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Homeschooling Parenting

Homeschool Classroom Tour

Hello, hello! We are fresh out of sembreak and we’re currently in the middle of the 2nd Quarter of the school year. We are about to take our second monthly exam for the quarter (there are 2 per quarter + 1 quarterly exam) next week, so we will probably enter the 3rd Quarter of the year come December. Ang bilis!

I’m still pleasantly surprised at how well our homeschooling year is going. Truth be told, there’s 80-90% chance that we are still going to enroll with Chosen Homeschool  next school year. We are loving the laidback, low-stress setup and the balance between structure and flexibility.

(I hope the low-stress lifestyle meant having more time to blog, but a lot of my time is eaten up by managing the household and juggling two part-time jobs. I am trying, though. :P)

Anyway, I’m showing you our homeschool classroom today! Our classroom used to be the home office, but because nobody was using it anymore, it became sort of a stockroom. In other words, bodega haha. When we made the decision to homeschool this year, it was clear that we were going to convert the office into a classroom.

It’s a very simple, no-frills classroom. I had the walls repainted as well as an old rattan dining set. We spent days cleaning the space. Oh, and I did not buy a single piece of furniture. The only things I bought were our actual school supplies like paper and ring binders. Okay, enough, talk, pictures na. 😛 Continue Reading

Parenting

Straight From The Experts: Useful Tips for a Healthy Toddlerhood

NIDO® 3+ Todo Expert Tips

We had a nice break from our regular quarantine routine last week when Nido sent us a package for an indoor picnic! Yuri and I had fun setting up the indoor picnic (and eating the nibbles Nido had so kindly provided) in preparation for an online talk with Nido experts to guide parents of toddlers.

NIDO® 3+ Todo Expert TipsNIDO® 3+ Todo Expert Tips NIDO® 3+ Todo Expert Tips

Admittedly, I no longer have a toddler, but my child is still growing up and I need all the help I can possibly get! Read on to know more about Nido’s Todo Expert Tips.

NIDO® 3+ Todo Expert Tips

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Homeschooling Parenting

Why We Decided to Homeschool This Year (Grade 3)

Why We Decided to Homeschool This Year (Grade 3)

We have been homeschooling for almost a month now!

It does not even feel like a month. Sure, homeschooling has its challenges, but for the most part, Yuri and I have been enjoying it, looking forward to our class every morning.

The last time I homeschooled Yuri was when he was in preschool pa so I am definitely no expert when it comes to homeschooling. Also, preschool homeschool for us was more like un-schooling. We did not enroll him to a regular preschool. Instead, I taught him whenever I can (I still had a full-time job back then) and supplemented with sessions at Eye Level. But despite the lack of routine, Yuri did learn a lot during that year, thank God.

Yuri’s compost in a jar

This time, because Yuri is already in Grade 3, he needs to have a consistent routine. He is also very used to traditional schooling as he has been going to a traditional school since he was in Senior Kinder. He has no problems with school whatsoever and, in fact, is blessed to be the Top 1 student of his grade level (thank you, Lord!). He also gets along with everyone and has a lot of friends both in school and at home. So why did we decide to homeschool?

Job and I talked about it and both of us agreed that the best option for us right now is homeschooling. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the fact that we are in a pandemic right now, and with distance learning options available, children are very likely to spend this school year safe at home. Yuri’s old school, for instance, offers three options: online schooling, printed modules, and a mix of both.

But while I support these options, I thought, if Yuri is going to stay home anyway, I could just teach him myself. Knowing Yuri, he will not stay still in front of a computer screen for a long period of time (unless it’s a game or a show he likes). He has a short attention span and easily gets distracted. I was not looking forward to using thick modules either.

Leaning odd and even numbers using our four-in-a-row game

With homeschooling, though, I can give Yuri face-to-face lessons and because he is my only student, the lessons can be tailored to fit his interests. Plus, our schedule will be much more flexible, which would be handy just in case we ever have the chance to go on a vacation, God-willing.

