Surprised overseas trip to visit my homeschoolers

Photo Credit: Pexels

Yep, you read it right. I made a surprised overseas trip last week to visit my homeschoolers in my parents’ house in one of the provinces of the Philippines. I traveled exactly 5,079mi to surprise my kids! Oh boy, they cried upon seeing me. Few days before my arrival, my mom’s friend told them that I’d be coming. I told them I’d be coming in June to fetch them so they believed me. Their dad told them I was at the grocery store when they called during the time I was in the plane.

My girls couldn’t just believe it that I was there in front of them, that they could hug me, that they could touch me. I was also in tears when they started crying. I could sense how they truly missed me! Ahh, if only I could stay with them for a longer time.

When I reached the Philippines, I was already deprived for 3 sleepless nights. During my whole stay in the Philippines, I could count the no. of hours that I slept – just freakin’ 20 hours only for 6 days! Luckily, God blessed my body and sanity despite my sleeplessness. Perhaps I suffered from insomnia or I wasn’t able to adjust my body clock back then. Speaking of body clock, my 5yo daughter was all in tears when she learned that I wasn’t sleeping well at night. She urged me to go back to Kuwait so I could sleep well, for she said, that I’d be able to adjust my body clock here! Hahaha. How I missed my little ones, my two girls…

I had the chance to bring my girls to their ballet school for 3 consecutive times. If you have been following my blog, my girls are homeschooled so after their playgroup when they were toddlers, the ballet school today is the closest thing wherein I was able to bring them to a physical school. Gasped! My girls were so responsible and are so responsible with how they manage their time and selves before going to the ballet school. Here’s my blogpost about enrolling my girls in a ballet school in our province while they’re on a short vacay. 4 months. Not quite short though.

Their ballet classes start at 9:30AM. They’re usually awake at 6:30 or 6:45AM. They bathe themselves. They eat their breakfast. They change into ballet uniforms. They want to go to school so early!

I am so impressed. 

Not only with the way they handle themselves by being so responsible but also with the way they listen to their ballet teacher (yes, until now – their grandma accompanies them to the ballet school and wait for them to finish. Their grandpa brings them and fetches them.)

While I was in the province, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized at the way they’re showing their COURAGE.

They don’t bawl out when they miss us (unlike me when I was their age!). They just do their work, play, or do their thing.

It was me who cried again when I was about to leave for Kuwait. Ugggghhhh. It’s me who’s not prepared for this separation anxiety thingy. I made a blog post before about how to deal with separation anxiety with your homeschoolers.

When I reached Kuwait a few days back, I slept for the longest time possible; hence, this late blog post. My 5yo daughter’s right. Here in Kuwait, I could easily go back to adjusting my body clock. Haha. Yes, little girls know best.

Lately, I have learned to suppress my homesickness because my girls are VERY HAPPY in our province, under the care of my grandparents and sister. Just awhile ago, when I called them, I could hear their laughter with their grandpa and grandma. I’m beyond relieved. I know I shouldn’t worry about them. Was it yesterday when Mama told me that my girls don’t even feel sad or they don’t miss us at all? When their grandma was in Manila for 8 days, my girls esp. my 5yo daughter would call me for several times a day! That was prior to my surprised visit to them. They don’t remember calling me when their grandma’s with them in the house. Good thing, Mama’s next travel to Manila is by September.

Luckily, too, they got a new nanny so the pressure in my Mama’s shoulder has lessened to a great deal. Yay, Mama’s still so hands on with my girls and yes, she does some household chores still like cooking for my girls and for the whole household and washing the beddings and some clothes. But the thing is, somehow, my girls got a new nanny, a better one than the previous.

I temporarily stopped the academics tutorial of my girls starting this week until the last week of April. When they started last February, the teachers were so busy that the tutorial classes with my girls were irregular.

I can’t wait for June to start anew with my homeschooling session with my girls. I am still waiting for some books from their new academy.

This is just a quick update. I’ll be back soon.

How are you doing with your homeschooling journey? If you’re new to homeschooling or are planning to homeschool your kids, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at homeschoolingkuwait[at]gmail[dot]com. 

