National Homeschooling Day Tagline Making Contest is On! Join Now!

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Here are the mechanics:

  1. Only members  of the Homeschoolers of the Philippines, Teens and Tweens Homeschoolers of the Philippines and Homeschooling the Early Years  FB Groups are eligible for join.  
  2. Multiple entries are allowed per family.
  3. The tagline must be original.
  4. The purpose of the tagline is to promote homeschooling.
  5. Email all entries to homescoolph@gmail.com Include your full name and mobile number in your submission.
  6. Deadline for all entries will be on Oct 19, 2016,12 noon.
  7. Winning tagline will be announced via Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB page and the family will be notified via email. Winning tagline will be used for all marketing and event collaterals for the first ever National Homeschooling Day for the Philippines on March 3, 2017.
  8. Prizes include Family Passes (2 Adults and 2 Children) for Kidzania-Manila, Pure South Organic Products Gift Pack, Assorted Homeschooling Materials for the entire family, Homeschooler of the Philippines shirt and pins and a Star Wars Umbrella. Prizes are worth around 8,000 Pesos!

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Beyond the Four Walls: How God Enlarged our Classroom

I remember praying many years ago  (as I saw myself consumed  with the task of homeschooling four young children )that God would use our homeschooling experience beyond the four walls of our homeschool classroom.   Homeschooling several multilevel children requires a whole lot of commitment and sacrifice.  I somehow had to clear up schedules to be able to attend to the growing needs of the family.  This entailed saying No to many other passions and endeavors.

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2005: Youngest Gino was born

You can do subtraction as you see our ” class photos through the years”……

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The season of young children for us also coincided with my father’s dwindling health. Being the doctor of the 9 children, I stepped up and took care of both Dad and Mom health wise.

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With Daddy Dony!

Coming from a family of members who are always involved in so many socio-civic-family oriented causes, there was this natural tendency to feel that “ I wasn’t doing enough.”  The pressure was even more aggravated by well meaning relatives and friends who would show their seeming disapproval of my choice to stay home and put the medical career on hold.

During those years of teaching preschool and early grade school years,  I often found myself picking up toys,  scrubbing messes and stains, organizing and reorganizing homeschool materials, and yes perennially “looking” for something.  I would be in Asian Hospital with either of my parents at least once a week and somehow, that became more often through time.

I saw many of my Medicine batch mates donning their white doctors coats. I envied those who had the time and energy to go on medical missions, or on ministry outreach activities, or even just simply serve in church. It was then tempting  to feel that being in the workplace or church ministry was  probably”serving or living ” better.  But God told me to stay put and enjoy the ride. I was where He wanted me to be for a reason. I had to stop being restless. When I began to embrace my current set up with joy, peace and rest overflowed. I then gave it my best since homeschooling our children was my own way of serving God. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

I eventually decided to  first look within  our 4 walls and celebrate the season. Just like charity, ministry indeed begins at home.  The highest calling for me then was right there at home. Peace enveloped our homeschooling days and yes, with a more relaxed mind, we had more fun and more enjoyable learning sessions. 

I decided to grow and reach others with my kids in tow:  set an example of a life lived for God in serving others. Our lessons were adjusted to find ways of blessing others. Whether it be , making Christmas cards or gifts, preparing relief goods or writing letters ,  preparing bouquets or doing art work, we tried to direct our efforts in the hope of “paying it forward.” Click here to read more about these efforts. It is my prayer that our children would eventually make this a lifestyle.

But then God did pave the way to go beyond the four walls, and it really all began in our classroom! Without homeschooling, without those years of battling and crying it out in teaching and raising 4 small children, I would not be able to do what I do today.

So here are  my “beyond the 4 walls” experiences so far:

  • For some reason,  I started being invited to speak in seminars in helping other homeschoolers.  From small group gatherings, to seminars then conferences! (Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to help and encourage others. )
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Here with a dear grade school barkada, Ms. Dedette Albert-Habana and her teaching staff of I.D.E.A.S Montessori School during their parent enrichment seminar. I spoke about raising digitally responsible and creative citizens.
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Speaking here in TMA’s Mind Bytes Conference on Digital Technology for Teens
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We even get to meet famous athletes! With fellow homeschoolers Ms. Bless de Guzman, ate Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, and Ms Milona Barraca in TMA Homeschooling Conference, spoke on Character Focused Education.

