Someday, I Want to Be An Architect

At the age of four, our eldest son, Elijah, expressed that he wanted to be an architect. Since then we have encouraged the pursuit this dream by being intentional about the activities he invests his time doing. I downloaded an app that features all the architectural masterpieces of the world, which also helps his geography. He plays with a program called Google Sketchup which can be downloaded for free onto a computer, and he designs buildings and structures. We have also bought him different kinds of blocks that allow him to invent and create from his imagination. When he became interested in Origami, we bought him books, paper, and directed him to safe online sites where he learned all the names of the folds and terminologies, and where he developed his skill. He has also taught other children and even adults.

Elijah spends most of his days becoming the architect he envisions himself in the future by spending time building, creating, learning, and doing what he enjoys. He is blessed to have this time because he is a homeschooled kid. Getting to pursue his passion keeps him motivated to excel in his subject studies and it keeps him from getting bored, too! It certainly makes my work easier as a homeschool mom!

The added bonus has been that Elijah has influenced his younger brothers to get into building and designing, too. They play together and make pretend worlds or places while learning to cooperate and share. :)

 

A Day in the Life of Homeschooling

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Bible Verse Art

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Happy Father’s Day, Hon!

I married a most amazing man who became a most amazing father to our children. Thank you for being a Malachi dad to our sons and daughter.

I want to honor you for letting our God turn your heart to the hearts of our children.

Malachi 4:6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

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Easy Read-a-loud Book

Titus is enjoying this book now.We read a story a day and he is able to sit through it and pay attention. It’s called Stories Jesus Told by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen and it is based on the parables of Jesus. I bought it at OMF Bookstore sometime ago for my older kids who also liked it.

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A Father’s Prayer

One of the best things a father can do is teach his son the way he should go, but a greater father knows that this an impossible task without God’s intervention and help.

On Saturday morning, January 17,2004, Papa (Edric’s father), emailed this prayer to Edric. Since then Edric has kept the print out of this email as a reminder of how he should live his life.

Here is the prayer General Douglas McArthur wrote to his son…(He was a homeschooler, too!)

Prayer for A Son

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take that place of deeds; a son who will know Thee–and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

Gatekeepers

As we celebrated my brother’s birthday last week, we spent time honoring him and sharing what we appreciated about him. Honoring people on their birthdays was a tradition that we picked up from my husband, Edric, who used to do the same thing growing up. We have practiced this over the years and it is one of the ways we make a birthday celebrant feel special.

I honored my younger brother for being a man of his word, an intentional father to his three children, consistent, godly, and for being the “gatekeeper” of his home. I told him, “Paul, I am blessed by the way that you are careful about the things you allow your children to watch on tv, play on the computer, or see at the movies. I know you are pretty strict and sometimes I feel like it is a bit much but I can see why you do it.”

My brother has always been particular when it comes to media because he wants to protect his kids from worldly philosophies and images that can disturb the minds of his young kids. He will preview an animated film before letting his children watch it.

Edric and I don’t always preview animated movies before watching them with our kids but we are very cautious about media influence. For example, our children are not allowed to go to YouTube unless I am showing them something on it. They can’t surf for computer games on their own but they can play on sites that I have pre-approved. They can watch most of the shows on Playhouse Disney channel, but only on the weekends (there are a few exemptions). And even then they cannot watch for an endless amount of time.

I’ve also had talks with Elijah, our eldest, about the dangers of the internet — predators, pornography and the like.  The sad reality is that children as young as 6 years old get exposed to pornography via the internet because of friends or even by accident. I remember saying to Elijah something like this, “God designed the body to be private and not exposed. Some people on the internet show naked pictures of people or themselves. That is not something that we are supposed to see. So you need to guard your eyes. If something like that ever pops up on the computer screen by accident just run away from it and tell mommy or daddy right away!”  For a while we installed a net “nanny” type of internet security which helped a lot. (I should probably install it again.)

When it comes to movies, we will watch with the kids every now and then but we pay close attention to what our kids see. We ask our kids to close their eyes when the content is too mature — violence, kissing scenes or romantic scenes, scary images and the like.  But sometimes we get caught off guard by inappropriate innuendos (like references to sexuality), new age philosophies, or bad behavior and attitudes displayed by characters (even in cartoons!) and it’s hard to say, “Please close your eyes kids!” before it happens. So Edric and I have to be intentional in explaining and correcting what they see.

