If you have friends and family who are interested in home education, please invite them to this first-ever homeschool conference in Dubai! This is one of the reasons why Edric and I are presently in Dubai with our kids. For more information please visit: http://homeschooling.ae/
Last year I was introduced to a company called Smart Toys, a distributor of learning materials that combine technology and hands-on learning. One of their products is called Marbotic — learning materials that were created by “tech-lovers and education experts to blend traditional wooden toys and touchscreen technology.”
Smart Numbers teach kids to count using ten beautiful wooden numbers and three educational apps inspired by the Montessori method. Smart Letters combine three apps and twenty six wooden letters to help kids learn reading and writing.
Catalina tested the Smart Letters out and she thoroughly enjoyed taking each letter and placing it on the screen to hear it’s name, sound and discover what words begin with the letter.
Marbotic is unique because it engages children with tactile experiences as they learn, but it also harnesses the advantages of technology. Although it’s a little pricey, it’s one of those educational toys/materials that you can use with succeeding children. The wooden letters and numbers are well-made, sturdy, and don’t require batteries.
I also asked my kids and their cousins to sample Smart Toys‘ 3D coloring books which come in four different titles–Dino, Ocean, Safari, Bird. After kids color the pictures, they can pair them with a free app that makes their art come to life.
Other notable educational products by Smart Toys are Augmented Reality (AR) Books. These AR books come to life when you scan them with your smartphone or tablet. There are seven titles — Dino, Ocean, Safari, Farm Animals, Bug, Herptile, and Birds.
Kids can read about creatures come to life on a page! It’s augmented reality for educational purposes.
As a homeschool mom, I am thrilled that there are so many materials out there that I can use to teach my kids. My mom taught my siblings and I using textbooks with newsprint pages. We survived and did fine because that’s all we really had to choose from. Today, however, homeschool parents have a plethora of options for every bent and interest of their children. This is the best time in the world to be a homeschooler!
For more information on Smart Toys please contact 0917-8877959 or follow @smartoysph on Instagram.
This global television event redefines on-air storytelling by combining film-quality scripted drama and visual effects with a powerful documentary interviewing some of the best and brightest minds in modern science and innovation, including Elon Musk. (When I browsed through the website www.mars.natgeotv.com/hk I was like, wait, is this happening already?! Are we really creating a colony on Mars?!)
FOX Networks Group Asia’s SVP – Marketing & Communications for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Lucien Harrington says: ‘Living on Mars is an occurrence many think we won’t see in our lifetime, but the reality is actually very different. The show highlights the acceleration in thinking and technology on one side, and the need for a planet move in the future due to environment factors on earth, on the other. The experience that has been created brings certain elements of Mars to life, to educate particularly children, about what changes they will need to make and skills they will need to have. After all, they’ll likely be living there.’
FOX Networks Group’s National Geographic Channel encouraged me to ask my two older kids about what they thought it would be like for a colony to be realized on Mars. Since our kids enjoy Nat Geo’s channel often, we welcomed the opportunity as a privilege! Plus, it was a great way for them to think through their past Astronomy lessons.
Here’s what they said…
A Future Colony on Mars by Elijah and Edan
1. Don’t use gas as a fuel source. Focus on hydrogen since its abundant and clean.
2. Don’t be selfish and use Mars for personal gain or glory.
3. Be conscious of proper waste disposal.
4. Maximize resources like iron without abusing the planet.
Here’s my personal opinion about colonizing Mars:
If we aren’t content with the earth that God gave us, we aren’t going to be content with the wonders of living on another planet either. And if we can’t take proper care of earth and rehabilitate it so that it is able to sustain life at optimum levels then we should be wise about the occupation of another planet. More space, more resources, and greater discoveries will not fix the main issues that face mankind. We are prone to selfishness and sinfulness, so we will take that with us to Mars, too. So as we celebrate the very real possibility that Mars can house a human colony, and applaud the science and technological advancements that have brought us to this point, let’s do our part. The scientists are making great sacrifices to create options for mankind, and we can dream with them and support their efforts by being responsible about the earth God gave us to live in. This will afford them the liberty and flexibility to explore space frontiers without being weighed down by the pressure of having to find solutions to humanity’s survival.
For more about the show including the experts, actors and storylines, visit: www.mars.natgeotv.com/hk
The science and realism behind the series is fascinating!
And if you’re up for learning more about your Red Planet readiness with your kids, visit www.makemarshome.com
Arrrrrrggggghhhh. Teaching math to my five year old daughter makes me go crazy sometimes!
