Christmas is Fast Approaching: How to Have Christmas-filled Quarter

In my 15 years of homeschooling, the quarter or period involving Christmas  seems to be the fastest and in some sense, the most distracting. Well, “distracting” , if you have this knack for wanting a list of worksheets complete, pages done and chapters completed. However, if you embrace the period, find season specific lessons that you can weave into your  daily “must learns”, if you try to highlight your own family traditions and involve your students in its preparation and celebration, you can actually have such a rich, no matter how rushed  it ca be, Christmas Season.

Here are a few things you may opt to do:

  1. If you have Bible Study/ Christian Living as a subject you can:
  • As early as early November, to start focusing your Bible Studies on the Birth of Jesus. You can easily google the top Old Testament prophecies about the birth if Jesus.   You can also tie this up with Chrismas songs that are based on such verses.  I can hear “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, “What Child is this” or “Immanuel”.  You can print the lyrics and study them together.  If any of your students are playing the piano, you can look and search for simple piano pieces on Christmas.  Or you can teach your students or you can all learn a new Christmas song.

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  • You can divide the days of December in reading the New Testament Verses related to the Nativity.
  • You can watch the Nativity Dvd or any other Christmas story in parts.
  • You can choose important concepts/character traits manifested in Christmas story and search other Bible verses or famous sayings to support  these. Examples are love, humility, grace, service. sacrifice,  joy and the like
  • Share your blessings with others this Christmas.  There are many ways to do this .
    • Prepare gift bags in your car with Noche Buena staples like fruit cocktail, cream, spaghetti noodles, cheese, tomato sauce, canned meat, and sweets.   If you find yourself in traffic or in parking ( make sure you don’t do it when there are too many people who may overwhelm you and your car) , then give them away a few days before Christmas. Or it can be gift bags for kids with treats and useful items
    • Choose a ministry or non government group that focuses on the poorest of the poor. Check with your church or even with your homeschool provider.  You may check visionsofhopefoundation.org and contact rlove.rojas@cct.org.ph if you would like to organize your family or your homeschool support groups for a Christmas activity or project with former and current street children all over Metro Manila or nearby province, Laguna.
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      Children in Commerce St. received these gift bags prepared by Gino.

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      Homeschooled kids wrapped these and created personal Christmas cards for kids affected by Yolanda typhoon in Ormoc City.

2.  “Decorate” your other  subjects with the Christmas themed activities and projects.

  • For History, you can research on the how certain traditions/beliefs came to be… Christmas gift giving , Christmas tree, Santa Claus  (that’s if you’re off the mystery already), reindeers, mistletoe. Include Filipino Christmas traditions as well.
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A page of Christmas Treasury Book
  • For Art/ HELE.
    • Christmas Card Making ( we did this year after year after year)
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Angel Gabriel by Raya
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Jesus is Born by Gino
Cool snowman by Marco
Cool snowman by Marco

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  • Baking of Christmas Cookies and Gingerbread House or cookies
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Raya’s Christmas Cupcakes!

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img_6730 img_6647 img_6602 img_6727 img_6732 img_6754Click here on how to make a Christmas Parol tail.

  • Creating your own Christmas Belen using recycled cardboard, boxes, acrylic paint and polymer clay.

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  • Involving your students in helping around the house (wrapping gifts, making tags, making DIY gifts or decors)fullsizerender
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Make more copies of the their Christmas Cards my making digital images and printing them:)
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Raya did this for her Papa who loves to bike:)
  • If you have several children, give each one some money or they can use some of their savings to give simple gifts to their siblings, grandparents and even helpers at home.  They can learn how to plan, budget, purchase , wrap,  and write a dedication. If you have a bit more budget, involve them in purchasing simple gifts for their other teachers (MAPE, homeschool provider advisor, and sports coaches).

3. Find good Christmas themed materials for Read-A-Loud.

Short Stories in this book are good!
Short Stories in this book are good!

I am thinking of doing   Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with Gino this year.

Please share me with us other ideas you’ve done as well:) We brought out the Christmas pillows and as I began changing the covers, you could hear the oohs and ahhs from the younger kids, and see the grin from my almost adult boy. Christmas, don’t come so fast, we want to prepare our hearts and homes as we seek to celebrate the real purpose of Christmas.

