Best Practices in Our 15 Years of Homeschooling (Part 1)

1.  Keep their hands busy.   Create, create and create again. 

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Using play dough, Gino sculpted the human heart.

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2,  Why Not?

Fly a Kite!

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Play in the rain!

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3. Don’t  be afraid to try something different.

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4. Aim for depth! Mastery over memory!

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Make them see the bigger picture and the awesome connections.

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5. Life skills matter.

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Napkin Holding for a Christmas Lunch at home
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Basic sewing!

6. Pay it forward. Always find ways to bless others. 

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Gino is organizing our books for donation according to levels.

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7. Charity begins at home.

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Encourage children to create things for the house. Recycled bottles as vases.
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Teach skills to create gifts for loved ones. Flower arranging for Lola’s 82nd birthday.

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Once in a while, take grandparents to lunch to cheer them up. Lola’s favorite in Recipes is Kare-Kare.

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8. Discuss  relevant  national/global issues.

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9.  Prioritize Character.

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We tried various materials but settled joyfully with this series from Apologia. We are now on our 3rd book, focusing on loving your neighbor.

10.  Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. Through the Bible and Bible-base material, teach the kids the value of prayer and reading of His word on a daily basis.  As Christians,  we all need  to know God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit so we may live the fruitful lives we were called to have to reflect our Maker.

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Hope these help your homeschool journey!

 

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Top 10 Guaranteed Tips to Be a Fun (and Funny) Teacher!

Nothing beats a day of learning and laughter.  Fun school days are more heartwarming and memorable.   Try to review my blogpost on the the value of fun in learning. Here are some tips to chill and be a more fun (and funny teacher) :

  1. For preschoolers, do a lot of pretend play!   For a study on the wandering nomads of ancient history,  we all pretended to be nomads! Using cloths, plants, pretend bread and fish, wooden sticks, tents and whatever we could find, we packed our belongings and recreated scenes as moved from one place to another.   We imagined the danger of animals and so at “night” we would have to assign one to keep watch as the others slept in their mats.  You could just imagine the thrill and excitement as we did this together.
  2.  Do dramatization/ re-enact stories !  One of our favorites was re-enacting the the story or the  miracle during the wedding at Cana!   We also did the story of the poor widow who gave everything she got and of course, the washing of the disciples’ feet was really unforgettable.
  3. Be unpredictable sometimes !   Surprise the kids with a totally different no-worksheet day!For an important national holiday (where you opt to do school) , come in Filipino costume!    If they have favorite stories,  such as Miss Nelson is Missing for our then primary and preschool level kids, I would pretend to be Miss. Viola Swamp.
  4. Do a lot of movement together.  Be it sports, relays, or dances, just keep moving ( like Dory’s “Just keep swimming”) ! Dance together! Once we tried, “Tinikling” with  2 bamboo posts! For multilevel children or co-ops, plan a mini-olympics or a dance fest.
  5. If it’s playoffs  or finals season  in NBA or UAAP or any sports that you and your children are into, open the TV and just like the line in the famous song in Frozen, let it go and enjoy!  Get some popcorn and enjoy the game together.
  6. Do not lose your patience and temper for messy ART time.  With a few communicated rules, let your children express even when it creates some mess.  You can always involve them in tidying them up after.
  7. Put your mobile phone away and only check on it during break time.
  8. Don’t sweat the small stuff.   So you can’t find the ruler?  The nth scissors is misplaced again?  Your student keeps mixing up writing the “b” and the “d” ( you know the “b: for bowling to the right, and “d” for dancing to the left, rule? )? Again, let it go.  Practice this so your students will also learn not to “sweat the small stuff.”
  9. Play some music if your students request it during project time or doing math drills.  A bit of music can really “up the ante” at times.
  10. Pray !   Setting aside the cares of this world and the other must dos as we homeschool really helps us to have a lighter and cheerful attitude when we teach. So before doing school, obey 1 Peter 5:7 and ” Cast thy burdens on Him and He will lift you up.” A gloomy teacher is a no, no!

Proverbs 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.

How Homeschooling Guards Your Heart and Anchors You

We have been a homeschooling family for 15 years, and I am still homeschooling our youngest, Gino, level 5.  I have been teaching  non-stop for a  total of 15 school years! Praise the Lord indeed. Come to think of it, that’s a third of my life!

So, I’d like to encourage all homeschoolers out there to press on and keep enjoying the ride.  We are definitely doing something good.  Something good not only for our children, but also for ourselves. Yes, you heard it right. This is  truly good for us.  We may have had to set aside a career,  exchanged a high paying job to set “office” at home and lose a whole of benefits and add ons of work and “not homeschooling” our children.