Mrs Deese
Teacher QueenBee @ Lifestyle Freedom Academy

Ballet classes for my homeschooled girls

If your child still wants to be a professional ballerina at the age of 8, this is the time to start looking for ballet classes that will teach proper technique. – MichelleMurphy

It’s been one of my wishes (and yes, my daughters’ dreams) to enroll in a ballet school. Although there are ballet classes here in Kuwait, for some reasons, we didn’t attempt to enroll them. I just dunno why. Perhaps, the distance?

Finally, my mom enrolled my girls today in a ballet summer class in our province, just a 5min drive away from our house! The girls are super excited.

In our province, tuition fee for ballet classes per child costs PhP3,000 plus registration fee of PhP500. Uniforms will be purchased at SM Megamall. Classes will be held 3x a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting on April 3. This will be very tasking on the part of my homeschooled girls because they’ve been used to just staying at home. They also have classes at home with their teachers 5x a week. However, going out 3x a week would be a good exercise for them though not just physically, emotionally, but more so on being responsible in managing their time, and also an opportunity for them to bond with other kids and grownups.

Funny thing is, there were some who were conversing with my girls in our dialect (translating them to English) with the intention of teaching them how to speak our dialect! Whoa. Hahaha. Ma told them that “the mommy didn’t want her girls to speak in dialect”. But why, they asked! Hehehe. Even the basic tagalog words, my daughters don’t know them. For example, ‘kumusta ka’ (how are you), my daughters don’t know that! LOLs.

Uh-oh. Don’t get me wrong. I love my Philippine heritage. I do speak in my native language at home with my husband even when our girls are around. It’s just that, when my kids were so young, they didn’t want to speak in Filipino! Masakit daw sa tenga! Hahaha. I haven’t forced my girls to learn any other language but now that they’re both proficient in English at a young age (the only language they know since birth), they want to study Chinese, Spanish, French – they said. Yes, I know that learning other languages will come in handy because they want to learn other languages. Should they want to learn Filipino and my dialect, they’ll be free to do so at the right time, their time. A few days ago, my 8yr old daughter surprised me when she said, “we’re able to understand some Filipino words when Mommy and Daddy talk. We just understand them even though we don’t know every word that they say.” See my point? They understand us even though they don’t know how to say the words in Filipino. That’s fine. I want them to speak and think in English. :)

Back to ballet classes…

When I was young, I didn’t have any interest in ballet dancing. I was just focused on my academics! Whoa. Here’s wishing I wasn’t like that – so involved in academics that I became a slave of schooling. Hahahaha. I felt like engaging in extracurricular activities would rob my time off from my academics. Haha. Urgggh. Good thing my daughters aren’t like that. They’re homeschooled. They’re so FREEEEEEEE!

At what age should kids start ballet classes?

There have been differing opinions as to the age that kids should start ballet dancing. Some parents would often rush their kids to do ballet at a very young age of 2. Personally, I felt that starting ballet classes at 8 is kinda late already for my 1st born (my 2nd daughter is over 5).

Research shows that 8 is just the right age to start formal ballet training. Before 8 years old, it’s just about “musicality and learning about body movement”. I read from DanceDepot that if you want your child to be a professional ballerina, enroll your child at 8 in ballet classes for proper techniques. Just the right age for my 1st born to learn about formal ballet dancing.

How about you? At what age did your kids start ballet dancing? 

Ballet Classes in Kuwait

Are you looking for ballet classes in Kuwait?

The following are the lists of ballet programs in Kuwait.

Center of the Arts:
Center of the Arts Web site: https://www.artkuwait.com.kw/
Phone: +965 222-82-130
Address: Block 1 , Plot 21, Al Usaimi Complex, 6th Street, Shuwaikh Industrial

Ballet Schedule:
balletschedule_centerofthearts

British Academy of International Arts
Address: Villa 32, Street 1, Salwa, Block 1
Telephone: +96525623604

Read Out Loud Challenge 2017 National Book Store

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Some of our books in our mini-library in Kuwait…More books in our room haha. We sold our bookshelves when we transferred to this new residence; hence, the books were on the floor for easy access. The floor is empty anyway so the books made the house homier (yay! books make a home) than if there are no books on sight. Yes, we couldn’t live without books. So costly to buy though online when you’re in Kuwait. 

