Sharing Stories and Digging Deeper

My earliest memory of “sharing” is about M & Ms. Yes, the all time favorite chocolates !  Nine  cups and M & Ms.  When my parents would come home with a bag of M&Ms, out came the nine cups from the cupboard, and the “assigned” dealer dropped one piece at time, like playing what most Filipinos know as “sungka (small shells being placed in circular holes in large wooden piece or plate), and went around the cups until the chocolate bag was emptied.  The older siblings got the extra pieces that could not be evenly distributed: Perks of being older!

If there is one virtue I learned early in life, it was this: sharing.  Having been the youngest of nine children, we shared practically everything: the toilet, rooms, cabinets, beds, clothes, toys, nannies and we had to share our parents’ available time for the children.

Being close to my heart, it was but natural to just prioritize “sharing” as I had one child after the other.  I had the perfect setting of four children who were two years apart!

Having multiple children who are closely spaced, you will definitely find yourself in situations where they all like the same thing or food.  I have learned through the years to welcome such situations rather than stress about them. When and where else can they learn these valuable truths?

Mommies,however, have that God given instinct to sniff, recognize and even extinguish or avoid a possible melt down of grabbing, pulling and screaming.  We are the best CSI  when it comes to these things.

I truly believe that,  ” Character is caught more than taught,”  We must as parents live the values and morals that we desire our children to learn, imbibe and exemplify.  So I guess, if our children see in us  compassion, empathy, generosity and yes humility in seeking others first, then the positive behavior of sharing can be more easily learned .

Nothing beats seeing your own children learn this. Though a bit a manipulative, I distinctly remember our then six and four year old boys wanting to be the superhero Daredevil. My eldest then, a master of conflict management, whips, ” Marco, I am the real Daredevil and you are the cartoon Daredevil.” The younger four year old could not care any less,  he heard he was Daredevil and he was fine with that.

There was another situation when we created a giant red car from a balikbayan box, my younger children then, Raya, 5 yo and Gino 3 yo, wanted to have their “initials” in the license plate for this cool car. Mama, another conflict management facilitator, comes to the rescue, “Ok, Raya’s initials will be at the front license plate and Gino’s will be at the back. And from time to time, we will exchange those so yours can be seen from the back and yours from the front.” Satisfaction achieved. 500,000 points for Mama. Whew.

Initials and birthdate formed the license plate





While they were younger, both Raya and Gino always wanted a go with the ATM machine or even with stirring sugar and creamer in my coffee in restaurants.  So here is our usual routine.  “Ok, Gino, you get to insert the card, and press a few buttons.  I will have to put in my PIN number.  Raya, you press how much cash we need and take the card and get the cash. Then next time, you guys will reverse roles!”  Another whew!

We may laugh at it now but there were times  I had to say, “Ok, you sprinkle and  stir the sugar then your sibling will sprinkle and stir the creamer for my coffee.” Triple Whew!

Of course, I can recall a whole lot of times when equal sharing was not possible at all.  Or any amount of creativity or distraction didn’t do the trick.  When my 2nd son was barely a few days old, our eldest Vince really punched him because “Mom carried the baby all day” in trying to set the milk in for breastfeeding (he also didn’t sleep when laid down in his cot!). But generally, for as long as  you try to invest a bit early on and teach those life lessons when the “perfect learning moment” arises, I believe, you will be eventually be able to raise children who care enough to share .  That punching episode was never repeated since  then.

“Sharing” per se is just an outward manifestation of what is going on in one’s heart . As the Bible says in Luke 6:45, ” A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

The key then is laying the foundation of love, compassion, empathy and  humility. All of which are in the life of our Savior, Jesus!  Jesus is our perfect example. The Ultimate SHARER, “who gave HIs life as a ransom for many.”  Sharing is merely an outward behavior and children need more than just to be told, “You have to share!” They need to know why, they need to see  and know how, they need to  find the strength to do so and they need to know from whom to draw this strength.

All outward behavior emanates from within. So whether it be in “sharing” , “being patient”,  “speaking in polite manner” and the like, they all are merely mirroring what is really within.  So let’s  not get so engrossed with the outer manifestations but rather take time to purposefully guide our children’s inner being! For indeed the natural fruits of a “inner life raised in the fear of the Lord” will eventually shine!


Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Pretty Things in Raya’s Room

Mama Donna here. I asked Raya’s permission to enter her “room” .  Most often, as I drop by her room, I catch her creating something,  or I just see the finished product on display, or I find her “inspiring” her heart and mind with books, magazines or DIY/craft websites.

Created and hung 5 or so years ago.  It represents God's angel guarding her room.
Created and hung 5 or so years ago. It represents God’s angel guarding her room.


