Looking Back and Looking Forward

2016, has been a year of GROWTH for me. Not being a people person, God brought many people into my life and they came in all shapes and sizes. God gave me a part time tutoring job which helped me earn and pay for our family’s needs, but in turn, it gave me an opportunity to teach young children and help them in their studies. I pray that I was able to impart more than just academic skills but life skills as well. He also allowed me to become a Family Advisor for Homeschool Global. My main role was to come along side homeschooling families and help them in their homeschool journey. I also meet with them once a quarter to do portfolio reviews.

I had a hard time finding balance since I needed to meet with so many families, whether online or real time during portfolio reviews and also go to my tutorial job.  My children’s homeschooling lessons were a bit affected, especially my 4th grader so we are looking forward to being able to find balance and see if I can continue being a FA without sacrificing the homeschooling of my own children.

As 2017 starts, my children and I did our annual tradition of “looking back” and “looking forward”… we listed down what we loved about 2016 and what we look forward to in 2017. This has been our annual tradition for the past 3 years and I believe that this has helped my family to be closer and to pursue goals  together.

This 2017, SIMPLIFY is my keyword. I need to simplify my life and to pursue what really matters. Keep things simple. Don’t spend time, energy and resources on unnecessary matters. In the end, I want to draw closer to Jesus, in every aspect of my life.

 

Making Hard Decisions

After much prayers and discussions, we have finally decided to let our daughter stop attending ballet classes. It was a difficult decision to make since she has been taking ballet classes for the past 6 years now with Acts Manila. We’ve seen her grow, not just in dance but moreso in her character. She showed determination – even when it was hard to go to classes, she wouldn’t absent herself from class if possible. She showed perseverance – even when the routine was hard, she kept at it until she got it. She showed care and love to everyone in her ballet class.

This was definitely a hard decision to make but I knew that we had to make it. Financial, logistical and lifestyle issues are our main concerns. We couldn’t afford any longer to keep sending her to classes because ballet is truly an expensive art. From shoes, tights, costumes, exams, recitals and competitions – we just couldn’t keep up anymore. Of course my daughter was sad, but after discussing it together, we knew this was the best decision. The season has come for us to leave ballet.

We also realized that she is truly gifted in visual arts. We wanted her to explore that side as well so that she can fully bloom with the gifts that God has given her.

Before we made this decision, these blog articles  helped me through this decision: “Because when Jesus asks us to do something hard, he walks the difficult road with us” from the post When Jesus Asks You To Do Something Hard from We Are That Family. Another encouragement was from Concerning Change and Bacon Gouda Sandwiches.

I took this time as a way of teaching my child to make hard decisions in life. There will be days when we need to make changes in our life. It may not “feel right” but we prayed together, we considered circumstances and consulted our family members. I believe that through this change in our life, we had a lot of “teachable moments” as we discussed what God wanted us to do and what we are doing next.

I believe that  God will have something else for her. As we wait for new opportunities and new friends that God will bring to her life, we are praying and keeping our eyes open.

Choices in Life

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Life is all about choices. What to eat when you wake up, what to wear for the day, what to read, what to spend your money on, what to pursue, who to hang out with, what to do and it goes on and on. Our choices are based on what we deem is important in our life. So to make wise choices, we need to understand what is our priorities in life. To figure out what should be our priority or what is important, we need to understand our values and our identity. Just as the sail sets the ship’s course, our identity will anchor us and set our course in life.

How we see ourselves – our identity – is of utmost importance. While we were children, we often believe who we are based on what our parents or loved ones tell us and made us feel. As we grow through our teenage years, we believe we are who are peers say we are. As young adults, we see ourselves through the experiences we’ve had during our childhood and what the world sees in us.

But these can all be subjective – meaning, it varies on our family background, childhood experiences and life situations. As we grow though, we learn that our life on earth is not smooth sailing and people around us are not perfect. They can be unreliable or unjust so if we base our identity on them, we will have a very distorted view of ourselves.

