homeschooling moment: Q’s humor

Q’s humor is rendered in his clay creations. LOL



“toilet” humor ūüėÄ

ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ



Getting ready for the school year(s)…


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 learning?).

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


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’ll see how we’ll like it. 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.


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


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.¬†ūüėú

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!!!


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

Books at My Bedside (2)- pre-reading children’s books

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


18235928_10155409529029171_1934131272_oSince our little Q is not so little anymore and is gradually taking on longer books, my job as “board of censors” has become bigger. I have a pile of books waiting to be pre-read before Q gets his hands on them. (This is another reason why I have very little extra time for reading my own grown up books anymore). When Q’s reading options were just limited to board books and picture books, I used to just scan and read them while standing in a bookstore and then decide whether to buy them or not. Now, since he is taking on longer picture books and some chapter books, I do some research beforehand to get a general idea of a particular book before I go to the bookstore or online to buy it because reading it in the bookstore while standing will already be time-consuming and sometimes, just close to impossible. After I get the books, I start pre-reading them when I have the chance. Though painstaking, I enjoy this task tremendously. So many great children’s books out there and I am very excited to introduce to Q some of the ones I have already pre-read.

Books in pre-reading queue:

The Twenty-One Balloons РWilliam Pène du Bois

Fairy Tales – E.E. Cummings

Homer Price – Robert McCloskey

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg

Fog Island – Tomi Ungerer

Ginger Pye – Eleanor Estes

Books already pre-read*:

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle **
The Cricket in Times Square – George Selden
26 Fairmont Avenue – Tomie de Paola
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me – Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl
The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
The Whipping Boy – Sid Fleischman
The Steadfast Tin Soldier – Hans Christian Andersen
Many Moons – James Thurber
Mirette on the High Wire – Emily Arnold McCully
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
The Sign of the Beaver – Elizabeth George Speare
*I’ve pre-read most of these books quite some time ago and I’m afraid the stories and the themes (and underlying themes) are already hazy to me. Also, in the last year or so I have learned and read more about guidelines and the right criteria in choosing children’s books (with Church teachings in mind) so I might have to pre-read one more time or review right before I give it to Q just to check if I have overlooked something.
**A Wrinkle in Time is one of several children’s books reviewed by author Michael O’ Brien in his book, ¬†A Landscape With Dragons, one of¬†the resources I am using in selecting children’s¬†books.¬†¬†Read more here why A Wrinkle in Time will not make it to Q’s bookshelf.

Books at My Bedside (1)

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

* * * * *

I read several books at once and that’s not because I’m trying to prove something. I jump back and forth from one book to another because I am simply incapable (short attention span?? ADD??) of sticking to only one book and finishing only one book before I start on another one except maybe, occasionally, for riveting novels. (Also, the choice as to which book to read largely depends on the mood I am in at the moment, among other reasons.)

Speaking of novels, it’s been a while since I’ve read a novel. If I remember correctly, the last¬†3 novels I finally (after a looong time) finished reading (also at the same time) were Sula by Toni Morrison, Persuasion by Jane Austen and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. This was maybe 2 or more years ago (probably the tail end of the era called “Me-Time” haha) And the stories and details of these novels¬†are now hazy to me (I do remember the heavy feeling two of them gave me. Ugh.). For the past 4-5 years, it has been children’s books that I have been obsessed¬†with. ūüôā From picture books to chapter books- I am excited about all of them.¬†I think novels, for now, are too demanding for me. My being a full-time homeschool mom and our gypsy life simply cannot accommodate an unputdownable novel. Also, I am not disciplined enough to stop, put down a page turner, and do chores. ūüėÄ And since I need to¬†constantly learn anything and everything about homeschooling, faith and¬†family, the books that I have been currently busy reading are in and along¬†these areas. The novels will just have to wait for now.

I will share here the books I am currently reading and only heaven knows when I will finish reading them because as I said, I juggle several books at the same time but I am determined to finish reading them all!¬†ūüėČ (Although, I think one does not really “finish” reading some of the books in the list below because I, for one, go back to these kinds of books time and again to reread some meaningful parts or to refer to some nuggets of wisdom or to simply reread the entire book again¬†for no compelling reason but that it suffuses me with its goodness)


Books at my bedside (and in my Kindle):

A Landscape with Dragons (The Battle for Your Child’s Mind) – Michael D. O’ Brien

Ten Ways to Destroy The Imagination of Your Child – Anthony Esolen

How to Pray at All Times – Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (translated by a Redemptorist)

Summa Theologica – Thomas Aquinas

The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm

An A-Z Guide to Food Additives (Never Eat What You Can’t Pronounce) – Deanna M. Minich

Marcos Martial Law Never Again by Raisa Robles

The Uses of Enchantment (The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales) – Bruno Bettelheim

The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life – Thomas Moore

The Story of a Bad Boy – Thomas Bailey Aldrich

The Read-Aloud Handbook – Jim Trelease

Oh dear, I didn’t realize they were this many. ūüėÄ The good news is some of these books I’m already halfway through or about to finish. So many books, so little time (and energy)!

