Heart and Mind of a Homeschooling Mom : Thammie Sy

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Our featured mom for this week is Ms. Thammie Sy of thammiesy.com. I began reading her blog many years back because of her posts on faith and parenting. I soon learned that she is the wife of a pastor and that they are a homeschooling family as well. It was just fitting to invite her to share her personal journey in homeschooling her kids.

Hi Thammie! I am honored to feature you today. Can you share more about yourself  and how your homeschool journey started?

I am Thammie Sy, a stay-at-home wife of a minister and mom of three (aged 8, 6, and 1 y/o).
I consider homeschooling a lifestyle and a lifetime journey, so I would say that I have been homeschooling since I gave birth to my eldest daughter—about eight years. I formally enrolled my two girls when they reached five years old.

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Why did you choose to homeschool your children?

I always wanted to homeschool my children, even before I got married!

Character is paramount to our family, and we feel that homeschooling is one of the best ways we can influence our children and impart the things that are most important to us. My husband and I feel that we could best equip our children for a lifetime of true success through homeschooling—training them not just academically, but in all other essential areas of life as well.


I also really want to be able to enjoy my kids and spend as much time as I can with them while I still can. I know that in a few years, I would have to release them into the world. While they are under my care, I hope to be able to sharpen them and direct them where they should go, according to their bent.

What curriculum are you using with your child? 

I use different types of curricula for my children, according to what we find best fit their learning style and personality.

Honestly, most of the materials we’ve used over the years are a hodgepodge of those that were either borrowed, given to us, or those that I found on sale.

Initially, we weren’t sure of what would work for our children and we couldn’t afford to buy new materials just yet. As we go along, we discover more and more what each of our children prefer to use, and this helps us in deciding what curriculum to get the following school year.

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

We are currently enrolled with The Master’s Academy.


Until when do you plan to homeschool your children?

We take it one year at a time. If it were up to me, I would like to homeschool my children as long as I can.

Hopefully, they would want to continue being homeschooled, too! My eldest daughter just asked me yesterday if it was possible for me to homeschool her until college! A scary thought, but a good sign, I would say, that she is enjoying what we’re doing.

Deciding whether or not to continue with homeschooling our children would greatly be affected by whatever our goals are for that season.

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Share one lesson you’ve learned over the years about homeschooling.

More than teaching the head, homeschooling is shepherding the heart.

I cannot give what I do not have. Whether it is knowledge or character, I must first have it me, before I can pass it on to my children.


That is truly worth remembering. Any other tips for other homeschooling moms?

Always remember that each child is different. Remembering this takes deliberate effort!


Each family is different. Though it is always good to ask around and get tips from other homeschooling families, your family’s needs are unique. It is ultimately YOUR homeschooling journey as a family.


Have one vision as a family and run with it. Being united is important! Always make sure that communication lines are open, and that expectations between every member of the family are communicated and managed properly.


Set goals that are clear and realistic. These goals will keep you focused and keep you from getting overwhelmed.


Keep it simple.


Have fun.

Thank you so much Thammie! God bless you, your family and your ministry. 

Read more from Thammie by following her at her blog thammiesy.com or her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ThammieSyOfficial . If you have any questions for Thammie, 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.

So You’ve Decided to Homeschool, Now What?

You have researched. You have prayed. You and your spouse have finally decided to try to homeschool your child, now what is the next step?

I am sharing the next steps you can take. Please take note that this is written intended for those in the Philippines.

1. Decide whether you want to do this independently or enrolled in an accredited home education provider. What does a home education provider do? Basically, they provide you the Department of Education accreditation and the report cards.  I have a list of home education providers in the Philippines I made a couple of years back, you may browse through it so you can inquire the program of the different home education providers and how much their fee is. If you wish to homeschool independently, you may do so. If you plan to enroll your child in conventional schools later on, your child would need to go to DepEd to take PVT (validation test).

2. Locate a local homeschool support group. There are many homeschool families around and it is important that you get connected to at least one in your area so that your family will have friends who can help you along your homeschool journey. If you have social media accounts, you may join online groups in Facebook to find the nearest homeschool support group that meets in your area.

3. Set homeschooling goals. It is best to write down why you have chosen to homeschool your child. This will be your guide the whole year through. Also, it will help you decide which activities to attend, which curriculum to use and how you want to set your schedule as a family.

4. Find out your child’s learning style. There are 4 basic learning styles: the visual,  the auditory or verbal, the read and write and the kinesthetic or tactile.  Knowing this is vital before purchasing curriculum for your child.

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5. Choose the method of homeschooling you’d like to use. Methods include Charlotte Mason, Classical, Eclectic, Montessori, School at Home or Unschooling. For first time homeschoolers, most choose school at home. This is because we are most familiar with this type of method from conventional schools. They get boxed curriculum for all subjects.

6. Attend homeschool conferences. Get to meet other homeschool families and continue your research about homeschooling. Read about other family’s experiences and get tips which you may find useful.

7. Set up a conducive learning environment. While you have the luxury of not waking up too early, it is best to stay in a routine so that the children will know what to expect during the entire day. Turn off the TV, computers or gadgets unless used for studies. Make books accessible for the child to reach.

Here is a reminder though. No two families are alike. So while we get ideas from other families, we must not copy what they are doing because we have to find out what will work for our unique family. Homeschooling is not just about the curriculum, but we should remember that homeschooling is  a lifestyle.

Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you shortly.