Another Challenge...Facing Consequences

Kib is growing up.  Sometimes I'm already having difficulty controlling him as he already makes his own decisions.  Since he is still young to be fully responsible with his decisions, I'm here to guide him so that he will make good decisions in the future.  

Kib is becoming complacent with his studies.  He plays in-between PACES which makes him finish everything longer than the usual.  There are times that I'm too swamped with household chores to fully monitor him while he studies so I want him to develop the habit of concentrating on his studies on his own without being reminded all the time.  This playfulness makes me lose my patience, thus, I have to reprimand him at times.  After I reprimanded him, I make him realize his mistakes and he fully understands the consequences that he has to face because of his misdoings.  There are times that he asks me not to remove his privileges but this time I have to be firm.  

Recently, I told him that he can only play with his favorite gadgets (PSP and iPhone) during non-school days.  He gets distracted with these gadgets during school days that even during meal times he plays with them; as a result, he finishes his meals after an hour.  

So far, so good.  He fully remembers this new rule.  He doesn't make special requests for him to play with these gadgets even after he finishes his studies.  As I write this blog, he is enjoying his PS2 privilege on weekends.  

I hope Kib grows up to be a responsible person.  I want him to learn how to prioritize things and have this desire to always achieve for good things and be determined to finish the tasks assigned to him.

Level 2, Yahoo!

Kib started with Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum last March.  He started with Level 1.  When I saw the lessons for each PACE, it is very easy for Kib.  I assigned 5 pages per day for each subject.  With the grace of God, we were able to finish Level 1 in July!  I didn't immediately bought Level 2 materials as Kib and I had a month-long review first of Level 1 so to make sure he understood everything and has retention.  First few days of review were both difficult for both of us as we easily get frustrated with wrong answers.  Eventually, Kib was able to adjust to the rules of review.

We officially started with Level 2 on August 27.  At first, Kib doesn't want to do it because the fonts were smaller than Level 1 and the texts are longer.  Jokingly, I said to Kib that he can read text messages on the phone so there's no problem about reading stories on his PACES.  For now, I'm assigning 3 pages per day so as not to be overwhelmed with his fast progress.  So far, Kib has already adjusted with Level 2 though there may be times that he will complain of its difficulty.  But once he understands the concept, he can answer the pages with confidence.  On his latest PACE, it already teaches him the basics of cursive writing.  At first he did it wrong but when I guided his hand on the correct stroke, he was able to finish the page on his own and continued with the succeeding pages.  

Books Galore

I prefer buying books than toys for my son.  Last week, we had another book-shopping spree during the 33rd Manila International Book Fair at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.  For me, the Manila International Book Fair is a haven for homeschoolers like me.  This is a good chance for us to look for new materials for our children and of course, to buy books at a cheap price.  Last year we weren't able to check it because I had a full-time job then.  It's only a once a year event, so even the venue for the event is a bit far from our place, I make sure that my visit there is worthwhile.

There was heavy traffic on the southbound lane of EDSA as DPWH is repairing the Magallanes flyover.  Once we passed thru that portion, it took us less than 15 minutes to get to the venue.  When we got to SMX Convention Center, there is an entrance fee (P20 for adults, P15 for children, senior citizens, students, teachers) to the hall where the book fair was held.  When we entered the hall, the first booth that we checked was the Learning is Fun booth.  Books were sold as low as P10 pesos!  Here are some of the books that we brought there:

Let's Discover series -- Dinosaurs, Human Body and Earth at P30 each

Extreme Habitats series -- Deserts, Polar Regions, and Mountains at P20 each

Junior Science Explorer series -- Animals and Their Young, Pushes and Pulls, Matter, and The Sun at P10 each

Bookworm Buddies storybooks at P10 each

Adarna booth is also a good stop.  My son had a wonderful time reading some of the books there.  The staff found my son's reading skills in Filipino a bit entertaining (with twang, lol).  This is my first time to purchase Filipino storybooks as I find them a bit expensive.  I was able to buy six at P35 each.  I regretted buying only six storybooks as I went back there again on Saturday, there were only few choices left.  Here are the books that I bought from Adarna booth:

Adarna Science series at P60 each

Adarna storybooks at P35 each

Wikahon is SRA in Filipino.  If they only have the homeschool edition, I could've bought it then and there.  What they only have at the moment is the classroom edition with multiple copies of each story.  I suggested to the staff that they should come up with a homeschool edition since homeschooling is not becoming popular in the Philippines.  I hope that they consider my suggestion.

