Join the 2017 Homeschool Review Crew!

Schoolhouse Review Crew

For the past 4 years, if you have noticed, I have been regularly reviewing great homeschool products though the Homeschool Review Crew. It has been a great experience for me because I get to use many different curriculum that we would have no access to if we weren’t part of the crew. What I like most is being able to share these great products to my readers in the Philippines. There is a growing homeschool community here and we are all on the look out for great curriculum which can help our children learn.

For the coming year, if you would like to become part of the crew, your chance has arrived. You may now apply by visiting this 2017 Crew Applications post. I assure you, being part of the crew will be a great opportunity for you to grow as a homeschool blogger.

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!

 

It’s Graduation Day

We made it!

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When we started homeschooling my daughter when she was in 1st grade, I had no idea we would be homeschooling until 6th grade. We took it one year at a time and now, here we are, graduation day has come!

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We have been with Homeschool Global (formerly TMA Homeschool) since 1st grade and we are happy to have finished elementary years with them.

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It was a very heartwarming ceremony as I watched Kyla receive her diploma and taking the mic to let us hear her short letter for us.

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The 6 homeschooling years were filled with so much memories. There were days when we had so much fun reading together, experimenting and doing things together, crying and persevering during tough days and praying daily to God who sustains us.

It has also given us the front row seat to discover my daughter’s gifts and to see her blossom from a very shy and stubborn girl who wants everything done her way to someone who accommodates others and willingly follows wherever God leads.

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We were intentional about the time we spent together, yet it still feels that time just passed by so fast. I am forever grateful to the Lord for giving my family the opportunity to homeschool. It made us grow closer as a family as we seek the Lord together. It gave us the time we needed to bond and to know each other more. It allowed us to support one another to reach for our goals.

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As we continue on and face a new season in our homeschool, my heart is filled with love and wonderful memories.

Our prayer for our dear daughter is from Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

School Year 2016-2017 Curriculum List

School Year 2016-2017 has started for us. We’ve started with our lessons two weeks ago even though we aren’t enrolled with Homeschool Global (formerly The Master’s Academy) yet. I have a 7th grader and a 4th grader this year.

Our 7th Grade Curriculum List

  • Teaching Textbooks Math 7
  • Voyages in English 7
  • Writing with Skill 1
  • Bob Jones Explorations in Literature
  • Mystery of History volume 3
  • Apologia Young Explorer’s Chemistry and Physics
  • Bible Study Guide for All Ages Unit 4
  • Rex Publishing’s Asian History for Social Studies
  • Jo-es Publishing’s Parola for Filipino
  • Middlebury Middleschool German
  • Calligraphy practice set
  • Daily exercises for PE

Our 4th Grade Curriculum List

  • My Pals are Here 4
  • Voyages in English 4
  • Writing with Ease 3
  • Mystery of History volume 3
  • Apologia Young Explorer’s Human Anatomy
  • Bible Study Guide for All Ages Unit 4
  • Kayamanan 4 for Social Studies
  • Binhi 4 for Filipino
  • Easy Mandarin Chinese
  • Cursive Handwriting
  • Football for PE

On top of these, I let them read Sonlight recommended readers and we still do our daily read-aloud. We incorporate chores as part of our life skill practice and hopefully, we will be able to afford the extra classes so they can enroll in art and music classes. Also, hoping to let my daughter attend sewing or knitting classes as well.

Homeschool Help: On Schedule and Lesson Planning

I have to admit. Lesson planning is not my strength. In the past 6 years that we have been homeschooling, I just go along with the book we have chosen for the school year and prepare the materials as needed everyday. I check the teacher’s guide and use that as a reference. Sometimes, we do a bit of unit study – so I research and download what we need and print them out. And we continue on and the cycle repeats itself. We just create projects to culminate the lessons we have learned and keep them as part of our portfolio for the school year.

This year, as my daughter is in 7th grade, I think I should be more intentional in planning for record keeping purposes.

Here are some tips on scheduling and lesson planning that I have learned over the years:

  1. Scheduling and lesson planning is different for each family. What works for me may not work for you. Some parents like to use digital planners while some prefer written planners. Some might want to schedule their day according to time  while others want a more relaxed schedule and schedule it according to subject.

    I have reviewed some digital homeschool planners you can use, and you can go ahead and browse through them. Personally though, I am a pen and paper planner so I would go for those that I can print and write on.

    I have shared our homeschool schedule when my daughter was just in 3rd grade and my son was in preschool, now that they are in higher grades, this schedule is a bit more full and may take a few hours more.

  2. I read some homeschool mom blogs that help me plan the year ahead of us and see if it will help me get more organized. Then I try to implement it and see if it fits our family’s homeschool.

    Here are some sites that were really helpful for us this school year:

    Donna Young – she shares  free printable planners and how to plan.

    Free Homeschool Deals – list of free homeschool planners, lists and forms.

    Donna Simpao – she shares how she plans the topics she will teach and how to do blending learning across subjects. She does unit studies.

    Kim Sorgius – she shares 10 steps for planning your homeschool year.

  3. The learning style of your children and your teaching style will be a factor in creating your schedule and lesson plans.

    My daughter is very visual and she likes words too so she enjoys reading a lot. I ask her to use blank-paged notebooks to write her notes on as she usually uses drawings to record her learnings. We usually look for chapter books or picture books that complements her lessons, especially in world history.

    My son is visual and auditory but I am not very auditory at all. I would need to do some more research this school year so that he can get to watch videos for his Science or Social Studies, and we can also use songs to enhance memory work in Bible.

    I realized that I could have done more than just breeze through our lessons for the past years, especially for my son. Hopefully, I will be able to implement these lessons that I have learned consistently in this school year.