The Most Expensive Education in the World

Homeschooling, believe it or not, is the most costly education you can give your children. Why? Because you give yourself — your time, energy, effort, life — an investment that can’t be quantified.

I figured that if I continue homeschooling my kids through high school, I will be teaching for over twenty years! I have already been a homeschool mom for 8 years + 17 more years before Tiana finishes high school (if I don’t have another child) and that will bring the grand total to 25 years. Wow! What a distance to travel! I can’t imagine that far off. How old will I be? I don’t even want to calculate!

The point is that I have chosen to commit to homeschooling, for better or for worse, til God says, do I stop. What’s the cost to me? My youth (what’s left of it). My liberties. My personal ambitions and desires. My comfort. My space. My contribution to family income. And the list goes on…

But when I think about these things, I have no regrets. My second son came up to me a few days ago and said, “Mom, I love you and daddy so much but I love Jesus more.” Praise God!, I thought to myself.

If the sacrifices we all make can lead our children to know, love, obey, serve, and worship God, then we lose nothing and gain everything. What may seem like the most expensive education is but a long term investment with the promise of eternal dividends. Homeschooling does not have a price tag but it is of infinite worth to those who understand what is worthy.

What is the worth of a child’s heart? Will you give your life for your child’s? Jesus did.

If Jesus could love my children (and me) so extravagantly, then what is 25 years of my life for the hearts of my kids?

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Re-thinking Education

Betty, a friend of mine, sent me the link for this video of Sir Ken Robinson on Ted Talks. He makes “an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.” Let it challenge your thinking on the education of your child.

Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity

NxtGen Summer Events

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Death by Popcorn?

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Death by popcorn? Not quite. Just my Titus showing me his new way of eating popcorn. Yes, that’s my three year old…my creative, persistent, active child who is a constant source of entertainment. And with that kind of a personality comes the emotional, volatile, and moody side which needs guidance and leading.

For example, when he brought his ice pop into the master’s bedroom and onto our bed, I said to him, “Hon, no eating on the bed.” He replied, “But look, mom, it’s in my mouth.” He showed me how there was no possible way to make a mess with his method of sucking on the ice pop. “I still want you to get down and not eat on the bed.” Titus inched over to the edge of the bed and said with a smirk, “I’m not eating.” And it was true. He was “drinking” his ice pop. He wasn’t eating anything. (Smarty pants!) “Okay, but you still have to do that off of the bed” was my response. He did obey but this was an example of how he tends to insist on his will over mine (We are working on this).

God gave me my Titus to teach me dependence and humility. I have had to lift up my son in surrender every time I reach the maximum human capacity meter for parenting a strong-willed child. And I have been brought to my knees in humility, recognizing how inadequate, unworthy, and clueless I am to raise a son who needs extra special attention.

Having a son like Titus has taught Edric and I how to be more sensitive to the needs of our children, and how to be more patient as we train them. Lately, we have stepped up our “game” by being more intentional with Titus. And it has been working.

Two days ago, Edric took him to buy Pixies Bangus for a dinner we had to go to. They bonded together as they waited for the fish to be cooked. Edric bought him a “special” juice drink. And when he got back to the rest of us, he said, “Dad bought me special juice and I really like it.” He went on to narrate about how he squeezed the glass of juice and it spilled on him, but that it was okay because he got to change his shorts. In the meantime, my two other sons asked if they could drink Titus’ “special juice” and he let them. I could tell he was very happy because he animatedly chatted about his glass of juice some more.

Another positive Titus moment was when Edric was teaching him how to pray. Titus used to have a difficult time praying. When it would be his turn to say grace, he would either mumble or not say anything. Edric decided to try a different tactic. During one of our family devotions, he picked Titus up and put him on his lap. While hugging him and holding him close he said, “Go ahead Titus, you pray.” Titus was quiet for a few seconds and then he spoke the sweetest prayer, “Dear Lord, please help us to memorize our verse. And please help Ging to come back.” (Ging is our househelp who went to the province for a long vacation.) I felt like crying when I listened to him pray. These were just simple words but they were heartfelt and sincere. Finally! A prayer that was all his! Edric and I talked afterwards about how holding him must have made him feel secure and confident.

Why were these seemingly small moments significant to me? Because Titus is sandwiched between two older brothers who are very close to one another and a baby sister who gets a lot of attention. So Edric and I make extra effort to make him feel equally loved and important.

My dear Titus is a constant reminder that God gives parents the grace to raise all kinds of children. Each one can be unlocked, discovered, trained and gently ushered in the direction God wants them to go.

When Titus showed me how to eat popcorn like a dog, it was God’s way of reminding me that I need to “chillax.” Have fun parenting Titus! Don’t force him into a mold! He has a God-ordained purpose. Enjoy and cherish him and his unique perspective on life, but keep training him in the way he should go. God will supply the grace and capacity!

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Where Do I Start?

About a month ago, a reader expressed that she was interested in homeschooling but didn’t know where to start. I wasn’t able to see her comment until today and I feel horrible about it. But this post is dedicated to her and her very important question.

“I’m interested in homeschooling, but where do I start?”