Here are our other loots from the book fair:

Amazing Race puzzle books for P7 each

Sunday School materials for P10 each 

Fully Booked offered 20% off on all their books.  We were able to purchase two books there, here are they:

Storybook Collection of Disney Pixar.  This is Kib's personal pick from the book fair.  A bit pricey but I can't resist ^_^

Love You Forever.  The book that I wanted to be on my shelf.  I want to purchase this brand-new because I want to leave this book as a legacy to my son.  I wrote a short note for my son at the back of the book.

I would encourage parents to inculcate the love for reading to their children as it offers knowledge that no one can take away from them.  It's a good investment as you can pass along the books to others after it made a difference in your life.  It's like "paying it forward".

Kib's Diary

For his birthday, I bought Kib a notebook that will serve as his diary.  I wanted him to develop his creative writing skills as I lack it.  The notebook basically serves everything--diary, journal, jotting down important notes about our lessons, reflection on important events, story writing, etc.  I make sure that he always writes the date on top to carefully document everything that he has written down on his notebook.  

This is Kib's first journal entry dated July 12, 2012.  He enumerated the things we did for that day

Kib made a story about the tarsier.  I put the postcard of the tarsier from our trip in Bohol last March.

I let Kib draw the Philippine flag and write down the meaning of each symbols/colors in the flag.

We opened and counted Kib's money from his piggy banks and I let him write down how much his money is.

We experienced flooding last week and praise God, the floodwaters just reached up to our garage only.  I let Kib draw how the floodwater looks like.

This is Kib's diary.  It looks girly, though.....

I do hope that Kib will be a good writer someday, that is why as early as now I'm encouraging him to write down his thoughts and feelings. 

A Walk Through History

I love history.  I appreciate artifacts.  I have intense hunger for knowledge, for knowing how everything began and how it evolved to the present.  That is why I like reading books about facts, history and almanac, watching documentaries on History Channel, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel.  I want my son to also have this passion so that he will be able to appreciate his heritage and he will have this concern of preserving the culture for future generation.  He may still be young to really know the story behind these things, but I know that soon, he himself will be the one to search for it.

Part of our homeschooling adventure is going to museum trips.  So far, Kib and I have been to eleven museums (Aerospace Museum, Philippine Science Centrum, Museo Pambata, Myth of the Human Body, National Museum, Museum in Corregidor, Cebu Museum, Loboc Church Museum, Dambana ng Kagitingan, Metropolitan Museum and CCP Museum).  I was able to take pictures on some museums, but some museums don't allow photography inside for security reasons (I do understand because they house priceless treasures). 

Kib's picture outside the Aerospace Museum.  We came in there late because we still came from a car show but the museum personnel are very kind to still let us in and didn't let us pay for the entrance fee anymore.  You can see here the history of Philippine Air Force, the different kinds of weaponry they used during the WW II, and at the back you can see the old models of airplanes and helicopters PAF used.  There you can also see the presidential airplane of Ferdinand Marcos, equivalent to Air Force One of USA.  Pictures can be taken inside the museum.  Kib was 3 years old at this time. 

At Philippine Science Centrum.  It's an interactive museum where children can learn science by doing some experiments to prove some scientific laws and principles.  Pictures can be taken inside.

Myth of the Human Body exhibit.  It's a travelling exhibit and if I'm not  mistaken, this exhibit stayed here in the Philippines for almost a year.  Exhibits here are REAL humans (Note: most of the exhibited humans are Chinese) and they are plasticized.  Each human is artistically dissected so that we will be able to see the different parts of the human body.  This exhibit also shows unhealthy body organs which will make us ponder on doing healthy living.  Pictures are not allowed inside the museum.  

