Hey, homeschoolers! If you haven’t visited Kidzania Manila, you are truly missing out a whole lot. Yes, it is a kids’ world but you must experience it as well as an adult and rekindle that kid in your own heart! And let me announce that this summer is the best time visit Kidzania! Why? Kidzania Manila has recently added another reason to make your entire family’s experience truly worthwhile: Kids For A Greener WorldProgram! ( If you wish to see the other activities Kidzania Mania has to offer, click here.)
Kidzania Manila is once again offering homeschooling families a chance to learn and “grow“! Ministry of Tourism Ms. Aylynn Tenorio-Ganelo has just announced their wonderful offer for all homeschoolers this summer.
Now, what can we expect from this “green revolution“ in Kidzania this summer? The following are the activities, so called “Green Spots” offered from April 15- June 15, 2015:
Learn sustainable fishing with the Century Tuna Fish Market
Be a transport route specialist and promote efficient use of fuel and reduce air pollution with the Shell Transportation Efficiency Center
Explore upcycling and create new upcycled crafts with H&M Conscious Upcycling Workshop
Try being a garden designer and find unique and effective ways of growing plants
Ms. Aylynn also added that children who perform any of the featured ‘Green Spot’ activities will receive a Green Activity Card where they will receive a stamp for successfully completing any of the four (4) jobs. When they complete all four, they can receive their official KFAGW(Kids For A Greener World ) stamp on their KidZania Passports ( that is, if your child already has a passport). As a special treat , all four Green Spots are PARENTS WELCOME areas! This means that each child may be accompanied by one adult companion as he/she participates in the said activity.
To keep the excitement going, take part in RightZkeeper Vita’s challenge to win prizes like special invites to join any of the three upcoming birthday celebrations of our RightZKeepers Urbano, Bache, and Vita.
For mechanics regarding this promo, please check this out.
Indeed, get ready for a better world with Kidzania Manila.
Jeremiah 17:8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
I write this on the last game of Kobe Bryant after 2 decades of amazing basketball! Though as family, we are for Boston Celtics, we salute Kobe Bryant and his contribution to the sport that has somehow partly molded our journey as a family with 3 young boys passionately into the sport. Sister Raya is a fan as well but she prefers the tennis court to play in.
Let me share with you amazing benefits sports has provided our family:
1. Over-all better health for all!
As a doctor-parent-athlete, this is high on my list. Moving and improving circulation, exposure to the outdoors, the release of stress reducing chemicals, the sleep benefits, the boost to ones immunity are amazing benefits while one is having fun! And these only concern “physical health”! We also need to consider the other aspects of health: mental, emotional, social, etc… When I am down and out or stressed, a good tennis game/training never fails to clear my head and yes, control my emotions.
If you need further information, just google: “Health benefits of sports!” Try this one.
2. Unforgettable experiences together as family
My tween son, when asked about his most favorite experience so far, wrote lengthily about our 2012 once in a lifetime experience of stepping into TD Garden to watch our Boston Celtics play the famous San Antonio Spurs. That was the time when the BC had the Big 3 at their peak: Kevin Garnet, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Of course, that is the highlight and indeed, truly one for the books. But the special, heartwarming bonding times are the ones when we’re all huddled together watching our team battle it out for NBA Championships, creating our own poster board (in an illustration board) for the play offs, or the efforts to secure a giant Boston Celtics tarp from a Adidas manager-friend (which has been mounted on one side of our sons’ room), or even the long trips to Araneta for a UAAP La Salle-Ateneo games.
For husband Gilbert, a highlight every weekend is seeing our sons grow and eventually outgrow him, in height and skill (coming soon, Papa!) as they battle it out on 2 on 2 in street basketball. From plastic balls, to junior size basketballs and now to size 10 basketball shoes, yes, they’re all growing fast and yes furious!
Raya and I get to play tennis and understand the sport together. Sometimes we play doubles against another mommy-daughter couple or vs a hitting trainer. It’s been almost 8 years since Raya picked up a racket, and that’s from baby rackets to junior rackets, from cute trainers to size 8 tennis shoes!
Apart from the actual time on court, there is also the unmatched high in watching your children play a sport they love best, seeing them win and yes, seeing them lose. ….seeing them do chest bumps and high fives and witnessing them shed tears and hug their coach and teammates!
