler, this was using sponges in various shapes/ sizes. It is some form of “stamping” or sponge art

For a richer experience with primary colors, choose some story books that use these colors.

The Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young is a very brilliant storybook with lots of bold colors.  The blind mice encounter something huge and they’re all trying to guess what its it.

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Though, you can start with this excerpt from Genesis as you move into COLOR, you may also end with the story of Noah and the appearance of the rainbow after the great flood. Discuss further what the rainbow meant. This can be your way to segue to the secondary colors too.

Hope you have fun with color this week.

Genesis 9:16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.

 

Homeschool Room Dreaming Part 2

In the previous post, I mentioned that I was going to bring you to a “place” where you could choose from a selection of  awesome homeschool or office furniture and accessories.  So this it. Let me take you to the land of desks that would make you want to study and work longer, chairs that will give your back a “spa”like feeling all day,  drawers and organizers that will make your accessing to stuff (you don’t want to see because they  to create a cluttered look ) really a breeze, and shelves that are so cool , they even have sliding panels that can be your  “glass paneled board” and coziest bean bags ever.

Yes, there are such stuff for our Dream Homeschool Room in BOOGI in LRI Plaza in Makati. BOOGI is actually the nick name of my German brother in law, Burkhardt Zipperich married to my sister Nenette.  Both have decades of experience in the  European furniture and accessories market.

They recently opened their lifestyle store in  Makati and here are my favorite finds out there.  You may have to save for some pieces but these are durable, high quality and timeless pieces worth your investment.

Here are some of the featured  spaces that showcase their products :

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Landscape 1 Portrait 3 LAndscape 4 Authentics

There are many homeschooling parents who have home based businesses as well.  Wouldn’t it be so neat to have such a “home office?”

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Am actually trying to save to be able to get one of these.  Drum roll again, please.

The PRO chair

Winner of the  Interior Innovation Award 2012, Reddot Design Award 2012, IF Product Design Award 2013, and German Design Award GOLD 2014. Designed by renowned German Industrial Designer Konstantin Grcic for FLÖTOTTO, a leading furniture brand in Germany.

Google more about it.  But you need to have the real experience of sitting in one to know why it has won so many awards. Come to the shop now and try it.

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And guess what?  Trust the Germans to make sure they’ve got everything covered… these seats come in homeschooled kids sizes! And they’re are color coded standards  to ensure that a child with a specific height has the appropriate chair!

 

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But our kids need a space to work on! So let’s look into their selection of desks!

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If chairs have size standards to take the child’s height in consideration, the desks have too!

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With the variety of organizers and drawer and lockers,  and table top options,  you can really pick one that suits your specifications and needs:

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The glass table tops can also come in different dimensions and colors:) IMG_7799

The Bisley drawer system comes in various colors and sizes!  The organizers that can be fit into every drawer can also be decided based on what items you intend to put in these drawers. I am dreaming of upgrading my daughters sewing desk/drawers to organize all her sewing materials! I am also  a very Arts and Crafts person! So imagine how this system can help the scrapbooker, calligraphist, baker, hobbyist in me and I guess, bring some sanity into our home!  Boogi16

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These trays come in various heights/configuration to fit many drawer sizes and to accommodate all sorts of stuff for school, office and crafts/hobbies

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If  you however love to lounge with your children, stay together in a room and  have movie time or share a super comfy bean bag as you read stories together…. drum roll again, why not try the best bean bag in the Philippines called the Sitting Bull.

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Look at the variety  of ways this bean bag has been enjoyed!!! It is simply the best!  I know of a doctor friend who loved it so much, she bought 3 pieces!

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Haha! Now that’s comfy!

They also have loads of shelves to choose from.

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This is another favorite!  A floor to ceiling shelf with a glass sliding panel that can 1) hide some clutter 2) serve as a “blackboard” for your homeschooling classes’ needs!