At Museo Pambata.  Another interactive museum specifically designed for young kids.  It's a fun way to learn about Philippine history and culture and science.  Pictures can be taken inside the museum.  

At Corregidor.  The whole island itself is considered a museum because it shows us what happened during World War II.  Here at Malinta Tunnel they showcase a lights and sounds show featuring the story of World War II.  There are lots of memorials in the island, making you realize how destructive wars can be and make you hope that no more wars in the future.  I was able to take 300+ pictures on our trip there.  You can take pictures anywhere, no restrictions were given by the tour guide.

At National Museum.  National Museum had been divided into three: Museum of the Filipino People, National Art Gallery, and Planetarium.  We were able to go to the first two only.  Museum of the Filipino People charges an entrance fee while the National Art Gallery don't.  Museum of the Filipino People is now at the old Finance Building near Rizal Park.  It houses the historical artifacts.  Pictures are not allowed to be taken there.  The National Art Gallery will be exclusively for artworks of National Artists.  During our visit, National Art Gallery is under renovation so there are some areas of the building that are closed for public viewing.  In this picture you can see me and Kib posing at the back of Spolarium, the most treasured artpiece by Juan Luna.  Pictures can be taken inside, however, you must turn off the camera flash.

At Dambana ng Kagitingan.  We went there on Good Friday and a lot of people are visiting the area.  We weren't able to climb up the cross because of the long queue to the elevator and we weren't able to see the museum as well because we forgot our ticket in the car and we only have few minutes left before the museum closes.  For sure, we will go back there.  

At Metropolitan Museum of Manila.  The only permanent exhibit there is the gold and pottery section, the rest changes from time to time.  At the time of our visit there were some works of the contemporary artists and some of the artworks of Felix Hidalgo.  Another section showcases different Philippine maps from 1500s (from the time it was discovered) until the present.  The maps are very interesting, you can really see how the Philippines grew big.  This is the only picture that I have of the museum since photography isn't allowed inside.  

At CCP Museum.  There were artworks all over, on the corridors leading to the different halls inside.  There's a permanent exhibit on the fourth floor showcasing traditional musical instruments from the Philippines and some from our neighboring countries.  Included in the permanent exhibit is a section about Filipino way of life.  During our visit, we were able to see the sketches made by Tony DeZuniga, a Filipino cartoonist; photographs by Rick Rocamora, which later to be donated to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation; and an art and literary exhibit of various artists and writers commemorating the 40th year of Martial Law.  We were blessed to be part of the opening of the said exhibit.   Photography is not allowed inside CCP Museum.

At Cebu Museum.  This is the former penitentiary of Cebu converted into a museum.  This showcases the history of Cebu, the evolution of journalism, the Philippine politics, Lagang (a kind of artwork using shells), Philippine bridges.  Pictures can be taken inside the museum except for the section where it showcases the gold mask.  Above you can see Kib looking around the section of Philippine bridges.

At Loboc Church.  This is the second oldest church in Bohol.  It has still the original flooring and walls.  This picture was taken inside the church.  Photography is not allowed inside the museum as there were already lots of artifacts that has been stolen.  The museum guide gave me a tapis as we enter the church premises because I was wearing shorts then.

Digital cameras let us take unlimited pictures.  I was able to take lots of pictures for Kib to see when he grows up and he will be able to reminisce his visit to these museums.  More museum visits to come!

Homeschooling Everywhere

Kib started with ACE curriculum last March and we are 75% done with Level 1.  There is a possibility that we will start with Level 2 by August.  Kib is enjoying his lessons, even making Ace (main character in the comic strip on each PACE) his friend.  Kib was able to know more about God and he even shares to us what he had learned from his PACEs.

I don't worry about class suspensions due to typhoons since Kib is homeschooled.  Kib is never absent from his classes as class schedule is very flexible.  Kib can finish his lessons in two hours but may extend for five hours if Kib is tempted to play in-between lessons.  Kib can study anywhere inside the house.  He may answer lessons while lying on the floor, sitting on the staircase, on top of the bed, or even on his own study table.  Kib may choose whatever subjects he want to finish first without worrying about time limit per subject.  

