Thursday, November 19, 2015

What if I had to grade him?

What if I told my son that if his answer is wrong then, he will lose 1 point? Because instead of barn he spelled the word farm. Should he get a mark for it? An X  for wrong or a C for creative? What are both for?

Would he have come up with the next answer? 

If I told him what was in the picture, so he could simply sound out the letters in the word, I would have missed out on what he thinks and how he sees the simple pictures. Would he have been so eager to flip the cover and see the word?

Yes that's a W and he turned it around to make an M because he wanted to be fast so we could move on to the next card. He wasn't being lazy or defiant. He wanted to move on fast. He wanted to flip the cover and see if he got it right. 

I am happy I got to see him apply himself to the task at hand. Although the words he came up with are different from the the one in the card, are they wrong? Seeing him in a eureka moment is priceless. I am convinced that education for young people should chase after eureka moments rather than letter or numerical grades.

What if I had to grade him? What if he wanted a high grade? Would he have been so bold and sure in his answers?  Would he have laughed when they did not match? I will never know because I don't assign or compute grades for him or his sisters. I just spend time with them. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Our Batang Pinoy 2015 Experience

I spent 5 days in Koronadal for the Batang Pinoy Games. I am so proud of my dear girl, its her first time to join Batang Pinoy and her positive, can do attitude is invigorating. She kept saying "thank you mom and dad." I couldn't just say welcome this time. Being in Koronadal for Batang Pinoy is such an eye opener for me. So, I said thank you to her too. It was her desire to swim and compete that got us all there.

Queuing up for her ID.
Like biometrics for the election.
She has a mat from The Philippine Sports Commission

with Coach Carlo Rodriguez
Some sibling love. Dinner.
Caught a glimpse Karatedo in the mall
During warm up.
Little brother, checking out the soccer field and holding onto a receipt he found.
We did not bring any paper to draw on.
Check out the shower.

Waiting for her meet.
She wants to join again next year and improve her time. I am a bit excited and I think, if we get to go next year I should be more prepared. I should remember:
1.  Look for the nearest Church. We missed Sunday mass. Tsk!
2. There is a lot of hotel time, bring:
      a. Math workbook
      b. Board Game: Avengers Monopoly
      c. Cards
      d. Word Factory
      e. Paper and pens
We need paper to draw on!!! That's my too much TV face!
3. Bring extra Sun Block
4. Bring extra pillows
We found the crab place! Check them out here 
5. Take a good family picture.

6. Bring a first aid kit.
7. Bring Cooler for drinks.
8. Bring a fan and a hat.

On the drive back, she said she can't wait for next year's Batang Pinoy and she hopes she can make it to the nationals (can do positive attitude!). I will be reading this post before the games next year and I shall be a better equipped parent for Palarong Pambansa 2016! Till then...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Laid Back Learning: Enjoying Science Videos

Last week, I am happy to have spent 2 afternoons being with my 2 children on our sofa. I got my hair combed and styled by my daughter while sitting down with my son. A day later, I got to braid my daughter's hair while watching another science video. Just the 3 of us in our quiet house. Well, my 15 year old was upstairs doing her math. She was not interested in the video.
Then after watching we had snacks and then head off to my daughter's swimming practice. It is this kind of energy, companionship and family life that I was after when we decided not to send the children to school. 
If I told my son and daughter that we will have a test after the video and they can not do this or that if they don't get a good score, then I think we would have all missed out on the chance to just be. I think giving a test so I could grade them would be threatening, counter productive and limiting. Instead of absorbing what matters to them and/ or what they are interested in, they might start watching the video in the light of what they think will come out on the test. 

Here are the videos we watched. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, I a planning to watch a science video again with my kiddos. If I let my son choose he will want dinosaur stuff which will not suit the girls. So I am choosing. Here are my picks:
I am not recommending these videos as I haven't seen both, but I am hoping to watch one of them with my 3 children. I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Thanks for dropping by my blog and hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Independent Homeschooling and Swimming

I talked my third daughter and my son into swimming class in the hope that my son's asthma attacks will lessen. After 30 sessions my son had enough of it and had no asthma attacks yet, while my 3rd daughter has become so into it.