Also, homeschooling, for us, provides the perfect opportunity to lead Yuri closer to God, which I think is true with a lot of other homeschoolers worldwide. Yuri loves our Bible lessons, and we are able to incorporate what we learned from the Bible to our daily life. Oh, we have made household chores part of our “non-graded curriculum,” too, which made Yuri a lot more responsible!

When it comes to practicality, homeschooling, when you are enrolled in a provider, is not free. I think it is also worth saying that if we decided to keep Yuri in his old school, his tuition fee would have been free since he was the Top 1. However, weighing all miscellaneous expenses, we were still able to save money by homeschooling.

Yuri’s tuition fee, if we kept him in his old school, would have been free, but not the other fees. We enrolled in Chosen Homeschool, and all we need to pay for the entire year is P15,000. We also did not need to spend on a new laptop or a new computer set dedicated for daily online classes. You see, I have a couple of freelance jobs so we wouldn’t be able to share one laptop between us. But with homeschooling, my own laptop is enough for 2 weekly online sessions (1 hour each) with Chosen Homeschool. For discussions, we watch a few videos here and there, but that’s it. There’s no need to get Yuri his own laptop or desktop computer.

We often use textbooks and worksheets

Of course, I did spend a little bit of money to convert our old home office into our homeschool classroom (future post), but let’s charge it to miscellaneous fees 😀 Also, the home office was due for a redesign anyway!

And these are the reasons why we decided to homeschool this year. What mode of learning did you choose this year?

Kindergarten Parenting

My Child Doesn’t Like Reading Storybooks…And It’s Okay (Plus a Few Finds from Booksale!)

I was raised a reader. I probably spent the most part of my childhood and early teenage years curled up in bed or in the couch, reading a book. I also don’t believe in keeping books looking pristine and like brand new. You would know which of my books were my favorite: they look tattered and full of dog-eared pages. I tried to stop this habit in high school because a lot of my friends were very careful in handling their books. But it wasn’t me. I preferred (and still prefer) having books that look like they were read.

So when I had Yuri, you bet all I wanted was to raise him to be a reader, just like me. When he was a baby, I bought more books than toys and made sure he was surrounded by them all the time. I gave books as presents. I even wrote about his books constantly in my old blog (this was how his library looked like 4 years ago – the collection’s grown a lot bigger now). We read all the time and I religiously read him bedtime stories.

Until he lost interest in the classic story books I bought. He refused to be read books and only wanted to play.

I wasn’t really devastated — I just accepted that maybe he just wasn’t into books as much as I am. When he finally learned how to read when he was 4 years old (thanks, Eye Level!), I thought it would spark his interest again. Well, he liked reading alright… only he preferred to read road signs, car models, and things written on walls. Books not so much. Our books remained unopened and I didn’t buy any new story books for quite a long time.

Instead, I bought him maze books and activity books, which he devoured! I just thought I shouldn’t push it because he might see reading as a chore. So I let him be.

On his fifth birthday last year, his Tita Hazel (aka his Tita Girlfriend lol) gifted him with a thick science book. It was a great addition to Yuri’s ~untouched~ library. I left it in the bedroom with full intention of transferring it to the bookshelves, but life happened, and I completely forgot about it.

It wads ~thicc~

One day, Yuri discovered the book by himself…and by 11 pm, I had to force the book away from him because he didn’t want to stop reading! Continue Reading

Lifestyle Parenting

A Grandmother’s Wisdom

It’s back-to-work day! And I am savoring the remaining days before back-to-school day. I just want to share with you a simple thing that happened today. It was a very simple thing, but I admit I’m hoping it will never happen again!

While eating lunch, I didn’t know that Yuri was playing with a stray thread from his shorts. He knotted it twice and thrice and accidentally wrapped it around his finger tightly. I didn’t notice it at all because he didn’t want to show what he did.