We may feel that we are now so “tied” to our children, and “tied” to home but apart from the usual advantages we’ve already read and heard, let me share something very close to my heart.  Yes, I’ve had days that I have felt “tied down”, limited and unable to say ,”Yes” to many other opportunities.  However, as I see the bigger picture,  what tied me down actually guarded and anchored me.

We teach many subjects. Our passions, biases, willingness to learn, patience and creativity all affect what and how we teach.  We may decide to even outsource some subjects.  I have to say though that being our children’s main teacher on Bible & Character ( some may call this area as Christian Living, Catechism, Values Education) poses the toughest challenge yet provides the most steady guide and anchor for our own spiritual walk of faith.

When we we teach Math, Science, Language or even History, we can truly read from a scripted text or find good youtube tutorials to explain a lesson.  We may be the link to making the lessons more relevant, fun and experiential. If the material is unfamiliar to us, we can also learn like our own students.  However, when we teach Bible lessons, character traits, timeless foundational truths and principles,  we can’t simply read from the text or listen to others teach. To be effective teachers, there is a call to live what we teach. “Practice what we preach” as they say.  Or the more often quoted saying nowadays, “Character is caught more than taught.”

Of course, we can be transparent and authentic in also declaring that like our children, we ourselves are “works in progress” and we are also learning and relearning with them. But that doesn’t remove the tough calling on parents of being the first examples and models of the character traits being taught . For our case, it is only by His Grace, His Enabling and His work through the Holy Spirit that can give me the courage and boldness to live and teach this daunting subject. For Christians, the goal is always to point them to Christ, not really to ourselves. But  many experts say that young children need  “Christ in the flesh” first to be able to appreciate, experience and  believe in the spiritual Christ.

So, I guess what I want to to say is, the desire and commitment to teach our children about our “living and growing” faith, our God, our Savior and the work of the Holy Spirit (the Trinity),  and ensuring that we impart to them the biblical principles that will give them a strong foundation in becoming loving, responsible, compassionate and kind people,  are  amazing forces  that help me  stay in course, stay in the right path in my own walk of faith. Teaching keeps me in check, and always on guard, on my toes and yes, as much as I can, on my knees (in prayer)! And so, thank you, homeschooling! Thank you to my hubby Gilbert whose hard work allows me to stay at home and homeschool,  to our students: Vince, Marco, Gino and Raya,   and above all , thank you LORD!

I was so awed by this truth today and as I pondered more, I became so grateful.  I shared this today to encourage all you out there.  We can be sidetracked and stressed by so many things in life and all the must dos as we care for families, raise our children and yes, even educate them. It really helps to take back step from time to time and see the bigger picture.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

 

Gino’s Book Review: Why I Enjoyed “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

Happy and blessed 2017 to all. Hopefully, this post will start the ball rolling for this blog that was put on hold for the holidays and CHRISTmas celebration /trip.   I hope I can say that I will attempt  one post a week in 2017 (my husband Gilbert actually suggests 2 short posts a week)as one of my New Year’s resolution.

Well, I’d like then to present my first post for 2017.  It is made possible by my guest blogger, my only remaining homeschooled son , Gino (check what he is up to at IG #ginosgimmicks)! Enjoy!

This is our 4th time to do this book in the Simpao Homeschool !
This is our 4th time to do this book in the Simpao Homeschool !

Claudia Kincaid is an 11-year-old girl who wanted to run away from her monotonous and unfair life at home. She chose her brother Jamie, who was the second youngest of her three brothers to go with her. They both went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and stayed there for a couple of days. Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, one of the characters in the story, narrates this book.

I enjoyed this book for several reasons: the first is about Claudia and Jamie’s relationship. Any brother and sister could easily relate to them. Their arguments throughout the book made it very entertaining and amusing. But despite their arguments, they always had to agree or compromise so they could continue their adventure.

The next is the mystery of the story. It added a huge twist in the book. It went from just their everyday lives in the museum to them trying to solve a mystery about the famous artist known as Michelangelo. It made the story a lot more interesting. As a homeschool lesson, it was very helpful because I was also learning about Michelangelo as I was reading this book. We were learning about him through our Read-A-Loud book “Michelangelo” by Diane Stanley.

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A Sonlight Recommendation

I also love how the book is very detailed. The author included many unnecessary, but very humorous parts. Another reason is that the story is told by one of the characters, Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler. She added a lot of funny side comments.

Overall, “From the Mixed Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler” is a wonderful book. It is definitely in my top 10 most favorite books. I recommend this book for 10+ year olds. I hope you give it a chance, and love it just like I did.

 

James 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.