There is just so much happiness in the act of “cheering” for a loved one: beats any cheering for a well loved, famous athlete for me any day. Once, it had to be another way around. Mama Donna, and her tennis team, Team Tenez, joined a ladies doubles league in Manila Polo Club. Raya and Gino were our team cheer leaders complete with same colored outfits and pompoms! (I think we won in best uniform because the the judges couldn’t resist our cute “mascots” hehe) . When an older sibling comes to support a younger brother for a championship game, isn’t that precious?
Because Mommy Donna is a player herself facing more losses that than wins, the children and I are able to have a whole lot of exchanges about what it means to be an athlete and to be part of a team!
3. The Added Benefits of Continuous Bonding outside of the court
I am glad that our children got used to having their parents watch their games. We (but I had to learn more than my husband) had to sort of learn the “right way” to watch their games. Of course, we couldn’t let our sons control us but yes we ( I actually!) had to adjust on some areas to sort of meet halfway and compromise. There were cheering styles, comments after a game, behavior as spectators that weren’t helpful or at some times downright bothersome for our players. We eventually found our groove!
With this shared experience, I see a whole lot of what our sons are faced with, how their team mates play, how their coach works and all the ins and outs of every game. That’s a whole lot to draw from and it’s a good way to know more about our children, to feel for them and yes, it becomes a good backdrop for continuous and open communication. Eventually, you move from talking about sports to a whole lot of other topics. And with boys, and eventually men, there is a whole new world in terms of communication, right?
4. The Priceless Lessons Learned in Sports
For the children:
Physical and Mental Skills
Value of Teamwork
New and Deeper Friendships
Mentoring/ Learning from another adult ( coach)
Obedience/ Respect for Authority (Coach, Referee, League)
Art of Winning and Art of Losing
No pain, No gain ( No win!)
Inexpressible Joy in Winning after Lots of Work
Value of Practice
The Importance of Priorities
Faith and Sports!! (one of my favorites!) Click on that highlighted link to know more about this.
How to Handle their Parents as Cheerleaders, “de facto” Coach
And so many more!
For the parents:
Leading by Example
Application of Biblical Principles in Parenting
Learning How to Chill (My kids would all agree 100 percent)
Finding the Correct Balance in Raising Successful Athletes (Much more if they are siblings!)
Lots of Time Management and Planning
Supporting our Children’s Passions
Friendships with Co-parents
Lots of Love, Patience and Sacrifice
And so many more !
Indeed with this exhaustive list, I have to say, parents, get into some physical activity yourself early on and “Start “em young!”
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:5 “”Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (NLT)
It’s Mommy Donna in Raya’s Room now. Many weeks back, I had asked Raya if I could post something in her corner of this blog. I think blogging isn’t her thing yet so she gave me go signal to post first for now. Raya has been into portraits for the past many weeks. I am so amazed at her creativity, her attention to detail, her painting and drawing skills, and yes her patience in making these beautiful creations. Most of these portraits are drawn from imagination. There are no specific persons (save for one) in mind and she doesn’t copy from any photo. Many who have seen these ahead say that her works are beginning to show her personal and unique style! So here are the latest portraits from Raya’s room, enjoy:)
Which one is your favorite? Please comment below. Am sure Raya would love to hear from you!
One of the major areas I wanted to learn about as I began homeschooling 13 years ago was how to instill, develop and boost children’s creativity. I guess, it began with having babies and thinking of activities for them. For some reason, push button or battery operated toys that limited the child to just pressing ( more like banging in the younger years!) bothered me. During my earlier years of having my 1st infant/ toddler, it was very obvious how bored they got with such toys that were sort of repetitive and close ended.
As my child’s first teacher, I wanted also to create a nurturing environment at home that would be like a safe haven to explore, to test ideas, and yes to create! Since the teacher is part of that “environment” I wanted to learn how to be encourage my child’s self expression and creativity.
My first son was only 8 months when we were assigned in London as part of my husband, Gilbert’s expatriation for work. Part of the package was an opportunity for spouses to continue some form of growth and education. I enrolled in a Early Years: Childhood Care and Education certificate course in the Richmond Community College. Wow, looking back, I am so thankful for having done that course. I did that without really knowing then that I would have 3 more children coming and that I would eventually homeschool.