I'm loving the portability of homeschooling.  While me and Kib were waiting for the boarding time at the airport for our short vacation last March 2012, I let Kib answer some of his PACEs there.  When we had to stay in Bataan for a couple of days because a relative passed away, I let Kib answer his PACEs at daytime when there were no visitors.

It may seem weird for some people, but for me I'm just making use of the time wisely ^_^

Homeschooling: A Family Bonding Activity

Homeschooling your child is not just an effort of the mother and child, or the father and the child.  Homeschooling is an effort given by the whole family, and it's a never-ending family bonding moment in your home.

In our case, my mother and my uncle are involved with my son's homeschooling.  Last year when I was working in a regular school, my mother served as a teacher to my son.  I just tell my mom what pages to answer and they answer it during the day and I just check them when I get home.  My uncle, he may not be hands-on in teaching my son but he is involved in encouraging him to finish his work.  Other relatives respect Kib's study time by not bothering him or tempting him to play or to go out.  

At first, my family was against homeschooling, but when they are seeing results from my hardwork, they eventually supported me and they also make themselves involved with my son's education.  

Homeschooling doesn't limit your ways on how to bond with your child.  In homeschooling, everything can be a learning opportunity and a moment for you to be close with your child/children.

Socialization? Why Bother?

This is one of the misunderstood aspects of human development, and a homeschooled child, as most people say, lacks this.  First, let me define what socialization is.

In sociology, socialization refers to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating normscustoms and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society (  Socialization is the means by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as a functioning member of their society, and is the most influential learning process one can experience.  

Let me simplify this:  socialization is a never-ending way of learning and adjusting to the culture so that an individual may be an accepted member of the society.  With this meaning alone, socialization cannot just be learned and end in school.  Does that mean when we graduate from college we are fully "socialized" so to speak?    Margaret Zysk, a homeschooling parent from Idaho, whenever people will pose their concerns about her children's interaction with other kids, she will respond, "Go to your local public school, walk down the hallways and see what behaviors you would want your child to emulate."  I love her answer so much.

What most people know about socialization is just simply interacting with people of the same age group, which is a BIG, BIG misconception about socialization.  Socialization is more than interaction.  Socialization is about values formation, appreciation of one's culture, and citizenship.

I can say that even if Kib is homeschooled, I don't forget to teach him values and things that will make him a worthy Filipino citizen.  He may not be with kids of same age all the time, but he knows how to interact with people of different ages.    Kib may be a playful kid, but not a dangerous and hostile one.  Kib may be a alone most of the time, but he always give his smile to people.

Homeschooling Challenges

A lot of people acknowledge that homeschooling is no fun.  They can't imagine how a parent manages the home and schooling at the same time.  They can't also imagine how a parent was able to let their child get into school mode when they are playing.

Every night before going to sleep, I always ask Kib what is he going to do the following day and he will say, "School".  Next question that I will ask is when is he going to play.  Kib will say, "Finish school first and then play after."  I feel happy that he knows his responsibilities but sometimes Kib forgets.  In the morning, we are struggling with getting up from the bed.  When Kib is already on his study table, sometimes he will stare blankly on the wall and has be reminded to get back on track.  There may be times that he will be tempted to bring some of his toys to the table and play with them in-between his schoolwork.  There are times that there's drama. He doesn't want to study and cry over his PACEs.  As a result, our lessons last for four hours, but when he is in the mood, he can finish all of his work in two hours or less.

And yes, I will agree with those people who say that homeschooling is hard.  But for me, it can only be hard if you don't put your heart into it.  

Learning Experiences Outside the Four Walls of our Home

They say homeschooling is boring.  You don't see people very often, your child doesn't have a playmate, you don't get to do things aside from studying.  That's what you think...

The beauty of homeschooling is you can design your the activities for your child.  In a regular school, the child is given few options on what activities he/she can do.  They have a schedule to follow and activities are strict and rigid.  In homeschooling, a child is given an option what a child wants to study first and what extra-curricular activity he/she wants to have.  The interest of the child is very much respected in homeschooling and the child has more time to do it than when a child is studying in a regular school.  The child is always tired at the end of the day and when he/she gets home from school, he/she still needs to do a homework and prepare for the test on the following day.  