Knowing this, we must reach out to the one who created us and loved us since the beginning of time. The Lord Jesus Christ has always loved us, no matter how bad or how good we were. He first loved us and that is enough to anchor our lives on Him. He is the first and the last. He is all powerful, ever faithful, just and loving. If we look at ourselves through His loving eyes, we are sinners who were saved by His blood. Therefore, we are His.

Whatever is important to Him, it will be important to me. Whatever is valuable to Him, it will be my priority in life. My choices will now align with His will.

I can think of no better way to live this life. By making wise choices, through the wisdom that the Lord has given me. I pray that you will also make wise choices so that your everyday matters in the perspective of our eternity.

Missed Opportunity of Extending Kindness

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Yesterday morning, I was in a coffee shop. While I was there, a mom with 2 kids came in as well. Her younger child kept crying and at first, it was just fine but eventually, it irritated me. I was thinking how when my 2 kids were younger, we didn’t stay in coffee shops because I knew they would cause noise and we often stayed outdoors. Anyway, they eventually left the coffee shop later on and I had my peace and quiet.

This morning, I suddenly remembered the young mom on the coffee shop and I asked for forgiveness from the Lord. I knew how hard it is to take care of a baby and another child and instead of being understanding and helpful to the mom, I was being self-righteous. I felt ashamed of what I did (or didn’t do) and asked the Lord for forgiveness and prayed for the young mom.

I have often read blog posts about being kind to other moms, especially those with young children because I personally know how hard it is during those times. If I could have been more caring and sensitive, I would have asked her if there is anything I could do or maybe even bought her food to eat or coffee to drink. But I was selfish and I missed my chance.

I openly shared this experience to my children. Hopefully, we all learned from that missed opportunity. When the Lord brings another opportunity for me, I hope I will be ready to extend kindness, especially to young moms.

Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7 Realities of Homeschooling

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We’ve been homeschooling for the past 6 years now and about to start our 7th year soon. It has been a hard but joyful journey. There has been days that I have felt like giving up but through the grace of the Lord, we’re still continuing our homeschool journey and about to embark on a new season soon. To mark the start of our 7th year in a few months, I’m sharing 7 lessons I’ve learned through the years…

Children are not wired the same way. They learn differently and have different personalities. As homeschool parents, we need to know each of our children and communicate with them and teach them via their learning styles. They also progress differently, some have a natural gift for the arts while others think more logically.

Learning takes place even outside a curriculum. We don’t need to be slaves to the curriculum we are using. We don’t need to do the lessons cover to cover – as homeschooling parent, we have the freedom to tweak our curriculum and make it work for our children. If not fit, then try something else. We need to become flexible.

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Learning is a lifestyle. Once you embark on the homeschooling journey, you will realize that homeschooling is actually a lifestyle. We become more intentional in everything we do. Learning to appreciate life and being grateful to God for all that He has done for us becomes more important that memorizing historical information.

As teacher-parents, we become students as well. We need to have a teachable heart and humble spirit because the Lord will definitely use our children to teach us about life and what truly matters.

Expect hard days. When you did you best and your child still can’t understand that math concept, when your patience is running out because of all the chores that needs to be finished while your kids don’t want to “do” school work and you have a deadline to beat, when you think your children will be better off if they are in school, when you feel inadequate and when no one wants to cooperate. These days will come and it is important to remember why you wanted to homeschool your children. Have a mission statement for your homeschooling or better yet, have a vision for your children.

There are different seasons in homeschooling. Because homeschooling is synonymous with life and our children grow, we need to embrace each season. Enjoy playing with them, laughing with them and reading with them. As they move to the next season, converse with them about life issues, know their interests and their hearts. As they pursue their dreams in life, support them and guide them.

Praying for our children and your homeschooling is an important part of preparation for homeschooling. When we realize that homeschooling can only be done through the grace of God, then can we actually become better parent-teachers. We are equipped by the Lord to handle our children and we grow as we serve and love our family.