Last week, I featured our very first homeschool family IN FOCUS. The M Family have two children, a daughter and a son, both are now in college. Read the first part of this interview here.
BSG: Please tell us more about the program you used to homeschool your high school child.
MD: Saxon Math 6-5 to 12, I think and the REPSCI BEC Secondary curriculum. We did not use a specific program for the other subjects but my son read. The seminary has a good library which he used intensively.
BSG: What are the challenges you faced in homeschooling your high school child. Were you able to overcome them?
MD: Telling others what is homeschooling, that is really a great challenge. I knew I would be misunderstood in the first place but after my son passed the UPCAT, there was that sense of elation that I have been proven right. It was all by God' s grace. My father, at first, thought it was intellectual suicide - another of my contrived mischiefs, and my mother worried to no end. They wanted my kids to be in UP so they expected my kids to be in really good schools. My neighbors not knowing what homeschooling was, snickered and called us nuts. But we were really challenged and we prayed.
BSG: Please give encouragement to other families about homeschooling their child through high school.
MD: To fellow home-schoolers out there. Continue on.
Remember the task set before us is to train up a child in the way that he should go. And that is God's way.
Think of homeschooling as a better option, an adventure of liberating your kid towards a life of life-long learning. This is an adventure of making your kids set boundaries for him to use in life, for helping him decide. Boundaries preset by precept coming from the Word.
Home schoolers you now have it easier, the government has a K+12 program, making it easy for people to understand why we have to make our kids go through K-12. 6 years of HS. Suddenly people are now beginning to talk that 6 years of HS is even too short! What about 2 years more?
Through the years I was homeschooling, when I told people that my son is spending 6 years in high school, all I got was a quixotic stare with a question that implied, "so, he is that dunce head really?!"
As you face that adventure of educating your child think of the personal life investment incarnated in you as you teach your child.
It was an adventure.
Homeschool Family In Focus: The M Family–Part 1
Thank you very much, M Daddy, for sharing with us your story. I’m sure those who read this will be very encouraged to shoulder on with homeschooling their children.
Watch out for the very first Homeschool Graduate IN FOCUS as he talks about his own homeschool experience.
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Last week, I featured our very first homeschool family IN FOCUS. The M Family have two children, a daughter and a son, both are now in college. Read the first part of this interview here.
Though I have come to accept this, I still ask God daily “Why?” Why did Zac have to die? Why my child? Why me? Why do my children have to suffer grief? Why did God plan that Gary D. and I should have to go through so much pain and heartache? Why did we have to lose our child? So many unending questions with hardly any answers.
One day as I was reading my Bible, I found this verse and it held an answer for me. It did not answer my questions specifically, but the answer from God is enough.
John 16:33 was the chapter when Jesus Christ was preparing his disciples for his coming death. This is what He tells them to encourage them. He told them the truth: that there will be trouble, trials and sorrows in this world. Then He gave an assurance, they must take heart, He has overcome the world.
I felt peace after that. Jesus knew that his death will not be lightly taken by his disciples. He was the Beloved. Though He knew that He will suffer and that He will die soon, He took time to prepare and encourage His disciples. He gave them hope.
The answer, then, to all of my “why’s” is “why not?” Sorrow, grief and suffering is a part of this world. The wonderful news is: God has overcome the world! When Zac died on that night, he went into the loving arms of God in Heaven. Zac is alive in Heaven. The time will come when we will join him there to worship the Lord together. In the meanwhile, despite my grieving heart, I choose to keep moving on, always grateful for every day that He gives us.
A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!
Has it been that long already since I gave birth to her?
It’s absolutely unbelievable!
If you are a WAHM (Work-at-home Mom) or considering to be one, you are invited to attend this seminar organized by The Dainty Mom. The Dainty Mom or Martine de Luna is a friend I met online who is also a homeschool mommy.
I, for one, am very excited for this seminar. This is a first look at the WAHM life that is very ideal for homeschool moms and dads. See the flyer below for details.