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Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

10 Things We Loved about the Philippine Homeschooling Conference 2016


I am definitely one biased writer here.  So, forgive me.  But then, I also am reviewing this from different perspectives! First of all, I am one of the core members of the Homeschool Association of Philippine Islands (HAPI) that partnered with Educating For Life (EFL) in presenting this year’s conference.  Secondly, I am also one of the workshop speakers for the ”How to Start Your Homeschool Journey” session.  Thirdly, I was a homeschooler attendee myself, overseeing our homeschooled (former and current) children as they volunteered and fourthly, I was an exhibitor in the expo as well representing the Visions of Hope Foundation where I currently sit as board member. Fifthly, I also represented the FB Homeschooling Support groups as Homeschoolers of the Philippines (HOP)…. gasp.. whew… and lastly, I was a homeschool blogger.. so there.  Wow, that sounded like a UNIT STUDY Approach on How to Get Involved in the  Philippine Homeschool Conference! So, hopefully, all that perspective will help equalize my own biases  as I write this ( Honestly, we welcome all positive and constructive feedback! Please comment!).

So here are my favorite things about this year’s run:

  1.  For Homeschoolers, By Homeschoolers:    Just look at the photos.  Nuff said!

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    Eldest son came a bit later with Papa Gilbert. These sweet ones were all ready to work at 7AM!
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    Homeschoolers as Volunteers were up as early as 5 AM! Photo courtesy of Mariel Uyquiengco,
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    Homeschoolers came in full force and were superb hosts!
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    Joy Mendoza, a product of homeschooling, was one of keynote speakers.
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    Homeschooler Alyssa Hao on violin
    Homeschooler Damodar Das Castilo on the Cello
    Homeschooler Damodar Das Castilo on the Cello

    More orchestral music were provided by the Catholic Family Academy Homeschool Orchestra and by the Mercurio Family Ensemble.

Even the some of the kids' activities were led by homeschoolers. Meg and Maddie Barraca taught my daughter ,Raya and niece, Kaila brush calligraphy.
Even the some of the kids’ activities were led by homeschoolers. Homeschoolers teaching other Homeschoolers! Meg and Maddie Barraca taught my daughter Raya and niece, Kaila brush calligraphy.

2. This year’s “title or theme” : From Roots to Wings

I love it.  There are so many ways of looking at it.  From seeds to roots, from walking to flying.  From roots to release.   I just love all the analogies that “roots” and “wings” bring to mind.

3.  The Homeschooling through Stages approach

Whether you are just about to take the plunge, or homeschooling for some time,  whether you are ready to release to college or needing encouragement in your journey, whether you represent a homeschool provider or thinking of putting up one…. there is a room for you in this conference!

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Tried to stay within the 45 minute allotted time to share “How to Start Your Homeschool Journey”

4.  Impactful Keynote Messages

You just wanted to be better in what we were doing. After the morning messages, you just wanted to a better parent (in whatever capacity your season calls you as described by Bro. Bo Sanchez as “control, coach and consultant!”) , a better educator, a better believer, a better neighbor…….

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Ms. Deonna Tanchi- a pioneer in Philippine Homeschooling!
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Bro.  Bo Sanchez
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Learned a whole lot about Relevance in Education! A superb talk on motivation children to learn and love learning by Mr. Andrew Pudewa.
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With speakers Mr. Gary Cox and Mr. Andrew Pudewa

5. Venue

The venue is central, easily accessible for people within Metro Manila.  It was very comfortable and highly conducive for learning. One suggestion I have heard was to create more space for the expo so the aisles are not so cramped.

6.  Relationships Recharged

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FB friends finally meet. With Hazel Bautista!

Seeing familiar ones too!

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One of the highlights was having my sisters join me. Here with our eldest, Maricel Pangilinan-Arenas, governor of Kidzania Manila!
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With familiar friends from Homeschool Global (our family’s homeschool provider), co homeschooling parent and co workshop speaker, Ms. Milona Barraca and our ever so sweet and gracious homeschooling family advisor, Ms. Girlie Argosino.
My families! Buizon family led by sister Felichi with her former homeschooled daughters Tahnee and Kaila, with our Marco, Raya and Gino and my Visions of Hope Foundation family: Arlene, Cheney, Abi and R'love. This is the booth where children help other children!
My families! Buizon family led by  another sister Felichi with her former homeschooled daughters Tahnee and Kaila, with our Marco, Raya and Gino and my Visions of Hope Foundation family: Arlene, Cheney, Abi and R’love. This is the booth where children help other children! Contact them through their website and take part in the many ways your family/children can help other children in our country!

7.  The launch of many firsts!

  • The HapiNews ( hopefully a regular newsletter from HAPI)

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  • HomeschoolTV website,   youtube and FB site!
  • The Philippine Homeschool Conference App  (though others may have  preferred a one page hard copy schedule that they could hold and fold) was quiet useful.
  • The coziest nook ever for FB Homeschooling Support Groups as spearheaded by Ms. Denise Pena
Photo courtesy of Ms. Christine Amador
Photo courtesy of Ms. Christine Amador

8.  Ok, my brother, Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s heartwarming opening remarks was simply the best way to start a conference.  Not only did he launch March 3, 2017 (and promised to file a senate resolution for it)  as the first ever Philippine National Homeschooling Day, “Building Up the Philippines, One Family at a Time” (Congratulations to Ms. Ailene Amargo for this winning tagline!”, he also expressed his support to help in legislation to support all homeschoolers in the Philippines! But I think, our favorite, honestly , was his stories about “homeschooling” his children!

