Homeschooling Spells P.P.L.A.N.

When Peewee and I decided to teach Coby at home in 2008, we were not that aware of the responsibility we have put upon our shoulders. First of all, the decision was not made on impulse. I researched about it, attended orientations, talked to other homeschooling families and prayed to make the right decision and God was very clear.

As a newbie parent-teacher, it was both exciting and scary because I don’t know if what I was doing was right. Good thing our family had very a very supportive team from TMA to back us up. But ultimately, it was only Peewee and myself trying to figure out what we got ourselves into.

I don’t claim to have all the knowledge about homeschooling because up to now, I am still learning how to do it. I’m still finding better ways to teach our kids.  I only knew a handful of homeschooling families from church when we started so there were not too many people to ask around.

Nobody ever told me how much I needed to invest in providing quality education to our children. Not only did we invest  financially but emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually as well.  I may not harvest the fruit of our decision yet but I know we will very soon.

Again, I’m not an expert but what I want to share is what works for me.  These are the things I take to heart as I continue to fulfill the fun yet daunting task of home education. I’ve come up with the acronym P.P.L.A.N. to highlight what I learned from my journey. As we plan our daily tasks, our menu, our vacation, we also need to plan our homeschool.

The first P stands for Prayer. I believe the key is preparing my heart for the day. I don’t know what’s going to happen midmorning or after lunch, so I need to have my heart checked first by the Lord. Commit my day to Him first thing in the morning. I lift up my plans, my lessons, even my emotions to Him. I need to get strength from Him for the entire day. I need to do this with him. He has not called me to be a wife, a mom or a homeschooling mom for that matter just to leave me on my own. When he called me, he assured me that He will be with me always. I just need to remind myself that I am not alone in this path that I’m taking. My God is with me moment by moment. And even if it’s just mid morning and the day has already been stressful, I just excuse myself and take a breather. Utter a short prayer to God to help get through the day without releasing bitter words.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Jeremiah 1:9

Second P is Preparation. As a parent-teacher, we need to take our job seriously. I’m the scheduled-type of person so having no schedule or planning freaks me out and so does Coby. I have to prepare the lessons in advance so I know what to teach them for the week. I make sure we have Math and English everyday. Coby loves Science so we have it at least twice or thrice a week while twice a week for Social Studies and Filipino. The quizzes, exams, field trips and projects are also scheduled as we also follow the local school calendar.

But then there are other homeschooling families especially those from other countries who are more of the unschooling type, more laid back, more relaxed and that works for them.

But then I’m not that strict too. There are just days when I feel blah and forcing them to study will only create undue stress on all of us. So we don’t do anything formal. They are free to draw, paint, do imaginative play using blocks and Lego or just be a scientist and explore the outdoors. Most of the time the lessons they learn are not from the books.

L is Learning Style. I have to know how my child learns best so that I could provide the best learning environment for him/her. If the learning style is supported then the creative mind will work to their advantage. They will be able to express this in their projects because they are confident learners. Coby is about 60% auditory and 40% visual learner.. He enjoys listening to music, he hums while working, and still loves to sit and listen to bedtime stories. He understands what he is reading if he reads them aloud.  I encouraged him to do that because I realized that if I let him read a passage quietly he doesn’t get it the main idea. But when I asked him to read it aloud, he not only reads the text but hears it as well. This has helped him tremendously especially in Social Studies. I’m still figuring out how Jianne learns but I could sense she is visual and kinesthetic. She loves to move and dance a lot. She is showing signs of being interested in sports too. I have to look for activities that would support her inclination.