Are you ready to see pretty things?
Are you ready to see pretty things? (Raya was only five y.o)


Raya's Bulletin Board beside her door using cork board and chalkboard paint
Raya’s Bulletin Board beside her door using cork board and chalkboard paint


She did say that her room can get messy.  I say it’s a pretty kind of messy that feels like a breath of fresh air.   So let me show you several products of her room, the factory of pretty things.

Let me start with what she does  with canvas boards (available in any bookstore):

All girls love Instax!
All girls love Instax! Acrylic on canvas


Little girl peaking from a hot air ballon ( Gino at two y.o. called this Hot Bear Alloon!)
Little girl peaking from a hot air ballon ( Gino at two y.o. called this Hot Bear Alloon!), Acrylic


Inspired by a painting technique in one HomesCool Art lesson, Raya worked right away !
Inspired by a painting technique in one HomesCool Art lesson, Raya worked right away ! Acrylic


Raya read the book, "Shiloh" for her HomesCool Reading/Language Arts. It was a story of a boy and a beagle. We then had some lessons on how to draw a beagle and then she did this on her own.
Raya read the book, “Shiloh” for her HomesCool Reading/Language Arts. It was a story of a boy and a beagle. We then had some lessons on how to draw a beagle and then she did this on her own. Acrylic


This is no longer in her room. It was sold for a little boy's room in an art exhibit by L'arc En Ciel.
This is no longer in her room. It was sold for a little boy’s room in an art exhibit by L’arc En Ciel. Acrylic


This is the newest addition to her wall.
This is the newest addition to her wall. Paper cut outs pasted on canvas.

The one above came from a  room decor tutorial video from youtube.

A rose for Lola Emma's 80th is now in Lola's room
A rose for Lola Emma’s 80th is now in Lola’s room.


Mini Canvas with easel and paint pot
Can you spot the cap of a glue stick? Mini Canvas with easel and paint pot


Her doll's easel
Her doll’s easel


Spash lots of craft paint and add wooden letters
Splash lots of craft paint and add wooden letters.

Then there is also lot of sewing going on here:

Doll clothes (except the pants)


Pillow cases


Instax Case
The prettiest Instax case!


DIY stuff toys
DIY stuff toys


UP, UP, UP and AWAY! When Gino was two y.o., he called this Hot Bear Alloon!


Jumpers of a favorite friend
Jumper of a favorite friend


A DIY Rabbit names Puddles
A DIY Rabbit named Puddles


An apron for Tita Chel for Christmas
An apron for Tita Chel for Christmas


A gift for Papa
A gift for  Papa


More doll clothes, doll stuff
More doll clothes, doll stuff


And here are some of her sketches:



Sometimes she just wants to make something out of everyday stuff:



Doll accessories from small boxes, old DVD case, and lots of cardboard



Raya loves watermelons as decors. Inspired from a craft website, using rocks and acrylic paint
Raya loves watermelons as decors. Inspired from a craft website, using rocks and acrylic paint


As I look around Raya’ room, I see God’s blessing on her hands and her character. My prayer is that she will remain faithful  to Him and productive for His glory!

Proverbs 31:  13, 17-19 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.She sees that her trading is profitable,and her lamp does not go out at night.In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.


Laro Collaborative Art Exhibit

I call this a perfect event for the entire family.  It had many things quite dear to me:  lots of  colorful and beautiful  art, children, our Filipino culture,  an advocacy to build a playground for children through UNICEF,  time well spent with my first Art teacher(Mommy Emma) and my students  (Raya & Gino), and the touching of ones’ heart by evoking so many childhood memories of play.

Creative Kids /Kids for Kids

Mommy Emma, Gino, Raya and I had such a grand time in this unique “celebration of every child’s right to play through the celebration of Pinoy games.” 


I told my Mom to act “excited” as if to cheer for Raya as she jumped in ‘luksong tinik.” Did you know that Mommy Emma taught Art Appreciation in Maryknoll College and was the owner and directress of “Infant Jesus Kindergarten School” where most of the Pangilinan kids had their preschool years. The school was just 3 houses away from 11 Mahusay St UP Village!


What’s a pamato, Mama?


Creative Kids dedicate their 20th anniversary to help raise funds for UNICEF and the building of a playground in a resettlement area in Calauan, Laguna through an artistic exhibit, fun activities and a fashion show.”


As I went through each artwork, Mom who majored in Creative Arts in UP College of Home Economics, and I were in awe with every piece of art.  Gino and Raya  were amused as well as they saw some of the games featured in the art works which  their Lola and Mama played when they were their age!