Currently, my son is into modelling.  He had been to several fashion shows at SM and Robinson's malls.  I also plan to let him undergo acting and singing workshops.  Here are some of his pictures doing ramp modelling:

Kib's first fashion show at SM Marikina

Fashion show at World Trade Center featuring Snoopy's holiday collection

Valentine fashion show at SM Taytay with co-model, Masheng Villestas

Mother's Day fashion show at Robinson's Galleria with me

I also expose Kib to different places of interest as I would like Kib to appreciate God's creation and learn from them.  We already had been to Museo Pambata, National Museum, Museum of the Filipino People, Philippine Science Centrum, PAGASA Observatory, PAGASA Planetarium, Manila Ocean Park, Avilon Zoo, Ark Avilon Zoo, Manila Zoo, Kinder Zoo, Malabon Zoo, Zoobic Safari, PAF Museum, Myth of the Human Body Exhibit, car shows, MV Logos Hope and USNS Tippecanoe (US merchant ship).  I also brought Kib to different tourist spots in the Philippines like Corregidor, Boracay, and Bohol.  A trip to Palawan has already been scheduled before the year ends.

The money that I saved from sending my son to a regular school had been allocated to travel.  There are still lots of places to visit in my bucket list.

This is what I love about homeschooling, giving you flexibility in schedule without worries of being absent in school.  You were able to do the things that you and your child both love.

School of Tomorrow--Our Homeschool Provider

I wanted to go on being an independent homeschooler forever, but if I have decided to mainstream Kib in the future, schools will look for some documents from me which I may not be able to present to them.  As a result, Kib may not be accepted by some schools =(

With this predicament, I am forced to look for a homeschool provider so that Kib will have an affiliation should I decide to enrol him in a regular school in the future.  For the past two years of being independent, I have been doing researches for the homeschool providers here and abroad.

Then I came across Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program (  Being a graduate of ACE (in a school setting), I got excited to learn that ACE can also be applied in a homeschool setting.  So, I started emailing them, inquiring about the homeschool program.  I gave my brother's address in the United States and they sent a DVD containing information about their curriculum.  At the same time, they have rerouted my inquiry to their accredited provider here in the Philippines (  All my questions have been patiently answered by Miss Remia Camacho.

The DVD sent to me were very helpful, it contains information about ACE curriculum and the advantages of homeschooling

Then last March 2012, we went at School of Tomorrow for Kib's assessment.  I was so happy that he is qualified for Level 1 but we have to go back one week after because there is a need to reassess Kib's handwriting.  After the reassessment, I already paid the tuition and went back after two days to pick up the PACEs.  We're ready to start the school year!

School of Tomorrow has an open enrollment scheme, meaning you can enroll anytime of the year and start anytime of the year.  One must only remember their anniversary (in our case, March) for the enrollment for the next school year.

So far, Kib is doing well with the curriculum.  We're already halfway through Level 1 and he can immediately start with Level 2 should we finish before March.  He loves Ace so much (he is one of the characters on each PACE) and he can easily remember the stories.  He learned a lot about God and he always say that he loves God.  The challenge that we are having right now is reading passages in Filipino (he can understand Filipino but he speaks funny).

My Quest for Good and Quality Books

I'm a sucker for books.  When I was young, I only had few books to read.  When I was growing up, I also got addicted with Sweet Valley High and  Nancy Drew books.  I even read encyclopedias because I like facts!  When I became an adult, I like reading magazines and some mystery novels.

