Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Just got back from an overnight stay in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, in Bataan. It’s a heritage resort conceptualized to resemble an old town. Old Filipino houses from different areas of the Philippines were transported to the resort. For homeschooling families (or any family), it’s a great place to experience a visit to the past. Of course, the rooms and amenities are modern and comfortable, but it is truly a unique experience…not your typical resort. There was a fabulous cultural show last night in the “town square,” and they have tours that allow you to visit the houses and uncover their intriguing histories. Their restaurants are a little bit pricey but worth it! Las Casas Filipinas also has a pool and clean beach.

A friend of mine, Monique Ong, told me about this place a few months ago. When I found out that this was the same spot Edric’s dad wanted to take the family to, I was thrilled!¬†Unlike my family, whose vacation spots revolve around nearby golf clubs and sports facilities, Edric’s family really enjoys the beach. Our kids do, too. They can spend hours in the sand doing nothing but digging holes for who knows what purpose.

I am blessed with such wonderful in-laws. I married into a family that is very close knit, godly, and loving. It was a joy to spend the weekend with them.

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Edan’s Curriculum

Edan’s 1st Grade books and materials…

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I have not included all the storybooks we read but here is a photo of the kids’ bookshelf:)

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Edan is also interested in geography…

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Online Games for Learning Filipino

Filipino vocabulary can be very challenging to teach (and frustrating). So many of the words we don’t even use in day to day conversations. Plus, most Filipinos speak very good English so we really don’t get to practice using deep vocabulary. Well, I chanced upon this site this morning while doing some research. Hope it helps augment Filipino vocabulary instruction for younger children. ¬†Digital Dialects – Filipino

Making Filipino Fun

Lapbooks are a fun way to engage my older son, Elijah, in learning Filipino. Between the two of us, teaching and learning this subject can be a comedy of errors. But with the many bi-lingual books out there by publishers like Hiyas, Lampara, and Adarna, my kids can appreciate well-written stories in both English and Filipino. And I can better explain to Elijah grammar and comprehension when I see the parallels between English and Fililpino.

So this is what I do when it comes to portfolio submission time. Elijah makes lapbooks (with my help) that cover lessons during a quarter. Instead of learning Filipino topically, we take a story and extract the lessons from the text. For example, I will ask him to look for “pangalan pambalana” and “pangalan pantangi” in the story and he will make a list of both. We will creatively display his answers in the lapbook. We will do this method with all of the other lessons in his textbook. The outcome is a memorable folder that opens up in the middle to show what Elijah learned during the quarter.

Many homeschoolers use lapbooks. Personally, I feel they are most helpful for subject areas that are more challenging to teach. In our case, it’s Filipino. :)

Here are some photos of one of Elijah’s lapbooks:

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Historical Field Trip

We had a pretty amazing day with our playgroup in Intramuros. The afternoon started off with a lights and sounds show and culminated with a visit to Fort Santiago. For just less than 200 per person, it was well worth it. It was certainly better than reading about history from a book!

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Filipino for Homeschoolers

About two months ago, Elijah finished his 2nd grade requirements so we could move on to 3rd grade. At first, our hardest challenge was his Filipino subject. Since it is not my primary language, I had to do a lot of research on how to teach the grammar and how to decode the vocabulary.

I think most moms would agree with me when I say that the most difficult part about Filipino as a subject is not the grammar or the spelling, but the vocabulary! The textbooks have the kids learn words that they will never really use in day to day conversation. And using such uncolorful materials does not help with the motivation aspect. In fact, I took a look at Elijah’s grade 2 Filipino book and I was like, “There is no way I am going to teach this subject using this textbook!” Why? Because textbooks often have a way of zapping the joy out of learning. (As much as possible, I try to stay away from getting textbook type of curriculums for my kids.)

However, even though textbooks can be tedious, I don’t suggest that we throw them out the window either. Textbooks are a good reference for topics and lessons that a child needs to cover during the course of a year. I used Elijah’s Filipino textbook as a scope and sequence guide to comply with DepEd requirements. But, I did not make Elijah go through the book page by page.

Homeschooling has been a blessing because it gives my kids the flexibility to learn subjects in a way that interests them and keeps their interest. When I started teaching my own kids as a homeschool mom, I realized that making my children learn content was NOT more important than making them love learning itself. I noticed that a lot of moms who have to tutor their kids when they get home from school are so pressured about making their kids memorize content so their child can make the grade. And during exam time, it’s the moms who panic! Who can blame them? That is the system — they have to cope with it for the sake of their kids.

As a homeschooling family, we are not bound by conventional approaches. We don’t neglect standards or academic goals, but we take a more out of the box means to the same end. And sometimes, the end is a whole lot better than we had hoped for.

Elijah covered his Filipino subject by reading bilingual storybooks from publishers like Adarna, Hiyas, Lampara, and even Philippine Bible Society. I chose stories that covered fables, myths, and legends, bible stories, and moral lessons. He was allowed to read then in English first and then in Filipino.

The bilingual books were a great motivator for learning vocabulary and grammar. Vocabulary was learned in context, therefore easier to understand. Grammar concepts and rules were explained through the text as well.

Afterwards, Elijah and I made lapbooks — something he thoroughly enjoyed.

While I was originally concerned about finishing the material, we ended up accomplishing what ought to be the real goal of Filipino language instruction — a deeper appreciation for the richness of Philippine culture, and a greater sense of patriotism.