For instance, I was watching a show with the kids one evening and the characters were disobedient to authority, so I said something like this, “Boys that behavior was not right, what was wrong with it? They were not being obedient. What did we learn about obedience? You have to obey your parents and authority.” I waited for them to acknowledge and respond to my statement with understanding.

There is nothing neutral about media, whether it be tv, print, radio or digital. There is always a worldview and philosophy behind the images, characters, and stories that our children see and watch. And our children are so impressionable. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Children ARE influenced by media–they learn by observing, imitating, and making behaviors their own” (2001, p.1224).

Therefore, we must be discriminating about what we allow our children to be exposed to because not everything is beneficial. Does it conform to the same values we are trying to teach? What are the messages that are being conveyed about things like relationships, authority, gender, God, spirituality?

We are the gatekeepers of our home. It is our responsibility to control the content that comes in and filter it if necessary. It may sound extreme but the Bible says in Romans 16:19 “…but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.”

I pray that we can raise our children to be discerning so they will eventually be gatekeepers of their own hearts.

 

 

Bible Devotion for the Week

The boys recite their memory verse for the week and “interpret” them on their own.

Edan recites Proverbs 17:22

Titus recites Proverbs 17:22

Elijah recites Proverbs 17:22

 

Opportunities to Shine

A couple weeks ago Elijah and Edan participated in the Homeschool Association of the Philippines (Hapi) Homeschool Fair at Valle Verde 5. Homeschool kids displayed their art projects or science projects, and performed music and dance numbers.

It was a good experience for my boys. They got to explain their projects to people who stopped by our booth. And they also worked hard the night before to finish their displays.

Elijah made origami pieces (since origami is his specialty). He also demonstrated and taught origami to other kids. Edan made oil pastel drawings and gave out origami hearts which he made on the spot.

The day turned out to be a wonderful time of fellowship with other families. It gave all the kids who participated an opportunity to shine and use their talents to bless others and glorify God. I also felt proud of my kids because they finished well — the three of us were up till late the night before but the boys did not complain. They wanted to do their best and they gave it their best. Elijah produced almost thirty origami pieces–technical ones, too! And Edan made ten oil pastel drawings with much enthusiasm!

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Museum and Lunch

We had a yummy discovery this week — a delicious restaurant to take the family to that won’t burn holes in our pockets. Along Katipunan, near White Plains, and a few meters after Lapid’s Chicharon, is a new restaurant called Silya at Sili. In my opinion, they serve some of the best Filipino food! It’s like home cooked food served “gourmet style.” It is also a museum that features beautiful paintings. (Unfortunately, even though it was our second time to go, I forgot to pay attention to the names and titles of the works!)

For just a little over 1k we ate 8 incredible dishes! The food was sooo good! Adobo Rice, Bagoong Rice, Mustasa Salad, Bangus Belly Sinigang, Inihaw na Liempo, Pork Binagoongan, Sweet and Sour Fish, and Lumpiang Shanghai. The kids loved it!

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Date Your Kids

As a mom of four, I need to employ strategies to make sure that my children feel  equally special and important. This means finding ways to spend one-on-one time with each of them. It can be something as simple as walking over to a nearby convenience store or painting a picture with them. But the motive goes beyond just spending time together. I use these moments to mentor them, address heart-issues, and build our relationship.

Today I took my five-year old, Edan, to the grocery with me.  My two other sons played ball with Edric and it was Tiana’s naptime. So Edan and I had the later part of the morning all to ourselves.  I said to him, “I’m so excited to spend time with you. It’s just you and me today.” And then I assigned him the task of keeping my checklist and reminding me about what was on it. In fact, I discovered that Edan is a goal-oriented and focused person. First, he asked me, “How much money do you have?” I thought that was very cute. And I replied, “Enough. Don’t worry.”

And then as I took my time going through the aisles, he started to seem agitated. He kept on saying, “Mom, we should go to the toilet paper.” Or, “Mom, we keep getting things that are not on the list.” I tried to explain to him that there were other items that I needed to buy and even if he found that to be an acceptable explanation, he wasn’t able to relax until we got to the last thing on our list — fruit. This was his favorite part. In our home, we call him the “fruitarian.” He likes fruit a whole lot. So he was thrilled when I picked out one of those delicious Pomelos from Davao (one of his favorite fruits) and let him hold on to it. He actually tucked it under his arm and walked around with it for a while while I pushed the cart.

