Friday, August 22, 2014

Birdwatch 1

The pied triller below is now under the care of the 2 boys.

It was found in our lawn this morning, unable to fly.  According to M1 it was safer for the bird to be kept inside the house so it will not be run over by cars.  M1 identified the bird right away, with its black eye marking, as we browsed through's galleries (our bird @ Gallery 5- Family Campephagidae, also pied triller).  We made sure we were looking at the right picture by also checking on the shape of the beak and the color of the plumage.  What we learned is that the bird feeds on insects it catches on the ground and while it is flying.  We also listened to samplings of its song and calls on the internet while our actual live bird is still weak to make lots of its own noise. 
Photos taken by M1.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dear Kitty,

Today we finished our last chapter of The House at Pooh Corner (we've also read all of Winnie-the-Pooh).  It reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes.  And a childhood long gone by.  It made me think of oppressed children and their lost childhood.  And it made me think of children the ages of my sons stuck behind the school desk.  And now I think I know what the [homeschool] moms meant when they say that the worst day in homeschool is still better than the best days of school.  Although my kids are not yet reading words on their  own (oh, but they do read!  why else would they like opening books?!) and doing their math operations,  I celebrate these days of Legos and backyard explorations; and the comfort of having a brother for a constant companion; and the pretensions of being a peregrine falcon and of being a manta ray; and evolving interests, from cars to animals to dinosaurs; and of getting dirty with mud and more dirt; and the reluctance of taking a bath at the same time refusing to finish taking a bath; and the fascination with experiments without a hypothesis to prove or counter.  And as I send them off to bed, I wonder until when will your tail provide a soothing passage to sleep.  I think of your future and the days when you will turn to memory and nostalgia.  Because these, too, will pass.  But until then, I'm glad to have given them the opportunity to live their days like Christopher and Calvin in the land of enchantment and imagination. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Cool to Unschool

I've been telling those who bother to ask what we've been up to that we've been on vacation for the longest time, since January, and our school year starts on September.  And that's for our 1st official year of homeschooling.  Come to  think of it, since homeschooling is not just going-to-school-only-it's-done-at-home, but more of a lifestyle, really, homeschooler's don't really go on vacation mode.  I've just realized that we're not really on vacation but just on the more unstructured extreme of homeschooling-- UNSCHOOLING!  We've taken a break from M1's textbooks, all those phonics, math, and writing.  But we continue to read.  Everyday books lie around, they scan pages, fascinated by the pictures.  At times they ask me to read, at times they don't.  They open story books and encyclopedias.  And of course, they learn from their play, from building blocks to pretend play.  They learn from the things around them.  Last week, they swam with whale sharks. When we got home we read on whale sharks, and other sharks.  We sometimes watch video clips of wild animals.  They're fans of the blue whale.  The other day, we again went to the beach.  M2 insisted we take home some sea water so he can conduct an experiment:  he wanted to see what will happen if we mix the sea water with oil.  Imagination flourish.  Today, they had their art moment (without any cue from me).

From the book, I'm reading, it says, trust that the kids are learning.  I believe they are. It's like knowing kids are growing and getting taller each day, you can't tell that everyday, but when you take their measurements, there's no denying that they've grown.  I'm not sure about M2, but M1 sure got my introversion, but engage them in a talk, you'll be amazed by the knowledge they've amassed at their age.

Meanwhile, I'm still in the middle of the book.  It gives me comfort in times when I can't sit down and be like the ideal homeschool moms blogging about their creative homeschools, that for our family we're doing just fine.
The Unschooling Handbook

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ways to be Kind to Your Child (links)

Kindness [to kids] is something like taking time to smell the flowers, know what I mean? 

100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child
52 Things to Say to Make Your Child Feel Great 

Arts & Crafts for Boys (link)

Thank goodness for some of the world's ultra creative moms who make arts & crafts simple as cut & paste.  Again, linking for future source of ideas.

