iHomeschool Book Review

I am delighted to finally read a book on homeschooling written for Filipino families! Ms Nove Tan of  I Homeschool has compiled all the questions one might have on homeschooling. The why, the what and the how are discussed in great detail.

Written in a personal tone from a mom’s heart to another, reading i Homeschool has brought me encouragement and allowed me to rethink our own homeschool journey for the past 9 years. We homeschooled because we wanted our children to have a biblical worldview as they grew up. Character building, becoming lifelong learners and loving Jesus are our primary goals. Reading this book has given me a chance to reflect if we have reached our goals so far and what we can do to adjust so that we can make the remaining years of our homeschooling enjoyable and productive.

As more and more families are now considering homeschooling, I am glad to see that there are more
local resources available. IHomeschool definitely is a must read not only for parents who want to homeschool their children, but want to become more intentional in their parenting. Because truly, homeschooling is NOT JUST ABOUT SCHOOL but IS A LIFESTYLE.

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Homeschooling as a Lifestyle

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Homeschooling is one of my life’s difficult choices. It is not the popular choice nor the easy choice — but I definitely know in my heart that this is what God has called our family to do for our children. It is the right choice for our family.

Homeschooling is not easy — you get to be with your children 24 hours a day, seven days a week and there are no time outs. When the kids were younger, everything depended on the mom’s attitude and discipline to make sure that the children have a daily habit that they can follow through as they grow. Character wise, children learn from what they see, hear and do inside the home. It can be a lot of pressure for the parents but through the years, I’ve learned that ultimately, it is not about me but only by the grace of God in our lives.

You see, homeschooling is a lifestyle. It is not just about the curriculum but it is about working together, supporting each other and being there for one another. We learn as we live and share our lives together. We learn to say yes to things that matter and say no to the busyness this life brings.

Children learn how to communicate with one another, choose how to spend the hours that God has blessed them with and utilize the talents that God has given them. It is not a perfect life but homeschooling has taught us to be more intentional in everything that we do and pursue.

Through the years, we have been living a simpler yet richer life – for the glory of God. It is my utmost prayer that as my children grow, they will bring this with them as they pursue what God has laid upon their hearts.

 

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Learning never stops. I believe that moms, especially homeschool moms, should continually learn from others. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy has created an online course which is designed to make the homeschooling an easier journey for moms. I am blessed to be chosen to review this course. I have been homeschooling my children for the past 5 years and the journey has not been a smooth one. There were many ups and downs along the way and learning from seasoned homeschoolers has always helped me through the various seasons of my journey.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course  is a 26-week long subscription program for parents who are interested in homeschooling or those parents who need a fresh start in their homeschooling journey. The lessons are sent via email every week as a PDF attachment by Stephanie. Stephanie Walmsley created this course as a homeschooling 101 guide to help parents achieve successful homeschooling. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Each week, a PDF document  with at least 5 pages will be sent to my email address. Every lesson address a key component in achieving stress free homeshooling through out the years. Lessons are focused on giving the teacher tools to develop personalized ideas on homeschooling and help them apply these ideas to their own families. There are weekly assignments that needs to be completed.

Some of the topics include: How to Start Homeschooling Straight Away, Teach Math and other Subjects, Vision and Goal for Your Family’s Homeschool, Fireproof Your Homeshool, The Key Ingredient for Success and others.

The lessons can fit whether one is homeschooling a preschooler or a highschooler. It also works even if you are homeschooling just one or a group. The lessons also help you avoid burn out and unneeded stress by teaching you to choose the right curriculum and programs your family.

The whole course costs $48 but if you want to pay monthly instead, it will cost $10 a month.

How I Used the Product

As I received my email with a download link for the first lesson, I made sure that my Adobe Reader was working so that I can open the file using my laptop. I read the short introduction and was immediately starting my first lesson. The first lesson was about making a schedule that works for my family. There were a series of questions about how we spend time as a family and based from my answers, I was asked to make our 8 week schedule. I printed the file at the end of the document and followed the instructions.

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It took me about 15 minutes to complete the first lesson and the assignment. I took note of the tips that I think will be useful for our family like the LITERACY HOUR.

As I received the 2nd lesson for the succeeding week, I was  quite excited to see how I can make Math more easy for my children. I was reminded that Math needs to be taught 3 ways: via practical experience, talking about it and writing about it. Most of them, I just skip the first part which is practical experience and it makes Math more dull and that is probably why my daughter doesn’t like Math very much.

