Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom: Jenn Punzalan

 

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I first followed her blog Some Kind of Mom-sense a few years back and have been reading her posts regularly. You can say that I am a fan so it is a privilege to be featuring Ms. Jenn Punzalan today.

Hi Jenn! Thanks for letting me feature you today. We are excited to know more about you and your homeschooling journey! Tell us more about yourself.  

I’m 42, pastor’s wife, stay at home mom. 4 kids: Nathan, 18, 1st year college in Ateneo de Manila University, Janina, 15, grade 8 homeschooled, Ryan, 10, grade 4 homeschooled, and Joaquin, 5, will homeschool this June for kindergarten. I started homeschooling when my eldest was 8 years old, about 10 years ago.

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 Why did you choose to homeschool your children?

Initially, we chose to homeschool our eldest child because we had a trip scheduled during the school year and since I didn’t want to be stressed out with all the make-up work he will have to do, we decided to homeschool him that year. Our experience in that first year was more enjoyable and profitable than we expected. Learning took on a whole new level for my son because his classroom got bigger, and he was not limited to books. He had the time to explore on the topics that he was interested it. I was able to monitor him closely and train him not only in the mind, but more so in the heart. There was so much more flexibility and we got to do more things as a family. It is for these reasons that I continue to homeschool. 

What method or curriculum do you use with your children?

Over the years I’ve homeschooled, I have used different kind of curricula. I have tried PACEs, Alpha Omega, Abeka, Apologia, Singapore Math and even local textbooks. So maybe, you can call my method eclectic. I am not a fanatic for one particular curriculum.

Are you enrolled in a DepEd accredited homeschool provider or others? Which one?

Yes, I am. Victory Christian International School.

Until when do you plan to homeschool your child?

I take it one year at a time. It really depends on the needs of our children and the season that we are in. My 8th grader, Janina, is very much into the performing arts and homeschooling allows her the time to pursue this. Next June, Ryan said he wants to go back to regular school because he misses being around kids his age. But if it were up to me, as long as my kids want to homeschool, I am willing to do it for them. I guess I still have a long way to go since my youngest is just starting Kinder this June.

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Share lessons you’ve learned over the years about homeschooling.

Don’t major on the minors. Know your primary goals. If something isn’t really that important in light of your primary goals, why stress on it? Ex. memory work is so stressful for my kids so I tend not to give them too much of it. My goal is for them to think critically, not memorize facts. Facts can be easily googled. So rather than letting them memorize the different presidents of a country, I would ask them what makes a leader good or bad.

Focus on your children’s strengths. Sometimes we spend too much time improving their weaknesses, and we neglect strengthening what they’re really good at. Have a sense of humor. Learn to laugh together. Have fun together. Discipline them for inappropriate behavior and reinforce good ones.

Thank you very much Jenn! May God bless you and your family!

Read more from Jenn by following her at her blog Some Kind of Mom-sense. If you have any questions for Jenn, please leave a comment and we will try our best to respond.

To read the rest of this series, check Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom.

Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom: Rosanne Rodriguez Unson

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Have you heard about the online bookstore The Learning Basket? We are featuring one of the beautiful mommies behind one of our favorite online bookshop today, Ms. Rosanne Rodriguez Unson.

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Hi Sanne! Can you share a brief introduction about yourself?
I’m Sanne, wife and mother of a 4-year old girl. I work part-time as an IT professional in Ateneo and I am the other half of The Learning Basket, an advocacy that was  started by my friend, Mariel, where we promote the idea that parents are our children’s first and best teacher.

We officially started homeschooling when my daughter was 2 but we were doing “learning” activities without the label even before then. Reading aloud was a big part of our daily routine from when she was a newborn.

Why did you choose to homeschool your child?

Here’s something that I wrote as I was reflecting a few months ago about this:

Honestly, my husband and I go back to this same question every now and then, and so far, we’ve arrived at the same answer – we want her to enjoy her childhood. Even before she was born, we knew that our daughter will not be put to school at a very early age. We wanted her to be free to move and play and explore whenever she can and wants because this is what children should be doing. We want her to grow up with a true love for learning. We want her to wonder and marvel at the things around her, not because of a school requirement, but because our world IS truly wonderful and marvelous. We want to ignite a passion for reading and/or and/or math and/or science and/or art and/or music and/or sports, not because of academic pursuits, but because to find one’s passion is to find happiness. We want her to grow up in full awareness of God’s love for her and we believe that it is by our example of loving God and loving her that she can truly see this.

It has been a wonderful ride and we are enjoying having front-row seats to our daughter’s growth and development.
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What are method or curriculum do you use with your child? 
We are using Five in a Row combined with Catholic Heritage Curriculum as our primary curricula. We also use supplementary materials and montessori activities that tie up with whatever our daughter is interested or what we feel needs attention (virtues, art, music). 

Are you enrolled in a DepEd accredited homeschool provider or others? Which one?