Sessions in that course were devoted on Creativity and my professor told us this story. Let me try to re-tell it. There once a preschooler who was passionate about horses. She loved them and she daily drew horses. She drew them and she was happy about all her drawings. For some reason, a time came when she dropped the whole “horses” phase and never again attempted to draw them. Our professor then asked, “What do you think happened? ” She then continued with the explanation. A well meaning, loving grandmother who learned about her enthusiasm for drawing horses, gifted her little granddaugther with a coloring book of horses and only horses. A seemingly harmless gesture cut the lifeline to this bursting creativity in that child. Without meaning to do harm, the coloring book “communicated” to the child how horses are supposed to look like . The child realized that what she has been drawing all this time was far from the accepted and appreciated “form” of horses.
The instruction was to “color within the lines” and we all know that ” going out of the lines” was not really something celebrated. What an eye-opener indeed? Why then offer coloring books ? Why expect toddlers or preschoolers with immature fine motor skills to color only within the lines. If you want to know more about the detrimental effects of coloring books to developing young children, click here.
So from then on, I vowed to never purchase a coloring book. Through the years however, you eventually get some as gifts or some pages of activity books have them. Instead, I just bought ream after ream of A3 and A4 paper (our kids didn’t like drawing on recycled papers with some printing at the back) and just restocked our washable tempera/poster paints, chubby crayons, markers! Eventually, we introduced other forms of coloring material such as oil pastels, colored pencils, water color, acrylic/oil paint. We then went into paper mache, sculpting clay and practically any material we could turn into Art! I’ve noticed though that young children like using coloring materials that are easy to manipulate and create “bold colors”. We struggled with some ‘low quality” finger paints because no matter how much blotches we put, the red was pink, and the green was light green!
Living maybe 30 minutes away from IKEA and yes, learning how to drive on the right hand side in 2001, IKEA was my happy place! So, I was so thrilled to see their easels, washable tables and aprons and paint containers! Early Learning Center, a 10 minute walk from our home, sold 500ml washable paints in rainbow color for only £1 per bottle!
So timely! As I write this post, my now 12 year old daughter who was just stamping away in the photo above 10 years ago has shown me her latest creation using some special pens.( Visit her “room” or the category corner “Raya’s Room” in this blog for more of her creations!) Here it is:
Having learned a whole about how adults can stifle children’s creativity, I really became bent on understanding this field and wanted to be a CREATIVITY Crusader in our homeschooling room:) So I had to learn and yes re-learn. Two materials that became like handbooks as began homeschooling were these:
Regarding the Creativity Process, Michelle Cassou had this to say, “I came to realize how the intelligence of creativity works and how everything in it has to come from the child. Creativity needed to be offered as play, adventure, and self expression. Putting pressures or expectations on children had to be banned; at the same time, the basic principles of creativity cold never be compromised. Consequently, the creative process couldn’t be taught as a technique because it is a living process. I needed to use my intuition and my heart, not my ideas of what was right. I had to become supple, available and strong in the understanding of my own creativity. within a few years, I developed a method based on process, not techniques……… This approach resulted in children entering a true process, finding self-expression and developing a solid base for creativity in their lives, an experience they couldn’t forget. ” (Excerpt from her book entitled, Kid’s Play, Igniting a Child’s Creativity)
The teaching encouraged by Miss Cassou is the kind that uses a “gentle process that follows children’s journeys into themselves. When children reach their inner being and express themselves, their hearts open.”
Homeschooling offers such a safe haven where children’s hearts open. That’s because they learn at home with their most trusted person in the world, their parents. We already have the most basic and important ingredients of CREATIVITY: Acceptance, Appreciation, Safety, Love and Trust. How can Creativity not flow and bloom? But parents are not natural creativity crusaders, so let me, in the succeeding posts, impart some ways to raise creative children in the homeschooling setting. Keep in touch, ok?
Watch out for the next blog post about Creativity !
Psalm 139: 13-17
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them!
