23 July 2009

Homeschooling Part 1

Thursday, July 23, 2009 by Chelo · 0 comments
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What is home-schooling? Is it just doing schoolwork at home? What is the spirit behind home-schooling? Why home-school? What does it take to home-school? What about socialization? What about accreditation? Is this less expensive than going to regular school? And the list of questions goes on.

I will attempt to answer some frequently-asked-questions about this controversial topic, albeit in bits and pieces. I do so because of the many phone calls I receive from interested parents from different socio-economic & religious backgrounds. I home-schooled my older son, Michael Joshua, who landed a full college scholarship in Music Production at the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde and graduated this year. He is now taking a 5-week summer course at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He was home-schooled from grade 2 up to 4th year high school. Michael is the youngest male black-belt holder in Aikido in Asia, trained under Sensei Xavier Baylon. I home-school my younger son, Nathan Samuel, age 11, now in 6th grade and taking piano lessons under Ms. Joanne Lorico and soccer training under Coach Jojo Durian.

What Is Home-Schooling?
To start, home-schooling is being educated at home, simply stated. Often, it is the parent who serves as the teacher although in some cases, a hired tutor can do the teaching. This means that subjects, normally studied in traditional school, are all taught at home. Each home-school is different because the reasons why families go into home-schooling vary, too. Some home-schooling families purchase a complete curriculum while others purchase here and there and adapt their own. The decision re: which curriculum to use depends largely on the goals of the home-schooling family and considers the strengths & weaknesses of the child(ren) being home-schooled.

Why Do Families Home-school?
There are different reasons why families home-school. Some do so because of special needs of children. Others home-school because of religious convictions. Still others do because the parents feel that they are able to impart their values alongside academics better than hired teachers can. There are those who travel frequently and only the home-school parameters can accommodate the uniqueness of their circumstances. Many young people who are either in show business or arts or sports are home-schooled in order to cope with the demands of shootings, specialty classes or training. Both the gifted and children whose learning styles are not in sync with traditional education also go the route of home-schooling because of greater flexibility.

What Does It Take to Home-school?
I wish everyone could home-school, but the reality is: home-schooling is not for everybody. Home-schooling entails a lot of time and commitment that not everyone is willing to make. While it helps to have some educational attainment, what is more important is the heart to impart to the child. There are successful home-schoolers who never finished college. The availability of a wealth of curricula - complete from teacher's guide to worksheets to answer keys - makes it tons easier to do the job. It does take some degree of organization because the home-school teacher needs to plot what he/she will teach for the school year & allow adjustments for variables like delays. Depending on the age of the child & the learning style, patience is a virtue especially when home-schooling younger children.

To be Continued

14 July 2009

How To Be a Better Listener

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 by Chelo · 2 comments
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It was my Dad who taught me how to be a good listener. I must have been in grade 7 when I experimented with a classmate after ballet class and I just sat there and listened to my friend relate stories about how her day went & episodes about her boyfriend. I could not really relate to everything she was saying but I mustered strength to listen and give her encouragement to talk. At the end of the conversation, or what seemed more like a monologue, she said, "Boy, it was really great talking to you!" I hardly said anything! She really did all the talking.

I don't think I gained much from the content of what she said. But, that day, I discovered the secret of making another human being feel important and valued simply by listening well. I listened not only with my ears but also with my eyes, my gestures, and my heart. I knew my friend considered me a friend for life. More importantly, I gained the priceless lesson of learning how to empathize with others and enter into their hurts. Because of that, I also gained the right to speak into her life because she knew I cared.

People can tell when our lines are lip service. People can read between the lines. People can feel when the sympathy is real. People can also hear what we're not saying.

If we all listen, really listen, we would certainly have a less-wounded world.

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