The previous batch that I finished (were read on and off, at the same time, within a 2-year period) was not nearly as many as the above list:

Educating the WholeHearted Child – Clay and Sally Clarkson

Honey for a Child’s Heart – Gladys Hunt

Steady Days – Jamie C. Martin

For the Children’s Sake – Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

Homeschooling for Excellence – David and Micki Colfax

For the Love of Literature (Teaching Core Subjects With Literature) – Maureen Wittmann

In another¬†Books at My Bedside post, I listed the children’s books and young adult chapter books I am pre-reading before I introduce them to Q.


book finds (1st quarter)

Yey! Getting the natural high again from books! These are our book finds since the year started:

To reinforce our Filipino and Philippine History learning (and still using literature-based approach) ¬†I ordered some children’s books ¬†from¬†The Learning Basket¬†and we are so happy with our purchases:


The Golden Loom (Palanca Prize Winners for Children)


back cover of the Golden Loom

A Lolong Time Ago: A Prehistory of the Philippines, Halo-halo Histories (Book 1) by Michelline Suarez, Joonee Garcia, Divine Reyes and Benjor Catindig

We haven’t seriously started on this book yet since we’re still working our way through The Golden Loom but I must commend the creators of this book for their effort to make an otherwise boring subject interesting and funny.

Si Jepoy Dyip at ang Siga ng Bayan by Jomike Tejido


A picture book that comes with fun 3D paper crafts

Read more about this 6-book series here.

Bandila: The Story of the Philippine Flag by Merci Melchor, pictures by Auri Asuncion Yambao

Having slept through all my history classes as a student, I’m sure many historical facts have escaped my attention. In this book about the Philippine flag, I learned many new and interesting things and one of them is that the person who designed our current flag was General Aguinaldo himself, during his exile in Hongkong. Speaking of Aguinaldo, ¬†I saw him in a much different light (not a flattering one) after I saw the eye-opening movie, General Luna. ūüė¶

(Last year, we also got the Reader’s Digest Kasaysayan books to better educate ourselves and¬†teach history to our son accurately. The reading level is not for young kids but since the photos are of very good quality, Q enjoys leafing through them. Great for parent-child reading time or as jump-off points for conversations about Philippine history.¬†We also purchased a very well-written and comprehensive book by Raissa Robles about a very important part of Philippine history that every young person needs to know about and every parent should make their kids read to supplement if not correct what’s being taught in schools now using revisionist history textbooks.)


Back home, while taking a respite from our traveling, we visited St. Paul’s¬†and got these:


I do not need to scramble for examples of role models when it comes to teaching my son good values and leading a Christ-like life and taking the path to holiness.

I also got these really inexpensive Emotional and Social Well-being Series booklets. They are short and straight to the point. When I am at my wit’s end in explaining things to a strong-willed 7-year old or just sapped by behavior issues, I pull out one of these for backup :D:


Last but not the least are the books we got from a gold mine of a second-hand bookstore, Booksale!


Barron’s Amazing Fact-packed Fold-out Atlas of the World


I don’t know but there’s something about book foldouts and pop-ups that is so enticing to me. ūüėÄ

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear


the title page

The idea for this book is quite interesting and is detailed on the Introduction page. DaddyO’s not a fan of this book. He agrees that IT IS nonsense. Hahaha

The Legend of the Blue Bonnet by Tomie de Paola

A folktale about the origin of the blue bonnet flower and a story of a little girl’s sacrifice that greatly helped her tribe, the Comanche People. I took extra care in reading and explaining this book’s story to Q¬†as it also depicts the Comanche tribe’s worship of many spirits.

The Magic School Bus Science Exploration and The Magic School Bus Science Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow

To supplement and inject more fun and humor in our Science reading.

Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons

I gave in to this one because Q said he wanted to copy the drawings. Every time we go out and buy books, Q has to get a dinosaur book which I have already put a limit to because he already has SO MANY dinosaur books and every newly bought dinosaur book offers no new information anymore. I think he pretty much knows everything there is to know about dinosaurs…at least for his age.

I’m Tyrannosaurus! A Book of Dinosaur Rhymes by Jean MArzollo, illustrated¬†by Hans Wilhem

I got this one not because¬†it’s a dinosaur book (although for Q, that’s a plus) but because Q loves making up his own rhymes, songs, and short poems. This might give him some ideas and make up more.

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima

A book about isolation and forming a wrong opinion of other people. It’s a wonderful story about embracing one’s uniqueness despite peer pressure or the need for most people to fit in and sometimes, standing one’s ground with dignity and humility despite ridicule. This is a common occurrence¬†everywhere and even more so among school kids.

I look forward to finding more great books and sharing them here in my future posts. We are also excited for the arrival of our school books from Kolbe Academy¬†(and some interesting ones from Amazon!) and start a new school year. So, that’s another thing to look forward to! Weeee!