Monday, October 5, 2015

Standardised Test As The Need Arise (Part 2 of 2)

We only have so much hours in a day! Maybe our lack of structure in our homeschooling will be a liability, so far I don't think it is. One thing I am sure of, my children will have something to say about this later on. For now, there is so much to do and there are so many enriching ways to spend one's time other than reviewing for a standardised test for the sake of having a letter or numerical grade or grade level.
Here's my 15 year old and my 11 year old right after breakfast. Painting because they want. There was no conversation or lecture about art appreciation just available art materials and time on their hands.

In our home, they can decide on how they want to spend the time they have. We have routines, rituals and expectations and this fill out most of  my children’s time until they start having ideas of their own. Because we are loosely structured no two days are alike. By deciding how they spend and allocate their time, I think they begin to put value on what is important to learn and how important it is to them. 
Here is my little boy humming while drawing as I blog away. 
When my children pick up "work" and stay with it I do not disturb them! I don't see the value in imposing a math time for somebody who has already decided to practice soccer or is browsing a book. 

It is also important that there are clear expectations. For example we expect the children do Math, but I do not grade them for this. I ask them where they are and they are free to ask me when they do not understand something. So unless they see the need for standardised test I think it will be a waste of our time to prepare for one because there is only so little time in a day. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Standardised Test As The Need Arise (Part 1 of 2)

My husband and I decided to keep the children away from standardised test until:
1. They want it.
2. The need arise.

Our 2 older children now age 18 and 15 both wanted to do something that required some form of test or a paper to show they are in a certain grade level etc. Both were more than willing to sit down and study for it because they need it.

I want to keep our homeschooling relaxed and interest driven. We each set our own goals and have no use for grades. We only have grades in school, not in life. I don't think there is a need to quiz a young person and gauge how much facts he or she can recall. I think its threatening and if I would have to do this again and again or year after year, then it seems careless and disrespectful. Children need experiences and memories.

Our experiences are the well spring of inspiration.  I have seen how simple experiences can make my children want to level up. Here is my little boy determined to write his name and birthday perfectly the day after visiting the bank and opening his own account. He said, next time he signs "important papers," he wants to get it right and it "should be perfect" because they are "so serious." Beside him is his older sister doing Math.
 After breakfast scene. This looks like detention punishment from some 80's movie. But no one told him to do that.

I did not have to teach him or drill him for better hand writing. He saw the need for it! Some experiences create waves while others I suppose are forgotten or hopefully will be remembered later as the need arise. 
It did not seem wise to take this two with me to the COMELEC office when I had my biometrics, but I felt that it would be a perfect opportunity for them to see how and where stuff like this happen. Based on my limited experience, this is actually the perfect age to take them around, 11 and 7. Too young to refuse when I make it sound potentially exciting and they really have not much to do if they don't come with me. We talked about why I had to do this and I told them there will be a lot of people. We also got to talk about the elections. The only highlight of this trip is that I am amazed at how fast it turned out to be. And my son's head got hit by the door as we were going out so he had a Harry Potter scratch for a few days. Other than that we have not talked about this again.

There is so much to do at home and so many errands where I can take the children with me rather than prepare them for a test. This brings me to my next reason why we not subjecting our children to standardised test unless they want it: time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Woolly Rhino

My son had been announcing that he wants to sculpt something and have been asking me to buy him clay while we were in Manila. I kept explaining that the polymer clay I have is not the kind of clay that he needs. I explained this to my husband too, but they joined forces and bought the first grey coloured clay they saw. 

Last Sunday they spent 2 hours forming the woolly Rhino they saw on YouTube, here. If you are wondering if there is such a thing as a woolly rhino, then check this out. I told them them that I think they can’t bake the clay based on the way they were shaping it. But, its like I wasn’t even in the room. Blocked out by the woolly rhino, obviously! They didn't even call me when they baked the woolly rhino. The oven is my appliance, I get called whenever they have to use it! But not this afternoon!

And then, just as darkness fell to declare the night, I saw my dear son coming up to me in a gait and with the silent tears that only the defeated and the disappointed can articulate. He said, “Its a failure!” 
How I wish I was able to get a photo of their work before they popped it into the toaster oven. That’s why they didn't call me! They both thought that if bread can get toasted in the toaster, then for sure, clay will do just fine.  Voila! Meet Woolly Rhino #1. You can still tell where the legs and horn once were, right?
By dinner time father and son were planning a 2nd woolly rhino. We found self drying clay in Morning Light Art Shop and Gallery, just like what the guy in the video used. 
Father and son started slaving away for the extinct woolly rhino. And 2 hours later,
Here is the Woolly Rhino #2. My little boy declared with much joy. " It will dry after 10 plus 2 days. Then we will paint it." 

I will upload the finish project in 2 weeks. Have an energised and inspired Wednesday. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Philippine Flag Cards

Last month we made a Philippine flag card game that my son suggested, here. For academics, this should cover Philippine History, a bit of geography, art, reading, writing skills, and a bit of math.

