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.