Homeschooling: Support all the way! (Homeschool conference 2014 Part 3)
This is the third and final installment for my series of blogs regarding the home school conference last September 6. I’m giving this one the title – Support all the way! because it sums up the last two talks I’m going to write about here.
If you’ve missed the first two installments and would like to read up, here are the links:
One of the challenges of writing a series of blogs is recalling that moment you’re going to blog about. So, I apologise if I’ll miss out on details, as I’ve also come to realise that my memory is no longer as sharp as it had been three babies ago.
But I shall try my best, so here goes…
The 12 days of home school with Ms. Irma Chua
Ms. Irma Chua was one of the first few “other” home schooling parents I’ve met outside my first circle of home schooling friends. I first met her at my very first home schooling conference.
Jay met her at the field trip for home schoolers organised by PCA three years ago, when he accompanied Pablo to it.
Ms. Irma and her husband, Bob are considered veterans in home schooling, having educated their six children from home for over 20 years. We were excited to hear her talk about “Educating for life”, we knew there were so much to pick up from her.
What she did was share how it had been for them.
Raising 6 children was not easy and it didn’t make it any easier having family and close friends question their decision to home school them.
In fact, she shared with us a home school song with lyrics made up of common questions/criticisms thrown at us home schoolers:
Can you homeschool legally?
Are they socialized?
Do you give them tests?
What about P.E.?
YOU ARE SO STRANGE!
How long will you homeschool?
Look at what they’re missing!
Why do you do this?
They’ll miss the prom!
What about graduation?
I could never do that!
Can they go to college?
If you want to hear how this one’s sung, here’s the video:
Many of us who have been home schooling for a while were chuckling and nodding along as Edric Mendoza took the mic to lead us all into a chorus, after all, we’ve all encountered those questions at one time or another.
My answers to those 12 questions is in another blog post. Click here to read.
Focus on the right things
Ms. Irma reminded us that most of these people asking us these questions are only concerned about us. Then she gave us two of their family’s life verses:
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Here’s how I understood what she shared with us: Home schooling is not an easy task. It is a calling, which is why we should pray and seek God’s directions before we embark on this journey, and more, while we’re on it.
There will be challenges ahead and there will be distractions and discouragement along the way. But know your priorities. Fill your mind with the things of God, focus on Jesus, make him the center of your home school.
Do not be afraid of the impossible, just be supportive of your children, dream with them and give them what you have been enabled to give — and pray. God will provide for the needs of your children – resources, finances — and wisdom to meet these needs.
The tree in the condominium
Let me just give you an illustration of how Bob and Irma supported one of their children.
Their son’s passion is growing plants and trees, and he’s a natural at it. He did his research and cared for his plants on his own. They encouraged him and gave him their full support.
There was, however, one problem: They live in a condominium unit, way up in a high-rise building. It has a tiny balcony that can hold a few pots, but there’s no way you can grow a tree from up there.
But they let him grow his plants anyway. As of the conference, they were still in the process of figuring out where to transfer the growing tree their son had been caring for in a pot.
For them, it’s the least of their concerns. They chose to focus on nurturing their son’s interest and gift over their limitations.
Learning in the Digital World with Yen Galagnara
I wasn’t able to attend this session because I chose to attend the one on teaching Filipino to our kids, but Jay did.
People who are close to our family know that our 9-year old has been exhibiting a strong interest in computers since he was a toddler.
Technology is inevitable
Jay said that the session was more of an introduction to parents who are still feeling their way around technology and a gentle nudge to those who have been resisting technology in their home school.
I’m going to come off with a bit of passion on this, and it’s because I AM passionate about it.
Let me just share with you a blog we published on our company site when we helped spread word about the Hour of Code:
“When you encourage your children to learn programming, or at least the basics of it, you are giving them the opportunity to learn the logic behind the things they commonly use every day and you open doors for them to explore, generate ideas and make these ideas come to life.
If your children learn to code, you are bringing them up from being mere consumers to the level of thinkers, movers, builders and innovators.
Even if they don’t end up the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, coding will be a useful skill that will benefit them in whatever field they choose to be in. The 21st century economy is based on technology.”
I’m no techie, believe me. I’ve no natural gift for these computer languages, but if this is where one (or all) of my sons are heading, I’m not going to sit back and do nothing about it.
Going back to the session, here are the 3 guidelines that Jay has in his notes:
1. Set limits
Technology is good, but it’s also addictive which can affect our children in other areas of their development.
I think this means we should be able to set boundaries with our children on the length of time they spend on technological devices.
Jay says his may have something to do with #1. Sure, you set limits, but you should also set a balance. We can’t not let our children learn technology, they need it. No professions, or companies for that matter, function without technology.
3. Maximise the use of technology
With technology, there is a whole new range of resources and tools made available for us to help us educate our children. Let’s use them and let’s use them wisely.
Throwing full support behind your digital child
According to Jay, Yen and her husband are media practitioners – I’m not sure, but most likely, producers.
In my understanding, the example they shared on how they support their child in this digital age is helping and guiding him in producing his own videos.
Most probably a lot like our 5-year old’s Arts and Animation class at Homeschool @ the Fort. In the last two to three weeks, he and fellow home schoolers are being guided by their instructor to put a story together.
The goal for this class is for them to produce their very first animated film, although given their ages, they may or may not come up with this output this year.
So far, they already have a story about a princess eaten by a dragon.
Are you ready to home school?
That’s all I have. I hope that I have been able to impart substance in my 3-part blog on the home school conference 2014.
Are you ready to home school? I welcome questions, if you have any, PM me on Fully Housewifed Facebook page and I will answer as much as I can, or ask other home schooling families for you.
Have fun home schooling and I hope to see you on the next conference!