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Preschool

Kindergarten Lifestyle Preschool School

Comparing My Three Initial Choices for Yuri’s First Big School

So we’re officially graduating from our unique preschool setup. Now, it’s time to look for Yuri’s big school for kindergarten!

About a week ago, I finally learned how much the tuition fee for the school I really, really wanted was. It was admittedly a bit higher than what I was hoping for — it’s around 10k higher than our projected budget — but Job gave me the go-signal. The fact that it is a really good school and comes highly recommended by everyone makes it easy to forget the slight difference anyway.

(Okay, it’s Davao Christian High School.)

I’ll be back when Yuri learns to wake up at 5 am. T.T (taken from DCHS’ Facebook page)

But there are two major drawbacks that keep me from finally choosing that school.

  1. Both branches are far from where we live. The distance is fine for an elementary student, but for a kindergartener who will be going to school for the first time in his life, I think it is quite far.
  2. Chinese is required in their curriculum. None of us speaks Chinese or can even remotely understand it. We would have to hire a language tutor, which I think is an unnecessary expense. I’m not even sure whether my son needs to learn Chinese. So, yes, it’s one of the major things that’s making me unsure.

While I’m still hoping we can go to Davao Christian when Yuri grows older, for now, I don’t think I should push it. You see, I actually have just a few non-negotiables for Yuri’s kindergarten school, so we can go choose another.

  • It has to be good. It doesn’t have to be big; it doesn’t have to be progressive. I just want it to be good (good environment, good teachers).
  • It has to be relatively near. Yuri’s not exactly the best when it comes to waking up early so I wouldn’t want to add to our stress.
  • Of course, the tuition fee must fit our budget.
  • There must be a place around or outside campus that is conducive for work.

So yes, I’m busy looking for a school! It’s fun but it’s also a little bit frustrating because almost all of the schools that seem interesting are in the south and I live in the north. Whyiii! 

There are good schools nearby, of course. I’m just jealous because almost all of the cool-sounding progressive schools are in the south *pouts* lol. Anyway, these are my options so far (as my list is still growing):

1. Little Leaders Learning Village

Taken from Little Leaders’ Facebook page

Reputation: I have eyed this little school ever since I started looking for a preschool for Yuri (and before we ultimately decided to semi-homeschool). The school is a progressive Catholic school, and I have heard good reviews about it. Since it’s just beside our cooperative, where we keep some of our savings, I’ve walked by it a number of times already. However, I’ve never been inside. (Also, cute name.)

Location: It’s just less than 10 minutes away and conveniently located near commercial areas in the city. In fact, just in front of it, a new Gaisano Mall is being built.

Fees: I sent their Facebook page an inquiry (I haven’t gotten around to school-hopping yet), and they sent a response rather quickly. For Kinder, the tuition fee is around 36k — not sure if this already includes the 4k miscellaneous fee or not.

Conducive Place for Work: I’m not sure but there are restaurants nearby. But they are not the most conducive places to work (for me), so if we choose this school, I’ll probably just go home to work.

2. Holy Child College of Davao

Taken from Holy Child’s Facebook page (will try to take a full picture when I visit)

Reputation: Holy Child is a pretty well-known school in Davao, and they have a handful of branches around the city. I know a lot of people who graduated there, as well as teachers who taught there. I pass by their campuses all the time, but I’ve only been inside their main campus.

Location: Fortunately, one of their branches is literally 5 minutes away from home. I have yet to explore it, but I will anytime soon.

Fees: I also sent their Facebook page an inquiry, although it took almost a week to finally get a response. I get it, though, since it’s Graduation and Moving Up season. According to the response, tuition fee is 32k and it already includes the miscellaneous fees.

Conducive Place for Work: It’s in the middle of a residential area so there aren’t many establishments surrounding it. However, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve as our house is just so near — I can just work at home instead.

3. Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School

Taken from Panoramio

Reputation: Among the schools in my list, this is the school that I know best because I went there in first grade. Back then (lakas maka-tanda), it was only a tiny school with a tiny playground with a tiny library filled with Japanese books (I can still remember “reading” a Japanese Pinocchio). It’s a good school and I also know a lot of people who graduated there. Japanese is a required subject, but I learned basic Jap in first grade and in college so the prospect is not as scary.

Location: It’s not super near, but it is located on the route that I know best because it’s near Eye Level.

Fees: I haven’t inquired yet, but they published their 2015-2016 schedule of fees online so I’m going to refer to it. According to it, tuition fee + miscellaneous fees for kindergarten is 33k, inclusive of books.

Conducive Place for Work: Its location is actually teeming with places I can work and it’s only a couple of minutes from SM Lanang Premier. Not good for my wallet, though, lol!


My parents have been insisting on my alma mater, but it’s always received an immediate scrap from me. Nothing against my high school alma mater; it’s just that my 2 siblings and I have gone there for a total of 21 years already. And my younger sister is still in middle school! I’m just itching to try another school, really!

Obviously we haven’t made a decision yet. We haven’t done any physical school hopping yet, only digital, and I’m still on the lookout for other options. If there are mommies here who hail from Davao, can you please offer me school suggestions? Thank you!

