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.
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.