Keeping it simple… An art project turned life lesson

A couple of weeks ago, we started on an ambitious art project — making a paper mache globe. I had envisioned it to show some elevation on the continents and our labels would be relatively simple — just the continents and oceans. I thought it would be a perfect project that would match our science lesson on Creation (days of creation / living and non-living things).

We used glue + water mix for the first layer and started with a balloon as a mold.

IMG_1431 IMG_1433

 

We switched to a flour + water mix for the next couple of layers. The kids would tear the paper and help out with laying down the pieces onto the mold, but honestly, most of the work was done by mom. I read that you had to make sure each layer is completely dry before adding another layer to prevent the growth of molds. So we figured since we needed around 6-7 layers for it to be really sturdy, it would take more than a week before we could start painting our globe.

Then one fine sunny day, mom had a brilliant idea: Why not let the paper mache dry outdoors under the sun? That would speed things up. Or so I thought….

IMG_1492

BOOM! This is what we came home to that night. The balloon inside exploded because of the extreme afternoon heat.

I had a couple of more brilliant ideas to try and rescue our project, but generally lost interest for a while…

Then today, I cut up some shapes for my daughter for her to put together and make some sort of artwork during her free time.

And this is what she decided to make: The days of creation.

It then dawned on me how sometimes, as parents, we tend to be overly ambitious with our kids’ projects and presentations, trying to make them as unique, eye-catching and as amazing as those projects we see on pinterest and all those mommy-blogs out there. Or maybe it’s just me.

The Lord reminded me today of our memory verse last week, that each individual is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I had been trying to make her do something really complicated, and in truth that means I am going to have to do most of the work to make it. And upon reflection, my desire to make an amazing project was so that I could have something to show off — rather than to really make it part of the learning process. I had wanted for her project to be at par with those that I also see on the internet. I had wanted her to be like the other wonderfully-talented homeschooled kids — and I had wanted me to be like the other cool and creative homeschooling moms. I had forgotten to let our own uniqueness shine and bring out the best from what God has so graciously showered us with.

Today, all I had to do was to cut up some colored paper and she did all the work — from conceptualizing (I suggested she do a self-portrait but she said she wanted to do days of creation), to designing her work and putting them all together.

IMG_1582 IMG_1584

And she did it all with a smile. No need for pushing or coaxing or bribing. She finished it all on her own and even cleaned up afterward. 🙂

Keeping it simple. Making learning fun. Celebrating how God made us special.

Thank You, LORD!

” I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Why homeschool?

When people see us with our kids, one of the first questions is usually, “Where does your child go to school?” When I say I homeschool them, especially our 6-year-old daughter, it goes without saying I have to have some sort of follow-up explanation as to why we chose to homeschool instead of enrolling her in a “real” school.

Well, aside from the fact that homeschool is, in fact, a REAL school, here are some of my other reasons to answer the question, “Why homeschool?”

1. I just love my kids so much I want to spend all day with them.

IMG_1418

This sounds like a selfish answer, and maybe it is, but in truth, our kids are only small for a very short time. Soon enough, they will prefer the company of their friends more than family, and one day they will have to leave home for college and eventually to be independent adults. And when that day comes, I will have all these memories of them with me while they were young to cherish and hold dear in my heart.

2. I believe this is what God has called our family to do. Homeschooling is not just another schooling option — it is a calling. Not everyone is suited for this kind of educational setup and even we are sometimes tempted to give up because of the many challenges we encounter day to day. I am far from being a great teacher and I make a lot of mistakes, but what keeps me going is knowing in my heart God has called me to teach my children. So everyday, it’s about praying to God, asking Him for wisdom (and patience!) as well as relying on His grace to fulfill this calling. And as an added bonus, Daddy gets to teach them too!

IMG_1502

3. I want my children to learn the TRUTH and not just the facts. We only have secular schools where we are. In these schools, children are not taught about God or how He gives meaning to all that we have to learn. When they learn about animals, for example, they just learn about the theory of evolution and learn to classify them according to species but there is no reference to God creating them “each according to its kind”(Gen. 1:24). Quite simply, there is no biblical integration whatsoever, and we do not want our children to grow up with that kind of education. We believe that the Bible is the source and standard of TRUTH. Facts and theories and concepts are important, but learning what God has to say about these things are even more so.

  • Bible: We always start with a lesson from the Bible, and values education is always based on scripture.