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that READING is our well-loved subject and activity. Yes, we have more time to read not just the academics books of my kids but more so about life and the world out there! I always make it a point that my homeschooled girls are reading almost on a daily basis. Even though my kids are not with me right now (they’re in a vacation with their grandparents), I always remind them to read. You see, they’re still young so PLAY is what comes into their minds during vacation time. So happy that they still do read, but perhaps, not daily because they’re into playing at the park, pool, backyard, kite flying and more. Well, for as long as reading doesn’t take a backseat for a longish time, that’s fine with me. I knew that I already inculcated in them the love for reading. No wonder, even at a young age, my kids are thrilled with reading the Life’s Manual and other grown up books.

So lucky to have known about the Read Out Loud Challenge 2017 sponsored by the National Book Store. Though we’re not based in the Philippines, my family will be joining this challenge virtually. We love books. We love to learn each day about the world out there. If you’re in the Philippines, drop by at the National Book Store.

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Photo credit: Kerygma Books

My mini-library at home shows a variety of books from finance to leadership, marketing, virtual careers, homeschooling, parenting, programming, novels, how tos, autobiographies and more children’s books for our girls. My husband and I share the same passion in reading and digital stuffs so expect that our home is adorned not with decors but with books.

During this 4-month separation period from our homeschooled kids, we (husband and I) are so busy nourishing our souls with praise and worship music and spiritual teachings. We’re also reading books about knowing Jesus more. You see, life is empty without God. Did you know that our two homeschooled girls know how to praise and worship at a young age?

If you’re in this journey of knowing God not just for you but for your whole family, you may hugely benefit from the Kerygma Books wherein I’m a Kerygma Ambassador. It’s the Season of Lent and Kerygma offers a 25% discount on its books. Reading out loud the books for soul will surely help you and your children develop an intimate encounter with the Lord.

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Photo Credit: Kerygma Books

Click on this link to buy the books at the Kerygma Shop. Enjoy 25% discount until April 20, 2017.

Are you reading out loud with your homeschooled kids? What books are you reading? 

Wait! My child turned 8 and she celebrated her birthday without me by her side!

Photo credit: Pexels

It’s been awhile since I last posted here. I was sober a few days back. It’s my daughter’s first time to celebrate her birthday without me by her side and we’re continents apart. If you are following my blog, you know that my two homeschooled daughters are in the province under the care of my parents.

If you’re an expat, and your family is back home, I know what you’re feeling. You’re not physically there when it comes to important occasions. And that’s kinda heartbreaking, isn’t it? I felt it just a few days back.

Two days prior to my daughter’s 8th birthday, I was already so sad. I wasn’t able to talk to her and her baby sister for over a day. That literally brought me to tears. The irony was, my two daughters were not even sad. Of course, I didn’t tell them that I was in tears. When I left the country last February, my daughters saw how sad I was.

My daughters miss me and their daddy but they would just utter that without tears. I am proud of how tough they have become. I know that when the time comes for them to go solo, they have already adjusted well because of this 4-month separation period that we have right now. It’s me though who’s having a hard time with this separation anxiety. Last month, I blogged about dealing with separation anxiety when you’re a homeschooler. Yes, I am getting along pretty well, so far. It’s just that homesickness enveloped me these past few days because as you can see, it’s my first time to be away from my kids. Since they’re homeschooled and they’re born here in this country, we’re practically together for 24/7 for the past 8 years and counting.

On my part, how did I prepare for my daughter’s 8th birthday even though we’re continents apart?

My daughter received gifts from us on her birthday last Monday but the gifts didn’t come all the way from this country. To save for shipping fee, I just asked my sister to purchase the gifts in Manila and send them locally via LBC. I asked my sister to write our names on the gift and I dictated the birthday greetings. With this, we were able to save a great deal on the shipping fee. The gift that my daughter was expecting was also available in Manila.