To prepare us for our Shakespeare unit, we began with learning as much as we could about his life in general. In addition to that, it really helps to have some sort of idea on the major lessons in ones homeschool calendar so you can somehow adjust the activities before, during and after the unit so you can prepare and supplement we with the other lessons that happen in ” class”. I knew months ahead that we were doing Shakespeare early this year so already had the following:
It was also so timely that theater group, Rude Mechanicals Theater Company ,through good friend and our children’s piano teacher, Ms.Joonee Garcia invited us to the preview of their presentation of “Twelfth Night”. Thank you, Joonee!! If you’re interested to gather a sizable group to watch Shakespeare, contact this theater company, leave a comment on their webpage.
We got confused, there were a bit of disguises, there was love and a whole of things going on, and yes this theater did in 1980s fashion, yes complete with 80s music! So when we went back to our books and research, we learned about the plot of this play.
Prior to beginning the unit, I saw these two for Php 75.00 in Book Sale SM Southmall.
Usually, the teacher reads the assigned chapters or pages in the readers in advance. A list of new words are identified and students can be asked to find the definition and use these words in sentences. Spelling tests can be done. Open ended reading comprehension questions can be laid out. Answers can be oral or written. When certain parts of the story relate to real life or current events, you may decide to pause and discuss.
I mentioned several links in the previous blogpost on Shakespeare to extend your Language Lessons. Our lessons and activities on puns, homophones and homonyms were really fun!
For Language, we focused on this compilation of famous lines and phrases from Shakespeare. Isn’t he brilliant? The kids chose lines and analyzed each them.
We further extended this to Filipino wherein we studied common Filipino idioms or phrases. Knowing ahead that we will be doing Shakespeare, I made some early preparation by tweaking our Language and Filipino to focus on descriptive words or adjectives, poetry, narrating a story, elements of a story, We had daily poetry reading for good exposure and eventually the students created their own poems. There are countless resources online that equip teachers on how to teach poetry. Just google it, “How to teach poetry to elementary/ middle school/ high school?” students. Check this one out.
Soon, everyone was in this Shakespeare mood, even in fashion! Our favorite Hippo earned a “ruff” throughout our lessons. This came from those round cake placemats!
Speaking of fashion, Raya wanted to research and create a “booklet” on Elizabethan fashion. So she researched and got her paints and pens and produced this!
She even got me to try and for one session became the teacher to her Mama student. I wanted to learn how to create a Elizabethan gown. My lack of knowledge and drawing skills compared to my teacher daughter showed in my art work! But I so loved the experience and even hearing my now daughter saying, “You’re good Mama, You can do it. Draw more!” was priceless. What an encouraging teacher she was!( and she really did remind me days after that and until today to drop everything and create). Sharing with you my own version of Elizabethan gown:
We also learned a whole lot about the entertainment and culture during the lifetime of Shakespeare. The events surrounding the building and rebuilding of The Globe Theater was very interesting. The bustling activities and drama (oh see, a pun, right there!) and every day events that revolved around this theater was simply too good not to further learn about.
Raya,my level 6 student was learning about Circles in Math. Do you somehow know where this is all going to lead to…. well, how else can we best teach parts of a circle, apply the importance of learning about area and circumference of a circle? Why not………….. ok, this has been long! Let me make this a suspenseful series in Shakespeare fashion! Part 3 of this series will eventually take you to a step by step process on how we put the Study of Math ( Circles) and Shakespeare together! Time to gather all your recyclable and coloring material. Time to stretch those finger muscles and yes, let your creatively run wild! We shall be building soon!
Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
It has become my habit to check the children’s list of lessons per subject at the beginning of every quarter (Our homescool is set in 4 quarters per school year). I usually do this by opening the children’s textbooks and scanning through the the table of contents. For this past quarter, what stood out was “Shakespeare!” Oh dear, did you know that “For Goodness’ sake” is attributed to the famous bard (a professional storyteller in the Medieval culture)? Well, now you do!