As part of homeschool PE and Filipino, I have tried to expose the children  by playing “garter”,  patintero, luksong tinik,  limbo rock, sipa, sungka , and using the traditional trumpo.  For their birthdays, we  did some pabitins  and some form of “hit the pot (palayok)”.  Though not Filipino in origin, we also tried to play jackstones and mahjong.  Prior to visiting the exhibit which happened to be in our favorite mall, Alabang Town Center. I had a mini-lesson with the kids on Filipino Traditional Games and we focused on the Filipino hopscotch , or piko.  Hopefully we will be able to play this soon.  I also discovered that there were many   online videos featuring so many of these games !!!

Bahay-Bahayan na! Nasaan ang sandok at palayok?



Didn’t we dream to have that nipa house?


Patintero, sino ang patotot?
Patintero, sino ang patotot?



Tropang Trumpo!
Tropang Trumpo!


Damang-dama namin ang saya dito ! Dali, punta na!


Guess what? Kaya mo ng "check mark", "falling star"and "hide in the cave" moves?
Guess what? Kaya mo ng “check mark”, “falling star”and “hide in the cave” moves?


Taob kayo sa laki ng tsinelas namin !


An additional treat for that afternoon  was seeing and chatting with the event’s main organizer,  our family friend, Bambi Manosa.  According to Bambi, they recently transformed her much sought after art school, Creative Kids Studio into an all-year-round project based art studio “where kids can come  together to help other children through their time and talents.”  The program is now called Kids for Kids.

With Creative Kids/ Kids for Kids Champion, Bambi Manosa. The Pangilinans and Manosas are family friends:)
With Creative Kids/ Kids for Kids Champion, Bambi Manosa. The Pangilinans and Manosas are family friends:)


So amazing were the art pieces created by the children of Creative Kids, that red dots were all over as most of the pieces were already sold.  Bambi mentioned that a buyer or donor could either buy and take home art work or he could purchase it, and donate the art work to a center for children chosen by Kids for Kids.

There are more activities lined up for this celebration of play and you may check  The link also provides information on how to join this advocacy and become another champion for children.

The Laro Collaborative Art  Exhibit runs until May 26, 2015 at the Activity Center of the Alabang Town Center.

If you’re in the mood to actually play these traditional games,  “Tara, Laro!” is set on May16 and 17 in different areas of  Alabang Town Center ( Activity Center, Town Plaza and Corte Extension). The link  has all details!

I recommend this wonderful celebration of play to all families!  Homeschoolers can even create lesson plans and unit studies on this:)  Thanks to Gino and Raya for the photos. We purposely didn’t post all because you should come and experience this for real!  You ought to see the colorful sungkas, the sipa and pabitiin artwork,  sculpted playthings and  the many paintings about famous Filipino nursery rhymes and riddles

Congratulations to Bambi Manosa, Kids for Kids, UNICEF,  Alabang Town Center and all  the other sponsors for this worthy, inspiring, moving and even entertaining, one of kind, art exhibit by children for other children in need.

A giant paper boat! Didn't we all make smaller versions for the flowing canals in our streets?
A giant paper boat! Didn’t we all make smaller versions for the flowing canals in our streets?


I grabbed the chance to write down my comments on that giant boat!  C




Proverbs 11:5 “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Soft Opening of

Oh my! Is this for real? I somehow knew that this had to start at some point. Thankful to Janna & Ian Simpao and Zoe Tuico who helped set this up. And so as the Nike tagline goes, just do it. So here it is. Born April 4, 2015, is a homeschooling blog born from our home. I am Donna Simpao, a homeschooler in the Philippines for the past 13 years. I’ve been married to Gilbert, my college sweetheart, and we have four children, Vince, Marco, Gino and Raya. Our two older boys, Vince and Marco are now in regular schools and we still have Raya, and Gino, in our “leaner” homeschool batch this school year.

Education-wise, I graduated grade and high school from Maryknoll (now Miriam) and completed a degree in Psychology in UP Diliman. I went further to earn a medical degree from UP College of Medicine but shortly after passing the boards, my husband was assigned abroad and I was not able to pursue my residency.

As we settled back in 2001, the wonderful window of homeschooling opened up with the help of my sister, Ate Felichi Buizon, who was then two years into homeschooling. Not only did I open the window but truly opened my heart and all doors of our home as I embraced homeschooling. Homeschooling four children became a full-time career for me eventually as more children came.

Encouragement is so important in the homeschooling community. And this is the main purpose of this blog, to encourage all those who may opt to formally or informally “homeschool” their children. Though this blog may be most helpful to the “official” and registered homeschoolers, we all know that every home is a school for every child. So I guess that explains “dropping” the word “school” from this blog’s name. I’d like to reach out to every parent out there who wishes to make her home a fun and cool place to learn and grow.