A is for Application. I believe lessons are just words until experienced or applied. It doesn’t matter if Coby memorized a poem or a historical figure. What matters to me is how he uses that poem speaks to him. How does he interpret the poem. What is the poem trying to tell him. If he finds the connection between him and the poem and he was able to translate it to me in an artwork, in writing or in a project then I think my I did my job. What is essential to me is that the kids not only know the facts and know them by heart but find a way that is relatable to them. They learn about God in Science. How God’s creation always points back to Him. God’s design for every living creature is specific and unique for that animal or insect or plant. He has artistically designed man and woman to be different but complementing each other. When they realize how everything in creation works, they are just in awe of how wonderful the Creator is. Learning this on their own and seeing God in every subject is a good foundation to teach them to love and honor God in their lives. Application encourages them to ask the why and how questions.

N is for Negativity. Negativity would come in many forms. First, it would come from people who would criticize me for choosing to homeschool our kids. They would doubt my capability to teach and the “negative” effect it will have on the kids socially, which is a misconception. There would always be people who would discourage me and tell me to work rather than spend my time with my children. I would always respond with “This is what the Lord has assigned me to do while the kids are this age. While my husband has been assigned by the Lord to provide for the family.” Sometimes, I get tired defending myself or my family but honestly, I have learned the art of pretending to listen and not to let those malicious comments bother me anymore.

Negativity would also come from me. Impatience and anger work well together to bring me to that point of exasperation and say things I regret saying. The Lord let me realize that this would stem from unrealistic expectations from a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old. I would always assume then that I am speaking to adults and so I expect too much from them. I have to remind myself that I am speaking to children who are just learning now. I don’t have to assume that they already memorized multiplication table in a week. I have to bring myself to their level, how they think, how they process things and not to take them to my level. That’s what I’m here for, to teach them and guide them, not to have a debate with them about the current political state of our country. 🙂

Ultimately, I am still their Mama. I am just trusting the Lord who called me for this purpose that He will also guide and protect Coby and Jianne from anything that is not pleasing to their eyes.

While I’m writing this, Jianne called my attention and said, “Mama, I’m going to send you something. Please read it.” Then I saw she slid a paper under the door. I picked it up and read it and this is what it says: (verbatim, no edit from Mama)

Dear Mama and Papa. I am happy God made you. Thank you for all the kindness you do to us. And Papa I think you’re going to be a great engineer because your great at fixing things. And Mama you should open your own restaurant because your awesome at cooking. So I think this is the best family I ever had and next time try to control your anger so I’m happy. And your a great parent that a kid could ever have. Love Jianne


I said Peewee and I are looking forward to reaping the harvest of our investment… I think I’m already enjoying the fruit.

How do you spell homeschooling spell in your family? I would love to hear your tips too.


Married to Mr. Clean

Ages ago, when I was in hot pursuit of Mr. Right, I read a magazine article that suggested to envision “the one” and list down specific details about his looks. Write down every thing you want him to be, from the color of his hair to his shoe size. Being the hopeless romantic that I was then, that really got me all giddy! I grabbed my pen and pictured Mr. Right on a piece of paper. Of course I had an exhaustible list. We’re talking about Mr. Right here! I inserted the list somewhere and completely forgot about it.

A few years after that, I found my list again. By this time I was already married to Peewee, my husband. I showed him the list and he thought it was cute. I threw the paper out after that. I was trying to recall what I had written there to be included in this blog post, only three items came to mind:

Preferably wearing glasses, connotes intelligence (duh)

Must have hairless arms (I’ll explain later)

Must look and smell clean

Sadly, Peewee does not wear glasses, that’s okay. At least he has 20/20 vision and is really smart!  When I met him 12 years ago, I did try to smell him secretly and I knew he has wearing men’s perfume 🙂 When we sat down to chat, I noticed that he did have smooth, less hairy arms! What’s with the hairless arm? I’m just not a fan of androgynous male species.

I knew that my husband was a neat freak because when we first got married, he used to spend countless hours on the car cleaning and detailing it. Even before Meguiars detailing in car wash became a hit, he was already detailing every nook and cranny of his SUV.

In fairness to him, when it comes to cleanliness, he really is Mr. Clean. He will clean the entire house from the bedrooms to bathroom. If the kids’ toys needs scrubbing, he would be enjoying every moment with the soap and basin of water. He would also brush their Crocs too with an old toothbrush.

