The first question non-homeschoolers ask homeschoolers after they have learned about your decision to home education your children is most likely about socialization issues. The first question that most homeschoolers ask each other will most likely be about curricula/ homeschool providers.
I still remember Deonna Tan-chi’s (one of the pioneers of homeschooling in the country) story about heading to National Book Store soon after they decided to homeschool to purchase all the locally produced textbooks of their children’s levels. Without the information online then and all the material available now, her options then were less and simpler. She just found a way to make it work with their 5 children. After homeschooling 4 children of 4 different levels, I can truly say that the abundance of homeschool materials can be seen as a double-edged sword. You can either swim and drown or you can swim and do a wonderful stroke with the sea of materials!
I really can’t put a comprehensive list of what’s out there. Wow, I will drown! This post will probably have a part 2 in actually sharing with you my personal journey with our own curriculum but for now let me share with you some important principles in decision making re curriculum.
1. What works for others, may not work for you thus a certain level of trial and error may be necessary. That’s why it makes more sense to borrow first if you have friends who have gone ahead. However it you choose to borrow, treat material with respect always. It ain’t yours, dear!
2. Regarding purchasing material, you can waste money in rushing, hoarding and bandwagon decision making. Know what you have and know what you need. Do not purchase add-ons for books with lessons or subject matters that are easily taught online too. Use what you have first.
3. Once you have decided, stick to your material and abandon only when absolutely necessary.
4. Choose material that:
can be used and reused for multilevel kids.
suits your teaching personality and what you hold dear in terms of learning and education principles.
contain assessments (seatwork, quizzes or testif that is a requirement
suits the dominant learning style of your student (that’s if you children like most have mixed learning styles)
enhances creativity and promote real-life connection and applicationwithin your homeschool budget
5. Your decision to go independent or hook up with a homeschool provider may affect your choice of materials.
Some providers may require only a limited type of material or may require that you use the material they publish.
The list below is no way comprehensive but having been in the homeschooling circle for over the decade now, here are some materials that’s been widely used. You may google each one to find out more about them. Just type away and you’ll get a wealth of information about all of these material.
Sing Spell Read and Write
Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind
Rod and Staff
Bob Jones University
Five in a Row
Horizons (part of Alpha Omega)
Alpha Omega Publications (Lifepacs)
Living Heritage Academy Paces ( School of Tomorrow)
Apologia Science and Apologia What We Believe Series
Calvert Homeschool Program
Mystery of History
Story of the World
Voyages in English
Catholic Filipino Academy
Science by Pearson Publishing
Following God series
Tapestry of Grace
Filipino: Binhi, Liwanag at Landas, Sanghaya
Social Studies: One Country, Pluma, Philippine Pride, Kayamanan
Am sure, I’ve missed a whole lot more. Please do write on the comments below if you would like to suggest other material for our readers.
Let me share with you what we’ve used these past 13 years!
We tried Binhi, Liwanag sa Landas and Sanghaya for teaching Filipino but ended up using lots of story books/ chapter books and a Filipino Conversation teaching guide.
So, I hope this post helps. Most of the books I have shown here are available in Learning Plus Bookstore in Fun Ranch Compound, Tiendesitas. Mathusee is available in Philippine edition. Howeve, I had to order the Sing Spell Series, most Language,Music and Art materials online.
My earliest memory of coloring books had something to do with flipping through used coloring sheets. Some pages were nicely colored, some were colored without “staying within the lines.” Early on, you just knew instinctively that something was very wrong with these “lampas-lampas” (outside of the boundaries) pages. Actually, when I try to remember, some colored pages seemed to have started well and for some reason, frustration got in the way.
I wasn’t much of a “colorer.” Maybe one reason is that by the time, hand me down coloring books in our family reached me (yes, last of 9kids), only the corny pages were left to color. Also, honestly, the act of rubbing crayons area by area may have bored me. So bored that my sister and I had to “tweak” our experience.
I vividly remember a coloring book of female faces. We then found a way to put in some creativity by applying “make up” through shading and blending. We experimented on eye shadow and cheek blush blending, and lip lining!
Fast forward to 2000, in a class about creativity, our teacher shared about the story of how a young preschooler gave up her passion of drawing horses after a well meaning grandmother gifted her with a coloring book of horses. As they pried further, the child gave up “drawing horses” after seeing how horses should look like.” Why draw when you can easily color? Just stay within the lines.”
We all know that preschoolers cannot easily stay within the lines so why even set them up for that kind of frustrating activity? Surely, there are many other ways to practice fine motor skills that could also enhance creativity. I then realized then that there was an entire movement against the use of coloring books.