Workshop Rate: P1,300.00
Early Bird Rate on or before Sept. 20: P1,000.00
Group Rate: Groups of 3 is P1,000.00 each
IN FOCUS is a new section of Beyond The Silver and The Gold where I will feature homeschooling families, homeschool students and homeschool graduates. I hope that they will be able to encourage all of you in your own homeschool journey.
My first guest is The M Family. I ‘met’ the daddy online when he shared about putting his homeschooled son through high school via the Rizal Experimental Station and Pilot School of Cottage Industries while also using their own materials. They have asked to remain anonymous so I will only refer to them as MD for MDaddy and MS for MSon. I am BSG for Beyond The Silver and The Gold.
BSG: Tell us about your family - how many children, your work, your wife's work, the ages and school grades/year of each child.
MD: I have two children, MS is now 21 and MD(daughter) is 20 (talk about RH bill and not knowing to compute!) I am a seminary teacher (college) and a pastor as well. My wife teaches too, in the elementary level in the same school that I teach at. Both of my kids are now in UP Los Banos. My son is an irregular senior and my daughter is an irregular sophomore in the said school.
BSG: Are all your children homeschooled? Why or why not?
MD: All my kids were for a time home-schooled. My son was purely home-schooled from Grade 7-8 then First Year to Fourth Year, a total of 6 years. After finishing Grade 8, we decided to look for a HS (high school) that would be basically a home study program. We figured that it should be one that will allow him to finish his home school program as well as allow him to have credentials that will allow him to get into the UP. REPSCI fitted in nicely.
With my daughter we took another tack.Our school (seminary) opened a secondary program, so we decided to enroll her there. It is just right where we live. We live on the campus. I would have home-schooled her purely if our school did not open a secondary program although admittedly it would have been a harder task. My daughter has another gifting. They are both creative so think of schedules when two kids schedule out.
The boy loves schedules and lives by the clock, sleeps by the bell, the girl when she was younger was a free spirit that is before her UP days.
BSG: What made you decide to homeschool your child up to his high school years?
MD: Our school did not have a secondary program at that time. Think of the hassle and expense of sending kids to high school. Baon, projects and contribution. You see the "education is expensive, try ignorance thing" sang all the way on my mind, when we began high school.
Aside from the issue about finances, one big issue was the quality of education issue. I was always asking, “Are schools better now than they were before? Can my son or daughter have a better education than the one I had before?” Big deal for my father because my siblings and I attended the Science High School. I felt that if a school is not as good as the science high then I must look for one or make one. I made one. It was easier, initially there was only one student and it was not limited to the sciences. It offered the whole of life.
The consciousness that we as parents hold their lives in a balance is a motivator enough to make as teachers do well as teachers of our kids.
Above all, there was that issue on bullying. My son was bullied when he was in the elementary grades. This was not present in a home school. I thought that he needed to be more mature, intellectually, emotionally and physically. A four year HS program I thought was not enough for such a tall order. So I began with a two year home school junior program. When he was through with it, I thought it would be nice if he finished a full four year home school for the secondary grades.
Another issue addressed was boredom. Modesty aside, he performed well in class but as a fast learner he felt bored when he had to wait for others. So he often made a mess out of himself because of boredom. When he had to compete with himself - it was another story.
Peer pressure issues also made us decide that home schooling is (a) better alternative. I thought that if my kids' lives will be decided by other kids then it would be the end of our story. I felt there just had to be a better alternative.
Another issue usually not present with homeschooling families is Communication. Usually communications between parents and kids during their delicate high school years are reduced to grunts and yawns on the dinner table. What better it is to have a son and daughter who can tell you their stories when they were in high school over the dinner table.
Socialization has been an oft mentioned issue as we home schooled our son. That probably is not a challenge for my kids. My son and daughter have so many cousins that they don't feel awkward with others. We also live in a campus. When my kids (specifically my son) were in home school, he would sit in classes either in high school or in college. He thought it was cool to be with older guys
When he was bored, he would just pack up and play his violin and guitar.
I could not do that in regular school, drop out, sleep and rest.