As I got to the last part of my shopping, I discovered a nice surprise about Edan — he thinks ahead. When we were nearing the check-out area, I had to leave him for a little bit at the end of the noodle aisle, and I went to grab a couple of things. But when I returned, he was not where I left him. Instead, he had managed to push the big cart all the way to a check-out counter that was free and was waiting for me there. “Wow! Thank you, hon,” I said and he beamed.

While I was paying, I said to him, “Go ahead and pick out something for yourself, you were a great help to mommy today.” He got a Crunch bar and a Kit-kat bar.  Since it was almost noon, I knew he was hungry and he wanted to eat them but I said, “you can eat those after lunch.” He said, “Okay, mom,” and sat on a stool beside me without fussing.

But when we got to the car, he asked if he could eat the candy bars again, and I replied, “Edan, sometimes we want to do something but it’s not the right time. That’s when we need to exercise self-control.” I went on to explain how self-control can be applied in his own life. And he added, “Oh yah, if I eat them before lunch, I won’t want to eat my lunch.”

We spent about two hours going to the grocery, shopping, and then driving back home together, but I felt like it was one of those priceless experiences when I got to know Edan better and appreciate him more. It was like being on a date with a little gentleman. During lunch, he proudly told Edric, “I took care of mommy!” He sure did!

Edan, my date for the day

 

 

You Spank Your Child?!

I once came across an article on the internet written by an author who was vehemently against spanking. He saw it as a form of child abuse and raised all kinds of arguments against the biblical references quoted by Christians for disciplining with a rod. I can’t blame him. When you really think about it, the image spanking conjures is somewhat disconcerting — a parent hitting a little child on the rear end with a stick. It does sound kind of awful.

The topic of discipline, with a rod in particular, elicits all kinds of responses from people. And until parents understand the biblical basis and experience the positive results of discipline, spanking can sound wrong.

Before rejecting and banning spanking as a form of discipline in your home, please read on…

Personally, I was spanked when I was a child. And I never saw it as “abuse” as many people today might call it. On the contrary, I understood it as “mommy and daddy are teaching me how to obey.” My siblings and I were not spanked that often, but when we were, my parents always explained to us why we were getting a spanking, what rule was broken, and how we could change.

I was always spanked in the same way. It was a long walk down the hallway to my parents’ bathroom where the big leather belt of my dad was hanging behind the door. When my siblings or I disobeyed a major rule in our home, we knew that we would be getting a spanking with that belt. The routine was the same. Mom or dad would talk to us and explain how we disobeyed, and we would acknowledge our wrong and ask for forgiveness. They would tell us to bend over and they would spank our behind with the belt not more than two or three times (directly onto the skin). This was always done in private and not in anger. Not once did a spanking ever cut our skin to make us bleed, but every single time it would sting badly! We would then cry and my mom or dad would give us a great big hug and tell us they loved us. I praise God that we had a good relationship because I understood how these spankings were used to train us and not to punish us. There was never any feeling of bitterness toward my parents after they spanked me, too.

When Edric and I became parents, we also believed that spanking would help train our children to learn obedience. I remember the first spanking Edric gave Elijah. We both cried and it was hard for Edric to do it. But right after, Elijah embraced Edric and his heart became soft and yielding. From then on, we applied biblical spanking to discipline our young children. So far, it has been working to remove defiance from their hearts and we have not had to do it too often (Praise God!).

We have kept the rules simple and spank only for major things. My dad used to tell us, “spank for mistakes of the heart and not mistakes of the mind.” For example, if your child forgets to brush his teeth when you told him to, don’t spank for that. But if you told him to brush his teeth and he yells back, “No!” that’s different. That’s wilful disobedience or a mistake of the heart.

But why spanking, a parent might ask? Why not just “go sit in a corner-time,” or one-on-one talks, or a quick slap on the hand? Here’s one reason. Spanking supernaturally transforms the hearts of our children. Seriously! It’s not my idea. It’s in the Bible. In Proverbs 22:15 it says that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” Children can’t self-correct when they are young. They need help removing foolishness from their hearts and it is our responsibility to do so by spanking them with a rod. Spanking works. Whether we believe this or not, the reality stands. But it needs to be done in the right context.