She showed me this tear jerking video, here. If you clicked on the link and watched the video you can wipe your tears now. My dear girl has joined her first competition last July and is now looking forward to her second competition at the end of the month. I am excited for her because I can see how much she puts into swimming.

I did a little research about the Palarong Pambansa because my girl wanted to join the qualifying round a week or so ago. I found out that as an independent homeschooler my daughter can not join the Palarong Pambansa. Why? Because: " 1. The Palarong Pambansa Program is an annual multi-level national scholastic athletic competition conducted by the Department of Education and participated in by the elementary and secondary pupils / students both from public and private schools." You can read more about that here.

Being an independent homeschooler, my children are OSY [Out of School Youth]. I explained this to my daughter. Her quick fix reaction was that she ought to go to school. I pointed out that sometimes her teammates miss swimming because they have school activities/ exams, while in her case, her activities can adjust to her swimming schedule. I told her that we can't be included in activities all the time. The fact is, as she grows older she will have to refuse activities she wants to join for a number of reasons and because she has to prioritise. Good thing is that she can join the Batang Pinoy.

I told her, that by all accounts she is lucky to be 11 years old now at this time and place. The Palarong Pambansa started in  1948 (source: here ), while I could not find the year when Batang Pinoy started. Anyway, had she been 11 years old where we are in 1938, she would not have the opportunity for Palarong Pambansa and most likely, Batang Pinoy would not be in place. We talked a bit about how it would have been like where we are and what other obstacles would be there for someone like her, a young girl who likes swimming in 1938.

For now, she better be thankful and make the most of being an OSY swimmer. Hope you have a good week ahead dear reader and you may you get to do the most where you are this week.

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.

Update, 12 October 2015.  Photo of Wolly Rhino #3. He is with my father in law now. My little boy wrapped it up as a birthday present for his Lolo. My little boy made it all by himself.

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 :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Please Measure the Cobb's Angle

I believe radiologists here in Davao City should measure the Cobb's Angle before they remark that a patient has scoliosis! I posted this in my Facebook timeline yesterday: 

"In about 6 weeks, Ashley and I will be posting stuff about Scoliosis Awareness. As we have done in the last 2 years. Due to Amber's recent chest X-ray there is a need to shout out that a curve less than 10 degrees is NOT scoliosis!!! It should be noted that a curved to whatever direction has been observed. But a curve in the spine less than 10 degrees is not scoliosis!!!"

I also added this on my Facebook post: "Also if a curve has been observed ask for the Cobb's Angle. I think this makes sense since how will the orthopedic doctor know if the radiologist won't measure it? And how else can the radiologist know if he should just note it or call it scoliosis. "The term “Cobb Angle” is used worldwide to measure and quantify the magnitude of spinal deformities, especially in the case of scoliosis. The Cobb angle measurement is the “gold standard” of scoliosis evaluation endorsed by Scoliosis Research Society. It is used as the standard measurement to quantify and track the progression of scoliosis."
I got that here.

Here is another reason why you should ask for the Cobb's Angle. "It is important to realise that the accuracy of measurement of this angle is only to +/- 5 degrees and so a curve measured at 40 degrees could be between 35 and 45 degrees. "

When my second daughter was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopatic Scoliosis, her Cobb's angle was 20 degrees as measured by our doctor, not the radiologist. We were asked to get another x-ray after 6 months in which her Cobb's Angle increased to 28 degrees. We went for a second opinion, and then a third and we were told, over and over again to wait and see since there is a margin of error of 2 to 5 degrees depending on who is measuring the angle. And each doctor made their own measurements with varying degrees. It seemed to me like the first x-ray was being dismissed on account of it not being measured by the radiologist! Again, the doctors were relaxed and kept saying that scoliosis is very common. Luckily, for my daughter because fo all the confusion and my doubts, I had taken her for a 2nd x-ray 4 weeks after her first one was taken and on that x-ray, the radiologist this time, measured the Cobb's angle 21 degrees. So, based on that measurement, her curve increase by 7 degrees in a span of 5 months!

As a parent, it is so unsettling to see and then be told by doctors that your child's spine is curving sideways and there seems to be nowhere to go. Compound that with an incomplete x-ray reading.