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9. The A-team : Amazing, Adorable, Aweome, Alive, Aggressive, Agile, Alert, Attentive, Assuring. We give the team A+ indeed!

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Educating for Life Workforce! Photo from Ms. Tina Rodriguez
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HAPI! Homeschooler Association of the Philippines  headed by Mr. Edric Mendoza with the movers of HomeschoolTV and Educating for Life ! Photo courtesy of Ms. Laksmi Maluya.
The Maluya Family. Laksmi is our champion from HAPI. Photo provided by Ms. Tina Rodriguez
The Maluya Family. Laksmi is our champion from HAPI. Photo provided by Ms. Tina Rodriguez

10.  The best ever Homeschool Expo/Trade Fair (good thing I was super busy and was able to resist the temptation to purchase and hoard!) with so many exciting, enriching and cool products and super fun activities for kids.

Congratulations to the entire team behind this conference. A job well done, indeed.

So there, how about you?  Any comments or suggestions? Pls feel free to share your thoughts. If you’d like to share more photos on the event, please email me at homescoolph@gmail.com! You may also direct your feedback regarding the recently concluded conference via Philippine Homeschool Conference FB page or www.educatingforlife.co !

Gotta go for!

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Book Review on Charlotte’s Web By Gino Simpao: Why I Enjoyed it

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Charlotte’s Web is a story of a pig named Wilbur. He lives in a farm with a bunch of other animals, but only developed a good friendship with Charlotte, the spider. They became friends because Charlotte was the friendliest of all the animals, she was always available to talk to, and she was kind.

I enjoyed this book, and looked forward to reading it everyday. Let me tell you the reasons why. One of the main reasons is what I told you about earlier. It is their friendship. Their friendship felt very special. Charlotte was a perfect fit for Wilbur. Whenever Wilbur wanted talk to her, she would always listen, and she would be very positive and encouraging. She was the one who helped Wilbur with his main problem.

Secondly, I loved how the story was very exciting. Each chapter had something for me to look forward to. There was never a time where the story became boring or dragging.

Next, I was very fond of  the different characters in the story. There were the geese, the sheep, the rat named Templeton, and even the humans. The different personalities made the story more interesting and amusing. The conversations among the animals were also very funny and witty.

Overall, I highly recommend this book because of the good friendship, set in an exciting plot, with interesting characters. I hope you read and enjoy this book as well.

Sneak Peek on PHC 2016’s From Roots to Wings’ Session on Starting Your Homeschool Journey

If you are attending the 2016 Philippine Homeschooling Conference: From Roots to Wings, after the oh so relevant and powerful keynotes speakers,  there are various workshops in the afternoon dedicated to address the various seasons or concerns of every homeschooler.  I was assigned the topic on Starting Your Homeschool Journey,  If you are just about to start, or would like to  refresher  or some recalibration, come to this session.

It is my prayer and desire to be able to assist each one who decides to attend this workshop as they launch into the wonderful, amazing, exciting, faith stretching, pruning, heartwarming, memorable, truly worth it , once in a lifetime experience of HOMESCHOOLING!

So, here is a sneak peek.. summarized in three words and three simple introductions on what we will be able to take up in 45 minutes.

START. YOUR. JOURNEY.

START

It is the beginning. It is a a new chapter in your life.  Or it maybe, there may be a need to re-start and jump tart. Hopefully, we get to give you some principles and yes, practical tools on creating your learning environment, learning about educational philosophies, learning and teaching styles, “classroom” set up/management, scheduling .

YOUR

You are not simply bringing home your child’s former school into your home. This is YOUR journey. It is personal, it is unique and yes, you will have to carve up YOUR own path. Many principles, materials, best practices, and joint classes can be shared with other homeschoolers, but in the end, it is YOUR JOURNEY.   Let me help you, carve YOUR own journey,

JOURNEY

Whether you plan to only do this for a year or for a lifetime ( haha, there are days that homeschooling will feel like that though),  it is no SPRINT. I would like to see it as a marathon where you need to know   the distance and the distractions/disturbances/detours /dangers/delights that will lead you to the finish line, prepare well for it, and enjoy the ride, or should i say the run! It won’t be easy and you’ll need a whole lot of commitment, but there are amazing rewards along the way and if you finish well, wow, wow, wow is all I can say.  I will try to guide you as well as you prepare to tackle  the day to day “to dos”  yet have a solid grasp on the bigger picture of homeschooling.

Let me end this short introduction with this saying from  Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. ” 

Luke 14:28-29 Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you.

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www.educatingforlife.co to register!