Sounding good so far? MD really thought about what was best for their children and gave them what they needed. Stay tuned for the second part of this interview with MD. MS will also have his own interview as a homeschool high school graduate.
If you want to know more about Rizal Experimental Station and Pilot School of Cottage Industries, please click here.
Don’t miss the coming posts about The M Family. Subscribe to my blog by entering your email below.
Someone shared this graphic with me. Tell me what you think!
Created by: CollegeAtHome.com
My eldest child, Guitar Babe, is turning 17 in a week. Sigh, how time flies by so fast. I said to her, “I don’t want you to turn 17, because then you’ll be 18, and a few years later,you’ll be 21. Next thing I know, you’ll ask to leave home or get married! No! No! No!”
But I digress. What I really wanted to write about is getting a college education. She is entering college by next school year, hopefully. I had purposely set her back so that she would be more mature when she leaves the home to study. I don’t believe in sending children at the young age of 15 or 16 to college to fend for themselves. We wanted her to be emotionally and psychologically ready for her life ahead.
After all, what is college if not to prepare our children for their future lives? For most children and even parents, college is just another phase in their lives that a child should go through and finish, and earning a college degree is a necessity for the student to graduate to real life.
One of the major goals we had for our homeschooled children is to prepare them to become good, productive citizens of this country. People that we can be proud of who will lead lives that are not only God-pleasing but pleasing to their community as well.
In this light, I would like my children to view their college education as more than just a phase in their student lives. I would like for my Guitar Babe to choose which course she believes would be what she would really like to do for her future. Of course, this will not be easy for someone as young as her to do. This is the reason parents are there for their children – to give them guidance.
I’m also prepared for any possibility that college may not be the way to prepare her for her future. There are so many other courses she can take such as entrepreneurial courses, vocational courses and the like. Or she can go into an apprenticeship first to see if that is something she would really like to do for the rest of her life. Earning her degree online is also another possibility. Homeschool college? Yes, a very big possibility!
After all, many of us adults and parents have proven that our college degrees have not always led us to the careers or professions that we have now. I’m proof of that. I have a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management but I only worked in a restaurant for about three months. I’ve never worked in a hotel. I now work from home as blogger/writer/virtual assistant while homeschooling the children.
My husband who finished Respiratory Therapy has a very good and fulfilling career in the hotel industry. I know someone who did not earn his college degree but is now a very successful manager in a recruitment firm. Today, there are countless nursing graduates who already have their license to practice that work in other areas far from nursing. Some children have not finished their college degrees because they have no interest in their chosen studies.
What I’m saying is that we should try our best to lead our children to be educated in the way that would lead them to live their best lives. It is their future, not ours, and they should be free to choose for themselves. Guitar Babe would like to pursue a career in the music industry. I would like for her to be in business for herself. While I believe I’m wiser, I wouldn’t want to force her into something against her will. But, her dad and I will continue to guide her till she finds out what God’s will is for her.
About the Movie:
Parents who are going through divorce or separation can see here what their children may be going through because of their problems. More than the attention and love that he needed from his parents, he really needed the security of belonging to his parents. This was showed clearly in one of the scenes where the parents argue over the phone as to who will be with their son while both are busy working.
Another point taken by this movie is the potential in a child that has already been labeled or deemed a troublemaker. Ernest, the woodcarver, sees the potential in Matthew and helps him by taking him in and teaching him to carve wood. In the process, Ernest helps to build Matthew’s self-confidence.
I particularly appreciated the scene where the church pastor challenges both parents about their church life and how they think it affected their family life.
All in all, a great movie to watch for the whole family.
It has only been four days since most of Metro Manila and Luzon was flooded by habagat – this flood with no name. In fact, some parts of Taguig, Marikina, Navotas and Valenzuela are still submerged. Most are undergoing some major cleanups.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Unfortunately, another storm is brewing and threatening more floods for the Philippines. Tropical Storm Helen or Kai-Tak (international name) is threatening Northern Luzon while we are still in such a vulnerable state. Read about this here.
He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.