Now that I have a son, I want my son to have a passion for reading.  I always bring my son with me whenever I buy books so that he can also choose books for himself.  Being a kuripot mom, I only bought second-hand books from Booksale.  When I learned about Scholastic Warehouse Sale, I made it to a point that I go there during sale periods.  I was able to purchase from Scholastic Warehouse Sale for 3 times already.  The Scholastic Warehouse is located in Pasig City which is 15-20 minutes away from home.  Here are some of the pictures of the books that I bought from Scholastic Warehouse:

I so love Magic School Bus!  It's a fun way of learning science concepts

Kib checking out the books that we bought

Then news about the floating bookstore is making waves on TV and newspapers.  MV Doulos had docked on Philippine ports twice but never had a chance to visit it.  When I heard that MV Doulos had retired, I got sad, thinking that I won't have the experience of buying something from the floating bookstore.  This year, MV Logos Hope docked on Philippine ports again.  I got busy last March and forgot about it.  I just remembered about it again when I saw on one of my friend's Facebook account pictures of her MV Logos Hope experience.  So, I asked her about it and she said it's worthwhile.  I searched on the internet about their schedule in the Philippines (  I was glad that they also made a stop in Subic.  My family had to go to Bataan because a relative died and I took that opportunity to visit MV Logos Hope since our place in Bataan is an hour away from Subic by bus.  I asked my cousins to go with me there since I don't know how to get to Subic.  I brought my son with me because I don't want him to miss that opportunity having riding a ship full of books.

The crew of MV Logos Hope came from different countries and work there voluntarily.  The ship is managed by a Christian organization.  Here are some of the pictures that I took from MV Logos Hope:

Me and Kib having our picture taken outside MV Logos Hope

One of the postings inside MV Logos Hope.  Can you answer this?

Kib posing on one of the book stands

Me, shopping for books

The bookstore is U-shaped.  This is one section of the bookstore, so organized like you're shopping for books at National Bookstore or Powerbooks

As you go out of the bookstore area, you will be passing on a maze-like story hall, telling the story of The Prodigal Son in a modern setting

MV Logos Hope is also into AIDS awareness.  These are some of the comments of the people who have learned about AIDS.  Me and my cousins have also went inside the room to know more about AIDS...the revelations about AIDS are very scary

The brochure about MV Logos Hope and the layout of the ship

Here are the books that we have bought at MV Logos Hope

The crew of MV Logos Hope depends on donations.  I made a donation and they gave us a button.  On the button it says, "I support Logos Hope"

Sing, Spell, Read and Write

I first learned about this reading curriculum when I was still teaching in a regular school.  I find this curriculum very effective in terms of teaching a child how to read and write and I read a lot of reviews about this both from regular school teachers and homeschooling parents.

And, my search for this kit is on....

I know that it is locally available in the Philippines but I don't know where to purchase it.  I looked at the Internet and all I can see are US version which is a bit pricey.  I was asking my brother to buy one for Kib but he doesn't want to get one because it's expensive =(

I went at 31st Manila International Book Fair in 2010 to look for books that me and Kib can use for our homeschooling adventure.  I was so happy to see different publishers and bookstores selling different kinds of books, from workbooks to storybooks to references to curriculum packs.  Seeing curriculum packs being sold by several distributors, my quest for Sing, Spell, Read and Write was awakened.  I rounded up the whole convention center for several times to look for this kit.  On my last round, I was able to glance upon this kit and without hesitation, I bought the kit for P5,000 (I already forgot the actual amount).  C&E Publishing, Inc. is the authorized distributor of this kit here in the Philippines.

The package contains storybooks, workbooks, flashcards and posters. The only missing from the US version are the reward tokens.

The storybooks are written based on phonics.  There are 17 storybooks and 3 workbooks.  First workbook is for the basics, learning how to write the letters of the alphabet and learning the letter sounds.  The other two workbooks work hand-in-hand; you do the Raceway Book first for the phonics/vocabulary enrichment; second, read the storybook and last, answer the Assessment Book for story comprehension and word review.  Right now we are on Book 16, almost done with the pack, yahoo!

Kib and I started with the first workbook (Off We Go) in November 2010.  We finished the book 
in February 2011.  Before I introduced reading to Kib, I make sure that he has mastered the basic letter sounds.  On May 2011 I started teaching Kib how to read CVC words.  So happy he was able to master reading CVC words in two months!  Kib's reading ability is far better than the average.  Watch the video of Kib reading a book.

This is where Kib read a story.  You can see the letter sounds that can be learned from this book.

The kit is still in good condition, even the workbooks.  What I did is I photocopied the workbook so that I can share (or even sell) the kit to my friends after I have used it.