The very practical guide to choosing the right Math curriculum for your family is truly a helpful guide for me. It helped me evaluate if we are using the right product for our family. Then I even received a BONUS lesson which was about  Math Ideas, making Math more enjoyable to learn for the kids.

The 3rd lesson was about helping a child who has been studying in a public or private school adjust to homeschool. There were several moms who shared their real life stories and what they did to help their kids adjust.

4th lesson was about fireproofing our homeschool. It talks about the philosophy on education, what I want to achieve in my life and whyI want to homeschool the kids. This week also see my adding new things to our schedule like FUN things to do.

5th lesson revolved around 3 questions that will help me achieve our family’s goals. It was really important as this helped shaped the goal of our homeschooling.

6th lesson reminded me to take care of myself and to reach for my dreams. It is important that as a person, I do not neglect myself as it is not holy to forget myself in the name of my children.

7th week is all about homeschooling. It gave a brief background on “school” and why curriculum shouldn’t really matter. It also gave an overview of the methods of homeshooling.

What I Thought of the Product

As I used this product during the review time frame, I have gained fresh insights on Math and how to fireproof our homeschool. I was also reminded of our family’s goals and how I shouldn’t be worried about the “best” curriculum there is. It was refreshing to learn from a veteran homeschooler!

If you are seriously considering to homeschool your children, I  would recommend this product to you. You will gain valuable insights and be guided in making wise choices for your homeschool. As this product is designed to work alongside your current homeschool year, you would probably need to use it best in the beginning of the school year or even before your school year.

For a homeschool parent who needs guidance in re-organizing and restarting their homeschool, this would also be a good start. The course asks the important questions and makes you reflect on your style, goals, methods and how to be a better homeschool parent. It is like attending a conference.

The only downside of this product for me is that it takes too long to complete. 26 weeks is half a year and almost an entire school year. I would rather have all the lessons in 2 or 3 months at least.

For more information, check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheBroadRoom.

I invite you to read the reviews of other Schoolhouse Review Crew members to see what they think of this product!

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review
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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.

4 Character Lessons in Homeschooling

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The school year is almost done. A few more weeks to go and we should be concluding another school year. This school year has been a tough one for me. When I first began homeschooling 4 years ago, I thought that homeschooling would be easier as the years roll along but I learned recently that it is not so. I’m sharing with you 4 characters lessons  I’ve learned through homeschooling the past 4 years.

1. PERSEVERANCE. Because homeschooling is a lifestyle, learning takes more time. Learning is not only confined  to completing the workbook or finishing the assigned books. As you get to know your child more over the years, you realize how your child learns best. You provide these avenues where they can understand and appreciate the significance of what they are learning. Thus, it takes more of your time as you research about the best ways to teach your child. You look for educational opportunities outside of your house and plan for that field trip. You teach practical life lessons and pray that your child will grow in wisdom and in stature as the years go by. You assign projects where they practice what  they learn. Homeschooling entails hardwork, year after year. It doesn’t get easier.

2. FLEXIBILITY. What worked yesterday, may not work today. Your routine last month may not work this month because  life’s interruptions can bring changes to your daily routine. Homeschooling thrives in flexibility and as the parent teacher, you need to learn to be flexible and adaptable. Your kids are growing and they change as they enter different life stages, your relationship will work best if you embrace the changes and grow alongside with your kids.

3. HUMILITY. Be teachable and humble, always. It might be humbling to admit that there are areas in Math or Grammar that you might not be familiar with, but admiting our weaknesses and letting our children know that we don’t know it all is part of the learning process. As they see us handle things that we don’t know, they learn to respond the same way. Does your child give up easily? Are they frustrated or pressured? We need to constantly check our own attitudes. As we homeschool our kids, we need to remain teachable and humble too.

4. WISDOM.  You can’t do it all.  We want the best for our children and often we will feel limited with what we give them, but we must remember  GIVING THEM THE BEST DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN GIVING THEM EVERYTHING. We must remember that our children don’t need ALL the extracurricular activities, trips or activities out there. Recall the primary reason why you are homeschooling your children, and then choose activities based on your mission and your child’s interest. Engage in a few but meaningful activities. Don’t fret over what you don’t do. Accept that you can only do as much in a limited time and believe that God will give you the wisdom in choosing what is best for your child.

At the end of the day, homeschooling my kids is a privilege that God has blessed me. I know that it is not about my abilities, or my chidlren’s.  I know  the reason why we are able to accomplish anything with our homeschooling is all by His grace alone.