In the meanwhile, what are we to do as we listen and read about this news? Life has to continue and we have to keep moving on. We go about our days as usual and we keep on trusting in the Lord for the things that we cannot control.
A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,but it will not come near you.You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
The Lord is faithful and full of mercy. As we go through these trials in life, we can count on Him to see us through.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
We should also read up and get ready for anything that may happen. Here’s a link to National Geographic’s Flood Safety Tips.
Verses are taken from Psalm 91.
It was only in 2009 when Metro Manila looked like a big ocean brought about by the storm Ondoy. Everyone was blindsided. Although Marikina and Navotas were always the first ones to experience flooding, the waters brought by Ondoy was too much and flooded most of Metro Manila.
Now, after only three years, our country is besieged again by another flooding. This time, it is not even brought about by a storm, but only by “habagat” – rains brought on by the southwest monsoon from the storm Haikui that was raging over China.
As I watched for updates on TV and over the internet, one thing was apparent – the government and LGU’s are more prepared this time. During Ondoy, the heroism of ordinary citizens shined as they tried to rescue friends and neighbors. This time, the municipalities went immediately into action and thousands were rescued.
As with any trial in life, there are many lessons to be learned. Here are mine:
1. If the government issues a warning to evacuate, it will be best for us to do so. They do not issue warnings like this without basis. People were told to evacuate their homes early, but because they did not listen, they had to endure waiting up on their roofs for rescue. Their placed their own lives at risk for the sake of safeguarding their things at home. See my blog post about this.
2. When water starts to come in to your home and you cannot leave, go up to the higher levels of your house. If possible, bring with you as many necessities as you can such as food, water, flashlight, candles, arinola (funny but true if you don’t have a toilet up there), baby’s milk if needed. There were several people trapped on the second floor of their homes without water or food.
During Ondoy, our two daughters, then aged 14 and 11, were over at their grandparents house. That day, they were only with the yaya at home. When water started to come in, my daughters immediately brought upstairs what they thought they needed: some food, water, and the arinola. All of them benefitted from their quick thinking because they were trapped on the second floor from about 3:00PM to 6:00AM the next day. They did not go hungry or thirsty and were able to pee.
3. Finally, when you are able to go back to your homes and see the devastation that the flood brought, thank the Lord that you are still alive to see it. I know it is very hard, after having gone through so much. I saw this picture on Facebook and can only imagine how the owners felt like.
But the truth is, even though you and your family have been through this tragic time, you are still alive. Focus now on this life that the Lord allowed you to have. There is pain, there is devastation, but the Lord has a purpose. Now you may not understand it, but with eyes set on the Lord, you will soon see the blessing of God’s will for your life.
Look at this promise of God in Psalm 91:14-16
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
As I watched the updates of the flood brought by “Habagat” on TV and online, there was one thing apparent to me: People who were told to evacuate their homes because of the rising water level did not leave their homes because they wanted to safeguard their stuff.
During the Ondoy flood of 2009, I acted the same way. I did not want to leave my house because of the things I had there. My sister, who was by then quite insistent that we leave, asked me “Is there anything you can do about your things when the water comes inside your house?” After some thought, I made the decision to go.
Why do we feel this need to safeguard our things? Why did people prioritize their things over their lives? Probably because we worked hard to buy all that stuff. But if we were able to purchase them before because of our hard work, then we can still work hard again and replace those things, if they become damaged by the flood.
I heard a rescue worker lamenting on TV that some people who were already rescued went back to their homes when the rains stopped for awhile. When the water started rising again, they had to be rescued all over again. The reason they went back was because of their things at home. “Baka manakawan” (Someone might steal), they say.
Well, let’s say some lowlife might still take advantage of an empty, flooded house, can he actually run away with your things? When he gets out of the house, he’s still faced with the flood.
During emergencies, we should prioritize the saving of our lives over our things. We lock our windows and our doors, secure our important documents, jewelries and others, bring our stuff to higher levels of our homes and that’s it. If we have to leave, then we should go.
