Homeschooling in the 21st century – Signs of the times

Today we made the most of what it means to be homeschooling at this day and age.

  • Science: While studying about the parts of the plants, we read about how stems and leaves grow from buds that pop open in the spring.  A quick youtube search led us to spectacular time-lapse videos of actual buds opening.

  • Language: Verbs were introduced using a sports theme. We read about soccer and how it is the most popular sport in the world. Since my daughter wasn’t very familiar with it, I had her watch clips from the movie “Shaolin Soccer” as it was the first thing that came to mind.

Of course, I did teach her how the sport was actually played, along with watching some stuff from the World Cup.

  • Filipino: We read a story entitled, “Ang Kaharian sa Kagubatan” (“The Kingdom in the Jungle”) about how the jungle was full of trash and the King Lion asked for a meeting. The animals realized that waste segregation was the best solution to their problem and resolved to separate their trash into “biodegradable” and “non-biodegradable.” In order to illustrate how biodegradable materials decompose and become part of the earth again, we watched this time lapse video of a dead piglet decomposing: (WARNING: IMAGES CAN BE DISTURBING FOR SOME.)

 

  • Mathematics: We’re adding two-digit numbers now. And since we started with some “mental math” strategies from Shelley Gray (which by the way have been very helpful):

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mental-Math-Strategy-Units-the-Complete-Addition-Collection-166682

I did a quick google search on more mental math strategies and found this:

http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/a/adding_2_digit.php.

 

I honestly don’t know how moms homeschooled decades ago when all these stuff wasn’t available with just a couple of mouse clicks. But, I am very grateful that they are now just a few seconds away now that I am the one doing the homeschooling. Google and youtube have proven invaluable in enhancing what we learn from textbooks. It’s overwhelming how so much information is right at our fingertips.

However, this fact also reminded me about how we are living in the end times. Daniel 12:4 tells us:

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

I remember reading somewhere how this verse has been said to refer to both transportation and the internet, because at no time before now are people travelling from one place to another so much (running to and fro) and the process of transferring information or knowledge been so quick and so widespread (knowledge shall be increased).

And at no time until now has prophecy after prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. Just read the news about what’s going on in Israel and the Middle East; the policies and trends being adapted by Obama, the call for religious unity by the Pope, etc… and if one has enough knowledge on Biblical end-time prophecies, it would be easy to see how we are indeed, living in the end times.

Of course, no one knows the exact date as Jesus would come like a thief in the night (Matthew 24), but the Bible also says we would not be like the children of darkness that we would not know when the thief would come. Instead, we are to live as children of light, and therefore, we will not be taken by surprise (1 Thessalonians 5). The signs are here for us to be warned — and for us to pray —  and be ready.

And ready we should be. For us, it’s a reminder not to put too much focus on academics that the education of the heart and spirit is neglected. As with all things, we must seek God first and do all things for His glory.

And be thankful. Thankful for each day that God is still graciously giving us to learn more about Him and experience His love. These are things that cannot be searched in google and is not something we could expect from watching youtube. It comes from having a quiet time of prayer and meditating His Word — something that we honestly have a hard time keeping. Being techie does make it harder for us to know how to have a quiet time with the Lord, but thankfully, He is gently reminding our family to make this our top priority.

Thank You LORD.

 

 

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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  • 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.

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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!).

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2. Getting creative with crafts.

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

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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!!!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make cotton into a dress

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. (Proverbs 10:4 NIV)

We read a book entitled, “Unang Unngoy” (“The First Monkey”). It’s a local legend about how a fairy tried to teach a little girl how to be useful; mainly to make a dress from the most basic material — cotton blossoms. Once the lazy girl realized how tedious the process is, she threw away the cotton blossoms saying she’d rather not wear dresses than spend so much energy and effort to make one. This made the fairy very angry and she punished the girl by turning her into the first monkey.

While the concept of fairies and magic and certainly punishment by turning a kid into a monkey is obviously not a good thing — there is always a moral lesson that can be picked up from such children’s books.