We have different sets of slippers at home. We have house slippers and slippers for going out. And when he sees you wearing your outside slippers inside, you will surely get some scolding, yes, even me. Every time he arrives from school, before even settling in, he would make sure every thing is packed away or in their proper places. If he sees the bathroom floor wet, he would grab the mop and dry it out.

When you look at our closet, he only has two three stacks: going-out shirts, house shirts and shorts and they are all pristine and neatly folded. While mine looks like a dog tried to find it’s favorite bone there somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sloppy. I do clean the house daily and tidy up too. I do general cleaning when I’m angry (that’s another post right there) But I’m not too obsessed with cleaning.

What’s the downside of being married to Mr. Clean? Honestly, I do get insecure at times. You see, Saturdays are my rest day, since I don’t teach the kids on weekends and I don’t have to wake up very early. It’s my lazy day. I don’t want to do any chores on weekends. But as soon as Peewee finishes breakfast, he grabs the broom and starts sweeping,  wiping, and scrubbing. And he will not stop. This annoys me at times so I end up cleaning too because I feel guilty seeing him doing the chores while I relax on a Saturday morning.

One time I told him about what I was feeling, that I feel bad for taking some time off on a weekend. He said he will not take it against me. He just wants to clean. He can only relax when he knows the house is “sparkling”. There were times, when I just let him clean all he wants while I do other stuff not related to cleaning or tidying up the house.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. He is not perfect, neither am I. But there are just some things he does that annoys me at times. But that’s part of the deal right? You’re marrying the Mr. Right…Mr. Right for you 🙂

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said,“This is now bone of my bones     and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’     for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:22-24

It’s 3 P.M. here and he will be arriving in an hour. I have to finish this blog post so I could tidy up before he starts cleaning again.

scrubbing the kids' study table in our old apartment

scrubbing the kids’ study table in our old apartment

Does your hubby have some habits that sometimes annoys you? Share with me.

Making Memories

I was blessed to have joined a homeschool support group in our church last Monday. That was the second time I’m sitting in the Monday group. The first time  I attended was two years ago and I was overwhelmed by the amount of preparation the moms do in the group. At first I thought the group is a venue where I can relax, kick off my shoes and just chat with the other moms. I realized these moms were dead serious in what they were doing. They taught the kids Geography, Art, Music, and PE. Kids also had a lot of work to do at home. That was too much for me, I thought. So I opted not to join the group at all.

My experience last Monday was different from the first one because there were no lessons or reports to be presented. It was their Moms’ Day. A day of respite for moms and day of playing, as usual, for the kids.  During Moms’ Day they don’t teach but have devotions, sharing, exercise and of course fellowship instead.

Cecile, the mom who led the devotion that morning took a passage from the book of John where Mary poured out a jar of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and used her hair to wipe off.

John 12:3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar[b] of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

Mary knew that what she did cost her a lot. In fact, she was ridiculed by Judas, saying the cost of the perfume could have fed the poor. But Jesus, who knew Mary’s intention, rebuked Judas and praised Mary for honoring Him that way.Mary was passionate about that seemingly simple act that she even used her own hair to wipe off the perfume. She probably have saved and prepared for the jar for a long time because she knew what was the purpose of the perfume and that to honor the Lord.

Cecile also  reminded us to look back at the reason for homeschooling the kids. Have I lost the passion to teach them? Do I still face each homeschooling day prepared? Or do my kids run around the house because they don’t know what to do and my chores are choking me. Have I forgotten my first priority? In this season of my family’s life, my priority and calling is to teach them. Have I allowed myself to be sucked in to the mundane things of life and neglect one of the most important things? That devotion gave me time to rethink, refocus, reboot.