As for me,  it was a an excellent practice in acceptance and tolerance. I had to suppress my urge to take control of the project and come up with a "look" for the cards. I wanted to type the words and have a uniform look but that meant that I would limit my son's contribution to colouring what I would have drawn. Anyway, it was his idea and he does not seem to mind playing with messy cards. Because I let go and accepted that we were not going to have a finish product that looks store bought, we got to finish making our cards and play our first game less than 2 hours after we started our first drawing.

How does the card game go?
First,  you must read the book Bandilla, here. Each flag has 2 partner cards with a fact: date, name of the flag etc.  If you have played the card game 1, 2, 3 pass then that's it.  Each player gets 3 random cards and each player passes a card to the player on his right. And once you have all 3 partner card you shout flag.

The more you play the more you get to memorise which cards go together. Its wonderful watching the little boy win! And I can't believe how little I know about Philippine History!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We are Back

No post for July as I was hectic as hectic could possibly be. But I am back home and back to regular programming with one child in university and 3 homeschooling! Three weeks in Manila/ Quezon City, living in a condo on the 40th floor and ending each day exhausted, I am surprised that I feel recharged and ready! So the kiddos and I are picking up where we left off.

I like being prepare and its fun to interact with the kids when prepared. Back when I only had 3 babies, I was ready to answer my child who asked, "Mommy who do you love the most?" I explained that mommy's heart is not like a pizza. It can not be divide and so I can not say I love this child more than the other because/ and so she gets the bigger slice. Mommy's heart multiplies and gets bigger with every baby but mommy still has one heart. Like when you mix clay together. Once the clay is marbled you can not really take out the colors they are stuck together forming one big clay ball. And that's how mommy's heart is."

I did prepare for my eldest leaving home and now I think, I over estimated my sorrow!  I know I left my heart walking around in Manila/ Quezon City because my eldest child is there, but I am not broken hearted. I am not sad and in despair. I miss her but my constant prayer for my children has been for them to be where God  needs them to be, not where they want or I think they should be. I am feeling melancholic. It seems like every move I make these last few days brings back some memory. And there's a silence within me that is new to me and I can not explain. I don't feel bad but this territory is new to me. This sense of silence, I didn't see this coming.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Independence Day 2015

So what did we do?

My husband and I spent the whole day 8:00 to 3:30 in Agro getting sun burned while cheering to my son's soccer team, Crocs Davao for the Independence Day Football Festival. 

It was super fun and uncomfortable! If you have been to Agro then you know that it has zero amenities! And since we are amateur soccer parents we did not even bring a chair! Now I know better!

As part of our Independence Day celebration we started reading this book I got in Oak and Acorn in Abreeza for P179.00. And it prompted the following questions:
1. Does the house in Tondo Manila, 314 Azcarraga  Street (now Claro M. Recto Street) still there?
2. Who and why was Andress Bonifacio killed? And why in that location?
3. What is the Spanish American War all about? We watch this short video here
Here is a much longer video of the Spanish American War and the USS Maine, but my son lost interest after 15 minutes. 
4. Do the Katipuneros want to win the war or die for the country? - form my little boy.

We also got to watch this documentary about Manuel L. Quezon in CNN Philippines. There goes Independence Day 2015 for our family. The Filipino dinner did not happen and my son is still not giving up on the card game that I suggested we make :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Sweetest Take on History

Gearing up for our June 12 Independence Day Celebration, my little boy and I watched a few videos about Philippine Independence. Here 

I told him the story of how when Gregorio H. Del Pilar the young, tragic and romantic hero of Tirad Pass was killed in battle, the Americans found a locket with a lock of hair in it. I asked my little boy, "Whose hair do you think it was?"
And with lightning speed and conviction, he blurted out, "It's his mommy's hair!" Ha! Ha! Ha! Imagine the look on the older sister's face! 

I don't have an exact plan yet on how we will spend Philippine Independence Day. I am thinking of coming up with a Philippine Flag card game. I still have to make the rules for it. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

End of Summer 2015

It's the end of summer and for us that means all our summer classes/activities have dwindled to weekend activities. 
No more 3x a week soccer for my little boy.

I think we should continue our Summer Subject: Filipino and this time we shall trudge along with this book that I got in Fully Booked, Abreeza. 
I am thinking of ways for our family to celebrate Independence Day on June 12. I know we have a flag somewhere in the house from my Lolo. Independence Day was significant to me when I was a kid because it meant no classes or delayed school opening but I never really zeroed in on what we are actually celebrating. Independence from Spain? From the US? From our own prejudice and limitations? From school :D :D :D ?

Well, here is a site with facts I will be sharing with my children. I am thinking of activities for our family:
Flag making painting/ sewing
Filipino themed Lunch or Dinner
An essay from my teenagers

Goodbye summer and hello June :)

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