I only discovered it when I noticed that he couldn’t lift his hand all the way to the table. I looked at his finger and it’s already swollen because of the thread wound tightly around it. I wasn’t able to take a picture anymore because, hello, action first siguro. Anyway, it really was swollen I was afraid a slight nick would cause the finger to bleed. It was also stressful because there’s no room for a pair of scissors to fit in the gap between the thread and the finger. I also didn’t have time to go look for the seam ripper which I don’t even remember when I last used.

The offending piece of thread (sorry for my dry, dry hands. I went swimming the other day and they haven’t recovered yet haha)

I wasn’t at the point of panicking…yet… but I was having trouble figuring the solution out. Until I called my mother. She simply told me to use the nailcutter. Brilliant. Very carefully avoiding the skin, I was able to snip at the thread and set the swollen finger free.

I’m embarrassed to admit that such simple solution didn’t occur to me. Then again, there’s another level of wisdom only grandmothers know, which could only come from experience. Who knows which one of us siblings led her to this kind of knowledge? Teehee.

Parenting Personal Yurisms

A Bullying Problem & Bikes Without Training Wheels

Hi! I’m hoping you enjoyed your holiday last weekend. Job certainly enjoyed his well-deserved break with his work buddies in Riyadh. They went road-tripping for 2 days, going from Riyadh to Dammam. On the other hand, I didn’t take a holiday (our team’s own prerogative) because we just took 2-3 holidays for the past two weeks. Not that it’s forbidden; it just felt uncomfortable to have to ask for another holiday again.

I’m already done with work so I proceeded to my current favorite place — right in front of our house! It’s a great place to chill (and people-watch) and it’s also a great place to blog because fresh air and all that stuff. Sometimes, our adopted cat chills out with me. It’s a bonus that I can see my son play with our neighbors.

My current favorite chill spot 🌸

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Speaking of neighbors. We’re having a little bit of a problem lately. Yuri plays with the neighborhood kids a lot but two of them, the ones he plays with often, are going through their snobby phase. I’m not sure if it is considered bullying because they often play together; however, there are times when they refuse to play with Yuri. For no reason! I’m aware that there’s no reason because we literally just step out of the car and they’re already crossing their arms, looking mad and we don’t know why… Continue Reading

Parenting School

A Month of Kindergarten: Discoveries, Adjustments, and Baon Ideas (Help!)

I still can’t believe it’s already the second half of the year. Konti nalang, -ber months na! Christmas na! Hahaha super advanced.

I also can’t believe we’ve been going to regular school for nearly a month now. I thought it would be harder, but really, I think we’re coping just fine. Yuri is still in love with going to school (so far!) and I adapted quite easily. A big reason, I think, is the lack of homework. When we get home, all we need to do is rest and recharge. I hope it goes this smoothly the rest of the school year!

Stuck in traffic! Dili unta ma-late! 💪🏻

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Kindergarten is actually very new to me because I didn’t go to kindergarten myself. There are things that surprise me. For example, last Friday, the children attended a seminar with the guidance counsellor. I was pleasantly surprised because the seminar was meaty, and Yuri learned a lot e.g. bad touch vs. good touch and how to act around strangers and people they don’t know.

Good touch!

Our System

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Mixed Mess Parenting Personal

Last Day at Eye Level + Nighttime Toilet Training

This post has been sitting in my… wait for it… drafts for way too long!

It’s been terribly hot this summer — where’s my summer breeze to make me feel fine? — but just last night, we had a strong thunderstorm. It was the same as the thunderstorm we had a couple of Saturdays ago where our electricity even got cut off for 5 hours.  And for the first time ever, our home office flooded (a little bit). Thank God it occurred to me to check the office just when the leaking started. (God has been giving me small reminders lately that went on to reveal bigger things. Thank you, Lord!)

I actually meant to post this almost a full month ago. For time reference, Yuri’s last day at Eye Level was on April 8th, and he got fully nighttime toilet-trained on April 13th.