The chores will always be there. The laundry will always get piled up. The dishes will always need washing. But time spent with the kids can never be neglected. They will only be little once and soon they will grow up, mature and leave our nest and be on their own. What kind of memories am I making with my children? Will they remember me as the mom who continued to encouraged them even if they feel they are losers? Or will they remember the mom who acts like a possessed woman ready to devour them? How about remembering me as the mom who was neck-deep in household chores that I neglected reading a book to them or even laughing with them?

Precious time is lost if we intentionally put other things before the needs of the children. We can never buy back time. The opportunity to love them, influence them and find magic moments is gone once we let time pass.

One of the fun things I remember about my own Mommy is that every night when my brother and I were still young, she would let us go up their bed. She would pretend that all of us were riding this huge ship but sharks were swimming around the vessel. So, we would curl up beside and pretend to be really frightened.

I am now enjoying the same “drama scene” with Coby and Jianne. I would tell them to stay in our bed and  tell them that sharks are around us so we should stay close and hug each other real tight so the shark won’t get us. Then I would say out loud, “Shark! Shark! Shark!” Not only is this so enjoyable for them but it’s also a way for me to remember some good days of childhood with my Mommy.



What’s your favorite childhood memory with your parents? How do you make memories with your own kids?


You Complete Me

These words became so eminent in the 90’s after Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise confesses his true feelings to Dorothy Boyd, the character played by Renee Zellweger. During that time, single women  including myself shudder at the thought of having someone say the exact same words to us. I mean, who wouldn’t? “You complete me” is the ultimate pick-up line!

That line became so endearing to many hopeless romantics, who wished someday their prince would come. Some of these women admittedly believe finding their one true love would complete their being, their life. I also had the same belief, that only the one person can fill the void in my lonely heart.

I may have shared in a previous post that I grew up with parents who fought a lot. They would argue about almost anything and that left me feeling insecure about their love for me and for my brother. As I grew older, unconsciously I was looking for love all the time. I would seek out new friends and hold on to them for as long as I can. I also looked to boys to find the elusive love I was looking for. I had my list of 101 crushes then and had a boyfriend at age 12. I have kept this relationship from my mom because I knew she would not allow it but it made me feel good at that time.

That relationship did not last long as my family moved to another city. In high school, I also sought other relationships until I met my first serious boyfriend during my senior year. The relationship lasted for almost three years and when it ended I was so devastated. I thought of ways of bringing him back but to no avail.  Just a few months after the break-up, he told me he already had a new girlfriend. That was a slap on my face. There was I was trying to win him back but he was so busy “getting to know” someone else already. It took a long time to finally get over this boy. I seriously thought we were going to end up together. I would picture him asking me to marry him and we will live happily ever after. He would be the one to complete me. Sadly, when the relationship ended, I felt incomplete again.

In each relationship that I had after that made me believe that the guy I was with was “the one”. Unfortunately, they were not. Many years had passed before I met “the one” for me. I met my husband in 2001 and got married the following year. It was a sweet and intimate wedding with family and friends to witness us exchange vows to each other. But soon after the wedding, I still felt incomplete. I began to doubt our relationship and thought that I married the wrong person. When our firs child was about 1-2 years of age, that discontent lingered. I asked myself why is there still that hole in my heart. I thought getting married would solve this predicament but I ended up being unhappy still.

I got reconnected with old friends from high school. They had invited me to join them in their game of badminton. Because I was out of shape that time, I excitedly joined them. We played Wednesday nights and after each game we would catch up on things over coffee. One of the persons in the group was an old flame. Little did I know that my old feelings for this person were coming back. That person was still single at that time and we just connected right away. We would exchange text messages or calls daily and that felt good. I knew the relationship was wrong but I thought, “Isn’t my happiness more important than right or wrong?”

I was talking about it to another friend in the group and I was sharing that I would be willing to leave my husband and go with this person. I also mentioned I didn’t care anymore if my parents or the people around me would hate me for it but I was willing to take the risk because being with this person makes me happy. I was surprised to hear her response, “Fix your marriage first”. I didn’t expect that from her since she was also in the same kind of relationship as I was. Not very long after that conversation, the person I was having an emotional relationship with told me that causing problems in  our marriage was not the intention and that I had be let go if it would ruin the marriage. We ended the relationship. I was rejected.