Why is it that here in Davao, the threshold for scoliosis seems to be any curve in the spine while for the rest of the world its at the very least 10 degrees before they say that a person has scoliosis? The two resident doctors I consulted for my eldest daughter's chest x-ray (one face to face on the day the x-ray was taken and the other yesterday afternoon on the phone) explained to me that based on their guidelines (both did not state where these guidelines came from) 8 to 10 degrees = mild scoliosis. Logic tells me that A LOT people who will get their x-rays at the said hospital will then be told that they have mild scoliosis. 

See here: 
From Australia: "Although scoliosis by definition (a curve of 10° or more) "
From the UK: "Curves measuring up to 11° are considered normal." and check out the chart here
From Europe: "Only 10% of adolescents with curves greater than 10ยบ require active treatment. Of these, 85–90% can be treated with non-surgical methods."" Again, below 10 degrees, then it is not called scoliosis.
From the US:  "The Scoliosis Research Society defines scoliosis as a curvature of the spine measuring 10 degrees or greater on x-ray."
From Asia:  Mild curve is stated to be at 10 to 20 degrees.

Here is what this radiology site have to say, "The angle may be plotted manually or digitally and scoliosis is defined as a lateral spinal curvature with a Cobb angle of 10° or more."

I am not upset that my eldest daughter was noted to have a curvature in her spine. But does she really have scoliosis? How can the radiologist write scoliosis and miss out writing the Cobb's Angle? Scoliosis can be accidentally discovered during chest X-ray or a patient will need an X-ray to figure out the severity of his or her condition to come up with a treatment plan. So, if the radiologist sees a curve during a chest xray shouldn't he or she measure it?

We had 5 doctors appointments in 2011 here in Davao City for our second daughter's scoliosis and none of the doctors used a scoliometer. We relied on x-ray readings/results! So it is very important that x-rays be complete. Patients rely on them! Both resident doctors I spoke to yesterday pointed to me that they write simply what they see. So why stop short at measuring what they see!??

What was upsetting about the x-ray experience with my eldest daughter last Monday,  are:
1. I had to ask for what should have been there and it was not comfortable.
 2. Instead of coming home with an X-ray result in hand we had to go back for it the next day!
3. The man I spoke wearing a radiology department uniform of the hospital acted like he couldn't care less. Thus making me feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I am taking his actions as a reflection of the standard and training that they have in the said hospital and the culture, at least of their radiology department.

Surprised that my eldest has scoliosis, I explained to this man that I wanted to speak to the radiologist and why I wanted the Cobb's Angle measured. He replied that I have to go see the orthopaedic doctor for that, not a radiologist. He also added that it is not a standard in that hospital to put the Cobb's angle because it is a chest x-ray and not a scoliosis screening!

I was not asking for a plan of action. I was simply stating that the revelations the radiologist made is lacking! The audacity to dismiss a valid request as if he had an orthopaedic doctor to recommend right there and then is astounding! Of course he does not know that four years ago, my husband and I along with our second daughter had to wait for 6 hours in that same hospital just to see this top orthopaedic doctor for one appointment. I called for that appointment four days before we went and even called to confirm the appointment a day before going! And in the end, we had to settle with another doctor after 6 hours of waiting! Now I understand the long line at the orthopaedic doctor's clinic.

How did all this end? We have a CD copy of my eldest daughter's chest xray and a long size bond paper that say stuff you would read in a normal chest X-ray concluding with,

Addendum created May/19/15:  "A 9 degree scoliosis is noted T8 -T12 with convexity to the right."

If we were living else where this would not be called scoliosis. But here in Davao City, Philippines it is called scoliosis! Why? What is the basis for this?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Summer Subject: Filipino

