Monday, February 20, 2017

First National Homeschooling Day of The Philippines

I got all excited for the first ever Homeschooling Day in the Philippines and you can learn more about HAPI here. I am delighted by the openness and that it's being organised in such a way that everybody can pitch in and do what little they can and it's does not have a groupie 'we know better' or 'its just us' vibe. 

I posted this in the Facebook group Davao Homeschool support group, then I posted it in the other homeschool groups I am in:

Would you guys like to participate? Here is what I have in mind:
Let's meet up and just say hi to each other.

Date: 3 March, Friday
Venue: Lasislawa Swimming Pool (just order your own food)
Time 3:30 to 5:30 pm 

If you are game just leave a comment with the following info:
                                   Your name:
                                   Children's name and ages:
                                   Homeschool Provider:
5 moms/ dads or both is good enough I think. But of course, the more the merrier You can bring your children. There is a playground or they can swim too if you like (Pool Fee: P100.00 per person) 

So far 8 people said they are interested. We have a theme, we have a hashtag, I can't wait for the meet up on March 3.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Nervous System

I am happy to share that my nervous system plan which I mentioned here is a success. I am going to interrupt my narrative with questions that I anticipated while writing this post, because I feel so giddy at the moment and the questions are coming up. I brought up the topic of the nervous system along with 2 books for with my 13 year old 3rd daughter and my 8 year old son.

We sprawled ourselves on the floor to learn about the nervous system after lunch, around 2:30 on Wednesday. Within 10 minutes, we were on "daldalan" (talkative, see Tagalog dictionary) mode.
Question 1: There is daldalan during academic lessons? 
Yes, I know it was bawal (forbidden) in the school I attended. I recall the heart palpitations and teary eyes and rage I experienced when I first saw my name on the blackboard under the heading most talkative. But I grew up and gained perspective, forgave everyone including myself, so that's behind me now. Yes, there is interruption and daldalan as we learn about the nervous system. We pause and segue a bit for connections, comments, suggestions and reactions. Example:
When I read this, “The midbrain and the hindbrain are considered the primitive brain because all organisms have them- or atlas the ones with a brain- from worm..." my 3rd daughter said, “Ew I don't like to think of a worm's brain” and my son said,  "Worms think..." And this prompted questions like Do worms think? What would they think about? Is the brain just for thinking? Etc. etc.

Sometimes I am the one needing the pause to make an exciting connection, examlple: When we were going through the parts of the brain and I read about the cerebellum and cerebrum scenes from the movie and the cartoon series Xmen flashed by with Professor X going to and being inside cerebro. I think that thought should be shared! Cerebro Cerebellum Cerebrum, cool right?

Question 2: If there are interruptions, am I not concerned that my children won't develop good listening skills? 
For me, the best guarantee that my 8 year old is listening is when he is excitedly participating. I used to be a bit more formal and asked my older kids to raise their hand or let me finish the sentence before asking but I now know and accept that at age 8, the joy of saying, " Hey I know that," is so genuine and urgent that my older children probably did not here the last few words of the sentence I was reading while signalling me that they have something to say. It does not mean that I never ask this two younger ones to raise their hand and let me finish the sentence. From time to time the need does arise but I no longer see interruptions as unnecessary or a sign of some future tragedy.

Question 3: So whats going to happen to my children when they go school and join the real world? 
They are in the real world. They are not in school and both are not likely going to go to school soon. They are at home with me, their mother and my son who at the moment is, Mr Aha I know That, is not going to be 8 forever. He is going to be 9 soon. There is time to improve. 

Going back to our afternoon, by 3:00 pm we have identified and coloured all the parts of the brain and we were moving on to the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system. My son lost interest somewhere between the brain stem and the spinal cord so he was not mentally with us by the time we were reading up on reflex. He was still in the room but he was playing with his lego.

Question 4: Am I not worried/ annoyed that he is missing out on the topic/ subject?
Yup he is missing out! And I suppose he is saturated already. I am sure we will have another opportunity to tackle this and I would rather give my full attention to my third daughter who is interested. What a waste of momentum if I have to stop and reel in my son who has moved on to another activity on his own. I am highlighting what he has done like; coloring parts of the brain and connecting new information with what he knows rather than fret on the fact that he is missing on the  rest of the nervous system topic I prepared for. 

Question 5: Don't I feel bad that I prepared and he is not interested?
As Budhist monks can just throw away their sand art so I too can let go of my nervous system preparation. He participated long enough to give me a chance to work with my 3rd daughter better. 

I was able to demonstrate to my third daughter how one avoids and reacts to pain and how one's anticipation of pain can magnify pain itself. I got to show her how she can work with her breathing to cope with pain: sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system etc. I am very pleased with this.