Why is it so hard for her to get math?! Is it me? Is it her? It’s flabbergasting!!!
After successfully teaching three boys basic math, I feel like she should be able to get it just as easily. But this hasn’t been the case. It’s been a challenging year trying to help her learn fundamental math skills.
This level of math is so elementary it frightens me to think of what it’s going to be like when we tackle more difficult skills. A few days ago, I called in reinforcements that came in the form of my husband, Edric. He very patiently asked her to bring her dolls into his study room so he could experientially demonstrate subtraction.
As I vented to him in private, he calmly reminded me, “This is exactly what you talk about in your seminars. Every child is different. Don’t compare. You are going to have to adjust your teaching style just like you tell parents to.”
He’s absolutely right. My problem is I want to be able to explain things to her a few times and expect that it converges sensibly in her brain. But it doesn’t. I know she doesn’t have a learning disability…although I have wondered if she does.
In fact, I looked up dyscalculia — a brain-based condition that makes it difficult to understand number sense and math concepts. It’s like missing the logic behind math. Yet Tiana doesn’t quite fit the definition of this disability.
At the end of the day, it’s me who has to change and improve my methods (and expectations). Children can’t be taught using a cookie-cutter approach.
The reality is, as Edric emphasized, each child is unique and different. Tiana needs more attention when it comes to math. I can’t breeze through material with her. Deep down, I know this. But two things poison my teaching:
1. Worrying that she will get left behind people her age.
2. Feeling too lazy to modify my teaching and present material creatively.
Why does #1 concern me? Because I am proud! I want my children to excel and be ahead of their peers. Yes, homeschool moms struggle with this, too!
But #2 is an issue because I am busy. When I get busy and when I feel harried, I don’t enjoy the process of learning and discovery. This is something I preach and believe in — make learning a lifestyle. However, when I am pressed by deadlines or when I have something else that is urgent, I rush through lessons with my kids.
After stepping back and evaluating why I was stressed and annoyed, I came to the conclusion that Tiana has no problems learning. Sure, she may take longer to “GET” certain concepts. But she can do it if I am committed to being the kind of teacher who truly enables her.
In a recent seminar I attended, I learned that the goal of teaching is life change. The goal of instruction is application. Until a person applies what you taught him or her, your job isn’t done as a teacher.
As a homeschool mom, this translates to this: Until my kids reach the point where they can confidently apply what they have learned, then I must remain committed to helping them do so. I cannot give up, quit, turn-over the responsibility, or resign to the frustration. If they don’t learn well it’s not my children’s fault. It’s mine — my perspective is wrong, my approach is not appropriate or effective, or I am focusing on my limitations and my child’s shortcomings.
So what am I going to do about it? Throw a book out a window, lose my temper, say mean things in my irritation, or crawl under a rock and say, forget it! (Those are some of things I feel like doing!)
I can’t do any of the above. That’s a defeatist mindset — the kind that is unproductive, unhealthy and damaging to my kids and me. So I praise God for Edric’s levelheadedness at the moment when I was about to lose it mentally and emotionally. He reminded me that I am responsible.
For Tiana, I can…
1. Use more hands-on experiences (i.e. games, manipulatives)
2. Connect math to life. Show how math can be applied to everyday situations (I.e. Baking, shopping)
3. Make math fun by being more creative in the way I present concepts and test for learning
4. Research on techniques to equip myself better
5. Be encouraging, positive, and patient
It’s no accident that God gave us the child or children we have with their strengths and weaknesses. That was His plan and design to teach us what it means to love and forgive unconditionally, to depend on Him, and to become more like Him in character.
Homeschooling is actually life-schooling for me! Everyday I need to work on my parenting skills and grow the fruit of the Holy Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 2:22-23) I don’t think that non-homeschooling parents are exempted from this either.
Lastly, our relationship with our children is far more important than their academic perfection. At the end of everyday do our children know that we love them no matter what? Do they go to bed affirmed by this truth?
“You Cannot Lose My Love”
You will lose your baby teeth.
At times, you’ll lose your faith in me.
You will lose a lot of things,
But you cannot lose my love.
You may lose your appetite,
Your guiding sense of wrong and right.
You may lose your will to fight,
But you cannot lose my love.
You will lose your confidence.
In times of trial, your common sense.
You may lose your innocence,
But you cannot lose my love.
Many things can be misplaced;
Your very memories be erased.
No matter what the time or space,
You cannot lose my love.