As I said in a previous post, I am going to give Filipino one more try. For this summer, Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to Filipino subject/ activities.
We are using this book. Considering that the learners ages are 6, 11, 14, 17 and 36 its better to start at the lowest and get it right than start with a more challenging materials and give up!
To increase our vocabulary we are playing Speedeebee. We read the questions in English (as written on the card) and give the answer in Filipino. It's annoyingly fun!
I have a question, is Filibustero counted as a Filipino word?
We played Shatong this morning! The plan was for me to teach them the game and give instructions in Filipino.And to speak in Filipino/ Tagalog as much as we can while playing. I told the kids that shades is a must! I don't want anyone getting hit with the stick in the eye. I was thinking of helmet too, but it seems over kill. 
Digging our base.
When I played Shatong as a kid, we did not have safety measures. We played with gusto and sincerity and with the full knowledge and acceptance that if somebody gets hurt, you will get a good scolding from the adults.  I did not realize how much give and take between teammates and opponents Shatong requires. We spoke Filipino/Tagalog about about 15 % of the time. I say that's good enough for starters.
We have 6 more Tuesdays and 7 more Thursdays to go before summer ends. Wish us luck and kindly share tips, tricks, sites and books that could help us out! Thanks in advance :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Field Trip Continues...

We went up to Calinan on Wednesday, April 1. I was not sure what we would find in Calinan or if we would even find anything related to World War 2. But of all days of the year, I figured Wednesday was the time to go as it was April fools day, so if we do not find anything we can just count it as an April fools' day joke. Our agenda was to check out an obelisk that I recall seeing some time ago and reading about somewhere and is somehow related to Japan.  Then to drop by the Japanese tunnel on the way home. My older kids and I, with my dear husband have been there before, but the younger ones and our driver have not. Our group is made up of 4 adults: Me, A-my eldest, our driver and Teacher Chrissie and As, L and Nh.

Upon reaching Calinan, to the right a of the highway, a little past the left turn towards Calinan proper but before the Felcris building we saw the sign "Philippine Japan Museum" So this became our first stop.

The lady in yellow was our museum guide.
I was not disappointed! After paying the entrance fee, we walked around the museum with the museum guide who answered all our questions and pointed out some photos. It was amazing to see names of of people no longer with us but who's grandchildren continue to play a vital role in cultivating Davao City. We also found World War 2 money.

I think it would be interesting to add the following to the museum:
1. Stories and photos of Japanese descendants. I would like to know how they were treated after the war.
2. More info of the famed gold that the Japanese left behind. I mean, where would the gold have come from? If there really was gold and treasures, why would they keep in in Mintal/Calinan? Why not ship it to Japan?
3. What's with tunnels? 

I am getting a bit carried away now imagining a gift shop/ bookstore and even a tea house. But then, if the museum does not have that many visitors then such would be a waste to invest on and maintain.

The obelisk I was searching for and wanted to show the kids was not in the museum but in Mintal Elementary School! We also learned that Mintal was called "Little Tokyo" before the war. Why I even assume it's in Calinan I don't know. The lady in the museum did not refer to the structure not as an obelisk but called it an "Ohta." I then assumed that an "Ohta" must be a Japanese term for the monument.
Mintal Elementary School is along the highway and we saw a bunch of kids playing soccer. At the gate, was a security personnel who introduced himself to us and showed us his ID. He was to be our guide and we called him Manong Lolong. He walked with us across the school field to the obelisk which he also referred to a "Otah". This was a super worth while the stop!

Manong Lolong our guide explained that the side of the "Ohta" facing the highway is actually the back of the monument. The front is the one facing the river. Sometime in the past, treasure hunters came and wrecked the place in search of gold that the Japanese left behind. My golly!!!

Why this was even allowed is so jaw dropping not just to me but even to my children. They even chipped off the Japanese sign on the obelisk.

 There use to be a pyramid like structure beside the obelisk. The pyramid like structure was built in honor of the directors of the Ohta Plantation Company and according to the kagawad and Mang Lolong, it also had a tunnel and some small room like structures, but now it is  just a heap of mess after the treasure hunters wrecked it!

We were given a brochure with historical information with pre-war Japanese sites that can be found around Mintal. I wish that we had more time to visit the cemetery. But we had to go back because L has swimming practice by 5:30.

Our last stop for this field trip is the Japanese Tunnel.  There was a guide who walked in with us and explained how the tunnel was discovered, who dug it and so on. I couldn't go on and walk the whole 150 feet.
The sounds of trucks passing by the highway was too much for me. I imagine World War 2 airplanes and fear came all over me so I decided to step out and let the rest continue. I waited for them outside the tunnel.
The Total Cost of this Field Trip:  P870.00
Japanese Museum: 110.00
Mintal School: FREE
Japanese Tunnel: 260.00
Gas: 500.00

Friday, March 27, 2015

Today's Field Trip

This is a continuation of yesterday's post.