So early on, I limited coloring activities and never purchased a coloring book. Coloring pages would only come through the ‘Activity Books” that had mazes, word searches, puzzles,etc.
I am not really here to wage war against coloring books. (Certainly, not after our book stores shelves have gotten people crazy over the “adult coloring books” ). Well, adults have that skill of staying within the lines and have opted to color instead of drawing from scratch. They have a choice.
But for little children exploring, little hands venturing into various skills, little minds so fertile for the creativity seeds, wouldn’t we want to give them something more? A large blank paper (A4, or even A3!!) with chubby pens and pencils, lots of washable finger or poster paint, fat crayons would be far better choices indeed!
There is just so much to discover about how our children see the world, process what’s going on around them and express their thoughts in their creations. No, not in how they color within the lines but how they will use raw materials around them to express themselves.
So yes, we had very little “coloring within the lines” activities in our classroom. But in return, we witnessed a whole of creativity and relentless pursuit to express and create. Here are just a few works early on our homeschool journey. Newer works are uploaded on HomesCoolph FB page and Homescoolph IG! You may also check out Raya’s Room category in this blog.
Creativity eventually spilled over other subjects and subject matters!
Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
Wow, was I so thrilled to see this product for sale in Powerbooks, Alabang Town Center.
Finally! So for you, our readers, I asked more information about it. It is for sale at 9800 but for BDO cards, they do allow the 3 month installment plan. If you have it in you, or maybe you have a tween or teen daughter, it is indeed a good purchase! With another Brother model, Raya learned a whole of “sewing”, Using tutorials from Youtube, she sewed her own dress, shorts, pen holders, instax holder, dresses for her dolls. Check her post about this.
For a good review about this actual model from Power books, check this out. This model also comes with a DVD tutorial!
You may also choose to attend basic sewing classes with the use of similar sewing machines run by a good friend, Ms. Anne Del Rosario of Sew Easy.
For two weeks, we’ve had major flooring renovations, so I welcomed a stay out helper to assist us. She was also a “mananahi” or a skilled sewer. With Raya’s older model of Brother sewing machine, and a trip to Shell Canvass and Ilaya in Divisoria, look at what we were able to do:
From Powerbooks, head off to Fully Booked for your Art Curriculum. Thank you, Usborne! This is simply awesome. If you are interested to learn, why not be your children’s Art teacher (don’t worry about not having the skill to draw or paint, learn with your students! They’ll be excited to learn together. Just google and type, “How to________”). And Art isn’t just the practical side of it, Art History and Art Appreciation are great lessons as well! For Php 1360 with Fully Booked Discount Card for Cash purchase, you have a year or more’s worth of lessons and inspiration. Go ahead. Choose between these 2 and see what may work for you. The material can be adjusted for younger children. For the Book of Art, a middle schooler can pretty much read on his/her own, but wouldn’t you want to brush (haha, didnt intend that pun there) up on Art? What is even more exciting is the the internet links provided to make your Art experience richer.
For many years, during the preschool and primary levels , our Homeschool Art lessons/activities were based on these two books from Usborne!
Inspired by the projects in these books, and with the help of Painting Teacher ( because after some point, I could no longer teach the more advance skills of painting) Ms. Esther Mercurio, we were able to create our own WALL of FAME… haha.. :
So start saving for these ? Are you heading off to Powerbooks or FullyBooked? Have fun!!!!
Exodus 35:30-35 Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. “And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. “He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. “He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of design
I could actually come up with 30 or even more! But for this post, less is more and the simpler the better. So, after releasing 3 students to mainstream schooling and homeschooling 4 children in a span of 14 years, I will now be sharing the MUST HAVEs for every homeschooler.
2. Connect to a Higher Source. Homeschoolers come from all walks of life, different backgrounds, beliefs and religion. And we have different ways of receiving encouragement, motivation and strength. This MUST HAVE is very personal for me and I have been vocal about it. In our home, we can “do all things in Christ who strengthens us.” Philippians 4:1. Apart from Christ and our faith, I firmly believe, we would not have been able to joyfully walk the homeschooling journey.
3. Connect with Like Minded Homeschoolers. Among homeschoolers, you will have may “personalities”. There will be the ones who prioritize academics, other who value character first, some who thrive with rigidity and routine, while others who are more free flowing and flexible. Find those you are comfortable to share the journey with and connect with them regularly. It is going to be a tough journey to do it alone.
4. Keep materials organized in a positive and nurturing classroom or homeschool area. Find the best physical set up that will enable you to reach your goals for homeschooling ( Mission/Vision/Values) and try to maintain it that way. Train yourself, your children and your helpers to keep it that way. Do not put off arranging a pile of books, a heap of photocopied homeschool material, do not allow misplaced homeschool materials to continue being misplaced. For further ideas on this, check this out. For out of this world furniture, check this too.
