Monday, June 17, 2013

Matt's new adventure in homeschooling and beyond


It's taken a while for me to actually come up with this homeschooling update. I guess I didn't really want to post anything until it was relatively settled and I actually had an update to share.

My son Matt's homeschooling journey is about to take a new direction.

By the grace of God, we are going to be able to enroll him with the Blended Learning Center this year, 2013.

As I mentioned in my Homeschooling 101 post HERE, homeschooling is a commitment. More often than not, it's also a calling. Yes, "that" sort of calling, the religious kind. (Well, unless you don't want to put religion in your homeschooling curriculum...)

And, to tell you the truth, yes, I do get tired of the strange looks, the whole what-are-you-doing-you-are-ruining-your-child's-future kind of conversations. And unless you are fully committed and firm in your faith and you genuinely believe you are meant to be homeschooling, it is hard to stand up to that kind of onslaught. (Yep, close relatives and friends are no exception.)

Matt's homeschooling adventure has 2 very important concerns for me:

1. He has no academic records. We tried to enroll him in a homeschool curriculum provider school but were unable to finish the workload. Why? Lots of reasons. We travelled a lot, got sick a lot, were just plain lazy on some days, the workload was too heavy, too boring, etc. etc.

I went through my old notebooks where I wrote every time we had a homeschooling session and it was a struggle throughout. We had good days and bad days.

One of the highlights of our homeschooling journey was when I discovered unschooling.

But even unschooling alone didn't give me the reassurance that Matt was learning everything he needed to learn.

In the end, we ended up just finishing the basic requirements of the curriculum we got, namely, those in Science, Writing, Math, and Social Studies. We cut out the laborious stories and the quizzes.

And we also added in local and US textbooks and workbooks. And I still read a Bible story every time we homeschool. We use a children's Bible with illustrations.

We rely heavily on the Brainquest workbooks that used to be available in Fullybooked. But I haven't seen them around anymore.

And I try to get textbooks which are below, within, and ahead of Matt's level. So, right now, we have preschool, Grade 1, and Grade 2 workbooks and textbooks.

And, unfortunately or fortunately, the workbooks do add up. Some of them we never even got to. I always scour the different ones available just to compare.

One tip in choosing textbooks? If it's appealing to me and I think I can teach it, then Matt will like it too. If it looks to complicated or disorganized, I know Matt and I won't like it.

2. My second concern is this: Matt does not speak Filipino. Ouch. There, I said it.

Blame it on an English major mother and an elementary school Atenista dad. We were just so used to expressing ourselves in English. And people always said that if your child's first language is English that he'd be smart. So there.

Matt and I've been on our own most of the day when his dad goes to work. So, there's no yaya to speak to him in Filipino. And, if he did have one, she'd probably speak to him in English anyway. All Matt's friends speak to him in English too.

My primary concern in taking the government exam for testing Matt's academic level is that it might have sections in, or entirely be in, Filipino. I haven't really checked with Dep Ed yet, but well, Matt's not ready to take any sort of diagnostic exam anyway.

So, how did we end up in choosing the Center for Blended Learning? Email them and find out. They are really very nice and friendly. And they do offer both a homeschool and a blended learning program.

Oh and they don't require it but they do encourage getting your child tested at the Center for Educational Measurement just to check his academic level.

This year, by the grace of God, we have the means to enroll him in the blended learning program.

Matt and I are excited and of course nervous about it. Will see how it goes.

And if you're reading this, I wish you the best of luck wherever your own child's learning adventures may lead.

God bless you and wish us luck on our new adventure.

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