Last Day at Eye Level

There’s nothing about Eye Level that both Yuri and I don’t love. Honest. I already made a proclamation of love here so I won’t go into details anymore. I just want to say that Yuri entered the enrichment centre literally illiterate (does that make sense? haha). Seriously. He just turned four then and before that, I didn’t think it was important to pressure him into learning how to read and write. After all, he wouldn’t be three forever.

(I have nothing against parents whose children were taught to read and write earlier. Different families, different priorities.)

By the time he turned four, though, I knew our time was up: he needed to learn how to read and write. When I enrolled Yuri to Eye Level’s English program May of 2016, he didn’t even know how to hold a pencil. After assessing him, we started at a pre-literacy level, where we even struggled with writing lines! I loved teaching Yuri, but for some reason, teaching him how to draw straight lines, crooked lines, and curves brought me at my wit’s end.

But after persevering, both in the centre and at home, suddenly Yuri was zooming through writing letters. We had to learn the correct strokes (I was lax at first but later learned to abide by the rules — penmanship does matter). At first, he got B’s and C’s on his booklets, but later on, they became all A’s. After several months, he was already on to reading and forming simple words.

From not knowing how to hold a pencil, he’s already writing and reading and spelling words.I know this is in no way an extraordinary feat, but for us, who started the year illiterate, this was amazing progress. And I credit much of it to Eye Level. The one-on-one hands-on sessions as well as the engaging activities and exercises helped a lot. 

Last day at Eye Level today 😭#sepanx

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However, Job and I, even though we are 101% satisfied with Eye Level, decided to pull Yuri out after 10 months of being with the learning centre. This is plainly because Yuri is about to enter formal schooling for the very first time in his life. We felt like we all needed a break from any sort of pressure and just focus on resting and transitioning to school life this summer. We didn’t even enrol him to any summer class this year. I also want Yuri to be able to focus on schooling alone when it starts. By the time he adjusts to our new routines, we may come back to Eye Level. This time, we will be going for Math instead of English. Who knows?

Nighttime Toilet Training Saga

My mother has been nagging me about this for so long. You see, even though Yuri got successfully potty-trained before he turned 2, he has still been wearing pull-ups at night. I don’t know; I just felt like he wasn’t ready yet. Each morning, he wakes up with a full pull-up and he does pee a lot at night. In the early days, I tried having him wear his cloth diapers at night. But barely an hour into sleep, he wakes up because it’s already full of pee. So I just shrugged nighttime toilet training off and waited until he was ready.

I knew he was ready a couple of weeks before he turned five. He still wakes up with a wet pull-up but that’s because he pees upon waking up. It’s also the perfect timing because it’s summer and he pees a lot less during the summer. But then, we travelled and I felt like it wasn’t the best time to toilet train. We were sleeping in a hotel room on a hotel bed, after all! I just didn’t want to risk it.

Heels over head 😂

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When we got back from our vacation, I waited for the next long weekend to come. It happened to be the weekend of the Holy Week. Our first night of no-pull ups happened on the night of Maundy Thursday. I just followed the basic pieces of advice: not giving too much liquid at night and peeing before bedtime. That’s it.

And it was a success! I didn’t get to sleep much that night, though. I was so paranoid he would wet the bed so I kept waking up to check. Nonetheless, he woke up with the bed fully dry and the first thing he did was pee. Teehee. It really does make a difference to wait until the child is ready.


My takeaway from this mothering experience? There’s no competition when it comes to nighttime toilet training. After all, it’s a bodily function that is not easily controllable. We might have used up more pull ups than kids who got toilet trained earlier, but it’s okay. There’s no use pressuring a child who just couldn’t keep his bed dry because he can’t help it. Because I decided to wait until I was sure Yuri was ready, he didn’t have to feel pressured or frustrated. Because we waited, nighttime toilet training for us was super easy, stress-free, and tear-free!

Actually, come to think of it, this can be applied to teaching literacy, too! In other words, raising a child shouldn’t be a competition.