 

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  • Due to my experience and passion for homeschooling, I was invited to be part of the board of a Christian NGO for children ( some homeschooled in several “home care facilities) in the streets and in very impoverished municipalities. Check out God’s work in Visions of Hope Foundation website.  With more experienced consultants,  a Christian based  Transformational Curriculum for preschoolers was created and now we are trying to put together a Homeschool curriculum for former street children who are part of the home care facilities. Check out the stories of some of these children.  Who would have thought that the entire decade long experience of homeschooling and learning from other passionate homeschoolers, consultants and experts in education would be put to use by God through this ministry?   Only God saw all that!

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  • HomesCool.ph – This blog! And we’re celebrating our 1st year anniversary this month! Check out our blog giveaway!

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  • The wealth and depth of friendships formed through the years.  When homeschoolers come together, an instant bond is formed.  Support groups become life-long family friends. This is our family’s  homeschooling support group called the Tuesday Gang because we met every Tuesday for probably 5 years!_DSC0254

Look how our kids have grown!

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2004?
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Possibly in 2005
Taken 2 years ago, the boys eventually outgrew the girls. Most of the kids here are either in college or high school!
Taken 2 years ago, the boys eventually outgrew the girls. Most of the kids here are either in college or high school!
  • Our two older boys have gone beyond our four walls indeed as they have been released from a decade of HomesCooling . Marco is set to graduate level 8 with excellent academic standing, as the outgoing House Captain and Co-captain of the basketball team.

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Vince meanwhile is moving to level 11 in August 2016.  Vince, an active member of the Junior Varsity Basketball team, has his own certificates of excellence in academic and sports.  He is the middle one on the first row.

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So there.  Isn’t God amazing?  Each of us will have different journeys from hereon. One thing however binds us together for sure,  and that is the decision to homeschool our children.  I can guarantee you, God will use this decision mightily. God will honor your commitment to oversee the raising and educating of your children, His precious blessings to you.  I leave you with this amazing verse in 1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

A Blog Giveaway Exclusive for HomesCoolers Only!

Time sure flies when your having lots of fun blogging. Yes, it has been one full year since our first ever post! Thank you to all who have been supporting this blog!

To celebrate our first year….. (Drum roll please… )  we are setting up a super-duper, cool first year anniversary blog raffle!  Yahoo!!! Cheers! Bravo!!  This raffle is open only to current HomesCoolers (parents and children who have been HomesCooling for some time now).   We all know it’s not an easy task to HomesCool so  we want to bless you, HomesCooler!

To join this raffle,  you can enlist in the Rafflecopter widget at the end, but first, take a look at what’s in this Teacher and Student Giveaway ! Also, please take time to read some terms & conditions for this blog giveaway below.

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HomesCool.ph’s First Anniversary Teacher and Student Giveaway!!!

For the Students:

  1. 3 Homeschoolers of the Philippines T-shirts and  pins
  2. 1 ruled dry erase board with pen,
  3. 2 composition notebooks for Level 1 and 2,
  4. Lots of reward stickers
  5. An Art activity set!

For the Teacher:

  1. Get Even Hydrating Liquid Foundation
  2. Prints Made Pretty Strobing Kit (Cheek Sticks)
  3. Eye Am Here to Stay 24 Hour Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
  4. Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippie
  5. Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lip Lacquer
  6. Shut Up & Kiss me Lip & Cheek Mousse
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Thank you to Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez of Happy Skin for this super cool gift pack! (Check out Happy Skin’s Onlne Shop!) 

 

And a surprise gift for Homeschooling Daddy too:) 

So, who is eligible to win in this raffle?  Here is a list of criteria:

1. Must be a current HomesCooler:

  • Please show a homeschooler provider’s ID or report card of the student
  • If you are an independent homeschooler,  any photo/ image that may prove you are a current homeschooler (this may be subject to review)
  • You are automatically eligible if you are a member of the Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB page during the duration of this giveaway,  May 2 to May 17, 2016.