Boy Get Crafty by Red Ted Art

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How we started to homeschool

I'm tempted to link to another article on how to start homeschooling (ok, I will... check this out). But let me tell you how did my husband and I start homeschooling our boys.

Homeschooling isn't completely alien to us. It is not a foreign-sounding term, quite self-explanatory, plus we know someone who had tried homeschooling. So, we were aware that there is actually such a thing. But still, we didn't bother to explore the world of home education. Which was why it never crossed our minds to send our kids other than to a regular school. Until we chanced upon a forwarded email, an article about all the wonderful things that this option to educating our kids has to offer. It pretty much openned our eyes, so much so that it convinced us there and then. So, the first step was finding out the reasons WHY we wanted to, and should, do this. Why take on the responsibility of educating them when we could've just worked hard and send them to a good school?

Step 2 was RESEARCH. About anything and everything under the homeschooling sun. Educate yourself. This could be a little time consuming, but not necessarily expensive. That's what the internet is for. I started looking up how to homeschool-- how to and what to teach the kids, lesson plans, curriculums, resources, books, support groups, providers, legal aspect (local rules and the take of the Dept. of Education), how to keep records, etc. Along the way, I also found out that there are actually different methods to teaching your child, different schools of thought when it comes to homeschooling (like Mason, Montessori, Waldorf, eclectic, classical, etc), different learning styles, even good parenting, and childhood development. For starters, things can get overwhelming (and to think, our kids are just toddlers). And when it did get overwhelming, I read articles that gave very sound advice-- not just on the technical aspect of homeschooling, but encouragements that are very much from the heart... just parent-to-parent, heart-to-heart talk. Also, clear up doubts and concerns that discourge a parent from taking this road.

Next was putting all those research to good use. We came up with a monthly, weekly, and/or daily SCHEDULE. Taking hold of teaching materials of our choice. Since we haven't signed up for a provider yet, we had to come up with a GOAL, a checklist of what the kids should've learned by the end of a period. In short, this stage is really about having a definite, solid PLAN, and getting ORGANIZED. Warning: there were lots of revisions, and there's always a need to step back, and do step 2.

Then of course, the action... diving in, and actually homeschooling.

The rest is optional (but can be helpful)... keeping a blog, becoming an advocate, attending homeschool conventions, so on, so forth.

My personal tip while still figuring the whole thing out: if your child is in his early childhood, read to him everyday, bring him out for a walk often, let him play a lot; if he is older and had been attending the usual school, talk with him about your decision to homeschool, ask around for reviews/feedbacks about homeschool providers (Philippine homeschools), and get one. Always spend quality time with them, and really get to know them. Be a good example.

Last but not least, pray... pray for God's blessing and guidance so that we may be successful with this endeavor, and be able to raise children that are not only achievers in every aspect of their lives, but are also pleasing to His eyes.

Pointers on raising a moral child

Lots of nice stuff floating around FB, but this one, I have to link to from here. Because it's true for our family, "Yet although some parents live vicariously through their children’s accomplishments, success is not the No. 1 priority for most parents. We’re much more concerned about our children becoming kind, compassionate and helpful."
  • Praising their character helped them internalize it as part of their identities. The children learned who they were from observing their own actions: I am a helpful person. 
  • Praise appears to be particularly influential in the critical periods when children develop a stronger sense of identity. By the time children turned 10, the differences between praising character and praising actions vanished: Both were effective. Tying generosity to character appears to matter most around age 8, when children may be starting to crystallize notions of identity.
  •  Shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether. When children feel guilt, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right.
  • Parents raise caring children by expressing disappointment and explaining why the behavior was wrong, how it affected others, and how they can rectify the situation.
  • Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do.
Model, model, model!

Full article:
Raising a Moral Child

Fun & Science

The 2 boys got very excited while looking at the Thames & Kosmos catalog.  Almost every page got a WOW!!!  Of course they especially wanted kits that had transport models.  They're little engineers and physicists!   (The Little Lab line is most appropriate for their ages).