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:

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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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Homeschooling Lifestyle Preschool

Homeschool Preschool, Here We Come!

I had meant to homeschool Yuri for the last, err, 2 years.

Sadly, it never became a top priority for me mainly because Yuri was still too little to pay attention to school “work.” In the past, homeschooling just meant reading books, learning new words, seeing new sights, travelling — basically trying to grasp every teachable moment.

All of a sudden, Yuri is 4 and I couldn’t anymore rely on just catching teachable moments as they go. We initially planned to enrol Yuri in a “real school” this year. However, because of reasons I detailed in this post last month, the real-preschool-plan was promptly scrapped. We were suddenly back to our original plan, which is to homeschool… and I am woefully unprepared.

Thanks a lot to regular enrichment classes from Eye Level (!), Yuri already has had a head start. Whew.

After-school frozen yoghurt pops! #wahmlife #homeschool #preschooler #toddlerlife

A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on

In all honesty, I still haven’t found the time to prepare a meticulous curriculum. It’s funny because when Yuri was 2 years old, I spent almost all of my free time researching on homeschool curricula that we could use. In my old laptop, I even had a spreadsheet comparing and contrasting the curricula. Yes I was very OA, yet we didn’t even get to homeschool haha!

(In my defence hehe, I attended a seminar on homeschooling and was told that it’s too early to formally homeschool 2 and 3 year olds.)

Now that it’s time for real homeschool, I’m caught unprepared! We haven’t begun yet even though it’s already the end of everyone else’s first week of school. Then again, two years ago, when I was very vigilant, I was a freelancer who had a yaya. Now I have a regular 8-5 job — and a real estate broker on weekends — who is yaya-less and helper-less. But I’m confident that we’ll soon get the hang of it — as soon as I am able to organise a proper schedule. I’m procrastinating, help!

Anyway, in contrast to two years ago, when I had a full list of homeschool supplies to buy and several printables to print, right now, all I have are Yuri’s unopened preschool workbooks which I have collected over time (I told you I was OA!). The great thing is that they’re really helpful.

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Lifestyle Preschool Review School

Eye Level (Enopi) Vs. Kumon — And Our Unique Preschool Setup

Eye Level vs Kumon

Today marks our third week of going to Eye Level, formerly Enopi.

I know it’s still May and not yet officially school season, but we already started our “schooling” because we’re not depending on the school year anyway. If you’re interested, here’s our current schooling setup.

We were set on enrolling Yuri, who turned 4 a couple of months ago, in a “formal” school this school year. However, when I weighed the options, I was convinced it wasn’t our best option now. Before I tell you why, here were my requirements.

Anatomy of a Good Preschool (for me)

  1. All of us are working. While I am working from home, my job entails following regular office hours. Because of the nature of my job, we need to find a school that is just within our area.
  2. Location has to be good. It shouldn’t face the highway directly, and strangers shouldn’t be able to access the kids.
  3. Given that I would need to work while waiting for Yuri, there needs to be a good waiting area conducive for work AKA quiet and comfortable.

We tried to go on a school-hunting but none of the schools within our area fit our standards. Better schools are farther away, and I am not willing to commute that far every single work day. I also can’t afford to be unavailable for a couple of hours each day to my team members.

Nuh uh. *shakes head vigorously*

So here was my new plan:

  1. Homeschool (we haven’t officially begun as we are still in transition period — I don’t want to overwhelm the boy)
  2. Enrol him in an enrichment school (choices were Kumon and Eye Level)

Let’s not talk about homeschooling today lol. Honestly? I haven’t laid out a concrete plan yet! So let’s just talk about the enrichment school part of the plan.

Why enrichment school? It’s not as demanding (time-wise) as regular school, but, based on my experience, is effective in driving important concepts to a child. Also, learning is personalised and according to each child’s pace — no one is pressured to keep up with the pace of the others. Finally, I want another person of authority teaching Yuri.

Both Kumon and Eye Level offer English and Math classes. Math sounds really interesting, but we are prioritising English first because Yuri doesn’t know how to write and read yet. There are also some abstract concepts (read: positions) that he can’t grasp yet. And it’s overwhelming to enrol him in two subjects. Math can come later.

Now, why did we ultimately go for Eye Level over Kumon? Continue Reading

Elections Events Mixed Mess Parenting Preschool School

Messy Weekend: Elections + Mother’s Day + Yuri’s First Day of School!

WOW!

What a weekend!

It’s already Tuesday evening and I’m still reeling over the weekend that transpired. I don’t think I ever had a weekend as busy and brimming as this one. Well, maybe except Christmas and New Year. But that’s another story. Let’s talk about the weekend that was. Here’s a photo diary!

Enrolment + Trip to the Dentist

Eye Level Davao

We liked Eye Level so much that we decided to go back last Saturday to enrol. Yuri’s excited to attend sessions!

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After going to Eye Level, we went to our family dentist’s clinic to have Yuri’s teeth checked. It was Yuri’s very first time to visit the dentist so he wasn’t comfortable sitting on the dentist’s chair yet. So I sat down and sat him on my lap while our dentist prodded at his mouth. He has one cavity that needs filling up and we’re going back this Saturday. Good luck teh.

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