2. Resident of the Philippines

To officially join this giveaway, please enter and complete the tasks listed in the Rafflecopter Widget below. Praise God for one year of blogging!  Maraming Salamat sa inyong lahat!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Additional Terms & Conditions:

  1. This giveaway runs from May 2 to May 17, 2016.
  2. Winner will be chosen on May 17, 2016 and will be notified via email as soon as possible.
  3. Another winner will be chosen if the declared winner does not reply within 2 weeks of notification.
  4. Items will only be shipped to addresses accepted by either courier LBC or Abestexpress.  Shipping fees will be covered!
  5.  The owner of HomesCool.ph has the prerogative to make adjustments as they are deemed necessary.

 

 

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

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

Father’s Day Project

I wish a father could write this. Maybe one day I can invite my husband of 20 years and father for 16 years, Gilbert,  to write about how to make dads feel special on Father’s Day. Oh, we’ve all heard it again and again how men and women are wired differently, and so what may delight one, may not, the other.

But I guess we have shared “delights” and let me try to give you ideas :

  • Breakfast in bed is a good way to make a strong impact. This works for the usual, “earlier” riser wife. Make his favorite breakfast, set in a large tray or those “dine in bed” mini-table in a hotel room service fashion with some flowers. Involve the kids in preparation and bring it in with your kid/kids. If you need to wake up the kids, wake them for this! Daddies truly deserve the simple sacrifice!
  • Hand made cards with special messages. I’ve noticed that some teens, like my eldest, prefer digital cards or messages. He puts something together and say, “Check your email , Mom.” I guess what we can do is to give them reminders so they could prepare ahead. The younger ones still love to make cards and their personal messages are sweet.
  • If your husband likes massages, book his favorite therapist in advance. Add a foot spa or something!
  • As for store bought gifts. I have failed many times. After 20 years, I have yet to figure this out. But one thing I am learning is the process of getting to know each other is truly going to last a lifetime. If your husband is not one who will openly declare what he wants, one good tip, Gilbert has shared with me is to listen, and to listen well. Pay close attention and yes, ask relevant questions. Somewhere, somehow, you will be able to deduce a not necessarily expensive “tangible” item that will bring a smile from ear to ear. My advice, don’t give up. After 20 long years, I think I was able to give him my best tangible gift that he liked so much last April!

However, you can let your kids decide what to give Papa.  Don’t worry about whether he will like it        or not. It’s the child’s choice.  After all, it is not Happy Husband’s Day. Draw ideas from the kids and they can even use their own money/savings. It can even be a pooled gift from all the kids.

  • Let me share with you a  Father’s Day (or birthday ) project. We’ve done this twice. It can take a few days and so that’s why I am giving you lead time to do it.  We had a blast putting it together and it’s such a special time to look back at it from time to time.

One day,  I saw this children’s story book about fathers in the sale rack of a bookstore. It was beautifully written and illustrated. So warm and sweet. It focused on one very simple, common occurrence between fathers, and the children: being on Daddy’s shoulders.  The physical act was then carried on metaphorically through every page.

Up on Daddy's Shoulders by Matt Berry, illustrated by Lucy Corvino and Hans Wilhelm; Publisher: Scholastic Books
Up on Daddy’s Shoulders by Matt Berry, illustrated by Lucy Corvino and Hans Wilhelm; Publisher: Scholastic Books

 

Then a “light bulb moment” occurred, and there was no turning back. I thought to myself, what if I replace the faces of the photos in this book with the members of our family and have it colored Xeroxed and create a special, personalized book for Papa Gilbert. Oh I hope the author/illustrator won’t mind that I  used their material as a the backdrop of our gift.

Let me show you.

a.  Find that a good children’s story about Dads. Look for one that has good sized faces so it can be easily replaced. Sorry, I can’t teach you how to do this digitally but I am sure there is a way.  The book above was perfect but I am sure, there are other titles.

b.  Look at the orientation of the faces of the members of the family in this book  and try to look for hard copy photos (print if you need to) of each family member that can be pasted over the different faces of this book. Here are some examples of the pages of Gilbert’s book:

The challenge was who among the 4 gets to be on the page. Looking back, i should have placed a photo of all 4 kids with their Papa Gilbert.
The challenge was who among the 4 gets to be on the page. Looking back, I should have placed a photo of all 4 kids with their Papa Gilbert. But then I wanted a photo of a child on his shoulders for a full tie up with the title. Unfortunately though an Ironman Finisher, Gilbert can’t carry all four them on his shoulders!