You cannot lose,
You cannot lose,
You cannot lose my love.
Edric and I will soon be in South America to attend the Global Home Education Conference (GHEC). Although I’m not thrilled about leaving our little ones behind, I also need to extract myself from my daily routine as a homeschooling mom, from my myopic perspective, and look at home education from a global perspective.
Edric is actually part of the GHEC board, a team of movers in home education around the world, who have been planning this event for the last 18 months.
What is the GHEC?
GHEC 2016 is a leadership conference for policy makers, researchers, movement leaders, and parents interested in home education…The GHEC 2016 is a three-day event that brings together those with an interest in freedom of education and home education in particular to provide a stimulating environment to gather the best cross-section of research and to cultivate a commitment to parent-directed education. Home education highlights the most crucial factors in the freedom of education discussion. Who is responsible for education? What role do parents play in the education of their children? To what extent is the state responsible for education of children? Source: About GHEC
The last time I attended the GHEC in Berlin I learned so much from the speakers and connected with people from all around the world. It was inspiring, encouraging, and life-changing. One of the talks that I liked the most was given by child development psychologist, Dr. Gordon Neufeld. He gave the audience this thought-provoking question, “When did your child first fall in love with you?”
His point was: we can’t influence children if we don’t have their hearts. Furthermore, children don’t mature in a healthy way when they aren’t secure in their relationship with their parents. Read more about this in my article: Why Home Education Works
This year I am looking forward to picking up more insights from veteran homeschoolers, policy makers, and influencers who are making an impact on education around the globe.
Somehow, I also became part of the workshop speaker’s pool to talk about the support systems that we need to make available to homeschooling families. It’s a super small role and I’m slightly terrified about it because it’s outside of my comfort zone to speak with amazing moms or people who have a lot more experience than I do. But Edric and I are here to serve. (He will be a speaker, too.)
Please pray for me, that I will be a blessing and encourage the attendees with some practical wisdom (Edric, too). Furthermore, please pray that both of us bring glory to God. (Of course, please pray that we don’t get bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus!)
Why is the GHEC important to Edric and me? I will quote GHEC’s goal here:
The ability to choose home education is a right. It’s a right well-documented in international law. It’s our right as parents to direct the education of our children. And it’s the right of children to receive an individualized education experience that best suits their needs and goals.
This concept cuts across cultures, methods, and beliefs. It exists regardless of motivation or methodology in home education. This conference is a gathering for those who have an interest in engaging the important questions surrounding home education.
We are blessed to be able to home educate our children in the Philippines because the government is supportive of it. But we must seek to defend the rights of all families who want to choose home education for their own families and cannot because the laws of the land deprive them of this right. Furthermore, what affects one part of the world will eventually impact all of us. So this is for our children’s future, too.
If you want to attend the conference but can’t fly to Brazil to be there physically, you can catch the live stream.
I’ll try my best to post my learnings, too!
Every homeschooling parent needs to recharge and revisit the commitment they have made to educate their children at home. Because we are in the trenches of teaching our children it’s difficult to see the bigger picture. Where are we headed? What is the goal? How do we navigate through the daily challenges without getting lost or discouraged?
Sometimes the best way to regroup is to take a pause from the homeschool teaching in order to be taught for a change! We need spiritual, emotional and intellectual feeding ourselves. The great teacher Howard Hendricks said, “The philosophy that you as a teacher should embrace is that you are a learner. Would you rather have your students drink from an overflowing living stream or a stagnant pool? What have you learned lately?” (Seven Laws of the Teacher)
As homeschooling parents, we need encouragement and fresh ideas, to correct our approaches and perspectives, or revisit the fundamentals that have gotten buried under our doings. Maybe we need to stop doing or start doing something. And of course, we always need more materials, books, resources, and curriculum. But, most of all, we need spiritual reviving from the Lord, and connectedness to other homeschoolers. In short, what we need is a homeschool conference that puts all these elements together for us!
This October 17, Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands, Manila Workshops and The Learning Basket bring you the largest homeschooling conference this year – “The Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready for the World!”
As a precursor to the “Global Home Education Conference” (GHEC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March 2016, two well-respected homeschool advocates and speakers from the United States will be gracing the event as keynote speakers: Michael Donnelly, Director for Global Outreach of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Secretary of GHEC 2016, and Rachael Carman, mother of seven and best-selling author and publisher of popular homeschool curriculum Apologia. Rachael’s husband, Davis, the President of Apologia, will be speaking as well.