"It's ok"

One of them overdue post.  It happened just days ago, so the details are now a little blurry.  The kids were playing at the lawn late in the afternoon.   I think I was asking them to wash something (probably their toy, or was it their feet?).  Well, they ended up wetting their clothes, what with getting a hold of the hose, more often than not, ends up in water play.  So I asked them to already stop.  Then M1 asked me, Mommy, do I still have clean clothes? [Yes.] So, it's ok!  Reassuringly. Coolly. As a side note, he sounds a lot like me whenever he says, it's ok.  And I noticed, he used that a lot with his little brother... It's ok... He's echoing me.  And that's something I'm smiling about.  
Anyway, I have to look for the article my hubby once read.  It's about helping the kids to suceed by -- getting out of their way.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nature study (in Dipolog & neighboring towns)

We're spending more time indoors than outdoors... something Charlotte Mason would frown upon.  So, in this post I'll try to come up with places where we can do our nature walks and explorations.
  • Our own lawn... we will just have to garden more (that's hitting 2 birds with one stone)
  • Around our village
  • Pet shops in the area, Tito Troy's mini bird sanctuary
  • Beaches (Dakak, boulevard, nearby town shores)
  • Rivers (Polanco spillway, explore other access to Dipolog river)
  • Eco-parks (ZaNorte, Cogon, Diwan, Rizal Shrine)
  • Steps to Linabo Peak
  • Greenery at Cor Jesu 
  • Farms
Handy guide:  I Love Dirt! by Jennifer Ward

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Homeschool 2014-2015

Getting ready for the coming school year, starting with schedules and materials for both Kindergarten, and PreK.  Like last year, we're adapting Mater Amabilis CM-influenced curricula with lots of Catholic Heritage Curricula materials.  Our Kindergarten, and PreK will be overlapping since my two boys have just a year and 2 months between them.  School will start in September. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Glorious Flight

For the first time, M1 shows excitement, and looks forward to another homeschool day.  All because of the book, The Glorious Flight: Across the English Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909 by Alice & Martin Provensen.

He loves it for the fact that it has airplanes in it, nevermind that they were primitive.  It does make him smile that an image of Bleriot XI is also in our encyclopedia.  But he also appreciated the onomatopoeia, Clacketa! Clacketa!   And the funny way the story was narrated.
I can only be too glad it's a great story of perseverance.

It's our 3rd book with a setting in France (Madeleine, Crictor), so we'll be playing French music also, Putumayo: French Playground.   Ooh, and Renoir!  Don't forget Renoir, or Monet!  Perhaps I should also have a French meal served, non?  M2 wants to try escargot, and I tell him, go tell Lolo D when you're in Manila.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Calming bottles

The calming bottle is a favorite among preschool homeschoolers, and so I decided to have it as our first arts & crafts project for the year. It's very simple and easy to do, especially for a creativity-challenged mom like me.  Besides, who wouldn't love glitters?

All we used for this project were:

  • (2) 300 ml plastic bottles 
  • a glitter glue in the preferred color of the child (we used Disney's Art Attack)
  • more glitters in the same color as the glitter glue
  • small metallic stars (optional)
  • warm water
  • long stick to stir it with

We first filled the bottle to around 2/3 of its capacity.  Then the kids did the squeezing of the glitter glue into the bottles.  They also helped with stirring & dissolving it.  A little more than 1/3 of the glitter glue gave a good consistency.  Then we added the extra glitters and the small stars.  We filled the bottle with water to the brim before closing it tightly.  Et voila!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cool Subscriptions

Turn Mr. Postman into your whole year round Santa (while he's back at the North Pole working with the elves). These subscriptions will bring cheer to our doorsteps, plus they're fun, fun, fun supplements to our kids' learning.  (I especially like the box subscriptions-- can't wait for them to ship here!)


  Cricket *

  MagnifiKid! *

  National Geographic Kids *

  Owl Kids *

  Highlights High Five


  Little Passports

  Green Kid Crafts

  Kiwi Crate

  Appleseed Lane

  The Happy Trunk

  Cultured Owl

* Ships internationally, including Philippines