 

Isn't this photo perfect for my basketball loving boys?
Isn’t this photo perfect for my basketball loving boys? See Marco with Bruno, the beagle.

 

Even Daddy Dony was an extra in this page. Isn't Raya so cool here?
Even Daddy Dony was an extra in this page. Isn’t Raya so cool here?

 

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You can embellishments ) in scrapbook lingo that means stickers, chipboard, dodles, etc) to perk the page up.
You can  add embellishments ( in scrapbook lingo that means stickers, chipboard, dodles, etc) to perk the page up. Do you like Gino’s hair?

 

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I super loved this page!

 

"Up on Daddy's shoulders, I can soar the hills and clouds."
“Up on Daddy’s shoulders, I can soar above the hills and the clouds.”

 

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Spot Mama Donna and Raya!

 

Mama Donna, Gino and his twin. wait!!!  We don't have twins. i think this was a favorite page!
Mama Donna, Gino and his twin, but wait!!! We don’t have twins. I think this was a favorite page!

 

So as you cut out faces and lay them out, add details. You can put some additional messages. Then  you can actually present this as the original copy and I am sure it would be truly special. However, since having 2 copies would be amazing. I decided to add a bit more effect and have the original pages color xeroxed in card stock paper.  I used card stock for longevity. Then we cut it to the desired size, and had it ring bound.  There are many ways other ways to bind the cards.

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Ok, you’ve got less than 4 weeks till Father’s Day 2015 here in the Philippines! Hope you find a special way to honor the fathers in your families.

Psalm 127:4-5 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Be a Blessing!

Last year,  I was invited to speak in a homeschooling conference on the topic of “Conquering Homeschool Fatigue.”  As I was about to wrap up my preparation, God was quick to remind me of something very valuable .  I was reminded of this verse in Proverbs  11:15 , ” He who refreshes others will themselves be refreshed.”

It may seem quite ironic but truly the Word is true in this promise. Homeschooling will be tiring and draining if the direction is always inward. If all you’re in for is how to raise wonderful, smart and happy children, it is going to get tiring at some point.

As Christ’s followers, we desire to be part of the circle blessing not merely as recipients but also as givers. So we find opportunities in our homeschooling to bless others.  As early as toddlers and preschoolers, we can teach  the virtues of humility, compassion and  generosity. We can encourage ways  on how they can bring comfort and joy to others no matter how young our students are.

And as they say, “Charity begins at home.”  We then seek to extend the blessing to the one nearest: a sibling, a parent, a grandparent, a neighbor, a person in the hospital, a helper?  Who do you think needs encouragement ? Who do you think can you bless?

Blessings come in various forms such a commitment to pray  for a sick friend,  writing a get well soon card for someone in the hospital,   visiting a grandparent, or even just giving some cookies to a new neighbor.

We can incorporate this in our daily/weekly schedules. If you pray together as you begin homeschooling, then  have a short time discussing those who may need your prayers as a family. Write it down, if you have a  homeschooling prayer list.  Is anyone’s birthday coming up? Pray for that person.

As part of Language/ Creative Writing, you may challenge your students to write to their grandparents or some cousin who lives abroad.  For a coming birthday of someone you’d like to bless,  allot some time for Art to create cards.

In summary, here are some simple and doable examples :

1.  Card making  –  Make it your ART activity for the day  to make their own cards .

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Card Making – One of our favorite Art activities

 

Tita Chel so happy with Marco's DIY birthday card.
Tita Chel so happy with Marco’s DIY birthday card.

 

Card with buttons and cloth
Card with buttons and cloth

 

"Thank you, Raya!"
“Thank you, Raya!”

 

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For Lola LIssa and Lola Emma

 

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“Turn Art to bless a HEART.”

 

 

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Jesus is Born by Gino
Jesus is Born by Gino.