Attend a homeschool orientation. Homeschool providers usually give free orientations about their programs and an overview of home education. Attend several if necessary to get a big picture perspective on home schooling in the Philippines. Here are some providers to choose from:

Get connected to other homeschoolers. Join their social networks or email groups. Homeschoolers are very friendly and accommodating. They don’t mind being spied on! You can ask your questions and get answers from a number of people who have “been there and done that.”

Attend the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2012 on May 19, 2012. This is an annual event organized by  HAPI (Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands) for homeschoolers and parents.

Be in agreement with your spouse about making the decision to homeschool. Homeschooling is a way of life more than it is an education. When a family decides to homeschool, every member of the family participates. Fathers may be in charge of devotion time or physical education, and mothers may handle the majority of the subjects, but at the end of the day, both husband and wife must be 100% committed to home education.

Read and follow blogs by homeschoolers in the Philippines. Homeschooling blogs have useful review on books and curriculum that you can use for your own kids. They also talk about upcoming homeschool events, and give practical tips on parenting and teaching. Most of all, they make people realize that homeschoolers are normal people who have their own struggles, shorcomings and frustrations but manage to successfully educate their children (by God’s grace!).

 Do your homework.

  • Read up on homeschool teaching methods.
  • Call the Department of Education (NCR) to get an updated list of accredited homeschool providers. 928-0104; 921-4274
  • Check out the latest facts on homeschooling by Dr. Brian Ray’s National Home Education Research Institute. NHERI
  • Be aware of the Philippine government’s legal stand on homeschooling

Homeschooling and Open Universities in the Philippines 
Homeschool Legal Defense Association on the Philippines

Consider the cost. Homeschooling will require your time, energy, effort, and positive parenting.

  • Instruction Time: Pre-schooler (1.5 to 2 hours daily); Elementary (3 to 4 hours daily); High school (4 to 5 hours daily)
  • Energy: Being with your kids all day can zap you! Realize, however, that you are making an investment in your relationship with them and their future success.
  • Effort: Homeschooling involves goal setting, planning, scheduling, and actual instruction. You have to prepare for your lessons. Some subjects can be done spontaneously and without much planning ahead. But when you have projects or experiments, you will need to have all your supplies and materials ready. You will also need to understand certain lessons and subject matter before presenting these to your child (especially for older children.)
  • Positive parenting: A good relationship with your child will greatly help your homeschooling. Children naturally respond to parents’ teaching and instruction if they feel loved, accepted, built-up, and when they are disciplined appropriately. A Christ-centered home is the best environment for homeschooling.

If you have the opportunity to, spend a day with a homeschooling family that you know and observe how teaching and instruction happens in their home. See how they set-up their “homeschool area.” Ideally, this should be a family whose children are “good products” of home education. ;-)

Pray about it! Make a list of your fears and apprehensions. Surrender these to the Lord and ask him for confirmation and clear leading about whether you should homeschool.

Have the right motivation. Why choose to homeschool? Don’t let your number one reason be an economic one. My husband, Edric, and I decided to homeschool because we want our children to grow up to love, know, serve, obey, and worship God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Every family that wants to homeschool needs to ask themselves the why question.

 

MORE HELP:

Really Good Smart Parenting Articles on Homeschooling you may also find helpful:

Homeschooling In the Philippines – FAQs and Tips for Parents

How to Choose a Program for Your Child

Why Homeschooling Is Best for Your Preschooler

Homeschooling Your Big Kid – 6-to-7-year-old

The Benefits of Homeschooling Your Child

What It Takes to Homeschool Your Child

 

“Best Day Ever!”

We spent all of Saturday hanging out with the kids (and mostly, at home). We played Monopoly Philippine Edition, went swimming, drove around in the car to run errands, and put out a big mattress in the living room so we could all lay on it and chill. One of our sons said, “This is the best day ever!”

Edric gave me a look and said under his breath, “Did you hear that?” We smiled at each other. We know that our kids say this when their emotional tanks are full. And their emotional tanks are full when we have uninterrupted, lengthy amounts of time together as a family doing the things that they enjoy.

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What blesses my heart is that the kids treasure togetherness more than fancy toys, gadgets, their friends, or going out. (Edan, our second son, wanted to play Plants vs. Zombies on my IPad but he forgot about it while playing Monopoly.) Someday when they are older, togetherness may not be their number one priority, but I am so thankful to the Lord that Edric and I can have these moments with them now.

While our children are still young, we are the most important people in their lives. Our approbation, attention, and time matter to them. They actually want to be with us. They listen to what we have to say. They want to please us and make us happy. But I know that this window of opportunity will not be open forever.

Two weeks ago when Edric spoke before a group of parents he said, “I have one life to live and only one shot at parenting. I want to make it count.” Edric and I did not always see parenting from this perspective. But as we attended family seminars, received mentoring from spiritual leaders, studied God’s word, and homeschooled our kids, we realized more and more that no one can take our place in the lives of our children.

There is no substitute for the relationship between parent and child. There is no monetary equivalent. There is no greater influence for the formation of values, character, and understanding of faith. When parents are not available, replacements will not satisfy the deep longing children have for parental acceptance and security. When parents do not guide and lead in the home, children are without a moral compass.