The right context is a loving relationship. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son; But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Notice that the verse says, “he who loves…” The Bible also tells us that we are not to exasperate our children. One of the ladies in our parenting group said that her dad used to spank her without ever explaining what she did wrong and that he never had a good relationship with her. She was one of those moms that struggled with the idea of spanking her own children at first but has now applied biblical spanking with her daughter and has seen good results. But the difference between her own father’s style and hers is that she and her husband have a positive relationship with their daughter.

It is comforting to know that God himself disciplines us in the context of love, too. In Hebrews 12:5-11, it talks about how God disciplines those he loves, those who are his children. It is for our good so that we may share in his holiness. When it happens there is sorrow, but this is only temporal. In the end, discipline will produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Just as God desires for us to become righteous and holy through discipline, we should aim for the same result in the hearts and lives of our children. Discipline may bring temporal pain but it will produce life-long lessons. “Do not withhold discipline from the child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” (Proverbs 23:13) When a doctor has to set a broken bone, there is temporary pain, but it straightens the bone. We don’t say, “What an evil doctor! He is hurting the person!” We don’t say this because we know that the doctor is doing something that will ultimately amount to the persons good. (I broke my nose playing college soccer and it had to be reset without anaesthesia, but I’m glad my doctor did it!) Similarly, using spanking as a form of discipline is painful but it straightens the path of our children. It helps them to understand the difference between right and wrong. It teaches them to submit to authority and learn obedience. Proverbs 19:18 says, “Discipline your son in his early years while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin his life.” The earlier you spank, the sooner they “get it.”

Sometimes the problem is that parents spank as a form of punishment and fail to discipline. There is a world of difference between the two. The purpose of punishment is to inflict penalty for an offense, while discipline purposes to train for correction and maturity. The focus of punishment is past misdeeds while the focus of discipline is future correct deeds. Punishment is done with an attitude of hostility and frustration on the part of the parent while discipline is done with an attitude of love and concern on the part of the parent. Fear and guilt are the resulting emotions in the heart of a child when punishment is inflicted, while security is the resulting emotion when discipline is used. Source: Betty N. Chase, Discipline Them, Love Them (Colorado Springs, CO: David Cook Ministries) 1982, pg. 15

PRINCIPLES TO REMEMBER ABOUT SPANKING:

  • Do not spank in anger. When your anger is not controlled, never spank a child.
  • Use a wooden rod or paddle (something that won’t cut the skin)
  • Generally, spanking is used more with toddlers and preschoolers, but it is also used with elementary-aged children. You can start spanking as early as 1 year old if your child is showing signs of defiance.
  • Use spanking when a young child OPENLY DEFIES your authority. When you tell your child to come to you and he runs away from you, that is defiance.
  • Have a few, clear rules that are important and spank when these rules are disobeyed. Remember to apply one-command obedience. If they did not obey a clear rule, spank right away. Don’t threaten or count or wait til you have reached the limit of your patience.
  • Don’t be afraid to use spanking when it is the best method to use, but don’t use spanking for every misbehaviour. Spanking is one method of correction, but there are several other methods available also such as direct, assertive communication and natural logical consequences. Carefully select your method of correction for every situation.
  • Spanking is a procedure. Don’t reach out and hit a child; it is disrespectful. Take the child to a private place and then follow the seven steps listed here:
  1. Get alone with the child, do not publicly embarrass him.
  2. Ask “What is our rule?” or “What did Daddy (or Mommy) say?” You are making sure the child understood your instruction before you correct him.
  3. Ask “What did you do?” You are asking him to establish personal responsibility for his actions and confess. This is important.
  4. Explain that you love him and equate love with correction. Say, “I love you and want to help you learn how to do the right thing next time. To learn to obey.”
  5. Spank the child. Give him a few swift but painful swats on the buttocks. The child’s angry, mad cry should change to a softer, giving-in cry.
  6. Comfort the child immediately after spanking. Do not reject the child. Hold the child close and reassure him of your love.
  7. If necessary, have the child make restitution. For example, if the child hurt a sibling, have him ask for forgiveness.

Sources: Peter and Deonna Tan-Chi, Biblical Parenting Seminar and Betty N. Chase, Discipline Them, Love Them.

Let me end with this beautiful promise from God’s word…“Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will delight your soul.” Proverbs 29:17

Discipline your child in love and you will certainly experience the comfort and delight that his wise choices, right thinking and actions will bring in the future.