Birthday Lifestyle Yurisms

Yuri Turns 5

It’s been a full month since Yuri’s party! And I have a looot of drafts in my backlog. #mustfindtimetoblog

Anyway…

I can’t believe I already have a 5-year old!

Wasn’t it just yesterday when I had a semi-permanently attached baby to my boobies?!

Yuri’s real birthday was on March 26, but we were scheduled to be out of town on that date so his birthday celebration was held a week earlier. It was a truly intimate party (yes, a McDonald’s party can be intimate because they only require a minimum of 10 people!) where I invited people close to us. Continue Reading

Homeschooling Lifestyle Parenting School

On the Fence About Homeschooling

I missed the local homeschooling conference in Davao City last weekend.

I had really planned to go, but during the last few months, we’ve been on the fence about homeschooling. I can talk about the benefits of homeschooling and how homeschooling has helped Yuri grow for hours — and really, I still believe them to be true — but the other side of the truth is that we don’t think it’s going to work for us next year.

Despite the schedule that I had established in the beginning of this school year, we haven’t been able to follow it. Because of my busy schedule, juggling work, real estate events, blogging, family, household chores, and my personal life, homeschooling just slid down the list of my priorities.

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Hear me out. I’m a full-time working single mum whose partner lives and works over 5,000 miles across the globe. I don’t have household help. Everyday I do not only take care of Yuri; I also assist the rest of the family, especially my dad who undergoes dialysis twice a week. I planned to homeschool after work, but most of the time, the only thing I want to do after I’m done with work is to rest.

I don’t think I can do it next year. Continue Reading

Parenting Personal

The Tale of Yuri’s First Sick Day

Oh thank God for sick leaves.

I’m blogging now because I found some time to do so because, well, I’m on leave and Yuri’s sleeping. Just a little segue before I continue. I miss this! I miss being able to write about the most mundane things. A few years back, I blogged almost everyday (that was when I had a yaya and a helper) – a luxury I can no longer afford these days. I’m lucky if I’m able to write twice a week. Sometimes, wala talaga. And I miss being able to let the words flow like no one’s reading!

It’s the second (and last) day of my sick leave actually but I’m not the one who’s sick. It’s Yuri. It’s kinda a big deal for me because, not counting his first days on earth (he swallowed his meconium in utero so he had to be confined in the NICU for a week), this is the first time he’s like seriously sick.

His fever began Tuesday afternoon, just a couple of hours after getting home from enrichment school (Eye Level). It was also the first time I was able to drive him to and from school so I thought it was my fault lol.

Yeah, for what it's worth? Achievement unlocked!

Yeah, for what it’s worth? Achievement unlocked!

Anyway, I let the fever run its course (while giving him paracetamol) and kept him hydrated because it’s what I usually do. However, by Wednesday morning, I had to take a leave from work because his fever rose to 38 degrees. But by Wednesday afternoon, his temperature was back to 36 degrees so we even took him with us when we went to the airport to fetch a relative.

img_0835

He was still eating Pepero then

But Yuri wasn’t his active self by evening. We had dinner at Bistro Selera, but he didn’t eat anything. He tried to eat a spoonful of rice and crispy pata (yasss) but he cried saying it was too painful to swallow. I took his temperature (yes I bring a digital thermometer with me…) and it was 37.6 degrees. I had to send another message to our office manager, asking for another day of leave because I knew I had to take him to the doctor na. Continue Reading

Health and Fitness Parenting

Our 3 Must-Haves For Fighting Flu

It’s flu season again!

Actually, we (at least in our household) get flu throughout the year, but the intense weather — hot days alternating with gloomy, rainy days — take toll on our immune system so we catch a cold more often these months. In fact, I am coughing while typing this, while Yuri is sneezing. Boo!

He had to miss school the other day. So I'm posting this picture of Yuri appreciating his "Good Job" stamp from last week instead.

