the little pooch and the little boy that could

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After 2 months of being apart, we were finally reunited with Alexander. He traveled 3 cities and crossed an ocean. He got sea and car sick and was made to sleep in three different strange places but once we settled in our new home in the north, after a day or two, he was back to his old hyperexcited self.  What a trooper. It has been two months since his odyssey and the little pooch has been giving us a lot of work and a lot of love. Q’s giggles and laughter every time he is with Alexander are priceless. Getting a dog, despite the crazy ride we went through since it joined our family, turned out to be one of the best decisions we have made this year. To our delight, Q has stepped up and taken responsibility for much of the care of the dog. Q feeds him and cleans his cage. He brings him outside to let him do his doggy business and walks him around the neighborhood. He plays with him (sometimes reads him a book or tells him a story) and sits him on his lap and pets him even if Alexander’s excitable nature still scares him a little. And he also gives me a hand in giving Alexander a bath. Q also loves it when we go to the park and both he and Alexander can run around and get some exercise. Thank goodness everything worked out fine. Our only challenge (and heartbreak) is every time we travel to the big city and sometimes we are gone for a week, Alexander would board for a while in a vet’s clinic. Again, such a trooper. I just hope being frequently away from us doesn’t affect him negatively.

 

homeschooling moment: done reading!

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We finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Yey! I read it aloud to Q sporadically for maybe a little over a week, in between chores, homeschool work and traveling. This one is a page-turner, so it didn’t take us very long to finish it. We would wonder what was going to happen to Edward next and we couldn’t wait to find out. (Q also read a few pages ahead on his own and when I resumed reading aloud, he would tell me what’s going to happen next and excitedly asked me to continue reading aloud, including the parts he has already read. 😀 )

 

Getting ready for the school year(s)…

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I am like many homeschoolers. I don’t really believe in grades– grades as in “rating” a child as an A or B student, or as students who Passed or Failed. And grades as in 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, so on and so forth. I will not talk about this here in detail (in another post, maybe). Just mentioning it here in passing because we are now getting ready for a new school year! In our family, we start and end our school year anytime we want and it could go from one year to several more, depending on the progress and pace of our student or depending on what’s happening in our life as a family. After all, homeschooling, in essence, is a way of life. Though as much as we would like to be full-fledged unschoolers, we choose not to. There are definitely elements of worldschooling and unschooling in our homeschooling style but we still opted to enroll in a homeschool provider so that Q has school records.

We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean’s lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else. – John Holt

Anyway, so, after 2 years of doing “1st grade”, we have now decided to enroll in “2nd grade”. (Note: We “follow” these grade levels because the homeschool provider applies the traditional school “grade leveling” [which I think is for purposes of organization and order]. As to the course plans they provide, we get the “grade level” we enrolled in but we are not required to follow them. These course plans are just guides. As to what to teach our children [what to include and exclude] and when to teach them, is up to us parents. And it is the parents who give the “grades”* not the provider.

(*I submit these grades as part of the “security” of having a transcript. I don’t even show these “grades” to my child. I “grade” him based on the actual work he has accomplished using the curriculum not on what he has actually learned during a given time or what his abilities are because really, I don’t think these letter grades are accurate measurements. I mean, how does one fairly measure aptitude?).

Anyway, one of the exciting parts in preparing for the “academic” aspect of homeschooling are the new books!!! Ours have arrived, finally!

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I did not purchase all the books specified in the curriculum. I just chose the ones for subject areas that I feel need some reinforcement and/or areas that we need more materials on. All the books are great! I wish I have the time to talk about each one (we haven’t started on reading them all) but I must say the Macmillan Dictionary and the Catholic Children’s Bible are very impressive. We also got Hamlet from the Shakespeare Can Be Fun series by Lois Burdett and we can’t wait to get hold of the other titles in the series. I’m so thankful for awesome homeschooling parents who recommended these great books.

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books we already have

We still have books from previous school years that we still want to use. I intend to still use First Language Lessons for the Well-trained Mind by Jessie Wise as a guide for language arts this year. We are mostly literature-based, so I just consult the textbook for the “technical” stuff while we continue to use children’s literature as a foundation in our homeschool. I don’t do a lot of grammar exercises. We just read, read and read children’s books and inject some grammar rules along the way. Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer covers four levels, so we will still be using this book for a while. We just recently utilized these two methods that are taught in this book: copywork and narration.

For Science, we still want to finish covering Harcourt Science 1 (before we start on 2) and use it as a reference book when reading science-themed children’s books. As for the Catholic National Reader Book One, we still have a few more pages to finish and its old-fashioned English is just so beautiful, it would be a shame not to be able to finish reading it.

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Greek Myths is an ongoing thing since “1st Grade”.

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This year will not just be exciting but also very special. Together with other homeschooling kids, Q will be receiving his First Communion this coming December. So we are eagerly preparing for it and Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism and First Communion Catechism are helping us do this. We will also put together a sacramental preparation portfolio (courtesy of a generous veteran homeschooling mom) to make Q’s anticipation of this event even more joyful.

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I am not proud to admit that learning Filipino is our (my family) biggest hurdle. Speaking conversational Tagalog is one thing (it’s already hard as it is) but learning grammar rules, reading stories and instructions (and understanding them) in formal written Tagalog is another. For many of us regionals and non-Tagalog speakers, this is quite a burden. Thankfully, there is the option of learning in the vernacular (or the Mother Tongue as they call it in regular schools) which I think works better for us (my family). But I am also a proud Filipino. I also recognize that learning Filipino/Tagalog is a way of preserving the Filipino identity. So, even though it will be bloody, I will face (gulp) this challenge head on for this school year. 😜

Books At My Bedside (3)

~Books at My Bedside will be a series of posts wherein I will share books I am currently reading and enjoying.

This post will be short and sweet. Just had to capture in a post my excitement over an enlightening and beautiful book I just finished reading (and will definitely reread!), Rome Sweet Home by Kimberly and Scott Hahn. I borrowed this from my father-in-law (one of our angels in growing in our faith) and it made our (Daddy O and I) hearts sing joyously! Kimberly and Scott Hahn’s journey was agonizing. The dark tunnel they passed through in search of THE Truth (and the difficult challenges their marriage had to endure in the name of truth!) was long and painful but the moment they saw the light at the end, the triumph was sweet and nothing short of heavenly. I cried and rejoiced with them. We are so inspired by this book! A MUST-READ!!!

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A truly unputdownable one! (See the white tabs? haha. I could have just tabbed every single page! It is THAT good!)