IMG_1522

  • English: When we study words and phonics and spelling, we first learned that the Bible is God’s Word. When we started with a lesson on “self,” we learned that we are unique and special and “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). 
  • Math: When we study numbers, we learn that God is the “inventor” of math. In the first book of the Bible, we learn how God counted the days as He created our world and how he commanded man and the animals to “increase in number.”
  • Science: When we study about living things and non-living things, we discover that God makes all living things and there is no living thing that is man-made. God gave man a mind to think and make tools and make something out of what He has already provided. But man does not have the ability to create something from nothing; only God has that power.

IMG_1518 (2)

Truly, this verse sums it up:

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John 1:4

Granted, parents who have enrolled their children to regular schools can teach their kids about God’s Word at home. But in our case, as I mentioned, homeschooling was also our calling, and it carries with it this greater responsibility to ensure that we strive to excel not only in academic pursuits, but more importantly, in “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

OTHER BENEFITS:

And then, of course, there are other things that make homeschooling such a fun family adventure. Things like:

1. Being able to homeschool anywhere. Like in the hospital or dental clinic for example (good thing there was a kid’s play area in the pedia section of the clinic!).

IMG_1447IMG_1478IMG_1480

2. Getting creative with crafts.

IMG_1519 (2)

3. Having your little brother as your classmate. (And learning basic electronics while in your jammies!)

IMG_1515

These are just a few of the other simple joys we get to experience in our homeschool adventure.

So, why homeschool? Just because. 🙂

Grade 1 Adventure!!!

IMG_1426B

IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK!

It’s been roughly 4 months since my last post. We went on vacation again as a family and just like last year, we became too busy living life and I had no time to write. We just got back a few days ago and our little princess is now officially in Grade 1. Yey! Our little prince is 2 years old and is excited to homeschool too! 🙂

NEW CURRICULUM!

Our family decided to take on a new adventure this year. We are now officially enrolled in the Prince of Peace and we’re using a mix of Lifepac books and Philippine local books. We have a teacher-coordinator in the Philippines to help with the academic guide and to with the exams but this time, we’re going to depend largely on God’s leading and grace regarding the curriculum and how to go about each day. All for God’s glory!

Bible-based learning: We are going to embark on a family mission to study the bible together this year. This means regular memory verses, writing weekly devotionals, and making prayer and bible reading a priority. We are going to dive in to Phil Vischer’s “What’s in the Bible” more deeply as we study the Old and New Testament one book at a time. This is going to be fun!!!

Grade 1 in a Year: We started school unofficially while on summer vacation, with Allyra enrolled in tutoring classes for Filipino, Sibika, Mother Tongue and MAPE for a month. She also took up swimming lessons and finished Basic Swimming Level 1 after 12 days. Now that we’re back, we’re looking at speeding things up for about five months (June – October 2014) and homeschooling maybe even up to 6 days a week in preparation for our grand family reunion by the end of October or early November. By reunion, I mean being united as a family as we welcome our 3rd blessing from the Lord. Yey!!! We’ll then most likely slow down significantly for a month or so, then we’ll see how we’re going to adjust our pacing as we settle down with a new baby in the house. 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll be done by February 2015 in time for us to go on summer vacation again. We’re still kid-centered and will move along according to their own pace — while taking advantage of that sponge-like brain while we can!

Weekly Lesson Plans: Since I’m highly disorganized, it is an extreme challenge to plot out our year but I will try my best to update our weekly planner as best as I could. Most likely, I’ll be writing it down as we go along. My plan is to make a weekly lesson guide in diagram form and to just put in what we accomplish each week — no sense in making a daily schedule we can’t keep!

Mind-mapping: Speaking of diagrams, we’re also going to try using mind-mapping to make our lessons and note-taking become a creative activity. Early on, I knew my daughter is a good reader, but she wasn’t  very enthusiastic about about writing long sentences. Now, that only means we have to be much more creative in expressing what’s inside our brains. She likes to make her own books and little cards for any occasion, and we’re going to tap into all that creativity and make note-taking a fun thing to do.

Toddler School: Our little boy wants to be involved in everything we do! It’s become a lot more challenging with no more videos to do the teaching and with a toddler trying to join in our discussions, so we’ll have to come up with ways to keep him busy too! This should be another fun adventure for us. 🙂 This means more play-based learning even for our little lady. And crafts. And singing and dancing. And fun. 🙂

HOPE YOU HAVE A FUN YEAR WITH US!

That’s all for now. Will start posting our daily adventure’s soon! God bless you!