Yesterday, the Philippines experienced yet another tragic calamity that will go down the books of history. The continuous pouring of rain has flooded most of Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon. Amidst the flood reports, newscasters keep saying that there is no storm. According to PAGASA or Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Service Administration, flooding is caused by HABAGAT or monsoon rains. Tropical storm HAIKUI has been over Taiwan for several days and strong winds are pushing the monsoon rains to the Philippines. We are warned that today until Thursday rains will continue though it is starting to recede.
My Facebook page is deluged with pictures of flooded areas, flood reports, prayers and even funny pictures and quotes that only Filipinos can conjure.
On a personal note, I woke up with the news that my parents' house in Quezon City is already beginning to flood. They left immediately but with floods all over, was unable to reach my cousin who had a three story building. Immediately I felt anxious and scared for my parents. Both are in their 70's but are still strong and independent. When they stopped for food near our church, I immediately called up our church pastor and he came to pick them up.
My anxiety did not stop there, though. Our house is located very near a creek and during the Ondoy storm in 2009, our house's exterior area became flooded. Though the flood waters never reached the inside of our home, it was disconcerting to see the waters go higher outside our house. It felt like being on an island.
We were undecided about going because we don't have a vehicle. That would mean taking the children to walk the flooded streets.It's a good thing my sister offered to pick us up so off we went to their house.
Our family is safe now, thank God, but thousands of families in Metro Manila are still suffering, especially those that have lost their homes. Here's a video I found on YouTube that may give you an idea of what happened here and what is still happening right now. Any help will be appreciated.
Thousands are affected by this flood. Homes are totally damaged. People are left without anything but the clothes on their backs. Children are getting sick in evacuation centers. Help is badly needed. They are asking for clothes, blankets, food – the kind that doesn’t need cooking, and water, toiletries, diapers, milk.
Help can be sent through Philippine Red Cross or GMA Kapuso Foundation Hotline at (+632)9811950.
Google Crisis Response published a site for people who needs emergency contact numbers for rescue. If you know anyone who needs rescue, if you need to find a family member, the numbers and links are here.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
I have been trying like a crazy woman to start writing again. It hasn't even been two months since my sweet, precious baby died and our family is still settling down. One of the reasons I have not updated here is that I mostly think about my baby and I'm not sure if any of you will appreciate me sharing about my grief.
These days though, I have come to a decision that since you have been reading about me and my family in the past, maybe you will also not be surprised if I share what grief has been doing to me.
So what has grief been doing to me?
Well, first of all, I wish people would stop asking me or my children if we have moved on. It hurts. Like I said, it has not been two months since Zac died.
What is moving on? Trying to forget our boy? Trying to forget the pain? Trying to forget that it even happened to us? How does one move on from something so painful as this?
For our family, the tears still come freely. My 5 year old Flash Boy bids his brother's picture good night and kisses it good morning constantly. My 3 girls cry when they remember their brother. My husband pauses and gets a faraway look every time thoughts of his son comes to mind. As for me, I still cry almost everyday remembering my baby.
I am very thankful that we have God and thankful that this came at a time in our lives when I knew Him very well. I know that I can count on Him to see us through. I know that His promises are true and that He makes the best plans for us (Jer. 29:11). I know that He will work things out for good for us (Rom. 8:28). Most of all I know that God took Zac to be with Him because He loved him so much (Isa. 57:1,2). Finally, I know that God still has more to reveal to us.
When I began this blog, one of my purposes was to be an encouragement to other homeschool families.Thankfully, I have met so many people who knew me because of my blog and so many did say how inspired they were to homeschool.
Now, I have to confess that I don't know how much encouragement I am to all of you at this point. I
just pray that as I continue to write and share about this, some of you who might also be grieving can relate and know that you are not alone in this grief.
Have we moved on? No, not at all and probably not for a very long time. But everyday is a new day full of God's mercies. For that, we can always find joy in each day and still live our lives as best as we can while carrying this burden of grief.
Still,I am thankful to those who ask. It's not easy to share in another's grief. Nor is it easy to find words enough to express how much one cares.
Thanks for taking time to share our grief.