A day before my daughter’s 8th birthday, I already told my mom about the kind of party that I would want for my daughter. My daughter originally planned for a beach party but I wasn’t that comfortable with the thought that she’s celebrating it at the beach without us. I told my mom to have a pool party instead. So lucky to have a mom who’s so hands on. She bought beach ball and floaters for the girls. My girls were so happy even though they just swam for a few minutes as it was already cold. The pool there didn’t have any warm water unlike the pools here in Kuwait. Nevertheless though, the girls still enjoyed that day.

Thanks to my parents for making my daughter’s birthday a happy one. My daughter told me that she’s happy, indeed, even when I didn’t ask her about what she’s feeling that day. That somehow relieved my homesickness. All the while I was thinking that she’s kinda missing me on her birthday but it was just the other way around. I was just the only one missing her so badly. Thanks to my husband’s parents, too, for giving my daughter a pre-advanced birthday party with my daughter’s new friends.

How about you? Share tips on how you’re preparing for your kids’ birthdays when you’re not physically beside them?

Anyhow, I remember something I was asked a few days ago about the setup of education of my kids now that they’re in the province.

Still homeschoolers and will be homeschooling till K12

Some people asked me if my kids would be living in the Philippines and if ever they’d be enrolled in physical schools. We did try to enroll them in physical schools in the province but they’re not into it. My youngest daughter said she couldn’t learn when it’s noisy. So what we did was to hire two teachers who’d tutor our girls – at home. It’s working best for them. Occasionally, my girls play with the neighbors’ kids.

There are more things that I want my two daughters to learn and do in life now that my first born is 8 and my second born is almost 6. However, I can only provide the right environment for them and correct way of nudging them about the life out there. I cannot tell them what to do when they don’t see me doing it. My daughters’ mirror has always been me, their mom. In fact when they’re still here in this country a few months back, I was so thrilled when I witnessed them doing some online stuffs. I can’t wait to be with them again and learn together the intricacies and challenges of the real world. As you can see, we’re not only learning the academics but practically we’re into stuffs that are somehow beyond their age. We’re dealing here with real life, with stuffs that they should know in order to deal with the world outside the four walls of classroom. No, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against public or private traditional schooling. It’s just that homeschooling works best for us. I could enumerate more about why home education is working best for us but perhaps in a separate blog post. The thing is, my two girls are still homeschoolers and will be homeschooling them until K12.

My daughter is 8! Now, what?

I couldn’t believe it that I have already raised an 8-year old and over 5-year old two girls! 8 is almost a grownup, my daughter told me when she’s just 7. I asked her a few days back about what she’s feeling now that she’s 8. She didn’t answer it. Perhaps, there’s no big difference, anyway, on her part. One thing I noticed though was that she knew when to stop watching youtube while talking to me via Viber. She told her little sister to stop watching as they were talking to me. Good job, Ate. You know what/who to prioritize. Was it just a month ago when she cried heavily for she wasn’t able to talk to me online because she prioritized watching Youtube? She must have learned her lessons well back then.

My daughters are learning more about real life during this 4-month separation period. They have grown considerably especially my 8-year daughter. It was a good break for both of my girls.

My daughter is 8 now. I have yet to tailor-fit some of the things that I think she’d like to do. I have yet to draft the path that I think she’d be happy to walk on. As always, I have been the kind of mom who’s not so strict when it comes to pushing what I want for my girls. I try as much as possible to incorporate the things that interest them. From there, they learn about how to pursue the things that they should focus on. There’s more to kids’ lives than pushing them to do stuffs that will eventually bore them. That’s why I want them to enjoy lifestyle freedom at a young age. Of course, with lifestyle freedom comes hard work and perseverance. Wait for more blog posts about our journey in our homeschooling journey.

Till next time!

 

Every family has a unique homeschooling story…

This is a snippet of our family’s homeschooling journey.

Hello homeschooling moms/dads and tots!