He had to miss school the other day. So I’m posting this picture of Yuri appreciating his “Good Job” stamp from last week instead.

So on the onset of July (which also happens to be the month when dengue cases escalate!), I make sure I have these three flu-fighters at home:

1. Vitamins

IMG_6947

Better safe than sorry, they say, and I believe so. I’d rather take a couple of minutes each day making sure that we all have taken vitamins than regret not doing so!

Wert Philippines has been sending us Nutri-10 Plus vitamins since last year, and these have undoubtedly help made Yuri grow bigger and stronger. I also believe the nutrients in Nutri-10 plus, especially its Vitamin C content, help Yuri get tougher when it comes to fighting flu and cold. It still happens, but they’re almost always manageable.

2. Calamansi

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Homeschooling Preschool School

Our Homeschool Preschool Routine – A Day in the Life

Homeschool Preschool Routine

I’m very new to homeschooling.

Prior to this year, we’ve never done formal homeschooling. But now that he’s 4, we decided to formalise it (on a certain level) by following a regular homeschool routine and teaching specific subjects and lessons. (Note: We’re homeschooling independently.)

And even though we are so new to this, I’ve already gotten several questions asking me how we do it. First of all, I try not to pressure myself and Yuri. If I’m feeling tired from work or household chores, I call it a day and we just play instead. If I sense that Yuri’s not in the mood for pencil work, I let him paint or draw or whatever he likes.

I don’t shy away from technology either. We use 2, no 3 free websites to supplement our lessons (I’ll write about them too for everyone who’s interested).

Now, here’s our specific routine from sun up to sun down: Continue Reading

Homeschooling Lifestyle Preschool Science Experiments

How to Make Oobleck: The Not Quite Liquid, Not Quite Solid Slime

On weekends, we do science experiments!

Ideally, we should be doing science experiments on Fridays since it was what I wrote in our original homeschool schedule. However, I kinda feel bad for letting Yuri do school work on a Friday especially when all the other kids in the village are already playing in the playground.

(Note: Our homeschool session begins at 4 pm after my work ends.)

So on Fridays, I just let Yuri play or, in the case of the past 2 weeks, let him come with his iya (lola) to the mall to do some grocery shopping. Then on weekends, when we have afternoons free, we spend some time doing simple science experiments AKA magic!

Our most recent experiment? The Oobleck! It’s a kind of slime (named after a Dr Seuss character) that is not quite liquid and not quite solid. It is liquid in its relaxed state but, when you apply pressure unto it, it turns solid. My junior high school sister had performed this experiment at school in the past and was really eager to recreate it at home with me and Yuri. Cool beans!

Ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Corn Starch
  3. Container (we used a heart-shaped pan for the cuteness factor but you can use anything at all)
  4. Food Colouring (optional)

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Homeschooling Preschool School

The First Week of Homeschool Preschool

We survived our first week of homeschooling!

In fairness, I didn’t even feel it. Each day, after work, whenever I take out Yuri’s stuff to begin our “session,” he was always eager to trace his letters, practice his numbers, or his favourite, do some colouring.

Colouring is my secret weapon. If a session is met with resistance, I get him to start colouring a page. After that, he normally doesn’t mind doing more serious work. Then the hour (or hour and a half, depending on his mood) passes by without me noticing.

Here are some pictures from our first week of homeschool preschool:

IMG_5031 IMG_5077 IMG_5118

I know Yuri looks oh so serious in the pictures above, but he’s actually goofy and silly half of the time lol. I just wait for the serious moments before I capture a picture haha. Seriously though, I don’t want to be too strict on him. As much as possible, I don’t want him to view school work as a chore but as something he genuinely enjoys doing.

So whenever he draws way too long lines on purpose or insist on doing upper case letters first, I try my very best not to be frustrated (people close to me know how easily frustrated I am haha). I gently remind him that there is a proper way of doing things and, well, hope I make sense to a four year old.

Homeschool Preschool Routine

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