Yes, God can heal and redeem the shortcomings of parents, but it is not easy to survive the consequences of absentee parenting. When I say “absentee” I don’t just mean physically away. Many parents can be present at home but emotionally absent — watching TV, surfing the Net, checking Facebook, working, or preoccupied with hobbies and personal interests. It’s called disengaged parenting. “I’m here but not really.” Are you guilty of this? Well, I am at times.

But, I don’t want to be that kind of parent. So I choose to switch from disengaged mode to engaged mode with my kids. Engaged mode is about interacting, communicating, socializing, laughing, having fun with my kids. Honestly, I don’t like Monopoly or swimming! (Edric and the kids know this. They know that I prefer to watch a movie, write, or read.) Monopoly and swimming are NOT favorite past times of mine. But I still spend two hours rolling dice and investing in imaginary properties to build pretend hotels on. I still wade around in the kiddie pool, standing on my knees while I hold on to my little kids.

Why? Because these activities matter to my children. They like playing Monopoly and other board games. They like swimming, biking, walking outside, painting, being read to, etc…For them, the draw is togetherness. I have often heard my kids blurt out this statement, “Yeah! We are all together! It’s family time!”

“Togetherness” is a noun that means “a feeling of closeness or affection from being united with other people.” (The Free Dictionary) It is the magic that happens when Edric and I participate in the activities our children enjoy (versus forcing them to do only what we like to do). It is what keeps the doorway to our children’s hearts open. And it is what turns ordinary days into the best days ever! I hope all of us can have more of these days!

Fire!

For our playgroup, we had volunteer firefighters come over and teach the kids about fire safety.

Fire truck arrives!

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Volunteer firefighter and friend of mine, Kim Evangelista, gives the talk, “Learn Not to Burn” to the playgroup kids.

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Kids learn how to use a mini extinguisher to put out a fire.

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Sparky the fire dog entertains the kids and demonstrates how to crawl to a fire exit and “stop, drop and roll!” Tiana volunteers to crawl.

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Volunteer firefighter, Jester Wong, shows the kids how to put on every piece of equipment a fireman needs to wear to be protected when he enters a burning building or home.

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The kids’ favorite part was shooting the water out of the fire hose! It’s more fun in the Philippines!

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Learning about fire safety does not get more fun than this!

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Laying A Strong Foundation

Homeschool Conference 2012

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Playful and Inspiring Ideas for Learning Spaces

One of the super cool things about homeschooling is designing and customizing your own learning space. I often research about architecture and interior design because I am a secret wanna-be architect and interior designer. And if there is one area I would love to be able to create it would be children’s playrooms…rooms that encourage learning, exploration, interaction, togetherness, dreams…rooms that make grown ups nostalgic when they remember their childhood.

Why not a climbing wall? Or an orange desk? Or a tent for reading? Or a floor to ceiling blackboard? Or a tree in the middle of a room? I went to sites like houzz, and DigsDigs and found some great ideas for small and big kids.

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Mind Boggling Mind Museum

We had a wonderful afternoon at the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City. It was well worth the 450/child and 600/adult fees that we had to pay. There are some areas that are still under development but I am sure that by the end of the month, everything should be up and ready. For homeschoolers, I suggest you visit before school gets out and do a morning field trip to avoid the hoards that will surely come when summer hits. Mind Museum is designed to be interactive so if you have kinesthetic learners (like my Titus), they will thoroughly enjoy this place. Of course it will definitely appeal to the scientifically inclined as well.

Mind Museum does not support the creationist view of the world so if that is what you believe, as our family does, you may need to explain some areas to your children like the idea that cosmic collision birthed the earth. Otherwise, I imagine that our children will want to have a return visit in the very near future. It really is a lot to take in. We spent two and a half hours inside the museum and I still can’t remember half of what I saw!

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You may contact us through our contact details given below.

The Mind Museum
2/F Bonifacio Technology Center
31st Street Corner 2nd Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tel. 909-MIND (6463)

inquiry@themindmuseum.org

Educational Toys Keep The Tots Busy

To keep my little darlings busy while their older siblings homeschool, I give them educational toys to play with. It makes their introduction to learning fun and the bonus for me is that they stay entertained while I work with my older boys. To keep things from getting chaotic, I take out one toy at a time. This minimizes the mess and allows them to focus on one activity at a time.

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Where can you buy wooden educational toys?
Caleb’s Closet
Mother Garden
Learning Junction
Noturordinarystore
Melissa and Doug (Many of their puzzles are available at Toys R Us)
Tahanan Walang Hagdanan

A Divine Checklist for Social Development

This is one of the most beautiful passages on relationships — Romans 9:12-21.Personally, I feel that it gives some of the best guidelines for healthy social development. If our children can internalize and practice the guidelines in this passage, they will be a blessing to the whole world and bring glory to Jesus Christ!

I spent some time explaining each concept to my kids. Reading through it again with them made me evaluate my own relationships with people. I have to improve in many ways! May this passage bless you as it blessed me and my kids…

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave croom for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21 NASB)

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