My Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016 Experience

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I was so happy that I made it to the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016: From Roots to Wings last Saturday. I came from my son’s football tournament so I was late and didn’t get to hear the opening remarks by Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. I was glad that I was able to listen to his talk thru his FB page.

When I got to the SMX Convention Center at SM Aura, I was able to quickly register and catch the end of the session of Deonna Tan-Chi and Joy T. Mendoza. I noticed that the people who were assisting were all homeschooled high school students and they were cheerful, efficient and helpful.

I was particularly encouraged by the talk of Mr. Andrew Pudewa, founder of Institute for Excellence in Writing. He shared about how to motivate our children. It was a relevant topic for me as I have troubles with my younger child at times. My take home points were:
– Make the lesson more game oriented as children, particularly boys, like games.
– Don’t resort to enforced relevancy or make doing anything negatively centered.
– Children  love to do what they love to do and what they think they can do.
– Children will refuse to do what they think they can not do.
– If the student knows that I love them, that is the best motivator.
– As my children always tells me, smile more and say the positives.

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Please check this link from IEW for a more detailed version of this talk.

About the Break-out Sessions

The afternoon sessions were all break-out sessions dealing with different stages of a homeschool family. I choose to attend Ms. Racquel Guevarra’s talk on Homeschooling the High School Years.

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I learned that homeschooling the high school years is all about learning to balance. It is a season of letting go and yet being there to guide your children. I was encouraged by her sharing specifically about their family as a pack of 4. Wherever one goes, the others go as well.  I also was encouraged that even though their family was  not part of a regular co-op, their children are “socialized” as they made them aware of what’s happening around them and intentionally bringing them to activities that practice empathy towards others. I guess the reason for this is because it is quite similar to our family’s structure.

You may check Racquel’s blog at Beyond Books and Walls  to follow her family’s homeschool journey.

I also attended the break-out session from Andrew Pudewa. His talk was about The Four Language Arts, Listening Speaking, Reading and Writing. My take home points from this talk:

*Good readers don’t naturally become good writers. Good readers read fast. They don’t “hear” what they’re reading. They don’t necessarily build the language patterns that will enable good writing ability.”

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On listening:

  • Listening is an important skill.
  • This is #1 predictor of good writing skill.
  • Even if kids can already read on their own, it is advantageous to read aloud to them in huge quantity so they will hear words above their current level.
  • If you can’t read aloud to them, use audiobooks.

On Speaking:

  • Memorization and recitation build language patters.
  • Repetition connects brain cells.
  • Narration promotes fluency, attention to detail and is a precursor to composition.

On Reading:

  • Late reading is not a curse.
  • Continue to read aloud a lot.
  • Use audiobooks. (especially when stuck in traffic!)

On Writing:

  • Copywork is necessary to develop writing skills.

Please check this link from IEW for the PDF file related to this talk.

 

About the Expo

I was also able to look around the Expo area and was quite happy with what I saw.There were a lot of vendors who sold educational toys and books. There were homeschool providers too. There were schools who provided Senior High School programs and even colleges.

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I got really interested in some of the vendors like The Adventurous Mailbox and Jeepneed.com Maybe because I was so engrossed with their products, I forgot to take photos of their booths!

The Adventurous Mailbox is a mix of a world geography, culture and fun activities in one special package! Your child will receive a box with books on different countries and they get to join an online community where they can even learn more. The books are written generally for 5th graders. They have several packages that you can choose form and prices range from $24 to $99. Will definitely be checking it out as they have a 25% discount coupon until end of the month.

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Photo from www.adventurousmailbox.com 

We bought a pocket microscope from Jeepneed.com. Aside from the microscopes, they also have Lab-in-a-box science kit subscription. It is quite interesting as I always have problems doing Science experiments so this seems like a nice idea to be able to buy everything in a box and have my kids to the different experiments.

Photo of microscope from jeepneed.com 

I sat down on the Philippine Homeschool Support FB Groups booth for 1-2pm. It had a very cozy sofa setup. I got to see Ms. Donna from Homeschoolers of the Philippines and met a few homeschool moms that I know. What was more fun was meeting moms who are still thinking of homeschooling and sharing the FB groups with them. I know what it feels like to start homeschooling without much support so it was nice to be able to let them know that they can find support through the different FB groups: Homeschoolers of the Philippines, HEY Philippines and Tweens and Teens FB group in particular. Some of the parents also asked if it is possible not be enrolled in a Homeschool Provider and I said yes, and shared with them the DIY Homeschool group.

About the Kids Activities 

The kids activities were a huge hit as well! The calligraphy classes were on-going. The SMILE Challenge Island activities were packed too.

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img_9405img_9404My daughter joined the crochet class from Crafted Crafts in the afternoon. She stayed there for 2 hours and a half until she was tired from doing the crochet project.
img_9406I really liked that the conference this year had activities lined up for the young ones too. Hopefully, in the coming years, there would be sessions for them as well.

The keynote speakers were very encouraging and so were the break-out session speakers. I liked how they were able to give very detailed talks this year and most of the sessions were on time.

After attending the annual homeschool conferences, I must say that each year, it keeps getting better. This year’s theme, From Roots to Wings, was really apt for every homeschool family. Hopefully, this will be the trend and I certainly do look forward to next conference! Thanks to HAPI and Educating for Life for a very successful event!

 

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