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. 🙂

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Being blessed to be a blessing

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8

I’ve always loved this verse because it ties up so beautifully with “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33). It shows us a Father in heaven that wants to bless His children, so that they too may become a channel of His blessings.

As we tackled the topic of money in our homeschool math, the Lord impressed upon me to use this time to teach my child about how God wants us to use money. We’ve learned all about identifying USD pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars, as well as PHP centavos and pesos; we’ve added and subtracted them and played “grocery” with real coins. But we know that simply teaching the “value” of money (what it can actually buy in terms of it’s actual worth) is not the same as teaching them the “real value” of money (how money is a blessing from God and that how we manage it now determines it’s kingdom’s worth).

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I remembered that just a couple of days ago, a sister-in-Christ had a conversation with the kids wherein the kids asked her if she could get all the minions from McDonald’s. She replied that she would not be able to do so because she only had a “little money.” My little girl remarked, “Then just go to the bank and get more!”

A child’s innocent answer does seem amusing and how fun it would indeed be if all we had to do every time we ran out of cash was go to the ATM and it would spit out money without fail.

But alas, it isn’t so.

And so, yesterday, I explain to her in the simplest way I can the concepts about businesses and workers and salaries and that kind of stuff. And how daddy’s salary is given monthly and how we should be wise in spending it so that we will have enough until the next salary comes in.

Then we talked about how we as a family seek to obey God’s will to help others through giving. We memorized 2 Corinthians 9:8 since it is a promise that we hold on as a family.

Indeed, we try to live this verse out when God’s Spirit prompts us to do so. And I’m sharing it now here not so that we could boast, but to encourage others to also involve their children in ministry work. For truly we have nothing to boast about, because in all honesty we are able to give out of our abundance while others give out of their lack.

But as we grow in the grace of God, we are made to understand that “giving” does not always mean that it would have to really hurt before it becomes real (as in selling all your possessions and giving it to the poor as mentioned in Matthew 19:21), nor does does the poor need to wait until they have an excess before they can give (just look at the poor widow from Mark 12:41-43 who gave 2 small copper coins even though that was all that she had). Instead, we are to learn how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, whether it be to commit a monthly support for a ministry, a one-time love offering to a minister of God, providing for a loved one’s need, or a time to give to those who are victims of calamities or other similar situations.

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Making hotdog sandwiches to be distributed to hungry people

Cheerful giving is a response to God’s call, and the only requirement is for it to be motivated by none other than God’s love. We have different levels of the ability to give, and God will not measure us by comparing the amount we offer to that of our fellow believers, but God looks at how each one uses what He has given us.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 makes it plain that God does not take from the rich to give to the poor — it is the world who thinks that way. Instead, we are shown that to those who prove themselves as good stewards of what God gave them, more is given as a reward. While for those who do not make good use of what they have been given, even the little they have will be taken away from them and again be entrusted to those who have shown themselves to be responsible.

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” – Matthew 25:29

PRAYER:

Lord, we thank You that You have blessed us abundantly and provided for all our needs. Truly You are our Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider, and Your grace is sufficient for all of us. Forgive us if we have not made good use of the blessings You have so generously given us. We know Lord, that it is Your good will that Your children be a channel of Your blessings. And so God, please touch our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in how to be good stewards of the blessings your graciously entrust us with. For we know that the reason You supply us all our needs according to Your riches in glory is so that we may also abound in every good work, and that as we give, we may lead others to recognize Your goodness and praise Your holy name. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Look at the birds of the air…

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26

Homeschool project: Making a birdfeeder

Step 1: Gather the materials.

  • Slice of bread
  • cookie cutter
  • peanut butter
  • birdseed
  • piece of string
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Step 2: Use the cookie cutter to cut out a shape from the slice of bread.

Step 3: Spread some peanut butter onto the bread.

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Step 4: Sprinkle some birdseed on the peanut-butter-covered bread.

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Step 5: Tie a piece of string on the bread and hang up on a tree outside for the birds to enjoy!

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TA-DAH! Finished!

Making God’s Word Simple and Practical

Nehemiah 8:8, 12 NIV

8 “They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.”

12 “Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”
The reading of God’s Word brings about the fruit of joy when its meaning is made clear; God has given certain people in the church such as pastors and teachers the gift of exhortation so that the Scriptures may be explained and others may understand. Diligent study, prayer and meditation play a big part for those called to preach, and careful attention and an open and teachable heart a must for those who listen. But in all this, true knowledge and understanding — along with the wisdom on how to use what is learned — comes from the Holy Spirit.

BJU Bible Class scroll craft

BJU Bible Class scroll craft

We are blessed because we have the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105), but how can it be so if people complicate it and make doctrines and teachings that make it hard to understand? Let us therefore allow God’s Word to be what He intended it to be — a bright star that guides our way as we move away from the darkness of this world and into His glorious light!

As I grow in God’s grace each day, I’ve found that the best way for the Bible to be understood is to make it practical. Use every opportunity and circumstance to reflect and apply bible verses and allow it do its work in our lives. We try to learn and memorize scripture but it will only get to really shine its light on us when we find ourselves in a situation where we are able to actually apply it.

Learning God's Word thru crafts and coloring pages

Learning God’s Word thru crafts and coloring pages (BJU Bible Class crafts and Kids Church activities)

In our case, it could be as simple as going on what we initially assumed to be an uneventful and fairly short car trip to claim the iPhone5 that my husband won for me from a facebook contest (Yey! It’s really free! What a wonderful gift!) But, as all good trips go, we got lost. For three hours we drove through the night trying to find the office where to claim the phone. At first we were fine, singing along with really nice acoustic versions of Hillsong praise and worship music, but eventually, our nearly 1-year-and-a-half-old Sam started to get bored and so did 5-year-old Ate Allyra. So it became a lesson in patience and creativity, because we all tried to keep our cool while inventing a million and a half ways to keep the kids busy in the car. We also used the opportunity to teach about prayer, and since we were lost, the most logical bible story that came to mind was the parable of the lost sheep. I asked my daughter whom she thought would be able to find the lost sheep, which at that time meant US, and without hesitation, she replied, “The Good Shepherd!” So she led us in prayer and it went something like this:

“Father God, our Good Shepherd, please help us to be found and protect us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

Simple, right? But it was truly heartwarming to hear our little one pray so innocently, and trusting our Father God, our Good Shepherd, so fully.

Indeed, there are so many spiritual applications to the parable of the lost sheep; it has been preached and taught in so many ways, but I believe that for our family, that particular “Word of God” became most “alive” for us that day. And of course, God is truly faithful, we eventually got found, claimed our free gift and went home.

As I love to claim and exclaim, “God is good, ALL THE TIME!” Be blessed!

Writing and Experience story

Writing and Experience story

Sword of the Spirit

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The little girl found this tiny bible which was given to me by members of the Christian Mass Communicators Organization back in college (probably sometime in 1997). I brought it with me here the first time I went to this country as my only religious item (securely-taped and hidden in my wallet lest somebody actually searched our stuff for such items when we got to the airport). Allyra started reading it and claimed it as her own.

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It’s amazing how this little treasure of God’s Word which I’ve ignored for the past decade (I only said I took it with me; I never did say I actually read it) found its way to my baby girl’s precious hands. God is reminding me today that more than any knowledge or skill I could teach my kids, none would ever be as important or as beneficial to them as letting them grow up armed with the “Sword of the Spirit” which is the “Word of God.”

Our prayer today: “Dear LORD, please help me and my husband raise up our kids the way you have commanded us to! May Your Word always be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path! In Jesus’ name we pray! Amen!”