Me, oh my!  It’s the end of the month and I only had one post for October.  Not due to lack of interest, I assure you.  Just the lack of time to sit down and write.  So many things happened this month.  My eldest daughter turned 12.  Just one more year and I’ll have a teener!  And then our school, not the Aberásturi Home Academy, but rather the St. Jude Science and Technological School, celebrated it’s 2nd Founding Anniversary.  I danced, oh yes, I did!  One folk number and a ballroom number.  So I had to put in rehearsal hours on top of my already  full daily calendar.  My 12-year old, who attends SJSTS had a dance number, too, and Bea made a guest appearance, performed a piano duet with Ate Xia.  And then I was given the opportunity to attend the 11th Educators’ Conference, where among the topics discussed were the Department of Education’s Program and Policies on the K-12 Curriculum, Dealing with Difficult Parents, Preparation of Instructional Materials and the 21st Century Learning Environment.

My favorite, of course, was the topic covered by Ms. Shirley Equipado, Preparation of Instructional Materials.  Well, I only attended the second day, so I missed the K-12 Curriculum.  It would have been fun to learn how to deal with difficult parents.  I know I was, when my eldest child was still attending a traditional school.  But hey, I’ll have you know that my being difficult was justified.  Those years spent with that school were the most stressful for me as a parent involved in her child’s education.  Solution: homeschool.

Soon, Jude will be starting first grade, and he’s going to be my biggest challenge in my homeschooling journey.  Coming across Ms. Equipado’s presentation was heaven-sent.  Just last week, Bea and I decided that we’re going to make bag puppets to show different feelings.  Seeing Ms. Shirley’s puppets added some great ideas to my not-so-creative mind.  Really learned a lot from her!  And she is quite the storyteller!  Take note of the punctuations… I really was very impressed, and inspired, and envious, of her talent in storytelling.  I had a little chit-chat with her after her presentation.  And proud homeschooling mommy that I am, it naturally came out that yeah, I’m homeschooling my little ones, although what got me in to the conference was my connection with SJSTS.  And naturally, too, she does not approve of homeschooling. Oh, well… Just like being a WAHM is not for everyone, I guess homeschooling is only for those who were called to do it.

And guess what?  Although Ms. Equipado does not really approve of homeschooling, her presentation actually reinforced my conviction in homeschooling my kids.  She referenced Friedrich Froebel, the father of Kindergarten, when she said that children should not be in classrooms, and that children should be able to learn by experiencing.  What better way to let the children experience life than to be able to apply theories right at the same moment that they are learning them?  Froebel encourages us to “live with our children”, putting a coherent system in play activities.  So let’s do maths at the supermarket, and learn science in the kitchen.  Let’s observe changes in the clouds, bird formations when they fly and the differences in the way plants grow, doing away with the undying monggo seed that we used to sprout in school.  Let’s make the world our children’s classroom.

Bea’s interest now is in drawings.  And Jude’s play activities are centered in Hummer cars, the solar system and different flags of the world.  If I send Bea to a traditional school, will she be allowed to draw the whole day while ensuring that she learns the day’s lessons?  And Jude, will the school give him the opportunity to learn lessons using his interest in cars, planets and flags?

I don’t think so.  Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.  It will not be possible, nor fair, for them to take into consideration one child’s talent and interest and impose them on the next child.

But at home, Bea can learn directions by drawing and mounting her very own town map, and Jude practices reading using the globe as his reference.  He’s not interested in reading Nat Has A Hat.  He’d rather practice his phonics reading Ja-p-an, Ma-lay-sia and Ca-na-da.

Yeah, I know I sound like I’m advocating homeschooling, and maybe I am, but again, I know it’s not for everyone.  After all, I sit on the Board of St. Jude Science and Technological School, so I also believe in the traditional school system.