We did not get to leave the house at 8:00 and the teenagers had other plans, so it was just me and the 2 younger kiddos. We left at 9:00 because breakfast took a while. NH watched this video on Youtube right after breakfast while I prepared our lunch and left instructions to my eldest about making salad.

Our first stop was the market to check out how much coconut/buko costs.
In the story, "Fate And My Father", buko was 2,000.00 Japanese Peso in February 7, 1945.
Today, it's P20.00 only.
The coconut on the left is the one for salad and juice. The coconut on the right is older and for gata. I didn't know that! The man even made a handle! So no need to bring a bag plastic when you buy coconut in the market! I didn't know that too!!!
I asked L how many buko she could buy with the P2,000.00 that we had.
On the plaque: "In memory of Col. Thomas L. Clifford Jr. who died on on June 24, 1945 and was responsible for the liberation of Davao City.
We stopped by the rotunda in front of the post office. I have lived in this city all my life but this is the first time I came near, as in go down from the car, to check out this monument.

Our tour guide's name was Winnie and we went around the museum with a bunch of foreign students.
Our last stop for today was the Museo Dabawenyo. We arrived just in time for the guided tour! The tour gave us a happy dose of Davao pride. We were able to see World War 2 currency or Japanese Peso. There were other World War 2 artifacts in the museum but we did not get to take pictures as it was not allowed. I wish the the museum would be open on Sundays and closed on Mondays. This way, working parents can go with their children.

We got home by 11:10. Just enough time for me to help out with the lunch. 

Total cost of this field trip:
Market: P155 {Buko and Parking Fee}
Monument: FREE
Museo Dabawenyo: FREE

There goes our Field Trip or our entire morning. I think we are not yet done with this World War 2 theme. We shall see...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Lot of Subjects in One Story Alone

Here is an  exciting article about a development in Finland's education system and it says, "By 2020, the country plans to phase out teaching individual subjects such as maths, chemistry and physics, and instead teach students by 'topics' or broad phenomena, so that there's no more question about "what's the point of learning this?" A question raised by one of the funniest and creative people in my 4th year high school class (1995) to our dedicated Physics teacher. More than freedom in the classroom, the article is a boost for me!!! Now I am not sure if what Finland has in mind is what we are doing here at home.

I always say that I didn't bring school home and one of the reasons is that I don't teach like a teacher in a classroom. Not because I don't want to, but because it seems awfully silly! I also do not give tests, grades, and make lesson plans ahead, I tried a bit, but life always interrupts this attempt. I plan with the kids and we sometimes get carried away! My older children are now more sensible than the 2 younger ones in terms of project scale and time. We usually cross over and overlap subjects, because to begin with we did not divide the books we read into subjects. So, how does this work for our family?

Right now I am reading "Shaking The Family Tree"  to L (11 years old) and Nh (7 years old in 4 weeks) . I have read this book to my two older children before and I think they read some of it on their own too.  In my head the book should account for the subject Philippine History. Although it can be World History, Reading, a bit of Geography and Language. Anyway, I don't divide them anymore and tell them that we are learning all these subjects.

In the story "Fate and My Father" by Maria Cristina Duarte Obles, we were able to talk about currency and inflation = Economics. And wounds and infection which my 2nd daughter As will make a power point report that she said she will present by Saturday night, this should cover Science right?

How much is P2,000.00?
In the story, the dad of the author bought a coconut for 2,000.00 Japanese Peso.
To get more from the stories, we (mostly L, Nh and me) decided yesterday to have a field trip on Friday, that's tomorrow. I want to share our itinerary with you now as I am super excited, but it seems unwise to post online my where abouts for tomorrow. I am pretty sure we will be home by lunch time if we leave the house at exactly 8:00 am tomorrow morning.

I told my husband we should also go to Corregidor Island because of  Lalim Hidalgo Lim's, "Silver, the Color of My Mother's Hair". It does not have to be now of course, but sometime in the future. Here is a post I wrote back in 2011. I was asked, "How do you teach your kids? And what if they do not listen?"