There I was unhappy with my life. Finding wholeness in other people. Finding completeness in being a mom yet none of them did it for me. I felt lonely, desperate and angry. Until a new couple friend of ours invited my husband and I for a bible study in their home. We agreed to join them every Friday and we went through the Purpose Driven Life. My eyes were opened to the reality that I exist in this world not for myself but for a purpose and that is to glorify God in all I do. I exist for his pleasure not mine and that it’s not all about me but about Him alone. We are recipients of His grace and mercy and instruments of his love.

I realized that the void I had in my  heart for a very long time could only be filled by the love of God. No person, position in life, riches or other tangible things can complete me. Only the Creator, the God of the heavens and the earth can do that. Because it was He who created that void in the first place. He put that there so that in His perfect timing, our longing to be reunited with Him goes hand in hand with His call to repentance.  I surrendered my life to Christ in 2004.

It has been 10 years since that couples’ bible study and my husband and I are continuously seeking the Lord in our lives. We don’t have a perfect marriage but God is fixing it supernaturally. I am still a work in progress but I am stepping out in faith to share what Christ has done in my life and my family. Now I can confidently utter the same words by Jerry Maguire to my God… Lord, you complete me!

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

It’s More Fun with History and Social Studies

I am a History geek! I know there are some people who squirm at the thought of studying about “people of old” and the “crude way of doing things” but I don’t. Two notable persons of influence to me were my History teacher, Ms. Roxas in high school and my late grandfather, Jose Gementera Sr. I always looked forward to my Filipino History and Social Studies class back then because we had a brilliant teacher. She taught with much gusto and seem to know what she was talking about all the time 🙂

When my grandfather was still alive, he would tell tales of his childhood and life during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. He also became part of History in their school when he was the first student to ever receive a 100 percent grade on his report card. He dared his teacher to give him that  final grade if he aced his subject. He did! So his teacher gave him the grade he truly deserved. Unfortunately, he was not able to show me a copy of this childhood memento. But he added that if you go his school, a copy of his report card was on display.

My appreciation for History continued until I started homeschooling. In our earlier days of teaching Coby at home, we used the first volume of the Mystery of History. This book is so rich with stories and activities that he became engrossed in it. History was not a major subject in Grade one but this boy insisted that we take out our MOH and just read it. Jianne, who is in first grade is also enjoying the book as well.


We study History and Social Studies alternately each day. I figured the best way to teach these two subjects is to through story-telling. First and foremost, as a parent-teacher, I have the responsibility of studying the lessons beforehand. After going through the lesson myself, Coby sits down and listens to my “story”. I believe they don’t have to memorize specific dates or places already, since this has no value yet in their learning. They can do the serious side which is memorizing dates and names when they reach high school. The important thing for me is they learn about the ideology,  the primary people involved, the so-called hero or heroes in the story and the events that had a huge impact in our country’s history or in another part of the world.

After the session, I ask Coby’s opinion about the story he heard. I needed to know if he  got the concept and if he was really paying attention. Some of the questions I ask are somewhere in these lines…

What was your favorite part of the story and why?

If you were the hero or the character in the story, what would you do given the same situation?

What character trait or attitude does the hero in the story show you? How could develop the same attitude or character?

If you could change that part of history, what would you change and why?

Coby is very introspective and speaks his mind a lot. He gives out his opinions even when not needed 🙂 So, questions like these excite him and keeps him talking and talking. He is free  to give his opinions and expresses it passionately.  I could see from the tone of his voice and facial expressions that he feels for the people who suffered injustice or anger towards the villains of the past. At times, he gets very opinionated to the point of judging and blaming the leader for not doing his job right or the villain for being so cruel. I listen to him but then gently remind him that these people did what they thought was right during that time. We are not to judge their decisions but we are to learn from them so we will not repeat the same mistakes they did.