Finally, time is up bu 4:00 and my third daughter requested for a quiz and time to read the book by herself when she comes home for swimming so she can have another quiz the next day!

Question 6: Did I give a quiz to my son too? Wouldn't a quiz be a perfect opportunity to show him what happens if he does not listen to the lesson?
Heck no! He is 8 and can hardly read on his own why would I give him a quiz? What's to gain? There is more to loose if I give him a quiz, like my hair that I might start pulling out while waiting for him to finish the quiz that I created (waste of my time) and he does not care about (waste of his time). 

I am going to make another nervous system quiz by request for Monday and because my 3rd daughter requested it, then it is not a waste of time but a challenge to partake in. I want to push things further by having a return demo of the breathing technique we did. She was not so into it last time, but I am and maybe my son will join in again...

 The human body topic/ unit study is in high gear now and by next week we should be able to move on to the skeletal system and maybe visit the bone museum or we can learn about the circulatory system and get a blood test done. I will ask them if they know their blood type.

Have a happy weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Wrapping up Grade 10

What does that mean, wrapping up grade 10? That's what we call our decision to send our second daughter to Manila. She isn't exactly doing grade 10 and she is not senior high school coz she isn't even grade 10 yet based on the PEPT she took a few years ago she is grade 3. She is doing high school academic work and pursuing what sparks her. Because this whole Senior High school thing is new, we felt its best to give her the option to go to Senior High school if she wants too and we decided after doing the math and pros and cons list, this is the way to go for the following reasons:

Here in Davao it is given twice a year; June and November. Last year the November 2016 schedule was postponed and as of last week there was no schedule yet as to when it will be given here in Davao, but in Pasig you can walk-in and get a schedule. We don't expect our second daughter to pass this test in one sitting so it would be too expensive and unnecessarily time consuming if she stayed here and we have to fly to Manila for the PEPT which requires the following:
1. Go to Pasig, submit requirements, get a schedule - can be a week to 3 weeks away.
2. Go back to Pasig on the scheduled PEPT to take the test, and
3. Go back to Pasig to get results and repeat step 1 to 3 until she gets to Grade 10.

The first time she took the PEPT we skipped step 1 as the schedule was arranged for us. But this time we are doing it ourselves.

II. Violin Class, Orchestra and Music Theory
Her violin teacher told us last year that she is moving back to Manila and recommended another teacher in Manila too. And my second daughter learned that UP College of music has an Extension Program she can join. She also hopped to be able to join an orchestra.

III. Memories with the sister and other activities not available in Davao.
This move has got to be the ultimate bahay-bahayan! Sisters living together for a year! They have to run their little place, do their own cooking and grocery, coordinate and manage their time and watch shows together- something they like that we don't have much of in Davao. 

I have moments of restlessness and fear, like last week, she rode the jeep alone for the first time, you can read it here. She has never taken the jeep all by herself here in Davao. My 3rd daughter who rode the jeep when she went to Laguna for PhilSwim Short Course Swim Series 2016 had a lot say. I miss my two daughters. The house is different without the two of them. The sound of my second daughter practicing used to fill the house. I came home from the grocery with my son last Monday and the house was quiet. I used to hear her violin from the gate.

When I am worried and I miss my girls, I go back to the reasons why they are away. I call them and thank the heavens for FaceTime but there is nothing like a hug and a face to face chat. The hope is that they will blossom, in ways that we can not see how if they stayed with us. It is this hope that I hold on to when I long for them and my heart aches and my tears well up.

Have a hopeful week ahead...

Friday, February 3, 2017

How has interest-led learning shape the path of your children when choosing what college degree to pursue?

Part 5 of 5 Questions received after the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016.

Out of out 4 children, its only our eldest who is in university. Yes she chose a course she was interested in. My eldest enrolled in ALS because she liked the idea that she might be able to go to university when I told her that I would like it if she had that option. And we talked about why its a good idea and possible courses. She did not decide on what course to take over night or on the eve of enrolment which is what happened to me when I enrolled for college 22 years ago.

When she got her high school diploma after passing the ALS, my husband asked her, "What is it that she really wants to do? As she is only passing through this life once. - This is so my husband, very open ended. While I asked her, "What do you want to do for college?" - implied that she is going to college. From here we worked out what is available and possible.

My second daughter is in Manila now wrapping up her grade 10 (more of this in another post). Her being in grade 10 is an estimate based on her age now. Mainly she is in Manila because her main interest is there and to take the PEPT. I don't know yet how we will do Senior High school and college is about 2 years away for her. So lets leave it at this for now.

May you have an interesting weekend... 
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