P.S  I am not sure my teenagers will be joining the field trip tomorrow. I invited both of them but still didn't get a reply. So moms with young kids, enjoy every second with your little ones they won't be clingy and eager beaver to go with you forever.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Subject: Filipino

In our house, my children speak in English. I speak to them in English. I think English was my first language and I am sure I heard Tagalog too as I was born in Manila and lived there till I was about 5. Then we moved to Davao and I learned the Davao Tagalog which is a mixture of Bisaya and a lot of Tagalog words. I learned this fast and with gusto because of my new found friends. All was great with what I thought was Filipino/Tagalog until school started and we had to be graded and told,  
“Ang di marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa malansang isda.” 
What were in the books were very different from how I was using the language. The language when spoken was fun and practical and got me from the gate of my aunt’s house all the way to the highway on a bike!

It was not until the summer when I was about to enter grade 4 that it got to me that words like “lagi” and suffixes like "gina", "naga" are not Tagalog which is why they could not be found in my Filipino books. I did not learn this in the classroom but from my older sister who did not grow up in Davao and did not understand “lagi” and a friend from Luzon who laughed at what sounded like make up Tagalog words, like:

how I say it  = how its suppose to be said
gikuha  = kinuha
ginakain = kinakain
nagatakbo = tumatakbo
nagaluto = nagluluto

 So, I figured it’s a Davao thing and must be Bisaya or Davaoeno not Tagalog. The higher I got on the educational ladder, the harder the Filipino subject became. Yet, I won several medals in Lingo ng Wika in my school and graduated high school and college just fine. Filipino was not my downfall as a student thanks to Math! To this day, I do not know when to use nang and ng, does this make me less Filipino? In case you know the difference do leave a comment so I may know.

If I am angry I speak in English. Masmabilis ang flow of words ika nga! I also noticed that when we are not in the country I tend to speak to my children in Filipino or Davao Tagalog/ Bisaya. It makes me feel safer which is weird but it does!

From the start of our homeschooling I knew I could not teach my children Filipino from the available materials that I saw. I tried, here and here. Just tried. We didn't really get anywhere substantial.
It's impossible for me to pound on them with the same materials that was pounded on me and made me ask, "Kailangan ko ba ito?" The sad part is my answer, "Mukhang hindi!" I was much much younger when I made up my mind on this. I could have studied but I did not. In the hierarchy of fast paced teenage priorities, Filipino ranked high on the boring scale and nowhere near the thrill, rush and fleetingness of the sports fest and even first Friday mass!

When my eldest went to ALS it was like hitting two birds with one stone. She got herself a high school diploma and she learned Filipino way better than me! But then, what am I in Filipino (subject) but a poorly educated graduate who can survive in the street, but cannot read well enough to merit my educational attainment. Nor can I write properly without a teacher working with me. Now this is not the fault of my school or my Filipino teachers, as I said  I could have studied as I got older but I did not because early on I figured I did not need it and there was only so much I could do in a day and a week that it just was not, or ever became, my priority. I needed Filipino only to the extent of passing a school requirement and of course chat away with friends which is also punishable in a classroom setting.

Is the same true for my daughter? Does she appreciate it as a subject? Only she can tell. But as her parent I cannot teach her using the materials I had in the fashion that I was taught, given what I know.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Want to Become a Genius

It's been almost two weeks since my son came up to me and said, "Mommy I want to become a genius, can you help me?"
Whoa! If that is not the sweetest and cutest I don't know what is!!! What a revelation! 
Now where did this come from? For our movie night two Fridays ago, we watched The Theory of Everything, here's the trailer.

Of course, as much as I want to say YES to him, I have to be honest. So I told him the truth that I do not know the road to genius-ness, but what I am sure of is that all genius men and women contributed to the advancement of humanity and that they can all read and write and do math; I can help him with that.
It's been  more than a week now and so far he is working with his math workbook (which I said is genius requirement #1) right after breakfast and labeling the house (this is for reading, genius requirement #2) and lastly writing/penmanship (genius requirement #3, so that others may be able to read his work in the future). 

Oh can you feel my thrill? I have Hollywood to thank for my 6 year old's drive! So, whatever you are up to this week my dear reader, may you stride through your task inspired and with some stroke of genius. Happy Monday!!!

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