Other speakers include Edric Mendoza (Homeschool advocate and host of ANC’s On the Money) who is my wonderful, and motivational speaker and wealth coach, Chinkee Tan.
Homeschoolers and those exploring this educational option will be inspired, informed and empowered in this biggest homeschooling event. Definitely bigger than the past years’ homeschool conferences, “Ready for the World!” will be held at THREE venues at SM Aura Premiere. Keynote talks will be held at the Samsung Hall, while smaller workshops and the much awaited homeschool expo will be at the SMX Convention Center.
An All Access Pass (pass to go in and out of all three venues, including the exposition venue) is at Php 1000 per person for the early bird rate. Aside from the inspiring talks, there will be a huge expo of the various learning providers, educational tools, toys, books, etc. that will help homeschooling parents and aspiring homeschooling parents in their daily lives. This expo will be open to the public for a minimal amount of Php 100 per head, but this fee is already included in the All Access Pass.
Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), a non-stock, non-profit advocacy of Filipino homeschoolers, together with Manila Workshops, a company dedicated to continuing education for professional and personal goals, and The Learning Basket, an advocacy that inspires parents to be their children’s first and best teacher, offers an event jam-packed with information and inspiration about homeschooling that will help parents get their kids ready for the world.
To register, please visit: Manila Workshops
For inquiries, please contact: email@example.com
Visit http://facebook.com/manilaworkshops or Instagram @manilaworkshops for updates and info.
Who messes up on IKEA instructions?! I do! I did! With a day to redecorate our homeschool room before it was going to be documented for an interview on homeschooling, I tried to rush through assembling eight pieces of furniture with my kids and made several mistakes. Of course I felt incredibly inept and discouraged! IKEA is supposed to be dummy-proof…if you religiously follow the instruction manual. I decided that I pretty much got it after skimming through the manual and took it from there, using my own logic and instinct. Well, neither of these worked perfectly.
I found myself frustrated and stressed. My kids were doing the best they could, and they were having a lot of fun, but after a while, they too realized what we were up against…Too many pieces of furniture to put together for a mom and five kids. (Catalina had to be banned several times because she was stealing the tools.)
Edric came home and saw me in dire straits. His instinctively announced to the kids, as he surveyed the mess we made, “Have no fear, daddy is here!” Everyone cheered!
Like a general who had total control of his army, Edric organized all of us into stations and roles. He was much stricter than I was and very bossy which took some getting used to at first, but if it had not been for his leadership, I would have struggled through the renovation.
Could I have organized and fixed the room myself? Probably. I am not a helpless chick. I know how to use a tool box. But was it nice to be rescued by my husband? Of course!
There was something about his command over the situation that was very reassuring. I didn’t have to bear a burden that he was very willing to take upon himself. And he knew how to follow instructions much more methodically and carefully than I did.
I actually waited twelve years to have a homeschooling space like this! Thank you, Lord! I hope you enjoy the transformation of our homeschool room which we got done in about 10 hours thanks to family team work and Edric’s able leadership! Tadah!
By the way, I found most of the furniture at Furniture Source Philippines. They are located along Granada Street, right after Ortigas avenue and before Gilmore in San Juan. You can check out their Facebook page and Instagram. Their prices are higher than what I would pay for from an actual IKEA because they ship products in but I still didn’t spend as much as I would have if I had gone with other suppliers.
It’s a challenge to hold Titus’ attention. I suppose this comes with being a more physical child whose hands are perpetually itching to do something. Thankfully, his capacity to sit through a lesson with me has significantly improved. There are days when he is highly distracted and I need to sit him right beside me in order to check on his progress. But he is old enough to recognize when it’s time to listen and focus on what is required of him.
|Track 1: How to do a Character-focused Education||Donna Simpao|
|Track 2: How to Do Multi-Level Homeschooling||Milona Barraca|
|Track 3: How to Homeschool through High School||Bles de Guzman|
|Track 4: How to Adjust Your Teaching Strategies for Effective Learning||Joy Mendoza|
|Track 5: Hooray for Dads Who Homeschool||Dennis Sy|
|Track 6: Q and A Forum|
When my kids have their once-in-a-while “meltdowns” during our homeschooling, I am faced with two options. The first is to be annoyed, which is a very real temptation that may involve a response like, “Get over it and do your work. I have no time for your drama.”
