Monday, August 10, 2020

 Our academic year ended three weeks ago after what felt like another year of drudgery. In fairness, within the year I got pregnant for the 5th time and during which, we tried to cover our curricula as much as we can so that we do not lag behind schedule as I expect to really slow down once the baby was born. Also, the boys did most of the work independently, but not before the was hormonal momma barked orders around. 

Some of the gems we found, and progress we made: for art skills, Sitting Like a Saint by Greg Gotta do (a book on Catholic mindfulness for kids), Learning How to Learn course at Coursera, kayaking for M1, J3 unschooling herself and now she is [formal] Kindergarten-ready, rosary in Latin in the mornings, unsupervised use of power tools for M1, M2 progressing with violin lessons, M1 and M2 interest-led crafts (tiny robots, carton & styrofoam  battletanks & battleships in 3D, J4 potty-trained (at last!).

Yes, this time will be remembered in history as the year when the corona virus hit the world and had it on its knees. Friends said the kids were lucky because they were already homeschooling (indeed, in terms of education, we didn't have to fumble in the dark). But the thought that you couldn't go out felt like prison. The kids missed playing outside, and interacting with their friends in the neighborhood was severely restricted. So, for a time, for the sake of their mental health I let them out, with the constant reminder to do the precautions against Covid-19... physical distance of 1 meter between friends, wearing of mask, and hand washing. They play in the rain, and the mud with every rainfall. Every hug I get from them I cherish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My 7-Step Homeschooling Get-Start

Step 1: WHY do you want to homeschool?

Step 2: Identify the homeschooling METHOD that fits your family best.

Step 3: Get more information

Step 4: Do you prefer to…
  • have DepEd-aligned curriculum thru [accredited] PROVIDER?  Inquire, and enroll with your provider of choice. 
  • CUSTOMIZE? (Refer to step 2.) Choose CURRICULUM...
    • under a provider (open curriculum).
    • independently.
Step 5: Acquire books & other materials.

Step 6: Plan your schedule

Step 7: DIVE IN!

Friday, August 30, 2019

SY 2019-2020 Opening

The bulk of our materials for SY 2019-2020 has arrived!  I'm glad it arrived when it did and not a few more days late as I now only have 4 days to prepare before we formally have our first day of school (I have to read all the introductions and guide to parents).  The arrival of materials always feels like Christmas to me.  The kids are excited as well (but only because it includes a box of Tinker Crate).  But I also feel overwhelmed.  Last year was a rush, and probably a blur, as my focus was to get all the busywork-- the workbooks, done... never mind that I took a lot of shortcuts.  That's what long, frequent vacations without bringing along the workbooks do to our family.  And with that came the feeling that we went through most of our lessons just for the sake of ticking a 'done' box, but with not much learning.  However, their experience in Texas and Nevada was probably more enriching than all those busywork, so that kind of made up for that.  

This year, we don't have plans of big travels, so I hope to just follow the daily lesson plans, and take it easy. But I remind myself to keep things simple as this mom will definitely have lazy days especially as I approach the third trimester of pregnancy.  With the birth of a new baby, a family transition even before the second half of the school year.  Again, I expect to deviate from the routine that a daily lesson plan gives.  I've been there twice before.  

As we were unpacking, I gave a mini pep talk to the boys: this year we'll work at being more perseverant, diligent, and patient with the schoolwork, with ourselves, and with each other.  Simple. 
For this year I will use another Grammar, and Spelling material with my eldest. I love Language of God (CHC), but the kid struggles working on it that we most both end up upset when it comes to writing sentences.  So, I'll be trying the free Language Arts curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful.  For history (also a literature/writing program), I got for us Connecting with History: World History from a Catholic Perspective for it's classical approach.  According to a review, it focuses on humanities, and has lots of reading and application of grammar and writing. I think one of the best materials that I will incorporate this year (and the subsequent years) is Pilgrims of the Holy Family.  Even the dad is looking forward to the activities (I made him in-charge).  And it is with reading the introduction of this book that I realized how blessed we are to be [independently] homeschooling... that if overwhelm is my homeschooling 'storm', this insight by my eldest son (with whom I not only struggle with Language Arts, but with a lot other homeschooling and non-homeschooling issues as well) is my calm in the middle of the storm.  It goes, " teaching proficiency in a variety of life skills for the purpose of developing well-rounded young men and women whose primary aim is to know, love, and serve God." I know he was listening when, referring to the last part, he said, "because to love God we have to know God, and to serve God we have to love God..."  It did seem like he merely repeated it but I know in my heart that his understanding is deeper, and this was something he took with him from a previous lesson. My son has learned one of the most, if not the most, important lessons he needs to learn.  I thank and praise God for that. 

There are many more moments that remind me to look at the positive side, and the blessings of our homeschooling journey, like when they apply the virtues of modesty, and honesty in testy situations.  But as we open this school year, the insight of M1 above is my encouragement, and perhaps, God's way of saying, you got this!