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Boogi02  Boogi22

 

Homeschooling takes us out most of the time and here is another one in my wish list.  The CACOON! Well,  do I  have to have a giant tree first  to hang this?   No, a  separate support system may be purchased with this amazing  hanging “chill out” space!

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Oh my! You really have to go to see more of their amazing stuff in Boogi!

For now, you can see more via their website, FB page  and Boogi IG account.

Have fun and enjoy ! This is a photo with my sister,  Ate Nenette, trying all sorts of ways to enjoy this printed “Sitting Bull”.

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And here is a photo of the lovebirds who have worked  together for 18 years and have this magnificent collection in their shop. Please visit them at the 3rd Floor, LRI Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia, (formerly Reposo) in Bel-Air II, Makati. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm.

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(Good News, by the way! They’ve also set up an installment scheme for BPI with a very affordable interest for those who would like to purchase and spread out payments! )

Homeschool Room Dreaming Part 1

Featured Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens ( www.bhg.com)

In all our 12 years of homeschool, we’ve done our classes in a spacious but quite dark basement,  in a 6 sq meter hallway along the railing of stairs in a rented townhouse, in a 3×4 meter  ground floor room with lots of windows and now in a 3×3 meter bedroom subbing as a homeschool room as the kids have opted to share rooms to sleep and play.  I’ve always dreamed of having a gazebo with floor to ceiling windows in a huge garden as our homeschool room .  I always imagined that the children still “dressed up” for school and walked to their “school”.  But, we don’t have a huge garden, and even if we did, I don’t think we could afford to create a separate homeschool room with my “dream” specifications.

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thelushome.com
Outdoor-Playroom-Dwell
http://blog.modernica.net/

 

 

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Oh to be able to homeschool in such an environment with lots of space, greenery and yes, cool climate!  I am so glad that studies show that the success of education still lies in in the  quality of one on one engagement of the student and the teacher. They have shown that the  strong bond of student and teacher  and the dynamic learning that takes place in lively discussions outweigh the other factors of the learning environment: facilities, materials, technology, etc.

There is however nothing wrong to dream and maybe even work towards creating an organized and positive space that is conducive for learning as your homeschool area or room. Now, who wouldn’t want to work, even overtime on these areas I have chosen as I searched online for  my best homeschool rooms ever:

Imperfectlyperfect.com
Imperfectlyperfect.com
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justanightowl.com

 

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landofnod.com
blog.tealbirdconcepts.com
blog.tealbirdconcepts.com
mysmallpotatoes.com
mysmallpotatoes.com
timelessandtreasured.blogspot.com
timelessandtreasured.blogspot.com
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bhg.com
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bhg.com
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moffatgirls.blogspot.com

Though I am swooning and drooling as I view  all of these,  I  have resigned to the fact that I will just have to keep our area organized and more clutter free.  We have graduated 2 older students who are now in high schools in regular schools and there are no more preschoolers who benefit from lots of space, educational toys and hands on activities.  So our homeschool room now is more practical. It   also becomes a work area for the older kids after school when they need a bigger area to work on.

Our "current" homeschool room
Our “current” homeschool room
We do most messy activities and experiments in the kitchen.
We do most messy activities and experiments in the kitchen.

I still have to find our older photos but this is what I gathered from the past years. More or less, this is what our homeschool room looked look from 2007 – 2011

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Look at my preschooler bursting in the seams, it seems! Chubbiness at its cutest!

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We go to our small garden when we need to get wet!
We go to our small garden when we need to get wet!
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This was the most students I have had in one room ( except for the times when cousins would come and join our homeschool sessions) . This was a crazy season but truly fun and memorable.

As I looked for ideas, this article was very helpful in summarizing what makes a cool homeschool room .  Though we may be limited by space and our budget, there are many DIY and inexpensive ways for sprucing up your homeschool area/ room.

However, as mentioned, there is nothing wrong with dreaming right?  Stay tuned for part 2 of this Homeschool Room Dreaming series  as I share with you a newly opened store  with lots of amazing homeschool and home office furniture and accessories in our next post! Happy Homeschooling!

Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.