Obviously, this would be counterproductive as it is unfair to expect my children to turn their emotions on and off like a switch does to a light bulb. So I usually go for option two, which is to give my children space to feel the emotion that is overwhelming them, to process what they are feeling, and then to pray about it. After all, I have several children to teach so having one absent from our homeschool room actually makes my life easier! But the more important objective is giving my kids the opportunity to hear from the Lord, and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to them more effectively than I can, especially when the meltdown is at its peak. This type of response is more effectively applied with older children who have a relationship with Jesus Christ because they are Holy-Spirit-equipped to process their circumstances.
Yesterday, my oldest son, Elijah, pushed his IPad away while muttering, “I can’t do this! I got everything wrong! I don’t like math anymore!”
“Are you okay?” I asked calmly, attempting to diffuse his frustration.
“No, I am not and you can’t help me. Nobody can help me.” (He tends to use superlatives in his sentences when he is emotionally charged.)
It wasn’t the most respectful thing to say to me, but I knew where he was coming from as a perfectionist. So I requested that he take a break from his Khan Academy work and go to his room. He got up, huffing and puffing about what a failure he was and threw himself on to the bed to cry.
When Elijah makes mistakes, his morale plummets due to the high standard he expects of himself. Even if I tell him, mistakes can be positive when we learn from them and it’s okay to make mistakes, mistakes are part of growing, that’s not what he wants to hear. More often than not, the best recourse is to back off and give him space to cool down.
After thirty minutes, I lay beside him on the bed and gave him a big hug and kiss. “I love you.” I assured him. And then I listened to his ranting about how upset he was and how he didn’t want to try because he couldn’t do his math well.
When he quieted down I asked him if his mistakes were due to an understanding issue or just carelessness. He admitted that it was the latter. I suspected it was probably so because he prefers to solve math problems mentally, without writing down the solutions.
Since it wasn’t a matter of understanding the formulas involved, I didn’t think it was a big problem. He just needed to slow down and take time to review how he arrived at the answers he did. Furthermore, I asked him if I could sit beside him and do the problems with him.
He really perked up with this suggestion! The idea of sitting side by side to tackle the work gave him renewed incentive to try again. (He is a time person.) So that’s what we did, as a team.
With each problem, we raced to see who would get the answer first. When I needed to review my math formulas I asked him to help me, which he enjoyed doing. In fact his mood changed completely. He was enthusiastic as he demonstrated how to solve the problems and as we compared our answers. I let him take the lead and he gladly did so, assuming the role of instructor as I played the part of student. In the process he answered every problem correctly. What began as a meltdown turned into a fun bonding and learning experience.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; (James 1:19 NASB)
One of the sweet privileges of homeschooling is being able to ask my kids to take a pause from their “school” work in order to assess and pray about their emotions and attitudes. This gives the Holy Spirit room to convict them and minister to them. It also allows me to think through how I should respond so I avoid the default reaction of irritation when my kids say, “I don’t want to do my work, mom.” After the beneficial pause, which lasts between five to thirty minutes, I can come along side my children to walk them through the challenge of a difficult assignment.
This wouldn’t be realistic in the conventional school model, so I praise God my kids aren’t in a classroom. We aren’t rushed to finish course work during the day when it’s more necessary to stop and address a heart condition or encourage the love for learning. I also get to know my children better — what enlivens them, what demotivates them, what they need to improve on. Best of all, I see the grace of God at work as he helps them deal with their struggles and come out of them positively. God works in my own life, too, teaching me what to say and what to AVOID saying (which is my number one area of improvement in life…keeping quiet and being gentle!)
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. (Proverbs 16:32 NASB)
I once read that parenting needs to be about long term goals rather than short-sighted ones. Short-sightedness is stressing out when my children aren’t eager to do their homeschooling work or when they don’t seem to get the material as expediently as I hope they will. I can fall into this mode of parenting which turns me into a tyrannical teacher, one who is pressured to MAKE my kids succeed academically. Or, I can set my sights on the long term goal of parenting.
My long term goal is to raise my children to love God with all that they are and to develop their gifts and abilities for his glory, so they can effectively declare the gospel. When that is my fixed mark, the kids and I can set aside the homeschooling task at hand because there is a more redemptive cause at stake — recalibrating my children’s hearts to adapt Christ-centered perspectives and attitudes. I want their minds primed for instruction rather than forced to receive it. I also want them to know that my love and acceptance will cushion their failures.
When these elements are present as we homeschool, the joy of purposeful learning and teaching returns and the atmosphere is one of peace and calm. But everyday births a new challenge or resurrects an old one so it’s only by God’s grace that we survive each year of homeschooling to pursue another one!