Howdy! It’s been a longish while since I last wrote here. Almost a month! The past month was so stressful. I kept on thinking about my parents back home. My kids’ nanny left them without giving any reason at all. She must be looking for a greener pasture out there. As you can see, I know how stressful life can be when there’s no household help at all. My parents, especially my mom, must be very exhausted at the end of the day. I left my kids back home for almost four months (you may read my blogpost here about it) because I was thinking I found them a good nanny to look after them (of course under the loving care of my parents). Who would ever thought that just after a month, the nanny would feign not feeling well then that would be the end of her service! If it was money that was her issue, she could have been honest with me. I didn’t give her a very low salary. What I gave her was more than the existing household helper salary in the country. I just hope and pray that my parents will be able to look for a replacement nanny ASAP.

Another thing which made me so anxious over the past month was that I waited for the new lesson plans to arrive. They arrived after 3 weeks. As soon as they arrived via Aramex, I browsed through the lesson plans and voila, I found the materials so impressive! My two girls will be learning Latin for this school year and also Philosophy! We’ll be doing classical education this school year. Here’s wishing we started with this curriculum way back when we started FORMAL homeschooling in 2014. We started informal homeschooling in 2009. [Yes. There’s no need to rush in enrolling kids in formal/accredited/unaccredited homeschool curriculum.] We could have prevented that massive burn out which we experienced for almost two years because of the previous curriculum which we had. Whew.

Truly, there’s no one formula in homeschooling that will fit a homeschooling family. As you go along with homeschooling, you will discover the curriculum that will fit your family. It will depend on your budget, on the learning style of your kids, on what you want to accomplish, and what your vision is for your children. Looking back, my homeschooling journey was a roller coaster for me. But I learned a great deal in this journey. My kids developed self-reliance as they learned more on how to make themselves busy. They learned a great deal via the things that they needed to learn because we were almost doing unstructured homeschooling for the past two years! Were you able to read about the benefits of doing a structured homeschooling than an unstructured one? If not, you may read the post  about structured homeschooling here.  For this school year, we’ll be doing more of structured learning. I am thankful for our new homeschool curriculum.

I don’t normally give a boxed curriculum for my kids. I always include other things that my children should learn. A few hours back, my 1st born said she and her baby sister wanted to learn Chinese. I have yet to include Chinese language in the schedule of my girls. They will also enroll in a ballet class starting April until May.

Looking back, whenever I think about the journey of my kids from birth to present (my kids are 5 and 7 & counting, respectively), I am well certain that I made the right choice in giving them HOME EDUCATION. The journey is far from perfect yet it’s the best thing that has ever happened to them. They know a lot of things that I didn’t know when I was their age, and yes, even until now. They do a lot of things which I didn’t do when I was young. They say a lot of things that are alien to me, in other words. Haha. I often say on a regular basis that I LEARN MORE FROM MY KIDS than they learn from me. Oh, of course, I don’t want to discount my contribution to why they are the way they are because I know in my heart that I PROVIDED THEM THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT. All along, I was/am/have always been there for them. If you have been following my blog, I decided to quit the corporate world even before I gave birth to my 1st born. Not that I don’t have a career right now. My career even blossomed when I decided to become a work-from-home mom. It wasn’t that easy to embark on this journey. But it’s all worth it, despite the ups and downs. I know better now, thank God.

YES, EVERY FAMILY HAS ITS UNIQUE HOMESCHOOLING STORY. Whatever stage you are in right now in your homeschooling journey, whatever pains which you had in the past about choosing your curriculum, about how burnt out you and your homeschooled kids, about how difficult it is to homeschool during the formative years and primary years, hold on, momma, you’re STILL on the right track no matter how you feel, at times, that your kids might be behind. No, there’s no such thing as being behind in homeschooling. Your kids DO LEARN even when they don’t do anything that is spectacular in your eyes. They learn every single thing about anything whether you are aware of it or not. They learn from what they feel, see, and hear around them. Learning doesn’t just mean getting the lessons from their academics. Oftentimes, it’s when they have been provided the right environment and treatment that will encourage them to learn for more, on their own. It’s what learning is all about. It’s not spoon feeding. It’s not by the book. It’s beyond that. It’s how they have been able to think critically and do things spontaneously and on their own that will shape their homeschooling journey.

How about you? What’s your family’s homeschooling story?

 

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