History and Science also go together as we find out how things got invented. People back then never had any gadgets on hand nor did they have electricity but they thrived and used whatever resources they have. Prehistoric people used stones for cutting and sticks for spears to hunt food.

The saying  “necessity is the mother of invention” is so true. This taught Coby that not all things can be bought at the store. You need to use your imagination, creativity and resourcefulness to make things. An old egg carton can be made into a head of an alligator puppet while an old mayonnaise jar can be transformed into a useful pen holder. These scientists and inventors always thought out of the box, which my husband and I are trying to inculcate in Coby’s mind and so far it’s been great.

Going on field trips is another tool to reinforce the lessons learned in both subjects. We are a museum-loving family. We have been to different historical museums in our country and are planning to go back again this school year. Museums allows the kids to see first hand what they only see in books.

We had a blast visiting the Bible Museum in Manila last year. We saw a visual representation of the scribes writing the  bible word for word back then. We also saw the first Bible in the Philippines which was in the Pangasinan dialect. We also got to dress up like the Bible characters and pose for photos after.

At the Bible Museum

At the Bible Museum

Apostle Paul writing his letters

Apostle Paul writing his letters

Peewee as Moses, Me as Queen Esther, Jianne as the Rebekah, and Coby as Joseph

Peewee as Moses, Me as Queen Esther, Jianne as the Rebekah, and Coby as Joseph

The Bible tells us  in Jeremiah 6:16

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

If we are having trouble making decisions, we can look at how the people in history, particularly significant characters of the bible lived their lives. How did they triumph over temptation. How did they overcome a huge wall, literally. How they found the source of living water. The Word of God is rich with examples of people who victoriously overcame obstacles because they trusted God and also people who were punished and swallowed by the earth because of their disobedience and unbelief.

History helps us look back at the mistakes of the past and move forward armed with wisdom from old and knowledge of the present.

What’s your favorite lesson in History? What impact did it have on the kids?

Passing on Lessons from Mom

I am the eldest and the only girl in a brood of three. Growing up, my mother would always ask me to do something for her. Whether helping her with the chores or running errands for her. I remember riding my bike to a small mini mart near our place because she asked me to buy milkfish for lunch. Of course, I didn’t get the freshest fish since I was only 9 or 10 and I have no idea what a fresh fish looks like. They all look the same to me, all slimy and…wet. Another time I was to get chayote (sayote) and I ended up getting the more green papaya, which was more expensive than chayote.

Even if she hired household help then I never saw her relax. She would still be cooking, doing other chores and checking what the help is doing. There were times when we don’t have a helper in the house and that’s the time, I would be assisting her most of the time.

I remember would always tell me, “How can you be a good mother if you don’t know how to do household chores?” As a teenager, I don’t like doing chores! I dreaded chores! I would rather listen to my music and write but I have no choice, I have to obey or else 🙂 But as the Bible says, everything turned out for the best.

My homemaker training as a young girl paid off. Now that I have my own family, I can manage without any help at all. I do laundry, clean, cook, homeschool, run errands, and work part time too. I do hire outside help once in a while to do some ironing but other than that, we’re okay. Tired but okay.

Of course, I pass on what I learned to my own kids. Though they can’t do the hard stuff, I have assigned them some tasks to do everyday. Both of the kids need to fix their beds every time they get up in the morning.  They clean up after breakfast and put their dishes in the sink. You have to remind them to do it everyday but their not complaining, thank God! Once in while Coby would wash his own dishes too, since he is the last one to have breakfast.

Jianne, our little girl is being trained as early as now to be a good homemaker. She helps me in the kitchen when I’m preparing dinner. She would wash the vegetables or get other ingredients I need. She wants to help out in the kitchen all the time. In the evenings, while relaxing and watching TV, she would see me fold newly washed clothes. I would put them on the bed and fold them one by one. She would volunteer to fold some clothes too so I taught her how to do it the Martha Stewart way…nah!  She’s a fast learner and now she is the one folding her own undies, shirts and pajamas. What a great help indeed!