5. Aim to make homeschool lessons and daily experiences have the following components:
With clear and communicated objectives
With a lot of hands on experiences
Real life experiences connection
Flexibility to accommodate global or national current events
More unit studies/projects/blended activities
Maximizing wealth of good homeschool material (documentaries, youtube tutorials, lesson plans, images, etc) online with good internet connection (Invest on it.)
Exodus 18:17-23 17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed.18 “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men ……22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home.”
The Fab Finds posts are generally anything and everything I find in life that brings renewed inspiration and joy! They can come in various forms from experiences to people, from scenes to things!
Let me share with you what has made it to the Fab Find list lately.
1. 52 Weeks with Jesus
I got this book from the Philippine Christian Book Store in CCF Center in Fontera Verde. It has really deepened my knowledge and experience of Jesus andtruly ignited my quiet time !
2. A New Hobby
I began dabbling with calligraphy last year but didnt really have the time to seriously practice. However, in my course of being exposed to the beauty of the written word, I have seen more forms of the written word: brush pen writing !
3. A New Family Sport –
Thanks to self defense/boxing teacher, Patrick Alvarez (@pat_alvarez0771), we are now bonding with our teens in a new way. Of course, I had to have pink hand wraps!
4. Home Stuff in Starmall Alabang Home Section:
I had a chance to visit the home section of Starmall Alabang’s top floor( Our sons have been having Sunday basketball games there for the past 3 months) and I was really thrilled to see a lot of pretty and reasonably priced stuff. Reasonable and inexpensive, for the win. Christmas Shopping na! ( That’s one of things I do to destress December. All year round, I try to pick stuff here and there as Christmas gifts so come December, though I fail at times, I always dream of just slowly and creatively wrapping with hot chocolate and cookies! (Haha, it is ok to dream right? ) Kulang nalang cold weather, snow and layers of thick clothing… and ok, a lit fireplace.
5. Water/Sand Table in Wilcon Home Depot near Skyway entrance in Alabang
This brought back a lot of memories as I remembered all the water and sand fun I’ve had with our 4 children. It made me check out these photos from his scrapbook.
We got this as a gift for our 2 year old Vince and boy, did we have so much fun with it? Lots of memories all the way up to our youngest Gino. Imagination turned this table into a farm, a sea, a raging sea, a beach, and even a Dinosaur land!
BFF Candy and I and our homeschooled ( Sophia is now in a regular school) daughters took this ever so convenient and efficient bus to Makati from Alabang and back for a much awaited (and needed) mommy and daughter bonding! We boarded in Alabang Town Center near the Parking Lot (Red Ribbon side) and were dropped in Mercury Drug in Greenbelt 1 ( near Zara Driveway). The trip took 25 minutes!
8. A Worth it Book- All About the Philippines , available at National Book Store, Aura!
9. Marquesa de Chocolate in Terry’s Bistro, Pasong Tamo! Yummiest Mousse/Cake/Icecream!
I haven’t not been able to try a whole lot of stuff but the Kale Chips and Bottled Fish are really good! For more detailed experience of this store, check this out.
11. Adding greens and succulents to our coffee table!
I still struggle though it keeping these succulents alive for a longer period of time. Any suggestions?
12. Raya’s Latest Art Works!
13. New Friends from the Homeschooling Community. Thank you Educating For Life (Mariel Uyquiengco,Michelle Padrelanan and Rosanne Unson) for bringing homeschoolers together in always a fun, organized and relaxing way!
So there! Wouldn’t you agree that it helps to see the beauty and the fabulous in every day experiences?
** Apologies, I can’t seem to figure out why some photos when seen on the smartphone are not right side up.
Jeremiah 29: 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
So this is part 3 of a series I began on creating a strong foundation for every homeschooler. If you are just checking in for the first time, please take time to review this and then this, too. As a review, this is our family’s Mission in homeschooling and generally, in raising our children:
Mission: To create a fun-filled and loving environment at home, to help students discover their gifts, to encourage creativity, and to teach how to diligently study God’s Word.
It defines what we do on a daily basis. That is our MISSION. In a sense, it answers why the Simpao HomesCool exists. It answers why we have opted to home educate our children instead of letting them attend a regular school like the 99% of kids their age.
So ask yourself these questions:
What do we do in the__________( say your surname) homeschool?
Why does ______________(say your surname) homeschool exist?