 

2. Making Gifts

If you have budding artists, you can encourage DIY gifts for Grandparents, Dads, or other loved ones. Raya loves to sew and paint:)  So for many years now, she has been giving hand made stuff and it has been really wonderful seeing the smiles as they unwrap their gifts. Gilbert and I have been recipients as well of this, from aprons to cross-stitched frames, to flower arrangements:)

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My homeschooled niece Kaila has an amazing gift of paper folding (origami). She created a frame for Lola Emma using this amazing talent!

 

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Raya’s secret Christmas gift to her parents.

 

3. Flower Arrangement –  Just google youtube videos on flower arranging for whatever flower you would like to do.

My parents are both in their 80s.  It has been  a difficult time health wise  and we have found ourselves in and out of the hospital for the past 2 or so years. Dad doesn’t engage much and prefers to sleep and lie down most of the time.  This is heartbreaking for Mom, his wife of 59 years!  So we all try to do our part to “cushion” the blow and yes, homeschooling is a great avenue to include your children in this endeavor.  For all their 59 years, we have witnessed, rain or shine, in good times and bad times, a bouquet of flowers from Dad  for Mom’s birthday, their wedding anniversary and Valentines. 🙂  For their 58th Wedding Anniversary and Valentine’s Day ( 7 weeks apart),  our homesCool decided to help Dad continue on with this lifetime promise — and included flower arranging in our Art/HELE activity. Oh it was pure joy. We sourced the flowers from Dangwa/ Alabang Market to save on cost.  Imagine for Mom’s 80th birthday, the entire clan attempted to give her 1000 roses  (some where in other forms like origami, paintings, printed on a dress or bag.)

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Even the boys helped cut flowers and arrange in vases

 

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Raya learned how to make a bouquet for Lola Emma and Lolo Dony’s 58th Wedding Anniversary.

 

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“We have to help Lolo fulfill his promise to Lola!”

 

4. Going the extra mile for others

For her 80th birthday, Language Arts session was turned into Poetry Making for Lola Emma. They read the poem during her birthdday celebration.

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Take a break from HomesCool and visit an elderly relative.  Here, I think, we also interviewed Owa about the Japanese War and how her family was spared from the rough times up north in Ilocos. We miss Owa, a constant source of stories who passed away last year.

The only Great Grandmother, Owa, my children had a chance to know and bond with. Miss you, Owa.
The only Great Grandmother, Owa, my children had a chance to know and bond with. Miss you, Owa.

 

5. Responding to people in need –

There will always be people in need around us.  And we can always find ways to help.    The Bible in Ephesians 2;10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  During the typhoon  Ondoy in 2009 when many areas in NCR and Central Luzon were flooded, we could not homeschool in a business-as-usual fashion.  We knew of  many evacuation centers near our home with Filipinos who will surely be blessed with warm, home cooked meals.  

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What started as a one family and one kitchen effort became a community movement as more homes sent food and volunteers for repacking of warm meals wrapped in banana leaves.

 

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The kids took their spots in the assembly line of making “binalot” with adobo and boiled egg with rice. On other days, it was lumpiang shanghai.

 

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We just thought that maybe after days of probably “instant noodles”, we could “refresh” others with this warm, home cooked meal wrapped in banana leaves.

 

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Kids packed, counted and labelled.

 

The "Binalot Movement" was so contagious, cousins and neighbors quickly came to help feed hundreds in evacuation centers.
The “Binalot Movement” was so contagious, cousins and neighbors quickly came to help feed hundreds in evacuation centers.

 

Typhoons will continue to come  so we try to do our part whenever we can .

Relief Goods
Relief Goods

 

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Rallied kids and other children to make cards for the children of Ormoc for Christmas after Yolanda struck in 2013.

 

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Inspirational books for the children of Ormoc. Kids helped wrap as well

 

God wants His children to love, bless and encourage one another. HomesCooling can provide many ways to teach this very fundamental foundational truth in life . So as  you teach, there are days when there will be a tug in your heart to do something for someone or for a family. Include your children in the process as you respond to this tug in your heart.   A time will come, you will be surprised when God will move your children’s hearts to bless someone.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Luke 6: 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.