This type of preparation allows me to get a bigger picture of what we are all getting into and how we can incorporate certain lessons for a “multidisciplinary, multilevel and blended” type of learning. At the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I focused on tackling the subjects separately. Eventually, I realized that “merging” lessons from various subjects or creating lesson plans that revolve around various subjects in one activity or project seemed to be more effective. Projects employing a whole lot hands-on activities made learning more fun and relaxed. All of this combined made it also more doable for us with 4 homeschooling students. For years and years, this approach made much more sense to me. In seeing the lessons ahead, I could plan to advance or hold back (or even skip or scrap, yes scrap!) some lessons depending on how the lessons will somehow blend and fall into place for maximal learning. For instance, this past quarter, I knew we were going to meet Shakespeare in History, specifically Mystery of History Volume 3. I then tweaked our Language and Filipino lessons to include Descriptive Language, Poetry Reading, Elements of Poetry/ Plays. In Math, I knew that my older daughter was going to learn about circles, including solving for the area and circumference so at the back of my head, I was actually playing with the idea challenging the children to create a replica of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theater. For Reading, I purchased a few cheap books that discussed Shakespeare’s life story and presented two of his famous plays in a way that my two level 6 and 4 students could appreciate. (This was actually a really EUREKA moment because I had found some of these books from SM Southmall Booksale for php75.00 each!) This coming quarter, we may for Social Studies and Philippine Culture, study some of our own well know writers !!!
So far the Study of Shakespeare, this is what was somehow going on in my head…..
In addition to all that, I also searched for good online resources to supplement our study. Little did I know that we were setting up what experts identify as “blended learning“. The online sources varied from simple worksheets, teaching videos, lesson plans/text, documentaries to actual performing arts videos. I did a quick preview of an award winning movie entitled Shakespeare in Love (and took note of the inappropriate scenes) since the Elizabethan language, culture, and historical scenes were portrayed well in this movie. And of course, who could resist the beautiful Viola in Gwyneth Paltrow? I just love how they merged fact and fiction and made it very entertaining and yes educational. The movie had the elements of confusion, mistaken identities, tragedies, deaths, and yes of course, love! Since we already knew the basic facts from our discussion, research and reading, we could not help but appreciate (and not get confused!) this historical fiction movie!
Along the way, we bumped into a controversy ( and yes, there is an ongoing online petition calling for an investigation on the authenticity of the claim that it was William Shakespeare himself who really wrote all his famous literary works!) We listened to both sides of the argument. It was really interesting and mind-boggling!
The inspiration in tackling Shakespeare with so much excitement and passion started with this online image:
Wow, who would have thought all of these “lines” would be attributed to William Shakespeare? As the children’s interest were ignited, I gave them this task. “How sure are we that these lines really came from William Shakespeare?” “Do we just accept it as such just because this image says so?” ( In doing this, I am trying to teach the children to be circumspect in curating information sourced online. This is part of making our children digitally responsible netizens.)
So I asked the kids to choose phrases from the above image and use a worksheet I created to review and study these lines. My older daughter was assigned 10 while her younger brother was assigned 5 lines. See her work below.
Gino, our level 4 student also had his own !
He also read a simple chapter book on King Lear and broke down the elements of a tragedy this way:
We further extended the lessons on English to include:
A dear friend, and our children’s piano teacher, Ms. Joonee Garcia loves to lend us material that could help supplement our learning. We were ecstatic when she sent us this “Masterpuppet Theatre” activity pack!
Oh thank you, Teacher Joonee, through this “World of Shakespeare at your Fingertips” activity, we read lines (with some English accent, of course), acted out, changed some backdrops on the theater stage and had loads of fun!
For Filipino, we also discussed commonly used idioms/sayings/ proverbs. Examples were: “suntok sa buwan, pay may tiyaga may nilaga, matigas ang ulo, itaga sa bato, makapal ang mukha” For more example, check this out!). I ask the student to write some of these in Tagalog sentences and read them aloud. We also read and tried to understand some poems in Tagalog.
I do not really create a day to day lesson plan because I have tried many times and I really never end up following my plan. I also adjust along the way as we see how the lesson is progressing. Most of the time, some activities come to mind on the spot and we implement right away. There are times however that we have to delay some plan due to necessary preparation. But most often than not, we create our lesson plan “as we go”. As much as possible, we want to be more flexible especially when the children decide that they’d like to pursue some aspect of the lesson. For instance, my crafty and artist daughter Raya decided to do a History and Visual Arts output focusing on Elizabethan Fashion for Women. She was planning to create a magazine type of presentation.
Let me show a sneak peek of some of the kids’ outputs which I plan present more thoroughly in a PART 2 post on Shakespeare.
Watch out for Part 2!
Start thinking and planning your own Shakespeare Unit!
Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”