As mentioned in previous posts, your vision is your preferred future. This is what you “envision” to happen as a result of your mission. In a sense for as long as our children “live” in our homes, they continue to be raised and homeschooled even if they have been released to regular schools. So, your mission and vision may actually go beyond the years of your homeschooling lessons.
Vision: To see the family love God, love others and love learning.
Take note that I have included the word “family” in our vision. This is because the homeschooling journey is not exclusively for the students but truly for the entire family. The main teacher ( usually the mother) is also molded by the homeschooling experience. So as a result of homeschooling, we desire as a family to see ourselves “loving God, loving others and to love learning.”
As we continue to set the foundation of our “homeschool”, we now move towards CORE VALUES.
Core values are the fundamental beliefs of your family/ homeschooling. These values are the guiding principles that will determine decisions, action and behavior. These values can help in assessing if our daily homeschooling experiences including chosen material and activities are aligned with our homeschooling_goals/mission.
These values are what you hold dear as family and they will be evident in your choices in your homeschooling journey.
Here are some values for our family :
Love for God and His Word
Love and Respect of others (this involves cooperation/being a team player)
Love for Country
Physical Health through Sports/Proper Nutrition ( we are still struggling in the nutrition part because I can’t seem to make the children love all kinds of fruits and vegetables, we keep trying though) .
Your choices for curriculum, readers, read-a-louds, projects, homeschool co-op or support group’s activities, outsourced lessons, extra-curricular programs, field trips, sports coaches, MAPE teachers or lessons, etc can be determined with always your core values in mind, as you strongly holding on to your mission and vision as you see the big picture.
For instance, in our schedule, we have decided to do BIBLE reading/ meditating/lessons daily. That’s because that holds a priority in our lives. In desiring to highlight Love for Country, we try to always be aware of current events and try to teach Philippine History and Filipino as a language passionately. Let me just give you examples on what we involved ourselves with to emphasize the importance of Philippine History and Culture and the Filipino language:
Regularly watch Filipino material ( Pepito Manaloto, Inang Yaya, Magnifico, Penguin Penguin Paano ka Ginawa?, Tagalog Plays like Prinsipeng Munti, Ang Hukuman ni Mariang Sinukuan, I Do Biddo Bidoo, Dolphy movie )
Read Filipino storybooks and chapter books
Discuss national current events thoroughly
Hired a Filipino Tutor when I could no longer handle all subjects for all 4 children
Regularly attend Exhibits and Trade Shows of Philippine artists and products
Adjust lessons during periods of great national concern ( elections, disasters, national holidays)
One of the things though I know I could have done differently (if I had the chance to do it all over again ) is to include Fluency in Tagalog as a Core Value or as a primary goal in our homeschooling. Doing so would have made us more deliberate and intentional in “realizing” this goal. (I am giving this as a reminder to those who have preschool or even younger homeschoolers) It is unfortunate, and I take the blame for it, that our younger children struggle in speaking fluent Tagalog because we opted to speak (and continue to do so) to them in English. Tagalog is not natural for them and I know I have gone way past the learner’s window of maximally being fluent with a 2nd language for our children. We can still adjust, try to find ways but the circumstances are no longer ideal. Sigh .
Instead of describing how these core values find their way into our daily lessons, let me just show you photos of experiences and maybe you can guess how these activities help us teach and encourage the core values I have listed above.
After you have created your own homeschooling family mission and vision , may I invite you again to come together with your spouse/ partner/ homeschoolers and determine your core values as a homeschooling family? You may have to take into account, character concerns for your child/children and try to find ways to deal with them through your homeschooling lessons. These values I believe stand the test of time, however, age and various seasons in our family lives may require you to make some adjustments to address various situations that arise.
From these values, you can decide the themes of your field trips, the subject matter of chapter books you’d like to expose your children to, the Bible verses to memorize and the content of the entertainment activities (plays, musicals, exhibits). You can also learn to say NO to a whole lot of other things as you weight them against your values .
When you have completed your homeschooling family’s Vision/Mission/Core Values, make sure you discuss these with your children. Don’t make the wording of your statements too complicated, the simple, the better. They should be easy to memorize. Let your kids memorize them too. As mentioned in previous posts, no one really taught me to do this Mission/Vision thing earlier on. I just had Bible verses in my head/heart that encouraged and reminded me of what we were doing. Looking back, it would have really helped us more if we were all aware of the foundational principles of our Simpao Homeschool.
For Art, you can create posters or reminders in your classroom for your own’s family’s Mission/Vision and Core Values! (And I’d love to see them! If you’d like to share them with me, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org!)
This August 2016 , I will only have one homeschooled student left (4-3=1!!!) and I will discuss our own Mission/Vision/Values with him for sure.
Ephesians 2:20-22 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 Weapostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.