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

step 2

step 2

step 3

tada! neatly folded undies :-)

tada! neatly folded undies 🙂

I am grateful that my mom taught me well. I learned how to be a great homemaker because she was my best example. I hope I could pass on the same values to my daughter and that she would imbibe the joy of motherhood too when that time comes.  But of course, I pray that the Lord would direct her to the right path, the right husband and right career. I trust that whatever career God places her in the future, she would not neglect her duties as a mom.

Have you heard of the Proverbs 31 wife? I would like to follow her example of biblical motherhood 🙂

What lessons did you learn from your mom? What lessons are you passing on to your daughters?

The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm,     all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax     and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships,     bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night;     she provides food for her family     and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it;     out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously;     her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,     and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff     and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor     and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;     for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed;     she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,     where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,     and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;     she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom,     and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household     and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;     her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,     but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;     but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,     and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-31

Homeschooling with the APO Hiking Society

In the Philippines, we celebrate Buwan ng Wika  (Month of Language) every August. During this month, students all over the country celebrate the beauty of our national language. We, as Filipinos, are also reminded to be proud to speak in our native tongue. Our language tells us who we are as a nation, as a country. Just like our flag which represents our country among the nations,  so does our language. We should be proud to use in our everyday conversations, in our writings and even in our songs.

Instead of calling off school today because of a typhoon, I decided to introduce Coby and Jianne to OPM, Original Pilipino Music or Original Pinoy Music. Filipino artists including songwriters, musicians, singers collaborated and created a new genre in music which we now call OPM. These songs were originally written by Filipinos and performed by Filipino singers and bands as well. As far as I can remember, artists like Mitch Valdez, Rico Puno, Celeste Legaspi, Basil Valdez, Ryan Cayabyab and the APO Hiking Society were the pioneers in promoting Original Pinoy Music.

My personal favorite among all the OPM artists are Buboy, Jim and Danny, the trio who make The APO Hiking Society. My parents had a stockpile of APO vinyl albums when I was growing up. I would hear them regularly  being played at home and through constant listening I became familiar with most of their songs. I even know what some of their album covers looked like 🙂

Unfortunately, the APO have retired from the music industry a few years ago but their music is still very alive in my heart. I wanted my kids to hear their kind of music too. I want to influence them In having an appreciation of Filipino sound and not just listen to Taylor Swift, One Direction, Bruno Mars and other international pop artists.

The APO music is mostly written in Filipino that’s why I love listening to them.  I picked two song “Pumapatak na naman ang Ulan” (since it’s raining) and “Lumang Tugtugin” for the kids to listen to and study. Good thing that the CD has a lyric sheet so we could all sing along and understand the message of the music. Reading the lyrics in Filipino was not much of a challenge but understanding the meaning of each word was. But in the end, we had fun interpreting the song.

first look at the APO

first look at the APO


singing with her stuffed toys

singing with her stuffed toys

We also listened to two other Filipino children’s song, Bahay Kubo and Magtanim ay Di Biro 🙂 The first song enumerates the different veggies found in a home. This time I told the kids to write down all the vegetables they hear being sang. I had to pause the CD every so often for them to catch the words. This was a good practice in Filipino language and handwriting especially for Jianne who is in first grade. After enumerating the veggies, I asked them what they eat. Jianne shouted “okra” her favorite but it was not included in the song 😦 I played the song three more times and they were singing along while reading their veggie list.

“Magtanim ay Di Biro” is famer’s song. It tells about how hard it is work in the field and describes how the body feels after a hard day’s work. After listening to the song, the kids and I talked about how important farmers are and the work that they do. They realized that if the farmer does not plant, we won’t have anything to eat. We won’t have rice, corn and other stuff. They did not only value the importance of hard work but they also had fun learning all of it in Filipino.

What a fun day that was! How about you, how do you encourage your kids to love their own language?