So after we read the book, I carefully explained how God hates witchcraft and that God show us that instead of immediate punishment, Jesus modeled patient training, gentle correction, forgiveness and grace.

Then I thought we could follow the said process and make our own “How to” book from it.

So here it is:

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 4 – Patience (2 Peter 3:9)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 4 – Patience (2 Peter 3:9)

LESSON: PATIENCE – The Lord God has been patient with mankind.

Memory Verse:  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  – 2 Peter 3:9

(For younger kids: “The Lord is…patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”)

Bible Story: Luke 13:6-9 “The Parable of the Fig Tree”

A man had a fig tree in his garden and came again too see if it had any fruit but he couldn’t find any.  One day, he said to his gardener, “Look, for three years now I have been waiting for this fig tree to bear fruit, and it doesn’t even have a single fig! Cut it down! Why should we let it continue taking up space and using up the soil?”

The gardener replied, “Give it one more chance, Sir! Just one more year!  I will take special care of it and give it fertilizer. If we get figs next year, then that would be good! If not, you can cut it down.”

Context:

Right before Jesus told this parable, some people had been telling Him about some bad people who had been severely punished. Jesus told them this parable to explain to them how God’s love and mercy works. He used the example of a fig tree to explain that God tests our hearts by our “fruits.”

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why do you think the owner wants to cut down the fig tree? (because it has no fruit.)
  2. How many years has the owner waited for the fig tree to bear fruit? (3 years)
  3. Who stopped the owner from cutting the tree? (the gardener)
  4. What was the gardener’s plan? (to take extra care of the fig tree)
  5. What happens if the tree still doesn’t bear fruit after a year? (it will be cut down)

What does the story mean?

  • The man represents God the Father who checks on each tree he planted in the garden.
  • The fig tree represents the people of God. The fruits are the result of a heart turned to God; the fruits of righteousness or the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in a Christian’s life.
  • Jesus is the gardener who intercedes (prays) on behalf of the people so that God will give them one more chance.
  • This parable is about second chances. The Lord could have chosen to punish all the people who continue to rebel againstim because He has already given the people much time for them to repent and turn to God, but because of His great love and mercy, He has given us another chance to bear fruit.
  • As 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, God has been very patient with mankind, and He has extended His grace to us and blessed us with the gift of Jesus Christ who died for our sins so that we may not perish (be cut down). God wants people to REPENT and allow Jesus to nourish their hearts with His Word. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will eventually show the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives.

Nov 25 2013 2 Peter 3 9

Bible in 90 days: Cosplay “Our Bible Adventures”

 

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Allyra as Miriam 2 with verse Allyra as Miriam with verse Sam Moses 1 with verse Sam Moses 2 with verse

Bible in 90 days: Genesis, Creation “Pinoy-Style”

It’s been a week and half since our family began the Bible in 90 Days Plan and this challenge has certainly been challenging (I am actually a bit behind my own reading) but definitely it has also been very enlightening.

We’ve done a lot of stuff for our study of Genesis and here is the first and most elaborate one so far:

Activity 1: Creation Story: Philippine Style

We originally used this materials for our “Linggo ng Wika” coop activity and we reviewed them again since part of them were from a coop friend’s lessons (he’s in first grade while Allyra is still in K2). Basically, it’s a Filipino version or adaptation of the story of creation. The main material used is felt. I printed the pictures used on sticker photo paper and also backed them up with felt. So we ended up with a giant felt board activity for “The Story of Creation: Pinoy Style.”

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Memory Verse: Awit 24:1 “Ang buong daigdig at ang lahat ng naroon, ang may-ari’y si Yahweh na ating Panginoon.”

These were our pics during the Linggo ng Wika Activity:

Here is the Creation: Pinoy Style Script in Tagalog: CREATION

Some possible points of integration to other topics / learning areas include the following:

Indeed, our memory verse says it clearly: “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” – Psalm 24:1

All praise and worship belongs to the God who created everything so magnificently and majestically, including our beloved country, the Philippines!

May His name be praised throughout all the ends of the earth. Hallelujah to the LORD!