Not at the moment but we are planning to enroll in an accredited provider by June. 

Until when do you plan to homeschool your child?

Right now, we plan to do so for preschool. This changes about monthly. Haha.
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Share one lesson you’ve learned over the years about homeschooling.

More than what you teach your child, it is what you learn with her and through her that will amaze when you’re homeschooling. 

Do you have any other  tips you’d like to share.

1. No two children and homeschools are the same so try not to compare.
2. The simpler, the better. They often learn when you least think they are learning.
3. Pray. It is definitely not a lifestyle for everyone, but if you feel that you are called to it, I strongly recommend trying it.
4. Inform yourself and read up about homeschooling. It’s not as daunting as we often think it is.
Thank you Sanne.
Read more from Sanne at her column in The Learning Basket. If you have any questions for Sanne, please leave a comment and we will try our best to answer. 
To read the rest of the series, please check Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom.

Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom: May De Jesus-Palacpac

 

Recently, I have received quite a number of emails asking about homeschooling in the Philippines, I have decided to write a weekly series “Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom”. I hope to feature current homeschooling moms and share the hows, the whys, and the whats of their homeschooling journey. Through my blog, I hope to inspire and encourage other homeschooling families out there and those who are seriously considering to homeschool their children.

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Today I am featuring May De Jesus-Palacpac of FullyHousewifed. May is a wife to an extremely talented musician, Jay, who have decided to commit his talent to serving the LORD through the Kids Ministry in their church where he works as one of the hired staff; a hand-on mom to three little boys ages 8, 4 and 3 and works as a marketing assistant for Choc Chip Digital, a web development agency based in Australia.

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Hi May! Can you share with us your homeschooling journey? How did you start and why did you decide to homeschool your child?

May: Officially, I’ve been home schooling for five years. I started early with Pablo, my eldest to assist him in his speech development. I started on home schooling for the wrong reason. I was afraid for my eldest son to be bullied in school because he was very gentle as a toddler. Eventually, my husband and I learned more about the benefits of home schooling such as being given more hours to be able to influence our sons and mold their character according to the bible and to be able to prepare them for the future carrying with them these sets of values that we are teaching them. And to also share good memories with them that we hope would strengthen their foundations.

What curriculum do you use? 

May: I would have loved to use Sonlight through and through. We’ve borrowed books but we mix it with some local books which were recommended to us by our service provider.

What we do is to customise each subject as our children needs it. For example, for English, we do read-alouds and discussions and for our eldest, we assign him books to read on his own which he does chapter reports on and discuss with us.

For Filipino, he does PACES but we also teach him conversational Filipino using an app on his tablet.

For other subjects, because he’s advanced in computer skills, we went through code.org and he’s mastered doing basic graphics and a little programming. He’ll be doing mobile apps next year since he’s been creating his own digital games using the Scratch program.

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Are you enrolled in a DepEd accredited homeschool provider or others? Which one?

May: Yes, right now, we’re with Peniel Christian Academy.

Until when do yo plan to homeschool your child?

May: Hopefully until the 8th grade.

Can you share one lesson you’ve learned over the years about homeschooling?

May: It’s not about me. That at the end of it all, it is still God’s plans that will come to pass in the lives of our children. When I remember this, I relax and allow the journey to be a joy for them.



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Any other tips you’d like to share with other homeschooling families?

May: You know, I’m in the process of relearning the things that I’ve learned in the past. So let me just share this from an old post in my old blog site and feel free to choose what you think would be most helpful to your readers:

–  Every home school is different. Although families may share the same faith, each family also has its own accepted standards and needs that differ from other families. What applies to many may not apply to some. So know your goals, priorities and have a mission-vision for your home school

–  Values, Habits & Attitude training is a necessary prerequisite to everything else. Having a good amount of stored biblical values, habits and attitude gives your children a good head start in life.

– Know the law and what the state requires. There are ways to comply to the requirements set by the educational measurement institutions, in the Philippines, that would be Dep-ed or CHED, without having to sacrifice your priorities & goals as a family and your control over the education of your children.

– Curriculum is a process and not a standard. Your choice of materials may vary from year to year based on the development and progress of your child. It’s senseless to stubbornly stick to your choice of materials if it’s not working for your child!

– Every child has a natural learning ability. What he needs are parents who sincerely believe that he is destined for greatness and will lovingly and patiently prepare him for it; not someone breathing down his neck on awards, stars, stickers, contests and other pointless external motivational factors.

– Lead them to the joy of literature. Learning phonetics is not the ultimate goal (and is not the only way of teaching a child to read!). Let books be readily available and accessible to them. There’s no point in keeping them perfectly intact if they will not be read and enjoyed.

– In making decisions, always ask yourself “why?” Double check your motivations.

Thank you very much for sharing your life with us May! May God continue to guide you on your homeschooling journey.

If you have any questions for May about homeschooling, please leave a comment and we will try our best to answer.

To read the rest of the series, please check Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom.